Daring faith, passionate lives: why European church(es) need lesbian voices!
Abstract of the report of rev. Hilde Raastad* (Norway), Conference ‘LGBT people and Christian churches in Europe: fears and opportunities for full acceptance and inclusion’, Rome, June 10th 2011
When I first kissed another woman, and discovered myself as a lesbian, I became a whole human being.
Many LGBTs share this experience; that accepting and embracing our sexuality, helps us discover the passion of life and our ability to love wholeheartedly.
This is God’s gift. It leads us on a daring journey of faith towards new and radical ways of being Christians and of reinterpreting our faith.
Women have long been kept silent in the church and lesbians even more so. But a body is not whole if some parts are cut out and a choir can’t sing if some voices are silenced.
Lesbians are letting their voices be heard and the churches will be poorer if they don’t listen and learn. We are living faith and speaking of faith from our erotic experience, from our struggles and our celebration of life.
We are discovering God’s love and justice in new and mysterious ways. Lesbians, and all LGBTs, want to know they are welcomed into the church.
But even more, the churches need the daring, passionate voices of LGBT Christians, bringing empowerment, love and justice into churches which so often seem to have forgotten that radical love is the core of Christian faith.
* Rev. Hilde Raastad is a lesbian Christian activist and theologian, who is also an ordained minister in the Norwegian Lutheran Church. She is a member of the ecumenical Open Church Group in Oslo and of Metropolitan Community Church.
She is currently working as a freelance theologian and studying towards a Master Degree in Christian Spirituality. She is a former co-president of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups and was the first open LGBT person to be ordained in the Norwegian Church in 1995.
She believes in grace, justice and passionate living. She loves books, skiing, travelling and long hours at cafes with friends.
She is 51 years old and lives with Julie, her partner of 28 years, in Oslo, Norway.