Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013, March 16, 1984, Page 7, Image 7

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    how you originally enivisoned it? Was that
your ideal?
Troy: Ideally, I have to say no. Ideally, we are
the church of Jesus Christ On the other
hand, I don’t back away from knowing what
makes us unique, and that is our gay and
lesbian identity.
Jeri: But it turned out to be so much that way.
I mean, most of the members are gay and
lesbian. Had you hoped more for . . .
Troy: I had hoped that we would open the
doors and all people would come. But I didn’t
know in those early days what to expect. I
wanted to be as broad as possible. I wanted
all types of persons there.
Today, our thrust is still the same as it was
15 years ago: we have a message for gays
and lesbians. But I am also pushing to branch
out and preach the good news to other op­
pressed persons.
Our work in Nigeria is an example. The
sexual issue is not an issue in most third
world countries. It is in some, but in most of
them it is not In Nigeria, it is not. The issue
there is prejudice against people within that
system. We work with a very oppressed
people in Nigeria; they were the Biafrans, if
you remember, when the civil war took place
in Nigeria, and they have been treated very
badly.
Jeri: Out of all this, has your dream for MCC
changed?
Troy: Not really. We’ve become, as most
church groups have, a little more sophistica­
ted in the way we present the vision, but the
vision is still God’s love to all people. Jesus
Christ died for everybody, not just for some
segments of society.
Jeri: I notice that you use inclusivity very
naturally. How did that come to be so much a
part of worship at MCC?
Troy: It didn’t come easily. And it wasn’t that
way at first But I got educated. I began to
relize that language is terribly important No
one could ever have reached me if they called
me “queer" all the time, or if the only word
they had for me was ‘‘faggot.’’ I wouldn’t really
hear if they didn’t know how to touch my life
with language. Language is important
Including women in Scripture is just one
example. Some people will say. “Well, why do
I upset a woman when I call her girl? I don’t
mean anything by it”
Maybe they don’t But anyone who really
cares is going to learn that that is terribly
offensive to a lot of people.
The best way I see to reach out is to use the
broadest, most inclusive language that I can. I
want to include everybody. I reported to gen­
eral conference several years ago that that
was what we were going to do.
You’re absolutely correct It can be done
naturally. I’ve spent time learning to do it
learning how to quote Scripture, for example.
If the Apostle Paul said, “ B rethren , I write
unto yo u . . . " and we claim that the Scripture
is for brothers and sisters, then I had better
say, “Brothers and sisters, I write unto you....”
And I haven’t changed a thing by doing that
Jeri: Why should the gay community as a
whole — even, say, people who are not parti­
Just Out, March 16-March 30
cularly religious — be interested in MCC?
Troy: I think the community should be in­
terested in us because of a lot of things that
are happening. Even for someone who is not
religious, our involvement with the National
Council of Churches, for example, is
important
The church in America is a sacred cow.
People don’t like to say that, but it's true. The
church controls even the civil laws in this
country. If we honestly want to get things
changed for gays in this country, we can’t just
work on the politicians. We have to work on
church and religious bodies as well.
That is what happened when we applied
for membership in the National Council of
Churches. It gave us a continuing opportun­
ity to dialogue with the larger church in
America, so they can actually meet gays and
lesbians.! learned a long time ago that to
know us is to love us. That’s exactly what
happened with the National Council of
Churches. They all at once met gay people in
a religious context, where we were saying,
"You’re gong to have to deal with this issue.
We re not going to go away."
We actually won a great victory at the Na­
tional Council of Churches. They agreed to
three very important things: (1) They agreed
that they sinned, in that they can’t come to
terms with human sexuality, and that the is­
sue of homosexuality is their fault, not ours.
(2) They postponed the vote on our eligibility,
when they could have denied eligibility. That
was a real victory for us. And (3) the most
important thing is that they agreed to con­
tinue to dialogue with us. That is just unbe­
lievable. Again, it gives us the opportunity to
continue to work with the larger church.
Jeri: Anything else about why the community
should be interested in us?
of everything.
There are other places — maybe Portland
is like that— where you have political organi­
zations, and what you do is interfere with
those groups and discover how you can best
serve the community. It’s a local option.
important — What about people who have
had a bad experience with some other
church, and so they shut MCC out, too?
Troy: All I can do for those people is to invite
them to come and see how we are different. I
hope they’ll give us a chance.
Jeri: One last question, and one I think is very
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Troy: Because we are involved in educating
America about gay people. We have a new
television show almost ready. It is called,
"God, Gays and the Gospel. . . This Is Our
Story.” That should be showing sometime
this year. That is just one example.
Jeri: OK. What about MCC’s interest in the
community? Why does the church relate to
the rest of the gay and lesbian community?
Troy: One interest is that we are a Christian
church. We don’t back away from that We
must preach the Gospel that God has given
us to preach.
But there is more to it In doing that, we
help the community. We involve ourselves.
We don’t become some little separatist group
that sits way over yonder on some piece of
property and ignores everyone else. We
reach ou t We make sure that we re involved.
For example, we have an AIDS crisis in
America right now. We need to be involved in
that locally, whether we are raising funds or
visiting victims in hospitals or whatever we
are going to do. Only the local people know
what their outreach needs to be. It varies in
every area.
There are some parts of the world where
the church is at the forefront of everything
that is happening in the community, because
we are the only gay organization in the area.
In cases like that, the church has to do a little
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