We Have Work to Do
My dear friends,
I am in my office spending some time in reflection about recent events. It seems clear to me that our work is as important and as needed as it ever has been.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our day to day routines, we forget that as a church and as a movement we have a high calling, and that calling is to work for justice for all people, to affirm the sacred value of all people, and to heal the wounds that many people carry in their souls. We are sometimes tempted to let ourselves be distracted from that mission, but we can't give in to that temptation. The world needs us too badly. Lives depend on us answering our noble call. Lives are enriched and sometimes literally saved when we say yes to the call to be what we are meant to be.
On Thursday (Jan. 27th), Rev. Brian Hutchison and I spoke to a group of about 50 undergraduate students at Nova Southeastern University on the topic of religion and homosexuality. Most of the students were heterosexual, evangelical, and had anti-gay biases. One was a PFLAG mom, but most were young adults who felt very strongly that same-gender love and attraction is evil. Their oppressive theologies were so much a part of how they identified themselves and how they understood their world. I realized that unless we do more to help people challenge their prejudices more pain will be inflicted on far too many people in our world. We have work to do.
On Wednesday (Jan. 26th), we hosted a guest speaker, Ms. Val Kalende from Uganda. Uganda is a very unsafe place for LBGT people and she is currently in seminary in Cambridge, MA. As soon as she landed in Ft Lauderdale she learned that her friend and fellow activist David Kato had been brutally murdered in his own home. Homohatred, promoted by oppressive theology, is killing people all over the world. We have work to do.
We continue our work in Jamaica where people are often killed simply for being gay. We have work to do.
We continue to encourage people who have been estranged from their families or ostracized from their previous churches because they happen to be gay or lesbian or transgender. There is so much pain to heal. We have work to do.
Homophobia continues to fuel bullying which becomes so unbearable that many youths attempt suicide. We have to let them know that God is not a bully and those who bully in God's name are using God's name in vain. We have work to do.
People still struggle to live well with HIV, depression, and other conditions. They often find that a supportive, loving worship community helps them live better and with more joy. We need to let such people know we are here for them. We have work to do.
A well known megachurch televangelist with a huge international following recently said publicly that same-gender love and attraction is a sin. By continuing to dehumanize and condemn people in the name of God, the extreme right fuels violent attitudes (and actions) that are hurting people deeply. We must get a better message out to people. We have work to do.
A national fast-food chain (and other businesses for that matter) has given large amounts of money to protect marriage inequality. Places that take our money then spend that money to oppress us! We must be careful not to support such business and to work even harder for fairness and equality for all people. We have work to do.
Ours is not a movement designed just to make us feel good, special, comfortable, or at ease. Of course we should feel good about ourselves and celebrate our sacred value, and then we must share the light of that healing experience with the world. We have work to do.
Sunshine Cathedral, through our website, our publications, our classes, our worship services, our sermons, our emails, our public speaking engagements, our arts programming, our support of our global denomination (MCC), our guest speakers, and by means of every ministry possible will continue to resist oppressive theologies, to affirm the sacred value of all people, and to offer hope to those who have been most wounded by prejudice and marginalization. Your support of your Sunshine Cathedral is giving embodiment to the life-giving Spirit of Love, and that Love is very much needed in our world right now. Thank you for all you do. Remember, we still have work to do, and as we remember why we exist and what our high calling is, we will accomplish our divine purpose and the world will be better because we have been active in it.
Together, we are God's love in action. Your pledge to support Sunshine Cathedral will enrich, empower, and even save lives. Thank you for your commitment.
Rev. Durrell Watkins, M.A., M.Div., D.Min.