So my experience at the 2016 Gay Christian Network (GCN) conference officially began with Women’s Retreat. There was a great lunch, sitting at a table with some wonderful people. Some of them I knew from online groups, some of them I just met. None of them had I ever been able to greet and hug up close and personally. I’d read their words, but never heard their voices.
There is much to be said for a voice. It carries tone and intensity in it. It carries both passion and sorrow with equal strength. As I sat at that table toward the front of the room, a room filled with women who were coming together to share a few days of life together in a context of both earthly acceptance and spiritual understanding that we won’t find but maybe a handful of other places, I closed my ear closest to the stage and just heard the voices behind me. There was gentleness. There was strength. There was kindness and there was resolve.
I contemplated for a moment the notion that in much of Christianity those voices are silenced. Either because of their gender or because of their sexual orientation, many of the sounds I heard emanating from that conference room would never be given the place to be heard. The church at large is missing out.
Then I thought about my own voice. One that I myself allowed to be silenced for way too long. I thought about thoughts I never wrote because I didn’t believe anyone would care to listen. I remembered t
hat there were things long forgotten that I will never retrieve because I allowed myself to be relegated to the margins. For me affirming my identity and transitioning my faith was not so much a coming out as it was a speaking up.
I think the women I heard join together in one voice worshipping God as we know and experience God understand that. I think the hundreds of people I’m going to meet these next few days understand it as well. I know my brothers and sisters at the church I call home in North Dallas understand. I pray for the day when bearing the name of Christ will once again represent a person who seeks to give voices to the lost, hurting and desperate.
This is going to be a great weekend!