Earlier this month, ELM Program Director Jen Rude and I attended “Until All Are Free,” held by our movement partners, ReconcilingWorks. Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries was very happy to sponsor and participate in this great event. One attendee, Tim Mumm, who came to our pre-event about making an intentional plan to call an LGBTQ pastor, wrote a Facebook post during the Assembly about the importance of community. I invited him to share his post via the ELM blog as a way of highlighting the important work of ReconcilingWorks, and of the importance of bringing our full LGBTQ identity to worship and congregational life. – Amalia
Faith & Community
by Tim Mumm, ELM Guest Blogger
Author’s Note: This was written and shared on Facebook in the early hours of August 1st, 2015 during the “Until All Are Free” assembly.
At the ReconcilingWorks Assembly in Minnesota. It is so good for me to be here. These assemblies are often emotional for me, and I’ve choked up or been brought to tears several times, both at the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries pre-assembly event, and during the opening day of the assembly. I’ve been openly angry, and sad at times, too.
I’ve known for a long time that in an LGBT environment, and to a lesser degree in an LGBT friendly environment, I can let my hair down and just be myself.
It hit me today that my belief in God is tied to community. When I am here among LGBT Christians, when I know with all my heart that I am in a safe and welcoming environment made up of fellow believers, I am certain that I believe in God. When I have to wonder if those around me are supportive of me, when I’m not sure I’m safe, then I’m not sure I believe in God. And when other Christians give me mixed messages or make it clear that I or those I love are not welcome, my belief crumbles; I don’t even want to believe. In those times of doubt and uncertainty, I don’t force myself to believe: Rather, I trust God to carry me through.
This is why the work of ReconcilingWorks is so important to me. This is why churches that publicly proclaim welcome by becoming Reconciling in Christ are so important to me personally. I need the community of church, and I need to know with my whole heart that I am welcome and safe in that community.
If you are a member of a church that is not a part of the welcoming movement, please consider asking this of your church. Contact ReconcilingWorks for guidance. Too many LGBT people have been terrorized by the church and by sincere Christians. We need communities that are welcoming, that are safe, and that celebrate our lives and our gifts too.
Timothy John Mumm was baptized at 17 days of age by his father, a pastor in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, with the words, “Receive the sign of the holy cross, both upon your forehead and upon your breast as a token that thou hast been redeemed by Christ the crucified.” Those signs, and the Holy Spirit remain with Tim, even now. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Deaf Education, a master’s degree in counseling, and is a nationally certified sign language interpreter and a qualified mental health interpreter. At 36 years old, Tim came out of the closet as a gay man. Tim feels that his past and ongoing struggle as a man of faith and a gay man has been defining to his life. He carries this heartfelt tension thoughtfully as a child of God, a child of grace.