“When you have a finger pointing at the moon, be careful that you don’t get fixated on the finger pointing, but rather on the moon itself. Our sacred spaces, our icons and imagery, they are fingers pointing to the moon. They are sacred spaces, but they aren’t the Sacred.”
- Angie Von Slaughter, One Church
Angie Von Slaughter is Lead Pastor at One Church, a safe and inclusive place that reflects the love of God. While she says they aren't perfect, they do a stand-up job at supporting ALL humans. We asked her a bit about how she's making the world a better place, and here's what she had to say....
How is One Church different than a lot of other "Christian" churches?
First, we welcome questions and doubts. Many people have been raised in certainty-based faiths and were given concrete answers that were threatened by any form of questioning. This approach leaves little room for mystery and personal spiritual exploration when it comes to the Divine. Because of this openness to questions, it's created a rather vulnerable and authentic environment. A place you can be... you, no strings attached.
Second, we are open and affirming, which means we are affirming of LGBTQ relationships. While this may be a common concept for some, for many Christ-centered faiths, this isn't the norm. Currently, none of America's 100 largest churches are LGBTQ-affirming.
Last, we are a progressive community that approaches Biblical scripture seriously but not literally. We recognize that the sacred texts were written by real humans, like you and I, and inspired by God. One-third of the Bible is Hebrew poetry and yet it's often interpreted literally, which in my opinion, can not only create some confusing theology but also diminishes the beauty and deeper meaning of it. There are so many things I could say about this beautiful community, but it's overall openness to learn from one another and love one another humbles me!
What advice would you give to humans struggling to come to terms with their identities/sexual orientations and religion?
There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to this, as it can look and feel different to everyone facing this situation but, I'd recommend that those struggling would find people who feel safe to process this with. It can be a slow process to come to terms with your faith and sexual orientation or gender identity, especially if you come from a legalistic and conservative background. I lived a partitioned life for the greater portion of my life, keeping my identity and faith separate... (as if that's even possible) and it left me feeling alone and full of shame. It was the process of meeting others who were in similar situations and examining my belief systems that allowed me to fully embrace myself.
What advice would you give to those in leadership positions at churches in regards to building organizations that are all-inclusive?
What does it mean to you to "believe in love" and why is that important for us as individuals and as a society to have that belief?
If you could change one thing to make the world a kinder place, what would it be?
What are some of the ways One Church inspires humans to believe in love?
Could you imagine a world where humans didn't believe in love? What would that look like to you?
Which humans inspire you the most on a daily basis?
What are 3 completely off-the-wall facts about you?
What has been your most vulnerable experience as a spiritual teacher?
What drew you to your current calling in life?
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