By Rose Mitts
Rose Mitts (she/her(s)) is a young adult provisional elder serving a rural congregation in the Mountain Sky Conference.
Have you ever heard of the “gay agenda?” That phrase has been used as a threat and attempt to discredit queer folx and imply some sort of sinister intention behind our actions and behavior. However, if you ever ask an LGBTQIA+ person what their gay agenda is, you would find it rather boring. There is no secret. No vile intent. Our agendas consist of chores, dating, bills, binging on Gentleman Jack on HBO.
Recently a former Sunday School teacher of mine, from a previous life, posted an article about how Christians must reclaim the rainbow for God from the gays. I opposed the article telling her that we never stole anything. We are just as a part of this covenant as those of you who have already had the ability to claim it. We are taking our place beside you who are already here. Another commenter met me with a sharp retort, “You’re wrong. Gay Christians don’t exist.” I tried breaking the news that we do in fact exist, but he only responded with selective verses about women and sin, wrapping it all up in a nicely literalist Sodom and Gomorrah bow. I left him alone to stew.
This is exhausting. It’s so exhausting.
While many of our local congregations sing a tune of reconciliation and inclusion, this overall hatred narrative dominates the vocabulary and resources of those congregations and Christians unwilling to question troublesome or out-of-context Scripture texts. I say unwilling, and not unable nor unequipped, because I think by the Grace of God we are all equipped and able to challenge difficult Scripture texts in tension with reason and the Gospel message. We may not always understand that we are able, but we must try.
If we reduce ourselves to an understanding of Christian life based on the initial notion that sin trumps our nature and not Grace, then we have already failed in our duties.
Since the beginnings of the universal church, lines have been drawn and redrawn regarding the nature of social minority groups whether that minority be based on one’s race, ethnicity, ability, sex, gender, or status. These lines change, not as a rebellion or some forced change to Scripture, but because the way we read Scripture changes. There’s nothing wrong with that. If Scripture is truly a living word, as we understand through the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and Christ’s ministry on earth, then we ought to allow ourselves to be so equipped and rooted that holding scriptural interpretations in tension with one another is not understood as a sin nor as an act of defiance. Allowing queer people to read themselves in Scripture and allowing themselves to be a part of the Christian community here as members of the church universal is an act of liberation, not rebellion.
I cannot be so foolish to say that an oversimplification solves anything. But, as for this queer Christian, I just want to be normalized. My life is boring and simple. My agenda consists of meetings, vacuuming my carpet, cleaning after my pets, and going on dates with my wife. My agenda is only gay because I, myself, am gay.