LGBTQ+ Art Exhibition At The National Gallery Of Ireland

A friend of mine hearing on my intention to go in and take a look at this exhibition advised me not to. I said, why? Who am I to Judge? We are called as Christians to listen to what others have to say no matter who they are.

I can only describe it as a room full of mental pain and torture. It was obvious that even with all the modern protections society affords them, they still felt excluded and discriminated against.

The Christian west, by not embracing them with love (especially in the past) and showing them the love Christ really has for them, instead chose to persecute them. By doing this the Christian churches scored another own goal in addition to the cover up of sexual abuse of minors.

As Christians we may not always see eye to eye with the world on everything, but those who are on the outside, we may not be the judges. Those who have placed themselves on the outside of the Church not being brought up in our tradition require a good listener. That is what Saint Paul was, he was a good preacher, but also a great listener.

We shouldn’t shy away from embracing the other person and gaining an improved understanding of where they’re coming from. They’re telling us, “This is who I am, This is how I see the world.” It’s our job as Christians to invite them to come into the Church as they are, as they see the world, and simply begin to develop that relationship with Christ.

Even if our faith and morals doesn’t suit them, I always invite them in anyway. Don’t let that be your focus simply come in and sit with Jesus. Open your heart to him and let him know what is on your mind and if you really find his teachings difficult tell him this. Be honest with Him he’s God not your next door neighbor and he appreciates honesty. You can’t hide your anger from him and so you shouldn’t. Go ahead and be angry.

I once had a woman of the LGBTQ community who still went to Church during her tragic battle with cancer. I invited her to come to the healing ceremony and recommended she have her confession heard. To my absolute surprise she arose from her hospital bed in St.James and against the advise of her nurses who escorted came anyway. Me and my wife had met her in the chemotherapy room and she and my wife had developed a great friendship.

A few days later she sadly passed away and we attended her funeral at the local Church I got married in. Many of her friends from the LGBTQ+ community were there showing great support and mourning for their friend. This woman actually rose in all her suffering and travelled 1 hour with an escort of nurses to a Church to be healed and have her confession heard.

This woman did more in a matter of hours than any Catholic who goes to Mass every Sunday did. She went to confession before receiving the Body of Christ. This one act alone demonstrated her going straight to heaven. Again, it’s a case where Jesus says to the Pharisees that even outsiders are getting into the Kingdom of Heaven before them. By violence our friend got in. By violence she arose from the hospital bed and she broke into Heaven with the help of Christ Himself. That’s a courageous soul.

God help any Christian who seeks to discriminate against these people. They are not “them” they are not separate from us. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Like everyone else they have their struggles with the world, who they are and with the Church. Listen to what they have to say and be amazed at their ability even to show up those who claim they’re Christian.

I’m glad I went to the exhibition and while I may not see eye to eye with their view on sexuality and the world in general, I was able to at least share with them in their suffering at being persecuted. Some of the art was vulgar, some of it scary and confusing, but it was a reflection of how they feel in 2021. Let us respect that and continue to extend our hand of friendship and love to everyone belonging to that community.

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