I have just caught the train back from Pride in London. It was my first Pride March, and something which a few years ago, I could never have imagined doing!
Almost 200 of us marched together with T shirts on saying “Christian and Proud” and it was a unique experience. Afterwards, I helped staff the stall we had on Leicester Square giving out literature from pro-gay Christian groups.
As I did this, I suddenly realised that I was doing something different. Not just being at Pride, it was much more than that. As I reflect on the day I realise that most of my time on the Gay issue is spent trying to convince Christians that God does not condemn gay relationships – so much so that I had not appreciated that this context was so different.
For once it was not Christians we were trying to convince – it was the Gay community. In essence, what we were doing was outreach. It was certainly an act of witness – perhaps even evangelism!
There was the teenage girl who came up to the stall saying “I’m a Christian – but then again I can’t be because I am a lesbian”. As I told her that she didn’t need to give up her Christian faith, her eyes lit up…
There were the people who came up to us thinking that we were there to preach against gay people, and were amazed and delighted when they discovered that we weren’t.
There were the onlookers on the march, near to the small band of fundamentalist Christian protesters with their placards and megaphone declaring condemnation, The spectators around them, clearly wearied by the negative message they brought, cheered twice as loud when we appeared singing “Yes – Jesus loves me” to the protesters.
All were touched by the Good News we brought, of a God who loves his creation – gay, straight, bi and trans – and embodying it in ourselves as we blew whistles & horns and chanted “Je-sus”.
One of my fellow marchers asked, “When are we going to do this again?
“Next year, I guess” was my reply, but she wasn’t talking about Pride – she was asking when we were next going to reach out to the Gay community with the love and message of Christ. It was a very good question.
So I have come away with that question ringing in my mind – and for once I am not pre-occupied with how to persuade
reluctant Christians that it is ok to be gay – the question in my mind is how are we going to reach out to the Gay
community with the Gospel.
Because after all, that is really what we are supposed to be about.
Taken from Benny’s Blog