Why Put My Voice Out there For Dmergent?


I love the Restoration Movement.  I would say I’m even passionate about it.  It is so rich in history and is such a rich story to share.  So that is one reason I throw my hat into this ring of fellow Restoration voices.  I have never been able to fully turn my back on the voices like Stone and Campbell.  It could be that I was raised by a Church of Christ minister and learned a deep love for the Restoration movement, but it is also about a deep love for His followers that draws me here.   However, the Restoration Movement through both its victories and it embarrassments, has the potential to communicate an ancient story in bold new ways.  And I cannot help but to be here at this moment.

So let us get one elephant out of the way.  I am queer.  I am a lesbian.  I am gay.  Pick your label—I am part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/LGBTQ  (and the rest of the alphabet) community.  In our times, the voice of strong, committed, believers who are queer must be heard.  The community of Christ needs to know those of us who are strongly committed to the gathering, to fellowship with the Holy Trinity, and who happen to be LGBTQ.  With the polarization that characterizes our times the LGBTQ community has taken on many stereotypes.  And one that I feel deeply about challenging, is the LGBTQ has no commitment to our faith.  If you do not know of a LGBTQ person, I hope my voice will open a door for you.

My hope is that my voice as a queer woman will give you insight to a lot of avenues each may choose on their personal journey.  I hope we travel a long this road together finding that we are no different from one another.  But I also hope that the LGBTQ community offers something rich to the gathering of believers.  I hope my journey also inspires someone out there who has left the faith for fear of not being accepted.

I want to also share something else that is important to my background.  One a day I sat with my parents and heard words I was not expecting: “Julie, we were called and were told you are gay.”   In that moment a lot of things changed for me.  I share this with you because it is important for readers to know that this is my first public forum where I’m not hiding under cover.  This place is the first public forum I’ve entered where I’m being open about who I am.  Why is this important?  It is important for many reasons, but here are a few.   I am free to be who I am without wondering who will read this.  I am open to you, the reader and the community, to be here fully as myself.  This is exciting for me.  To open up to a community for the purposes of building something without limitations is huge for someone like me.  I want to be a voice for those who have questions and to be able to offer answers for you.  As I said above I was raised in the churches of Christ, and from that have become a lover of the Restoration Movement. It can be argued that one of our foundational beliefs is the priesthood of all believers.  We are called to be a community bound by one thing—the fellowship of our Lord and Savior.

So [D]mergent represents to me that very thing.  And it is by this belief I pray we will journey on together and come to a fuller understanding of what it is for all believers to fellowship in our Lord and Savior.  If anything, I take on my job here with love for our heritage and with full knowledge that you and I will learn from one another.  Are the churches of Christ, the Independent Christian Churches, and the Disciples of Christ ready for the true fullness of the body of Christ?  I hope we are all are.  And may it be here that we challenge our faith and embrace the beginnings of a new generation.

by Julie Kennedy

Julie Kennedy lives in the bootheel of Missouri.  She works with special needs students and a full time student at Southeast Missouri State University. She is a constant spiritual wonderer with a never ending love for the gathering of Christ followers.
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14 thoughts on “Why Put My Voice Out there For Dmergent?

  1. Julie, I look forward to hearing your voice, it is a shame that we as the Christian Church are only now opening ourselves to hear the voices from the GLBT community!

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  3. Julie, I am also a Queer woman/lesbian/gay follower of Christ. I am a licensed minister in the DOC and believe you have just taken a prophetic stance by proclaiming that our community, the LGBTQ community, also has something to offer in this common faith journey. I am also a progressive Christian, which essentially means I am more interested in building the Kingdom of God on earth than worrying about the afterlife. At least that’s what it means to me in one sentence. (It means far more in a paragraph!) I am interested in building the Kingdom because that’s what Jesus calls me to do. I join with you in your following of Christ and in your proclaiming of the Gospel in an open voice as a believing Lesbian. I, too, hope your voice and mine gives something to the community that has been so battered by the “Church” and so needs the healing love of God as revealed in Jesus. May our voices offer hope and healing!

    Shserrill

    • Sherrill-

      So nice to “meet” you. Thank you for commenting. You encouraged me so much today. So glad to find a fellow journey member in our “community” who’s hearts desire is as mine, to bring our voices forth to bring a more rich community in the body of Christ! 🙂 Looking forward to getting to know you more, I hope!

      Jules

  4. Julie, thanks for your courage to remain part of a Christian tradition that does not always welcome you and to share your story here. I think one thing that will help Christians embrace one another is more ways of talking about God. The Restoration traditions value Scripture, and Scripture gives us many ways of imagining God, though we often rely on a few. There are many faithful ways of thinking about God that don’t make God sound like a heterosexual male (Father). I hope voices like yours will help us imagine God more fully and to love one another more completely as a result.

    • Erinn-

      Thank you so much. My faith has always been a number one thing for me and that is what has fueled me more than anything else. And this is my hope to, “I hope voices like yours will help us imagine God more fully and to love one another more completely as a result.” I hope to imagine with all here and in the “universal” since as well. To dream big with God is a hope we miss so much in the community.

      Thank you again!

      Jules

  5. God bless you, Jules! If (D)mergent had existed when I was much younger, my life would have been much easier. For I, too, am gay, and gradually gave up ministry because of it.
    I grew up in an independent Christian Church, but have been a Disciple for many years.

    Do you know about GLAD (Gay, Lesbian and Affirming Disciples)? I don’t know where you live, but also the Northern Calif/Nevada Region of the Disciples is an Open and Affirming Region. There is much support for LGBTQ folks available. I am involved in a new church in Berkeley that has had a ministerial team of 3 gay folks and a straight woman. Also the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley has a department of LGBT studies.

    Keep conncted with us!

    – Bill Shive

    • Hi Bill!

      Thank you so much for sharing! I have not heard of this, but will be looking into it now.

      How I wish too that there was a place like [D]mergent. It is my heart to have those who are younger and even older (like me) coming to terms with their sexuality can come here and be encouraged, not only by me, but by folks like you and so many others! So grateful!

      Blessings!

      Jules

  6. Hey Jules–you are really NOT alone. I have been fully out and proud in ministry for 13 years now. I am blessed to be in Southern California and our region also has a GLAD group. Also, Chapman is hosting the GLAD national retreat at Chapman in July. check it out at http://www.gladalliance.org/

    These days I try to assume acceptance when I am with a new group of people. I have found that if I am not defensive, I give people more room to explore their feelings. And it means that if I face rejection, it is much more clearly their issue, not mine.

    Glad to meet you through this blog! Nancy

    • Hi Nancy!

      Thank you! I am glad to know there are so many out here willing to through their hat in the ring. It is my largest hope to “expose” ourselves to those who feel they are a lone. I went through a period of feeling as though I was, but through friends and so many places I have found that I am not a lone. So glad to find other journey members to walk with.

      I have checked into GLAD and it is amazing! I saw the national retreat. I wish so much I could come, but unfortunately this round I can’t, but I will be keeping my eyes open for future events!!!

      Blessings to you Nancy!

      Jules

  7. Great to find each other this way. If you want to get in contact directly, you can find my email on my website: chapman.edu/churchrelations/
    Sorry you can’t join us in July!
    Peace, Nancy

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