11 MILES / 11 PHOTOS — people and things that caught my eye while trekking through Chicago one sunny morning
I love this mural. A mixed-race Jesus! Not entirely black, not entirely brown, and certainly not entirely white, a mosaic of colors, races, and ethnicities. How far would you have to travel from your home to find a mixed-race Jesus?
And what a powerful verse from Galatians 3:28; the whole hodgepodge of humanity – one, and Christ shows us how. No distinctions. No separations. The boundaries and barriers that once kept people apart are no longer. The inhumane ways we oppress each other are broken. This verse is literal dynamite.
I was so jazzed about the mural that I called the church responsible for painting it (this info was provided on another part of the wall). I talked with the pastor, a really great guy. I told him I was impressed with the church’s mural, and could I ask him a few questions. He was happy to oblige. Here’s a summary of our twenty-minute conversation.
Is your church welcoming of all people? Absolutely. We’re a racially mixed and ethnically diverse congregation.
Great! Is your church involved in the community? Indeed, we’re known for our ministries that address the multiple needs of this neighborhood.
Fantastic! Do you have a governing body? Yes. We call it the Board of Elders.
How do members become Elders? The congregation elects them.
Can anyone become an Elder? Yes, as long as one is eligible.
Women, too? No, they’re not eligible to serve.
(Hmm . . . I hesitated but asked it anyway). Are gays welcomed here? Yes, everyone is welcomed here.
(Good again!) Can a gay man serve as an Elder? No, that would not be possible.
Never? Not unless he repents of being gay and changes his behavior?
You mean, a gay person must repent of being created gay but a straight person doesn’t have to repent of being created straight? (a lengthy pause) We didn’t write the Bible, we just obey it.
I was pretty sure the pastor was done answering my questions. I thanked him for his time. He thanked me for calling. I still love the mural. Maybe one day “All are One” will mean just that.