Tim Keller shares this truth about human beings:
To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.
Being fully known and truly loved should be a central component of Christian community. But far too many sexual minorities in the church have risked opening themselves up—in the hope of being fully known—and not experienced being truly loved.
My experience at Oriented to Love was an active, tangible example of what happens when the Holy Spirit guides conversations and when brothers and sisters intentionally seek the light of Christ in each other’s lives. Although each of us came into the weekend with at least one fear, we all experienced a beautiful taste of what church should always be. We expressed our deepest hurts and hardships. We shared our questions and dreams and talked about their families. We allowed our perspectives to be challenged and our theologies to be humanized. I saw Christ and His goodness being reflected and heard from people who don’t usually have a voice. Everyone in that room, no matter their story, was listened to and heard.
To see Christ through the lenses of different people’s stories expands our understanding of God’s enormous presence, and without a diversity of perspectives the church misses out. Boxes and labels have silenced certain voices, and it is time for us to not only look to the margins, but also to let those who have been stuck there come in. To sit at God’s big and loving table and find rest. To allow God to show His sufficiency as He writes their narrative. It is here that God is most glorified.
At Oriented to Love, we had space for questions, for disagreement and, most importantly, for love. Something special happens when brothers and sisters get to sit down and dialogue, not with the purpose of asserting their own agendas, but instead to listen. As King David exclaims in Psalm 133:1, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
Stefie Dominguez is a native of Puerto Rico who now resides in East Palo Alto, CA. She lives in intentional community and serves as the Middle School Program Manager at a youth organization. She attended the Oriented to Love conversation in the Fall of 2016.