LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Commitment to equality is statement of faith

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The issue of same sex marriage is often framed as an issue between secular society and the Church, with a capital "C" - as if the Christian community is unified in its beliefs. But, of course, this isn't true.

I'm sure most of us know non-religious folks who are uncomfortable with gay marriage, as well as Christians who support equality in marriage. I am one of the latter.

As co-minister of First Congregational Church, I should clarify that my feelings about gay marriage do not come about despite my Christian faith. They come about because of it.

Faith provides the lens through which I view the world. Thus my commitment to equality is, for me, a statement of faith.

Jesus says in John's Gospel, "Love each other, as I have loved you." This is, I believe, the essential message of Scripture. So, to deny marriage equality would be inconsistent with how I believe I am to act as a Christian.

I'd like to say that my "faith lens" provides great clarity on all things. Alas, it isn't that simple.

Sometimes the lens blurs. The never-ending process of cleaning the lens is what I call a spiritual journey.

In my tradition, we like to say "God is still speaking." That is, we must look to discern God's call on our lives in ways and places that we might not always expect and that are continuing to unfold.

To believe that God's revelation continues, allows me (requires me) to reconsider the traditional teachings of the Church. The loudest voices in Christianity have gotten it wrong in the past. The Earth is not, in fact, the center of the universe and slavery cannot be justified even though some biblical passages seem to condone it. I hope, someday, those loud voices will regretfully consider the inhospitable stance they once took toward the gay community, and realize that it is inconsistent with the Gospel.

While these views are not widely-heard from churches today, I know that many faithful Christians share them. I am deeply thankful for having found First Congregational Church, a family of faith with whom I am able to authentically discern God's call.

We are an open and affirming congregation. And as the final line of our mission statement says, "No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here."

Adam Kirtley

Walla Walla

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