We Must Listen: A Response to the Orlando Shootings

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.09.20 AMI write this post with a heavy heart today, as we mourn for the lives of those in the LGBTQ community who were brutally gunned down in the Orlando shootings early on Sunday morning. We must remember them.

Like Christians after the shooting at a Charleston church, like parents after the Sandy Hook shooting, I’ve heard my LGBTQ friends crying out with horror and deep pain, “This could have been me, my family, my loved ones.” During Pride, a moment meant to celebrate the overcoming of brutality towards LGBTQ people, a gay bar, on Latin night, was specifically targeted for a mass shooting.

And so, we mourn.  Loudly, and publicly.  We stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ friends and brothers and sisters who are suffering the effects of violence and laying slaughtered on our streets.

I am a straight, cisgender, white woman.  My understanding of what it must feel like to be marginalized as a minority is rooted in my ability to listen to those who have lived it.  So it is not my words that I want you to hear today.  Instead, I want us to take this opportunity to hear from those who are LGBTQ directly – to hear what they need and want in these moments.  To weep with those who weep.  When we hear them, I pray we will rise to action, welcoming God’s kingdom to come here on earth.

If you happen to be straight and reading this today, and if you happen to love Jesus and want to respond well in these moments, I invite you to listen to these voices, to pray, and to ask God how you can share his love with those in your own community.  There are some great ideas in the posts below, all written by LGBTQ or same-sex attracted voices, and deeply Christian (with the exception of perhaps one).  I know almost every person featured here personally – these are voices that are kind, patient, gracious, and thoughtful, so I hope you’ll hear the strength of their statements with the goodness of their hearts coming through. These are pleas and laments, not childish, self-centered complaints. If you want, follow us on Facebook to hear more LGBTQ voices like these in the days to come.

  1. How Straight Conservative Christians Can Help (by my friend Nate)
  2. What Christians Must Do In The Wake of Orlando (by my friend Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian)
  3. The Orlando Massacre: Christians, Have You Been Silent? (by my friend, Justin Lee, founder of The Gay Christian Network)
  4. In Memoriam (by my friend, Ron Belgau, contributor to Spiritual Friendship)
  5. Why It Matters That It Was Latin Night At Pulse (by a friend of a friend, John Paul Brammer)

Here are a few more voices that I think articulate some important points we must hear:

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Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 12.05.21 PMA list of the names are here. We must remember them.

On weeks like this, I am so grateful for those of you in our community who are living and loving like Jesus so well.  The last few days have been hard as I have sat with those in their grief, and tried to balance being a voice of support with stepping back and listening, knowing that my voice is not the one that is most important to hear.  I hope you’ve heard their voices today, and that it might inspire you to do one concrete thing this week to respond in love.

May the God of mercy bring us peace, justice, and his lovingkindness now and always.



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