|photo by George Fox Evangelical Seminary / flickr|
But he has changed his mind. Tony has never changed his mind because of the way the wind blows. Never. But he says as he began to know gay folks, hear their stories and become friends with many—he realized that they are just like the rest of us. His wife Peggy he also says kept pushing him with the challenge of the gospel in this area. The Christian Post has written about his change of heart and what he now supports same-sex couples and marriage.
When I was Pastor in Birmingham gays began to come to our services. Some had AIDS. Some were hard livers. They brought with them the same baggage as their straight brothers and sisters. I heard their stories and listened to their struggles. A church that would not let a gay man sing at his mother’s funeral because they discovered he was gay. Parents who turned their backs on their children. Gays who could not let their parents know of their partners or their hopes and dreams. Whole segments of their lives could not be shared with those they loved. Some business people had to stay closeted.
Our church struggled with this issue—as they have through the years with many issues. But God bless them they kept the doors open for everyone. They put their arms around gays as well as straights and people with all kinds of baggage and problems. I used to tell some of the gay members your best witness here is to let people know you are just like them—you have the same hopes and dreams. Many rose to the challenge. And they changed people’s attitudes and hearts.
It you visited the Baptist Church of the Covenant in Birmingham this Sunday you would see an open congregation that welcomes everyone. They wave no flags. They have taken no votes. There are some issues that the church has no business voting on. That congregation is alive and vital and offering a great ministry in downtown Birmingham, yes—Alabama.
Whether the Supreme Court comes down on the side of same-sex marriage or not—this issue is on the church’s agenda. It will not go away. We will have to struggle and dialogue and come to some Christian understanding as we slowly have on many other issues.
--Roger Lovette / rogerlovette.blogspot.com