Azusa Pacific University: It’s Time for Change.

“The Pain Inside” by Vladiks.

Standing up for our brothers and sisters who are constantly bullied into the margins by religion can be tough at times. Maybe their oppression just doesn’t apply to you. Maybe you wish you could help, but you just aren’t sure how. When all of your excuses boil away, the truth is probably that you just don’t care.

A lot of my friends wrestle with their support for the LGBTQ community. As Christians, they occasionally wonder if they were standing up for “sin” or if they are protecting something that’s not of God. If that’s where you’re coming from, I pray that you would read this very carefully because this is for you.

My baby sister, Alyson, is a Junior at Azusa Pacific University back in my home-state of California. Aly is not only a part of the LGBTQ community at Azusa, but she is a co-leader of Haven, the underground LGBTQ community at this predominantly evangelical university.

Recently, Adam Ackley, an Azusa theology professor of fifteen years was fired for identifying himself as a transgender human being; however, I have got to note a friendly disclaimer. Though Adam no longer lives in the shadows of his identity, he also is being very peaceful thought this ordeal.

“Who would Jesus exclude from the table of love and grace?” Haven member, Margaret Van der Bie asks. “I’m convinced there is no exclusion, only constant invitation to God’s kingdom. APU’s motto is ‘God first;’ however, their practices and policies prove that it is money first, God second, and humanity last.”

When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus says to love God, and love people. All people. Simple, yet complex. Criminals, enemies, friends, family. Gay, straight, black, white, fat, thin, salty and sweet. Loving God and loving others is basically the “too long; didn’t read” of the hebrew law. Even though homosexuality is not a sin by any means, lets put the word “sin” away for a while.

In response to Adam’s termination, my sister and her friends in Haven have decided to push back. “I’m tired of my Christian educational institution hurting me and my friends. I don’t think it’s just, and I certainly don’t think it’s of God. We’re not trying to be rebellious, we just want to see change. We want to see humanization at the school we love” Alyson explains.

A professor of fifteen years was terminated for being himself. How are we to respond to that? Is religion more important than humanity? Is calling people sinners more important than what Jesus calls the most important part of the hebrew half?

Alyson partnered up with www.change.org and created a petition. If you choose humanity over religion– if you chose love over finger-pointing. If you choose equality over policy. Please. Take two seconds to sign this petition and then share it with your Facebook and Twitter friends.

So may the Lord bless you and keep you, as He has called you His own. May His presence be ever clear to you on this day, and may He plant in you a seed, that will give root to change.

Here is the link to the petition!

The future is in your hands.

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