Talk is cheap; actions speak louder than worlds

Today Bishop-Pastor Carla Long made a video regarding the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs. She gave a compelling testimony where she spoke about how sad she was that people have had their places of fun and love disturbed by hate and people now feel unsafe, unloved, and unwelcome. She spoke about how Community of Christ is to be a “signal communities” which teach others how to prevent this from happening. Then she gave a short lecture about the need to be caring and compassionate for the marginalized and doing something to combat hate so that we can all recognize the worth and equality of all persons. If you’re interested, you can watch the full video here or read the transcript here:

“Stand for the Worth of All Persons” By Bishop-Pastor Carla Long

It is with deep sadness that I’m speaking with you today. Sadness that turns quickly to anger and then back to sadness again.

My heart is broken for the victims and their families of the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs last weekend. My heart is broken for those who have had their place of love and fun disrupted by hate. My heart is broken for those who have their place of safety shattered. My heart is broken for those who once again read the headlines and feel unsafe, unloved, and unwelcome in the world. My heart is so broken, and my heart is so angry. And part of me wants to stay in that place. I want to stay angry and broken because then I don’t have to do something about it. But that is not a helpful place, for me, at least, to stay. That is not a helpful place, for me, at least, to stand – with a broken heart and in anger.

In Community of Christ we believe in the worth of all persons, but what does that mean? It means that God views all people as having inestimable and equal worth. It means that God wants all people to experience wholeness of body, mind, spirit, and relationships. It means, as a prophetic church, we must seek to uphold and restore the worth of all persons individually and in the community, challenging unjust systems that diminish human worth. And that’s what we have to do.

We, as members and friends of Community of Christ, and disciples of Christ, are called to be a signal community to build those relationships with each other – to teach each other, to learn from each other, and to fight for the right of all to have worth and be seen as worthy. Those unjust systems that pit people against each other, that uphold the right of one over the other, and that make people less than the other are not of God.

And what does that mean in practical terms? What do we do when we feel frozen by the sheer enormity of the task ahead? Well, you do what you can and you do it with great love. Because the only way that I can see that hatred wins is if we give up and do nothing.

If you are sending love into the world, if you are showing care and compassion for your neighbors and friends who are marginalized and hurting, if you are continuing to show up for those who need you, then you are doing something. We must keep the love flowing into the world, for that is the only way to combat the hate that keeps swirling around.

And are there other things that you can do? Yes! Of course there are! You can get involved with your local school board and speak up about banning books with LGBTQIA+ characters. You can get involved with your local pride center and ask what they need – is it money? Is it time? Is it a listening ear? You can get involved with your local congregation and learn how to make it as welcoming as possible.

There are loads of things that you can do, but the point is – do something. If all you can do is send love into the universe and make sure that everyone knows that they are a person of worth, do that. And do it to the best of your abilities. If we all did that, the world would be a much different place. So join me in doing something. Let’s stand together for the worth of all persons.

I wanna hear what you have to say about my video, so please feel free to comment, like, and share.

This may seem impressive to many that a religious leader would defend the LGBTQIA+ community so boldly. Indeed, if actions aligned with words this would be a powerful video. However, there is a darker background to this video that leaves me feeling discouraged and questioning it’s sincerity. Carla Long was the pastor for the Salt Lake City congregation and oversaw the disciplining of a queer woman for the ecclesiastical crime of being polyamorous. Carla was ordered by her ecclesiastical / professional supervisors to discipline this woman, and Carla ultimately followed their orders.

Jesus Taught that “If you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:40), and in this case, the church willingly and knowingly pushed to diminish the worth of all polyamorous people, and in the process diminished the name of Christ as well. Community of Christ aspires to make marginalized people feel safe, loved, and welcome, but it continues to do the opposite. Community of Christ aspires to be a “signal community”, but it has not earned the right to call itself one. Community of Christ wants to lecture on how to be inclusive and how to recognize the worth of others, but it has not earned the right to do so. Community of Christ needs to look inward and see if it is guilty of the very things that it condemns, or it risks being the kind of people that Jesus condemned in Matthew 15: 8.