In September 2022, Spirit Garage started the Reconciling in Christ process. Reconciling in Christ is an intentional way to name that all belong. Specifically, this includes the LGBTQQIA+ community and communities of color, who are often rejected and persecuted in Christian circles. We know many people have stated that they didn’t feel like they belonged in other churches or Christian communities and do feel “at home” at Spirit Garage. And this is exactly why it is important that we move through this intentional RIC process.
Reconciling in Christ also helps us to become aware of what we do not know. As we go through the process we will learn what mistakes we make and how that can keep people from feeling welcome and safe in these spaces. For a few weeks, we will have a short video during our announcement time to ponder some “Clunky Questions.” The Clunky Question video from Sunday is ” ‘LGBTQQIA’ Why Do You Need a Label for Everything?” (https://youtu.be/WpQK2U7ci2g).
The Reconciling in Christ Team wants all of us at Spirit Garage to start noticing our blind spots in relationship with new language related to Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities, and Self-Expression in the world around us. When we notice our blind spots we can notice how our words or actions may hurt others and leave them feeling excluded from yet another faith community.
On March 12, Pastor Holly lifted up questions about who makes language rules? And why does language matter?
Your words—whether you’re 75 or 21—matter. They take on flesh with you and the people around you. You get to choose your own words for what you will be called. And you get to honor other people by using the words they choose, even if it wasn’t a word you knew before; even if it is an idea of life or living that is new to you.
We are christians, which means we have a God who is incarnational. [We have] a God who created by using words and speaking. And then that word took on flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; so we know that words have a way of taking on flesh and dwelling with us. Words create. Words name. Words shape how we think. Words identify.
The words we had available [before] no longer fit with the identities many people were experiencing within themselves. So a new set of words had to be developed…and new ways of using old words has developed…
And [we will] figure out how to call people by their names and refer to them in the ways they want to be referred to…because it’s people’s bodies and lives that we’re talking about. And they get to decide what words take on flesh and dwell within them.
This is important because laws are being passed all over our country that persecute trans people and their bodies, by people who think they have the right to say who people are and what they can be and do and even [what they can or cannot] wear.
But in this time when people’s lives and bodies are being denied, I hear God saying, “Beloved Child of God, I have called you by name, you are mine. You are chosen. You are loved.”
And as each of us takes the steps to name who we are, to tell our stories, to identify how to refer to us, those words take on life, and dwell with us, full of grace and truth. And as those lives and stories, with new words, take on flesh among us, new life enters into our community. And that matters.
Attached is a glossary with lots of terminology relating to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression. These terms are related to lots of characteristics of people, we anticipate that you will find terms that describe you (as well as others)! Take a look at the glossary and notice what you have questions about. Keep track of those questions for conversation with Emmy Kegler at the end of April.