Sometimes it is good to sit back and reflect on how far our community has come since 1968. I mean really think about it there are people who are spending millions of dollars to make us shut up and go away.

They spend every waking hour trying to convince people we are the last great menace to the world as we know it.

They have gotten so desperate in their efforts to destroy us they have tried to convince the world that with enough prayer God can change us. You would think they would take the hint, since LGBT folks have been around since biblical times. God knows there more ex-ex gays then we can count. We are not going anywhere, anytime soon.

It also strikes me if the police spent as much time trying to bust straight folk for having sex in public places many of our so called leaders may never have been born.

Of course, these are the battles that have to be fought with the Religious Right, politicians who only know power and greed to be converted, rights to be won and relationships to be recognized. There is far, far too much to do; our enemy is strong, well organized, have endless amounts of money and if we stop even for a second we will be overcome.

Then this morning I read from the Luke 17:11-17:

“It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.

“Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.”

For it occurred to me, our Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgendered community are not much different from the ten lepers. Today it is we who are the untouchables in our world.

In this society, it is we that somehow are cursed by God and shall rot in the pit of hell for the “love that dare not speak its name.” We have been cast out of the Temple, cast out of our families and cast out of our community. Sent to the likes of sleazy bars, baths, and parks.

We have stood at a distance and cry out to God to have mercy on us, to save us, to give us a place where we will know peace. We cry out to God to be restored, healed and given new life. Like the lepers in the story we hear God (Jesus) tell us to go show ourselves to the priests.

While going to the priests we discover gay churches, we discover gay friendly churches and we do as we are told and tell the priests. Those priests and ministers both men and women affirm for us we are whole creations of God!
We have something to offer the community in which we live!

We go into the streets renewed and refreshed, full of energy and desire to fight for what is right. Over the years we have gained a tremendous amount of ground.

We have gone from a community where our “love dare not speak it’s name”, to a community that not only speaks it’s name but shouts it from every village and city!

We have gone from only having parks and bars to literally websites full of options!

We live in a time when it is impossible not to find a book about us, rather than the time our subject was banned.

We have come from a time when our relationships were disguised as brothers and sisters to a time of national debate on our standard of marriage!

We have come from a time of electro-shock therapy to being accepted in mainstream psychology as normal and productive.

We have come from a time when those who make the laws could ignore us and make us illegal, to a time where they court our vote and track hate crimes against us.

When we arrived at some of the Temples to show the priests, at first we were shunned and thrown out. Told the sins of our life would blot out any good.

Yet, even in this, God called out priests who were not blinded by the letter of the law, but rather worked from the spirit of God. They to began to cry out: “God have mercy on us!” They make this cry with and for us. As we travel along the way, we look and see we have been cleansed!

So now as I reflect this morning, I find myself thankful for those who cried out before me. Folks like Rev. George Groh whom years ago said they could throw me out but they would never shut me up and he never stopped reminding me I belonged to God! Rev Troy Perry, whose ministry literally saved my life.

I find myself thankful for those who cry out with me today.

My close and dear friend Rev. Antonio Jones who is the thunder to my lightening.

Rev. James Brewer-Calvert, who heard our church’s cry for shelter and said, “welcome home”.

Rev. Guy Kent, who is a tremendous friend, a mover and shaker and a preacher who accepted me just the way I am and called me his friend.

Most importantly today I will go back to my God, my Savior, who has heard my cry and say, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at https://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.

One thought on “ON BEING THANKFUL”

  1. And thank you, too, for the witness and the clarity you bring to contemporary issues through these postings. God bless.

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