Can we similarly find God already at work, and choose not to hinder that within our own lives and our own faith communities? “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) Can we see the full inclusion of blacks as not “the Black Agenda” but rather “the Gospel Agenda”? Can we see God at work in the lives and ministries of women, and support it, recognizing “the Gospel Agenda” rather than “the Feminist Agenda”? Can we recognize holiness of life and the working of the Spirit in the lives of gay and lesbian Christians, and welcome their presence and their ministries as part of “the Gospel Agenda” rather than “the Gay Agenda?”
It’s not an easy place to be, in many ways. Many still accuse women of having a “Feminist Agenda” when we exercise our equality in Christ. How fortunate I am that I have so many faithful Christian men speaking out on behalf of that equality for me. They help the world hear my ministry as “Gospel Agenda.” They allow me to strive to be known as a “good priest”, and not just a “female priest.” They allow me to be a minister of the Gospel. But, in doing so, they have been the target of scorn and rejection themselves, from those who cannot see my ministry as being of God.
Now it is time for me, as a straight person, to speak up. I can bear witness, like Peter, to seeing the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those whom the church has traditionally said were “unclean” and “unfit” for consideration as members of Christ’s body. I can bear witness to seeing and experiencing in my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters lives of repentance, forgiveness, and transformation through Jesus. (And “transformation” does not mean that Gentiles become Jews, blacks become whites, women become men, or gays/lesbians become straight!) I can speak out for “the Gospel Agenda” and in doing so, I hope that the gay and lesbian members of our church can be recognized as being a part of that Agenda as well. I pray that our bishop can focus on his Gospel ministry, being a “good bishop” rather than just a “gay bishop. ” It is up to you, and to me, to be like Peter and not hinder God but to welcome God’s grace in the lives of others. That, my friends, is the good news of the Gospel. That is the Gospel Agenda.