This is the teaching shared at the first MCC heart gathering in Malmö on the 6th of December 2015.

The Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), also known as the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC), is an international Protestant Christian denomination. There are 222 member congregations in 37 countries, and the Fellowship has a specific outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families and communities

WE are starting a spiritual community here that will be, above all, welcoming. You are welcome here regardless of gender, sexual preference, social status, political views and even religious views. Regardless of what tradition you come out of or still belong to you are welcome to take part, be a member of or become a leader in MCC Malmö.

Having said that, it is important for me to also point out that even though we appreciate and affirm all religious views and all religious texts, we are a Christian church. We will make no apologies for reading the bible, talking about Jesus, displaying spiritual gifts like talking in tongues or laying on hands. We stand firm within the Christian tradition although we hold our scriptures loosely and live the questions rather than delivering answers.

We welcome your point of view regardless of tradition and we will celebrate both our similarities and our differences. Our intention is to stay open and learn from each other and grow together towards unity with the divine source.

The banner on the MCC website asks the question: “What happens in the intersection of spirituality, sexuality and justice?”

Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. …” Jeremiah 6:16a (NRSV)

Today we will explore these three view points and hopefully discover something beautiful at that intersection.

Spirituality – My connection to the divine

Being a church we will start with spirituality. For us this is the bottom line, our reason d’etre. According to the perennial tradition “There is a Divine Reality underneath and inherent in the world of things, There is in the human soul a natural capacity, similarity, and longing for this Divine Reality, and The final goal of existence is union with this Divine Reality.”

So in all we do, in all we are as persons, as a community and as a church is aimed at this: union with the divine reality.

Jesus famously prays:

Your word is consecrating truth. In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. I’m consecrating myself for their sakes So they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission. I’m praying not only for them But also for those who will believe in me Because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind— Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, So they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, So they’ll be as unified and together as we are— I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, And give the godless world evidence That you’ve sent me and loved them In the same way you’ve loved me. Father, I want those you gave me To be with me, right where I am, So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me, Having loved me Long before there ever was a world. Righteous Father, the world has never known you, But I have known you, and these disciples know That you sent me on this mission. I have made your very being known to them— Who you are and what you do— And continue to make it known, So that your love for me Might be in them Exactly as I am in them.

Therefore as a community we affirm and support all methods, all paths, all teachings that fall in line with this goal.

Recognising as Paul says that

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28 (NRSV)

This is the spiritual journey, do find unity in ourselves, with each other and by that find unity with the divine.

Sexuality – My connection to me

So what does sexuality have to do with spirituality? The short answer to that question is of course everything.

It has been said that any man who ever knocked on the door of a brothel, did so in the search of god. The longing, the desire within us is a desire for union, this desire to become one, one flesh, one spirit, one soul.

Desire, in itself is a sign, a roadmap towards the divine. Author John Eldredge claims that desire is the journey we must undertake to find the life that is offered to us by the divine.

“So, let’s come back to the simple question Jesus asks of us all: What do you want? Don’t minimize it; don’t try to make sure it sounds spiritual; don’t worry about whether or not you can obtain it. Just stay with the question until you begin to get an answer. This is the way we keep current with our hearts.” — John Eldredge, Desire

So coming to our hearts and our bodies we come to the realisation that we can only love others (or indeed love god) as much as we love ourselves and we can only love ourselves to the extent that we accept ourselves and our deepest desires. This is where sexuality enters the picture, we can most often accept most of ourselves but when it comes to our sexuality we have so much shame, social and religious conditioning that we balk at the prospect of accepting let alone loving ourselves. How can I love myself when I want THAT?

Tell me what you want, what you really, really want! — Spice Girls

So in our journey to love ourselves we must know ourselves and to know ourselves we need to become intimate with ourselves and love ourselves, intimately and physically.

Accepting and loving our bodies, accepting ourselves as sexual embodied beings is the first step to truly loving ourselves and becoming whole (holy).

Therefore as a community we will affirm and celebrate sexuality in all of its forms, we will reclaim sex as a sacred spiritual practice, we will accept, affirm, encourage the exploration of our sexuality as a sacred path to love ourselves, to love others and in the end to love god. Knowing that god looks on and approves:

“Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love.” (Song of Songs 5.1)

Social Justice – My connection to others

When we are filled with self love, divine love it is inevitable that this love spills over and becomes a love for others. The Christian path has always been a path of giving love. God starts by giving life, giving love, and we respond by reflecting this love onto others.

We are exhorted in scripture to love others, even our enemies. The Judeo-Christian scriptures are a manifest of social justice, caring for the alien and the stranger, taking in the widow and the orphan to seek justice, because in the end Justice is love in action. Christian justice is taking the side of the oppressed, taking the side of the underdog, being the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves. Clothing the naked and cold, feeding the hungry and standing up against injustice, not with violence but with love.

Living it

So here we are at the intersection of spirituality, Sexuality and social justice. Our call now is to live it, to embody this connection and to, as a community help each other to stay connected to the divine source, to ourselves and to each other and others. It is one thing talking about it, but our call our mission is to live it!

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