What the Church Can Learn From LGBTQ+ Activists

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Michael L. Brown

In October 2007 I delivered a series of lectures on the subject of “Homosexuality, the Church and Society.” These were held at the Booth Playhouse in the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina, and they attracted considerable local media attention. One of the lectures was titled, “What the Church Can Learn from the Gay and Lesbian Community,” and I made eight specific points in the 90-minute talk.

In my new book “Turn the Tide: How to Ignite a Cultural Awakening,” I reproduced that lecture in full. Here, I’ll provide a bulleted version of those eight points.

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1. Change did not come about merely by going to gay meetings but rather by being gay 24/7. It was the same with civil rights. Change did not come about merely by people going to civil rights meetings but rather by them joining the civil rights movement. Sooner or later, American Christians will have to learn that our emphasis must be on being the church more than on going to church. We must ;eave the audience mentality behind and become part of a functioning body.

2. Even a tiny minority with determination and vision can change the world. Trusting in numbers and political power has always been a trap for the church, since we stop looking at the cross—which speaks of sacrifice and service and humility—and put our faith in the power of human might. Fidel Castro said, “I began the revolution with 82 men. If I had [to] do it again, I’d do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and plan of action.” As Edmund Burke said, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”

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3. You must come out boldly! Gay activist Marc Rubin looked back at Stonewall 30 years later to ask, “How did that singular event in June 1969 become the fountainhead for so many of the changes that have made the world so different for queers 30 years later? It spawned the Gay Liberation Movement.”

He continued, “First there was The Gay Liberation Front proclaiming loudly, clearly and brilliantly, the truth that gay is good, that queers had embodied within them all of the genius of humanity, and owned all privileges of that status. … And so, gay shame was replaced by gay pride—in the public square, and quite boldly.”

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