To the editors of Arthur and the students and community of Trent University,
I would like to address the letter to the editor found in the Jan. 27 edition entitled “Newfangled is No Good.” I feel that now is a good time for me to publicly offer, in print, some of my own insights regarding this topic.
To give some context, which I find is always helpful, I am someone who happens to be a devout Christian, but I’m also someone who happens to be gay, a monarchist, NDP supporter and Trent humanities major, just to mention a few things that make me who I am. (And yes, as unlikely as it may seem, there are many of me out there who fit this description, more or less, save a qualifier or two.)
I’m writing, most importantly, to offer some insight into another part of Christianity, a part which I find would be somewhat foreign to the writer of “Newfangled is No Good.” I’m not trying to devalue their faith because I wouldn’t want them to devalue mine. There is a significant part of the Christian faith that is very liberal, and I think that this is being ignored entirely.
Instead, society is distracted by those who are loudest. For the sake of brevity, I will speak from my own context, which is my being a member of the United Church of Canada.
The United Church, formed in 1925 with roughly three million Canadian adherents currently, has always tried to be the leading force in progressive Christian thought, not only in Canada, but around the world. In 1936, we opened up ordination to women. The first woman chaplain in the Canadian Forces was a United Church Minister. In 1988, the United Church affirmed that not only should LGBT people be able to get married, but that they should also have equal rights and opportunities in all realms of the Church, leadership roles included.
Our current Moderator (sort-of Pope equivalent for those unfamiliar with UCC structure), Gary Paterson, has been married to his husband, Tim, for many years.
This is just one of so many denominations of this faith that try to break down the walls that divide, to preach the Gospel without words, but rather with actions, and to build bridges with all faith communities, whether in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, or so on.
To those in the Trent community reading this, whoever you are, I respect your beliefs as you respect mine. Regardless of your faith, I believe we are of one body, and when one member is in pain, the rest are also. It is for this reason that, if we want to let go of hate, willingness to understand each other is essential.
So, I challenge each and every one of you, to just take a minute or two out of your day to learn about your local faith groups. See what they are doing for and with your community. Wikipedia some of the denominations, and most importantly, have a conversation!
(Another concerned Trent student and member of Saint Andrew’s United Church, Peterborough)