Today, as we celebrate Pride Month and the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, my faith reminds me of a sacred truth: God is a troublemaker.
Throughout our holy scriptures, we see that God never leaves well enough alone. God is always creating, always redeeming and always moving. God was present at Stonewall, redeeming the violence into a movement to bring the liberation of all God’s people. Each person’s struggle and story is a part of the fabric that binds us together.
This Pride, I would like to introduce you to fellow good troublemakers: LGTBQ+ faith leaders from around the country sharing their stories, their faith, and their love. Share these stories with your friends and family to amplify these messages of faith and love!
On January 1st of this year, I fully and publicly came out in a sermon at my congregation, Church for All People, in Columbus, OH. For many years, for many decades, I denied myself to myself. I was uncomfortable in my own skin, uncomfortable with my reflection in the mirror, unconnected from the name given to me at birth. But I learned to put on a mask and survive.
God loves us too much to leave us alone. God loves us too much to let us hide behind our masks. God has done a new thing in me. God has given me life. God has caused me to spring forth and I am forever grateful and proud.
My story is the story of so many LGTBQ+ people of faith. It’s the story of God loving me, loving us all, so much that throughout it all, we are led to become the fullest, most beautiful and truest selves.
I hope you draw affirmation and inspiration from our collective stories of triumph this Pride but, most importantly, I hope you join with God in becoming holy troublemakers. While we have come a long way in a short amount of time, there is a lot to be done. Hundreds of anti-trans bills have been proposed all across our country. The reproductive health of millions of our neighbors are under threat. Too many houses of worship still remain places of judgment. And we still haven’t learned to fully love each other or ourselves.
Let’s continue to shine as we march in parades and work for justice and hear the voice of crowds cheering for who God created us to be. Let’s offer gifts of love and joy into the world. Let’s rally in the spirit of John Lewis and cause some good trouble.
Pastor Joelle Henneman (she/her)
United Methodist Church for All People, Columbus, OH