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Thank You God

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet… Coincidences are God’s way of getting our attention.” –

Frederick Buechner I was raised in a Christian home and taught that being
gay is a sin. I went to a small private college affiliated with the United Church of Christ, and out of curiosity, enrolled in a class called

“Homosexuality and Civil
Liberties”. We studied the relevant biblical passages and I became convinced that it was not a sin after all. I was so persuaded, in fact, that I felt compelled to contribute to the LGBTQ community through researching biological correlates of same sex attraction for my graduate thesis.
Interestingly, I did not have any gay relatives or friends during that time period. I often struggled to explain the
reason why I had become such a passionate ally. During my thesis defense, a faculty member asked why I was interested in the topic and I mumbled something about the clues my research might provide to better
understanding gender expression in all people. Little did I know, God was preparing me. Ten years later, when my daughter was 15, I discovered that she is a lesbian. I thank God for His grace that becomes most visible in the miraculous way life unfolds to expose ironies, miracles and the subtle preparation for future journeys.

There is Hope for Religion

I simply wanted to write to say THANK YOU!For years I have steadily moved farther away from any church affiliation because I just couldn’t believe the hatred that was coming from it.
Religion has changed from the love and compassion Jesus taught, to a hate filled, bigoted and, quite frankly, HELL of a place. Seeing the post in facebook about your organizations ads has made me think that there is hope for religion. Thank you again!

THANK YOU for your message of tolerance and love.

I can’t quite find the words to express how wonderful it was to find out you exist. I don’t live in Oklahoma, but I grew up in a United Methodist church, and left (in part) because I was gay. I turned away from the God of my understanding for many years before I discovered Unitarian Universalism and its message of tolerance toward all.
I’ve got a pretty deep wound about Christianity, but I’ve come to discover that my wound probably is more about how Christianity was practiced around me (and AT me) rather than a “beef” with Jesus himself.

THANK YOU for having the courage to stand up to your bishop and the entire UMC denomination through your message of tolerance and love. If you’re not gay, you really can’t imagine how painful it is to be demonized by religious people, and to know deep down that there’s really nothing wrong with you.

Thanks SO much for your courage!

Gay is Okay

My daughter, who is a 7th grader, came home two weeks ago with a homework assignment.  She was to write and deliver a speech that highlighted a problem she and her peers are facing.  She said that most of her classmates were preparing speeches on bullying or alcohol, but she wanted to do a speech titled “Gay is Okay.”  Her teacher approved the subject of her speech and she was excited.

She did her research, prepared her speech, and even made a special rainbow outfit to wear the day of the speech.  Her father and I were nervous that she would face rejection or bullying, after all, we live in a small, conservative town, in a conservative state.  When we picked her up after school, she came bouncing out with a smile on her face.  She said that she got a standing ovation after her speech!

The children really are leading us!

Not Long!

I give us this quotation from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“Let us therefore continue our triumphal march to the realization of the American dream. For all of us today, the battle is in our hands. The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. There are no broad highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. We are still in for the season of suffering. How long? Not long. Because no lie can live forever. Our God is marching on.” (1965)

Beloved, no lie can live forever.  We are all God’s children, perfectly made in God’s image. And I believe the time has come and is now near when the UMC will live out its claim of open hearts, open minds and one doors. Don’t give up! I pledge to stay the course.

I’m a UM who supports Equal Rights on same-gende​r marriage

Thank You for the large ad in today’s Tulsa World.  Many, many of us in UMC want a welcome to be real.  We want our sons, daughters, aunts and uncles to have a church home that is HOME for them and us.

Please continue to address this inequality in our church.

Thank you… God Works In Strange Ways

I am a Methodist. Raised in a Methodist church till my family left over some issues associated with the busing students in the 70s. In the 90s when I came out and my wife and I divorced I encountered lots of “love the sinner hate the sin” rhetoric from a Methodist church here in Tulsa. Was even told I could not take communion until I repented. Four years ago I returned to the Methodist Church after having attending several other welcoming churches from other denominations.
I joined Boston Avenue Methodist Church because Dr. Biggs had allowed me to attend Christmas eve services with my children and participate in communion. Dr. Crowell and Rev Paul Staat were so involved in reaching out to the gay community. So for the past 4 years I have attended a Methodist Church most every Sunday unless I was speaking or traveling. The recent steps to defrock the Methodist minister who performed his gay sons wedding was almost more than I could stand for. And this week with the Federal Judge’s ruling on Oklahoma’s ban on gay marriage, I thought I really need to be in a Church that values loving committed relationships and affirms the blessing of same sex marriages. I have struggled and wondered if I was setting the right example for my LGBTQ community.
This morning I went ahead and attended the 8:30 service at Boston Avenue hoping for a sign that God was leading my life and I was to remain in the Methodist Church. Church was church, no voices from heaven saying “stay put”. In fact, not one single person even spoke to me, but pretty much left me alone to worship. I left after the service ended and even sat in the parking lot and reflected on if it was time to move on to a more welcoming denomination. I came over to the equality center to do some work while it was quite before the staff arrive at noon. I got our Tulsa World out of the mailbox and brought it inside. Tossed it aside, and sat down at my desk and even googled some other local congregations to see if I might want to start my church shopping sooner rather than later.
Then I felt this overwhelming sense that I needed to read the newspaper. So I took it out of the yellow plastic bag, and began to separate the sections and sat down to read. I was reading the story about Sen. Coburn retiring and flipped to page A8 to finish the story. Then God spoke…..and down in the right hand corner was a quarter page ad with these words “we celebrate with the LGBTQ community the decision by Judge Kern”. I had my sign. For now I will stay because God has spoken……and I was really wanting an answer. Your courage and solidarity with the people I serve everyday was “good news”.
Toby Jenkins

Oklahomans for Equality

https://www.facebook.com/OklahomansforEquality

 

 

Not Long!

I give us this quotation from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Let us therefore continue our triumphal march to the realization of the American dream. For all of us today, the battle is in our hands. The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. There are no broad highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. We are still in for the season of suffering. How long? Not long. Because no lie can live forever. Our God is marching on. (1965)

Beloved, no lie can live forever. We are all God’s children, perfectly made in God’s image. And I believe the time has come and is now near when the UMC will live out its claim of open hearts, open minds and one doors. Don’t give up! I pledge to stay the course. From Rev. Deborah Ingraham

God Loves All

This sounds like good news to me! Thanks for your prophetic witness and ministry. God is always on the side of justice, especially for the marginalized. God is love. You are not alone!