Roman Catholic Ron Belgau shares a blog with Anglican Wesley Hill, whom I admire deeply and have referenced previously in sermons. Both men are celibate gay Christians who edit a blog called Spiritual Friendship. It is one of the most thought provoking and insightful blogs I read regularly featuring posts examining the role of friendship in spiritual formation, especially in the lives of those who live celibately out of obedience to Christ. Spiritual Friendship is an amazing resource for anyone thinking deeply about Christian friendship as a path to holiness and an encouraging perspective for same-sex attracted Christians seeking to live faithfully.
Belgau wrote “In Memoriam” this week as a meditation on grief after the massacre in Orlando. He begins by describing a traumatic death in his own family and then goes on reflect on the massive loss of life in the Pulse nightclub shooting. He ends with an appeal to conservative Christians who have made little effort to understand the LGBT community, preferring instead to keep these men and women as a nameless, faceless problem to be solved. Belgau writes:
At Mass Sunday morning, there was a very generic intercession for the victims of terrorism, and those charged with responding to it.
I cannot say this with complete certainty, but I am still quite sure that in previous tragedies, we prayed for “the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting” or “the victims of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado.”
I have, in the past, complained about the apparent allergy among conservative Christians to looking at the faces of LGBT people. In talking to friends, I am not the only one who has perceived a gap in the way Christians have responded to other tragedies, and the way they have responded to this one.
So often we are uncertain how to love others with grace and truth. I believe that one of the greatest tests of our faithfulness to Jesus is how we love our LGBT friends and family members. They deserve our friendship, compassion, sincere prayers, and earnest grief after this heartbreaking tragedy.
Belgau ends by asking us to look at the faces of those who died at the Pulse shooting and I agree. Each and every one of them deserve to be seen because they were loved by God. Lord, have mercy on us all.