I asked a lot of people what had been the highlight of the conference for them, and everybody gave the same two answers. Most people mentioned the worship services first. I totally agree. I don’t cry, y’all–even the first ten minutes of Up just make me misty–but I was wiping away tears during the final worship service. To see all these people who had worshiped and praised our God for years, for decades, in churches where they didn’t know any other gay people who were trying to surrender their lives to God, and who now could worship surrounded by hundreds of people who understood what they’d been through–oh my gosh, you guys, it was amazing. So beautiful. I’ve never been in a crowd of that kind, and I’ve been doing this work for donkeys’ years. The spirit of joy, surrender, and praise was electric: the suffering (“Here in the death of Christ I live”) but also the trust in our Redeemer (“If You left the grave behind, so will I”).
The second answer everybody gave was “the people”: meeting other lgbt or same-sex attracted believers, who shared at least one specific and difficult portion of our sexual ethic. I always say that when I became Catholic I didn’t even know of any other gay people who’d sought to live in harmony with the Church’s teachings. So many people have never met anyone else like them. And I heard over and over a note of–almost, surprise?–in people’s voices as they talked about how much they loved meeting the people of Revoice. Me too, you guys, after the first night I was like a half-second from yodeling, “I love everybody in this baaaaaaaaaaaaaar!” But I want to attend to that surprise for a moment.