On this special day, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I would like to announce the launch of a new ministry for the Order of the Shepherd’s Heart and Christ Catholic Church Diocese of the Prince of Peace, “Celebrate Love.” This new ministry is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the love that it holds for all people including the LGBTQIAPP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersexual, asexual, pansexual, polyamorous).
In a world where love is in short supply and often hard to find we should celebrate it when it blooms and support it when it grows, regardless of the form or expression between consenting adults. These forms and expressions of love include a myriad of what have often been called “alternative lifestyles” but in fact are simply varied expressions of love blooming within our lives.
Some of these varied expressions of love include relationships of people who may be (LGBTQIAPP) lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersexual, asexual, pansexual, and polyamorous. All too often the mainline institutional churches have abandoned these groups of people because their relationships were perceived outside of what is “Biblically acceptable” a distinction determined by the more conservative and limited interpretation of scripture by these same exclusionary churches. All too often the mainline institutional churches have fixated upon the act of sex instead of the relationship of love. The church has had a long a unhealthy fascination with human sexuality only to condemn it at every turn. It’s far past the time that the church get out of our sex lives and get into our love lives.
Sexuality is a God given gift and should be celebrated, respected, and enjoyed accordingly. It is time for the church to renounce its obsession on the physical act of sex between consenting adults and instead reaffirm human sexuality in all of its beauty and diversity by promoting healthy sexual relationships between consenting adults. Chastity and not sex needs to be the focus of the church and its clergy.
Chastity is an affirmation of the Resurrection of the body, and therefore leads us into responsible, nurturing physical relationships founded on Love. Chastity is love which comes from the body, the mind, and the spirit in harmony, without compulsion, possessiveness, or selfishness. It is love, sex, and physicalness made obedient to God. Chastity should not be confused with celibacy as is sometimes the case.
Chastity is a part of our calling and life-style, but is also a gift of grace. It uniquely frees the hearts of men and women so they can become more fervent in love for God and all humanity. It is the confirmation of our responsibility for the whole world. It is the most perfect manifestation of the love between Christ and his Bride. Through chastity we are freed to find a truly loving relationship with ourselves, our families, friends, and spouses, the world we share, and God himself. Chastity is our taste of the Kingdom of God.
In short, the conversation in the churches of today should be on love and not on sex and to that end we celebrate love when it blooms and support it when it grows, regardless of the form or expression between consenting adults and for this reason we launch Celebrate Love.
It is the belief of this ministry that love is an outward and visible sign to the community of the invisible God living in our midst – the living God who bears fruit in the lives of people who love one another. They are an ever-present sign of His Love in the world. There is special grace and ministry within every committed relationship that God has joined together. While the fruit they bear is more than genetically linked offspring, though certainly the bearing of children is a blessing and also evidence of the shared love. Moreover, the harvest of their fruit should show a strengthened understanding of the sacrificial nature of love that we are all called to. It is in this relationship, one to another, that we begin to truly grasp God’s love for us, His commitment to us and our own call to “love one another as He has loved us.” It is through the diversity of loving relationships between consenting adults that we begin to see the diversity of God’s love for the whole of creation.
It is fitting that this ministry to the marginalized and abandoned, the LGBTQIAPP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersexual, asexual, pansexual, polyamorous) of the church should launch on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On this day we are called to take a long look at the heart of Jesus and then to take a long look at our own hearts. In Christ we see a heart beating for the love of the entirety of creation, for all his children, regardless. In our own hearts do we see the same thing? Do we celebrate love in the world around us? Do we recognize it for what it is and for what it can become? Or in instances of “alternative relationships” do we fixate on the genetalia and the sex act instead of the heart and the love act?
Celebrate Love is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and also to the LGBTQIAPP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersexual, asexual, pansexual, polyamorous) people of faith who have been abandoned, thrown away, marginalized, and or abused by the church and her ministers. We stand with open and welcoming arms to welcome you back home to the heart of Christ. Not all Christian churches are full of hate, intolerance, and judgementalness – we certainly are not. We welcome you, and not just some of you but every one of you!
Come, celebrate love with us and let us celebrate your love too!
Please visit www.celebrate-love.org for more information.
Pax et Amor,
+Brian E. Brown, OSH