What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Tamara.
There once was a place for women to come together so they could prepare and be fed to go out into the world to do great things with great hearts. The hosts set a table and invited women all over to join them. They were motivated by one question, and it was a good one: What will I do if God is real?
The hosts worked hard to prepare this special place, and women were drawn to it for the beauty of its promise: A place to tuck in and build up and go forth for the good of the world and the glory if its Creator.
And then one of them stood up among the gathering. She was the very kind of woman the place was designed to nurture, equipped with learning and anointed with love, and she unleashed her purpose: She said the table really, actually, honestly should be open to all. The Body broken and the Blood shed for you---collective you.
Oh, but there was clamor! The other hosts didn't mean invite all women. They meant invite women who were preferably evangelical, probably white, and definitely, definitely straight. They meant invite women with an adherence to a particular standard. They meant invite women who were just like them.
Now this request was simply too much. It would have been hard to make more space at the table they'd already set just so. Besides, where would they find enough extra silverware? (It didn't occur to them that some guests might show them how to use chopsticks and open up a whole new way to taste the Bread.)
So they didn't make space for the people this host wanted to invite, and just to be sure their table would stay the way they planned, they took away her invitation too.
What will I do if God is real?
Like all parables, this is a story of truth. And I am the issue. I am not even a character in this story, and yet I am the division. I am a Christian lesbian, and I am the reason my friend will stand up at the members'-only dinner and be asked to leave the table. It's horrifying and devastating on the one hand, and on the other, it makes me deeply grateful to and unquestioning of her loyalty and love.
Being willing to give up your welcome because you can't bear that I don't have one---that is being an ally. And more than that, it is being Jesus to me.
What will I do if God is real? My friend already knows.
It stings to know that across the country, I am the issue of discriminatory legislation. It aches to know that across the church, I am the division on the guest list. But I don't need a cake baked with reticence, and I don't need a begrudged seat at an exclusive women's gathering. My place is set at the Lord's table, and there, together, neither I nor my faithful friend---nor any---will ever go hungry. And it is from there we will go out into the world and do great things with great hearts.
What will you do if God is real?