I recently watched a documentary about a church right in my neighborhood whose members are mostly gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. The film introduces the members to us first as humans – fragile, tragic, comic, lovable – and part of the body of Christ before telling us the back story about their sexual identities.
We meet Lori, a vivacious woman who faithfully comes to church spaghetti dinners and fall work days, and later we find out she is transgender, meaning she was a man in the past. We meet Dan, a blind pianist and worship leader who loves Mexican food, and we later meet his partner, Sean.
I am still wrestling with what I think about homosexuality and other non-traditional sexualities in the church. What I can agree on is how this church (and the film) handled the fact that we are all sexual creatures with a range of orientations. The fact that church members were LGBT came second to the fact that they are part of the church and called to love one another and be salt and light in the world. At the same time, sexuality was not relegated to a corner and ignored. It was recognized as a crucial aspect of everyday life and something to be talked about and wrestled with.
We are all sexual creatures. But that is not all that we are. At the core, we are first and foremost God’s beloved handiwork. I think this approach is a healthy and holy way to live as embodied creatures of God and as the church, Christ’s body in the world.
The film is called “New Spirits” and is produced by Heave-Ho Productions.