I remember playing hide-and-go-seek in my neighbors yard as a kid. They had a bunch of trees and bushes that served as great cover for even the least clever of us. As the game wore on, “it” would eventually get tired of looking for the remaining fugitives and cry out at the top of their lungs, “All-e-all-e-in-come-free!” At that declaration we knew we could emerge from our hiding places, crawl out from under our bushes and walk back to home base with no fear of the chase.
Tomorrow is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s a time when we remember people in our community that never got the opportunity to walk without fear. They died at the hands of a self declared “it” who determined that their victim’s gender presentation was somehow less acceptable than that of anyone else. Many of these aggressors would even claim that some form of religious perspective drove their opinions and justified their actions.
This is my second Day of Remembrance since I affirmed my gender identity and transitioned my gender expression. Last year I was still in a state of confusion and seeking. I was filled with doubt, fear and uncertainty about the future. While I still may not know much about the future and while I still have moments of doubt and fear, the last year has been a dynamic time of validation and understanding. It has given me a stronger perspective of ways we need to grow as a church, a culture and a people.
It’s time the church climbed to the top of a steeple and declared, “All-e-all-e-in-come-free.” I’m not suggesting that Christianity offer a free pass for any and all behavior or that we declare an end to the concept of sin and wrong doing. I am suggesting that it is time we take a good, long, hard look at the damage we are doing in the lives of people we should be loving. It’s time we look at what we call sin and why. It’s time we look for more ways to love people than to condemn them. It’s time we took seriously the concept of loving God just as Christ set out as our greatest directive: with our all our hearts, all our minds, all our souls and all our strength, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
If we need to call out people in their sin, call them out for the damage they do, not the love they try and give. Call them out for their hypocrisy and their disingenuous lives, not for seeking to be authentic, genuine human beings. Call them out for using the very word God intended to draw humanity to himself as a wall to keep people at a safe and comfortable distance.
Whether a person is suspect because of who they fall in love with, the country they were born in, the mental or physical illness that plagues them, the past choices they have made, or the incongruence they experience between their biological and psychological gender, let them come to the Lord. Not so that you can subject them to your template of what a proper believer in the western culture of 2015 should behave and look like, but so that they can experience the unhindered, reckless love and grace of God.
Tomorrow we remember. Let’s let everyday after be a day when we have less and less to mourn and more and more to celebrate. God is good – all the time. Let’s at least make the effort to meet Him there.