Holy Inclusion


Holy holy holy.

Last night my friend and I attended a “Conversation on Inclusion with Stan Mitchell” at Live on Purpose “LOP Community” Church in Vacaville, CA where the sign out front states simply, “No Labels, Just People”.

I took in a deep breath. It had been a while.

As a longtime LGBTQ+ Ally, Mama Bear, Justice Laborer, Jesus Follower, and Kingdom Seeker, this is a joyous day. I’ve always felt we’ve interpreted many scriptures incorrectly, and have been known to outwardly cringe at mere suggestion of “certainty”. As Stan said, 37,000 denominations, and each believes their interpretation is the “right one”.

Although all were invited into the conversation, and it would have been amazing to see people opening their hearts for the first time to the possibility we have gotten it wrong, I’m not sure anyone there was too much on the fence. It felt like a very safe place, as it indeed turned out to be.

The first hour was spent hearing Stan talk about those faithful friends I’d known and loved so well… Jesus, Peter, Mary… oh Mary… and listening with ears that heard the oh so familiar text come alive in a new way. A life giving, edge of my seat “how did I not see that before” way.

The hour flew by and we still had the Q&A ahead, but I already knew we were engaging in something profoundly important.

Just after the break two women from the worship team sang “Pieces” by Amanda Cook. I’ve always loved this song, and even have a recording of my daughter singing it in her room as I secretly burglarized her alone time, iPhone on “record”, from the bottom of the stairs.

What I wasn’t expecting from the small, well put together group, was the build from the seats. The energy that began like a wave as we heard some claps and saw hands raised and the beautiful young man who couldn’t help but leap to his feet.

As the worship leader sang “you don’t give your heart in pieces” she let out a spontaneous “YOU GIVE IT WHOLE”, and I believed her.

Prophetic prose from a gifted minstrel shot straight to our hearts. You give it whole. It’s all or nothing. God either is, or isn’t, but there’s no bits and pieces.

When LGBTQ+ people who have had scriptures used as weapons against them can still stand in worship, I can only sit in awe.

In awe of what they’ve endured from us for so long. In awe of the forgiveness so gracefully extended. In awe of the love actively displayed allowing us to even be there, and most of all, in awe of the resilience to persevere and pursue a faith in the God who calls us all Beloved. Despite what’s been relayed from the pulpit.

God’s heart is given to us whole, and by allowing others to convince us they are qualified to hand it out piece meal, to label people made in the Imago Dei “sin”, we ourselves have been deceived.

No more.

The movement toward inclusion is growing. We, the blind, are being offered sight, and Christ will be revealed. The choice to see him is ours.

Today, I remain in awe, and in awe I will remain.

Join us. The ground is holy. There is room for everyone.

Love, Val

Click here for a live stream of the conversation and he would never ask this, but I will… if you are encouraged to give in support of his holy mission of inclusion, and I hope you are, you may send your gift to:

Stan Mitchell

1602 Covington Dr
Brentwood, TN. 37027

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