Why I support the #NALT project despite its flaws…

Since I recently got back in to the blogging game, I’ve been keeping it rather light over here on Traci M. Smith… I’ve talked about Toddler Hotspots in San Antonio, I’ve shared some amazing things my congregation is doing, I’ve shared what I’ve been reading, I’ve even gotten crafty. This post gets into a much meatier topic, and I’m grateful for that. It’s time.  Remember, this blog is named after me, because these are my personal views. Here we go:

The NALT project is a project cofounded by Truth Wins Out and John Shore. It was inspired by the wildly successful It Gets Better Project. The goal of the project is simple: get Christians who support full equality for LGBTQ people to tell their stories and speak up. That’s it. Those who wonder “Are all Christians anti-gay?” or “Is it possible to be a Christian and support LGBT equality in the church?” can hear what other people think, how they came to their own conclusions.

Since its launch about a week ago, the NALT project has gotten a bit of press, some of it good, some of it bad. In reading almost all of the press, I still hold to my original view: The NALT project is worth supporting. Here’s why I think so:

The heart of the project is storytelling: Ask any Christian who has changed his/her mind on this issue, and you will likely hear some version of “I heard stories.” In general people don’t change their mind because someone yelled really loud, wrote an angry blog comment, or cited a variety of biblical texts. People change their minds in the context of relationships and stories.

Its art: “But it doesn’t do anything…” I’ve been hearing this a lot this week all around the twitterverse/blogosphere/internets. I disagree completely. The art of telling ones story is one of the most powerful things a person can do. Indeed, it’s the only thing that can be done that will make any difference at all. True, there is no petition attached to NALT, no “Here’s what you should do.” There’s no common creed, no mission statement, no bullet point, no marches, no protests. To that I say: exactly.

This is a theological project: This project is asking people to talk about their faith and how it relates to real life. Not just real life, but one of the biggest, hot-button issues of our time. Not only that but it was a non-Christian who named it, who said “Ok, Christians, tell me, what do you think?” Of course I stand behind that. Somebody wants to know what I think about my faith and what it has to say about this issue? Sign me up.

The name: NALT stands for “not all like that.” It came from the experience of one of the founders, Dan Savage, who heard it all the time. He would say some version of “Christians are hateful toward LGBT people” and people would say “Not all Christians are like that.” The name has been criticized for being, well, rude. I think this is a valid criticism. I would have preferred a different name, for sure. At the same time, can I say that I disagree with the name? No, I do not.

So… I made a video. You can watch it here, on the NALT website. It’s longer than I wanted it to be. It’s not perfect. It’s not edited. It is my story, though. I encourage any of my Christian brothers and sisters who are on the fence about making a video for the NALT project to go ahead and send one in!


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