In the ELCA congregation I'm part of, there's been some conversation in response to the recent (August, '09) Churchwide decisions regarding sexuality. Particularly, there have been folks who have expressed differing opinions on the issue of homosexuality. At our upcoming annual meeting, we may or may not have congregational members who bring a motion to the floor that our congregation take a stand against decisions made at the assembly.
The argument being made is that if we who are Christian don't take a stand against homosexuality, and that if we who are Christian don't tell people who are in same-gender relationships that they are sinning, we jeopardize our own salvation.
This argument is made based on scripture, and I have to take it seriously. Bear in mind, I disagree ~ but I have to take the point of view seriously, even as I hold a different position (based on scripture, as well). I don't believe homosexuality is a sin. I don't believe the issue of homosexuality, or our response, is unto salvation. But I have to allow for the possibility that I may be wrong.
I want the faith community I'm part of to be ridiculously welcoming of all people, because I believe that the welcome I see in scripture practiced by Jesus, and the grace and mercy that I've experienced in my own faith journey, trump all law that we find in scripture.
Today I came to a realization. Even if I'm wrong about all of this ~ even if my desire that the church welcome queer folks is wrong, and that by failing to point out sin and error I cut myself off from eternal salvation ~ my opinion doesn't change. If by welcoming some now I cut myself off later, I still say welcome now.
I honestly feel like it's selfish to be concerned only about what I get out of my actions. If what we do is only about our own reward, then we miss the point. If our concern is only about ourselves in the afterlife, and not about others right now, then we miss the point. Even if our concern is only salvation, we still pray every week (or day) your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven ~ which makes me think that the love and forgiveness we will experience in heaven ought to begin with forgiveness and mercy and welcome and grace and love here on earth right now ~ that we shouldn't wait 'til later. I'm willing to risk being cut off later for the sake of others' inclusion now.
All that being said, I still think that the ratio of energy the church expends on sexuality compared to the energy we expend on alleviating poverty ought to the be the same ratio we find in scripture ~ and I don't think we spend 300 times as much energy on poverty than we do on sexuality.