By Dave Sandberg
At the Affirmation Conference, Fiona Givens pointed out that even the Lord of the vineyard feels ready to give up on this project, yet continues to persevere, knowing that both the tame and the wild olive trees will perish if left to themselves. But if grafted together, they will become different from what they have been – and provide vital nourishment and strength to each other as they continue to grow. There are both tame and wild olive trees that grow within my own character that need pruning, grafting, and managing.
By Dave Sandberg
By Nick Einbender
People will always trump policy and the spirit of Christ is not found in a blanket policy that isolates people from the blessing that Christ’s Gospel offers freely to us all. His simple invitation to “Come Follow Me” was never accompanied by footnotes, disclaimers, addendums, policies, or attachments.
I carry two passports; my heart holds North and South, and this war does not feel civil to me!… I cannot stop loving either of my tribes. And I cannot stop praying they will learn to love each other. The path forward is not always clear, so by necessity as well as by choice, I walk in faith.
The Bishop finished reading the letter. Placing it to the side…he wept. Humbly he began to bear his testimony. He spoke of his lack of understanding. He didn’t understand why things happened the way they did. He didn’t know what God eventually had planned for all of us. But what he did know…was that God asked us to love each other. Unconditionally. He bore his testimony of his children…two of which are gay. He said he looked forward to the day when his family could be together at Church. When his gay children could feel welcome to bring their partners with them and feel the love surround them. He spoke of how unfair it is to expect someone who is attracted to someone of the same sex to spend their lives alone. After his sweet testimony he opened up to everyone else to discuss.
What does He ask for in return? “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
I’d never been involved in political causes and had never been to a political rally in Utah. That changed after 2011 when my son Grayson discovered that he was FtM transgender. I was horrified to discover that it was still legal to discriminate against my child because of his gender identity, or against others because of their sexual orientation.
There are brief moments which pass very quickly where there is a space, an envelope, an opening, an infinitely small possibility, in which I can be true to both my sexuality and my faith
Our sexuality and our gender identities are blessings, not curses. If we allow ourselves to lean on Christ, He will support us, and with His support and guidance, we don’t have to take the hard way. We don’t have to do this on our own.
It seems odd for us to apply the term “allies” to parents. In a normal world, every child simply assumes that their fiercest, most loving defenders are and will always be their parents. The term “parent” ought to be synonymous with “ally.” Unfortunately, we don’t necessarily live in a world where that can automatically be assumed. In the meantime, we are deeply grateful to parents who — sometimes quietly, sometimes boisterously — stand by our sides and let us know through action and through words that family matters, and that we are family.