According to research, the fatality rate for men has been twice as high than for women – however, the pandemic has impacted more women’s mental health than men. Because women represent the majority of the health workforce, they have been at a greater risk for COVID-19 and the emotional toll it comes with (Thibault, 2020). The effects of quarantine alone have caused many to feel isolated, lost, and scared, which is distressing for anyone – but add a susceptible population for increased mental health issues into the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Two of the most foundational duties of those in ministry are to walk alongside those who are grieving and to conduct funerals for the deceased and their loved ones. While the church is no stranger to grief, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges in how the church approaches and supports those grieving the loss of loved ones.
“We sometimes underestimate the influence of the little things.”—Charles W. Chesnutt
I am the kind of person that must be doing something “big” in order to think change will occur. However, I was challenged by the above quote from Chesnutt.
I was blessed recently to witness a church do something that in most eyes would seem small, insignificant and ordinary. Last week, I observed a small community church rally around one of their members, do the “little things” and, through them, advocate for this individual while also instilling a sense of hope.
These are salient questions when it comes to creating caring Christian community for the LGBTQIA+ community. It is an even more relevant question for the leadership of my own university.
In the Bible, there are multiple references to people being known by their fruit and people’s actions being judged by their consequences.
Jesus’ fruit analogy seems to be one of the most useful lenses through which we can examine our words and actions. And it should help us provide clarity for any conversation about how we offer support to the LGBTQIA+ community.
People who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community do not harm or injure others in any way because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Despite how clear Jesus was that women belonged, that Samaritans belonged and that lepers belonged, the early church struggled with whether or not Jesus came for the Gentiles as well as the Jews.
That seems obvious to us now (as most reading this are likely Gentiles, not Jews), but it was a matter of contention until both Peter and Paul understood God’s inclusion of all and spoke up and spoke out.
Phillip’s encounter with the Ethiopian Eunuch gave a concrete answer to the question, “Is there anything preventing me from being baptized?”
The answer, to someone barred from entering the sanctuary because of sexual difference, resounds through the years but often not through the church.
As a member of Protestant, often Baptist, congregations through the years, I have participated in the use of the words “Brother” and “Sister” to refer to other Christians.
If we are truly family, what does it mean when we cut off our siblings? When we make them hide or leave the family because they are different and unwelcome?