Like the Reverend Martin Luther King, I refuse to believe that "the bank of justice is bankrupt," so I allow myself to dream.
I have a dream that one day we will live in a more enlightened nation, in which all will be respectfully treated -- even those who "make us" feel discomfort.
I have a dream that one day we will live in a world, in which all will be offered acceptance -- even those whom we do not understand.
I have a dream that one day same-sex attracted and opposite-sex attracted people alike will be judged not through the filter of cultural assumptions, but by our hearts' contents.
I have a dream that one day, gay and straight and transgendered and queer kids everywhere will know that no matter who they are, they are lovingly made in God's image.
I have a dream that one day, men -- particularly straight men -- will feel so secure in themselves that they will know it is not "soft" or "unmanly," to show their gentler sides.
I have a dream that one day the kingdom of heaven will draw near, and we can pay less attention to status and honor, and more attention to safety and honesty.
I have a dream that one day, not so far away, the "Bride of Christ" (the Church), will focus less on what she looks like, and more on how loving she's being. Yes, I dare to boldly dream.
A new book called God and the Gay Christian moves us in the direction of this dream. God and the Gay Christian written by Matthew Vines and published by Convergent Books, was released on May 6th.
I am happy to affirm this offering; it is an offering that hopefully will be lauded as one of the greatest contributions to intellectual and spiritual freedom, in the history of our country. It will also, no doubt, place its author in a difficult position. He will be the recipient of the rigorous criticism and shameless shaming that has been historically reserved for women. Therefore, through not only authoring but also agreeing to publish this work, Matthew Vines proves that he is both a meticulous scholar and a courageous soul.
Vines gives us a spiritual "Emancipation Proclamation" for LGBTQ citizens who have received second-class treatment in familial, academic, religious, and workplace environments. This text is capable of offering millions of God's children hope, both here and abroad. Though LGBTQ folks have experienced horrific injustice, this book serves as a startling light, at the end of a long night. It indicates that God wishes to lavish on us, along with our straight brothers and sisters, "the riches of freedom and the security of justice." (Here, I again quote Reverend Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" Speech.)
No matter who you are, no matter your politics or lack thereof, please read this book. Then, once you have read Vines' words, do not retreat. For lovers of equality everywhere, trials may lie ahead of us, yet as Reverend King advised, we must go back to Mississippi, to Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, back to the poverty-stricken areas of our Northern cities. Vines went back to Kansas, to what is far from a haven for the LGBTQ community. Let us not despair, but move faithfully and continually forward toward holy justice and redemptive peace.