Does Love Win? It Did For Jesus And It Can For Us

This post was shared with the Rocky Mountain USA Mission Center on Saturday, April 8, 2023.

“God, the Eternal Creator, weeps for the poor, displaced, mistreated, and diseased of the world because of their unnecessary suffering. Such conditions are not God’s will. Open your ears to hear the pleading of mothers and fathers in all nations who desperately seek a future of hope for their children. Do not turn away from them. For in their welfare resides your welfare.
– Doctrine & Covenants 163:4a –

Does Love Win? It Did For Community of Christ
In April 2013, delegates from around the USA gathered in the Auditorium in Independence, MO, for the USA National Conference. Our objective was to consider whether or not we would recommend changes regarding same-gender marriages and ordination for those in same-gender relationships. We spent a few days in sacred community as we listened to diverse stories and perspectives. At the conclusion of our time together, we did recommend inclusive changes. That was 10 years ago this month that those changes were recommended. As soon as the final session was over, I joined many others in going outside in front of the Auditorium to let friends and family back home know the results. While out there, I made this post on Facebook: “The Love of God is broad like beach and meadow…And so is the love of Community of Christ. This morning the Delegates to the USA National Conference voted to make a recommendation to offer full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in the USA. We joined the Community of Christ in Canada and Australia who have already made similar decisions. We voted in favor of performing marriages where legally allowed, covenant ceremonies where they aren’t, and ordination for all. This is truly a historic day. I celebrate for this moment of equality. I lift up those who have been left out for too long and invite you to come home. I also uphold and reach out to those who don’t agree with this decision. I pray we can continue together on this faith journey in love and respect. That we continue to share with and learn from each other. You are loved. All are loved.” This sentiment still rings true for me today. 

After years of operating under an “interim’ policy, the policy that came as a result of the USA National Conference was updated, finalized, and released in December 2022. To read the updated policy, click here.

Does Love Win? It Did For Community of Christ… But There Is Still Work To Do
It’s important to understand that transformation doesn’t just happen with a policy change. There is deep bias within any system that has a history of marginalizing groups of people. And though we may not be comfortable admitting it, this is even true for this faith community that we love so deeply. This kind of bias doesn’t disappear just because there is some change. It takes great intention to work inward so that we can more inclusively move outward. Many congregations would still not be safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community. Even ones who might see themselves as loving. That is the reality for folks like me. This doesn’t mean that these congregations aren’t full of good people though. They are filled with good people and often times, well intentioned people. But again, change can be quick but transformation is a journey that takes time. And the transformation needed to let go of bias is often a long one of deconstructing and then creating something new. On Sunday, April 2, Jerry Dale of the Casper, Wyoming, Congregation preached for Beyond the Walls live from the Casper Congregation. With his permission, I would like to share part of what they shared in their sermon. Jerry proclaimed, “Harmony ( is providing advocacy, education, resources and statements that condemn the over 428 anti-LGBT bills before some 40 states in the United States.  The LGBTQIA2S+ communities are under attack.  Our most vulnerable… the transgender community needs allies to take a stand. It takes courage to be Queer in Community of Christ because we are not as welcoming and affirming as we profess.  The vulnerable and marginalized need allies, allies that will stand up and be counted.  Allies that are willing to be socially executed in order to raise up the most vulnerable and marginalized.  If you are not being hit by the attacks on the vulnerable, you are not standing close enough to them as an ally. What would it have looked like for Jesus if his allies had been louder than the mob?” I would invite all of our congregations to go to the Harmony website referenced by Jerry and learn more about the journey to become a Welcoming & Affirming Congregation. Is this a journey your congregation might be willing to take?

I have become increasingly aware of how our youth and young adults need us to be the inclusive church that we claim to be. In this spirit, I made a video a few years back for our Community Connections worship titled, “Words Matter: An Invitation to Love and Support our LGBTQIA+ Youth”. To watch that video, click here. To watch “Tony” by Sugarland, the song referenced in the my video, click here

To our Allies and those who identify as LGBTQIA+, you are invited to consider becoming members of Harmony. To do so, click here.

Does Love Win? It Has For Me
Those of you who were at the Annual Estes Park Gathering this past Fall have heard my story. Others of you have likely heard it in other spaces or read it on social media. While others may be reading this for the first time. I went to 2013 National Conference with a secret. A secret I had held close to me since coming to a confusing realization at the age of 10 in the 5th grade. You see, in 2013, I was closeted full-time church minister serving in Youth Camping Ministries for the Greater Pacific Northwest USA Mission Center. I wasn’t sure how others would respond, especially parents, and quite honestly, I wasn’t fully aware yet of just who I was. I went into National Conference unsure of what my relationship would be with Community of Christ if the outcome went in a different direction. In March 2016, I came to a fuller understanding of who I was while watching a TV Show. “That’s me! That’s what I am! This is the answer I’ve been searching for.,” I thought. The show was “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and one of the characters had came out as bisexual. Later that year, I too came out publicly as bisexual. I needed people to see and know the real me. I was nervous. Very nervous. Again, I was afraid of how some would respond given my role asa Youth Minister. After coming out, one of the parents I was concerned about reached out to me. His response: “Sean, there is no place for hate in the church. We love you.”*deep sign of relief* Though, it certainly hasn’t always been easy, and I continue to process the trauma of keeping who I was a secret for so long, I am grateful for a supportive, inclusive space to be who I am. I am now very much an “out” advocate for me and people like me in Community of Christ and beyond. That’s why it’s important for me to share this with you now. As your Mission Center President, I want to make sure that as we continue to enter into relationship with one another, that you know the real me. For I do not hide who I am but I will admit, whenever I’m in a new space, I never know how I will be treated because of who I am. It is for this reason that I have considered sharing this message with you all for over a month now but because it is so personal, I kept putting it off.

I am a son. I am a friend. I am a minister. I am a Swiftie. I am a bisexual male. I am Sean Michael Langdon. But most of all, I am a child of God.

Does Love Win? Yes But The LGBTQIA+ Community Needs Us To Help Make It A Reality
Now to why this has been deeply on my heart again lately. The LGBTQIA+ Community is no stranger to attacks from political and religious institutions but in the past year, those who seek to promote harmful rhetoric and policies to these beloved children of God seem to be increasing again. In many places we are hearing news of enacted or proposed legislation that is harmful to those marginalized for living their authentic truth, especially our transgender and non-binary siblings. So what is a church with an inclusive policy that declares the “Worth of all Persons” to do in times like this? On March 7, Harmony released a statement that shared 10 things you could do in response. To read that statement, click here. In their message this past Sunday, Jerry also shared that Apostle Art Smith hosted a “Teach In” in the Lower Auditorium in Independence, MO. The purpose of this “Teach In” was to“help educate and fight against the biased and discriminatory laws before the legislature of the State of Missouri.” This is a great example of something that we can do to help move the conversation forward. 

Does Love Win? Simply, Yes. 
So here we are. It’s Holy Saturday. The crowds have already shouted “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” and Jesus was hung on a cross as a result of going up against powerful religious and political leaders of his day. He preached a message of love and hope and it began to turn the world upside down and those who benefited most from the way it always was, tried to make it stop. But the world did turn. Resurrection happened. Jesus overcame hate and fear and showed us that LOVE really does WIN. So how does that inform us today? One of our newer anthems in Community of Christ is “For Everyone Born”. There is a bonus verse though that Shirley Erena Murray, the hymns author, wrote but it didn’t make it into our hymnal. It goes, “For gay and for straight, a place at the table, a covenant shared, a welcoming space, a rainbow of race and gender and colour, for gay and for straight, the chalice of grace, and God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace, yes, God will delight when we are creators of justice, justice and joy!” To hear the hymn sung in a Community of Christ context with this additional verse, click here listen to this version by the Beyond the Walls Choir. My friends, we have work to do to make this beloved hymn a reality in our world today. If we really mean what we sing, let’s work towards that reality. The resurrected Christ of Easter shows us that Love Wins. We are an Easter people. May it be so.

I just want to conclude by acknowledging that I realize some may not be comfortable with this message. For we are a diverse people and I know that I serve a mission center, like many others, with folks of varying perspectives and life experiences. It is my hope that if we are not in agreement with each other, that we still understand that we are all God’s beloved. We may not always sit on the same side of the table, but we do sit at the same table. In Community of Christ, we listen, we seek to understand, we learn, and we grow because we do. For we uphold that Blessings of Community and Unity in Diversity are foundational to who we are as a people of faith. This is because sacred, healthy relationships are foundational to who we are as followers of Christ. Therefore I want to continue to lift up our Faithful Disagreement Principles. To read them, click here.

May your Easter be filled with joy and resolve to continue your inward and outward path as a Disciple of the Resurrected One. You are loved, my friends. 

Sean, What’s On Your Mind?


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When I log on to Facebook, it asks me, “Sean, what is on your mind?”. Oh Facebook, sometimes you don’t want to know. Some days, that would be too long of a post to make! And yet, at this time, so many thoughts seem to be flooding my head, and heart as well. I’m thinking about Spring and the newness of life that comes with it. How we’re fast approaching Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter. That I leave for World Conference in just three weeks from today! How I have to watch live streams and clips of the Taylor Swift “Eras” Tour on TikTok because I still don’t have tickets to see it in person! I think about Greg and Alice, both of whom I know from Oregon. One recently passed away after losing a battle to cancer and the other because age caught up with her. I also think of Viola and Carol, both of whom recently passed away in our mission center and though I never got to meet them in person, I know they were well loved here. I think about how I will be traveling to Maui in May for a friend’s 30th Birthday trip. I also think about the constant legislative attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly those who are trans, in states around the nation.

And then my brain also goes to this…

I was in 8th grade when the mass shooting at Columbine happened. It affected me greatly as a young teenager. Often waking up in the middle of night with nightmares of it happening at my school. 11 years after I graduated, I was standing in the foyer inside our Temple in Independence, Missouri. I was at the 2014 Peace Colloquy. And while talking to Rob Borkwoski and Janne Grover, a text alert from Huffington Post came across my phone. School Shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. This was my high school. Where I had graduated. I went to the local coffee shop on Independence Square to read the updates and watch the kids on the news be escorted in a single file line from their classrooms, the classrooms I once was a student in. Though I was no longer attending, my nightmares had turned into a reality. Just this week in Denver. More gun violence in our schools. When lives are cut short in safe spaces for the young… O God, out of the depths, we cry. 

The above is text from the sermon I gave at Colorado Springs Community of Christ just this past Sunday. Then the news came on Monday morning. Another Mass Shooting at a school. Of those who died that day, 3 of them were under the age of 10. My heart breaks again. I’m left wondering, “How many people? HOW MANY CHILDREN!?”

Earlier this week while driving to the RMMC Office on Tuesday Morning, “We Are The World” starts playing in the car from my the playlist on my phone. “There comes a time. When we heed a certain call. When the world must come together as one. There are people dying. Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life. The greatest gift of all.” And then the chorus begins, “We are the world. We are the children. We are the ones who make a brighter day”. My friends, tears just started pouring like waterfall down my cheeks as I drive into work that day and considered this song in light of what took place at Covenant school in Nashville, TN.

As I noted above, Holy Week is fast approaching. We will soon be entering a time where we reflect on Jesus. Jesus on the Cross. And I have to wonder at times like this, when we fail our kids to the point where schools can no longer be safe spaces because of the high rate of gun violence in our country, does Jesus stay on the cross? Does our inability to address the issues that are related to gun violence keep Jesus on the cross? Resurrection Sunday is coming. The hope celebrated and embraced by an Easter People because of the Resurrection is coming. So therefore, again, I have to wonder, what is our response to the issues in our world today that seem to keep Jesus on the cross rather than embracing the hope of new life?

I realize this week’s focus may not be the version of inspiration you anticipated in our weekly update today. But my friends, this is where we are at, yet again. As we continue our journey through these last few days of Lent and into Holy Week towards Easter, may we consider our response as a people of faith. Not just in response to what has happened but also because of our calling to be at the forefront of practicing the teachings of Christ as we seek to reduce future tragedies from occurring.

I was once asked by a congregation what they could do to engage their community in opportunities that would require minimal funds. I suggested sponsoring Community Meetings to explore the various perspectives related to the issues that their specific community as well as the nation and world was facing. To put Faithful Disagreement and Unity in Diversity into practice through intentional listening and compassionate sharing. As Community of Christ, maybe that is a good place for us to start.

We are a people dedicated to the pursuit of peace. Let us continue to not only pray for peace but to act for it as well.

This was originally shared with the Rocky Mountain Mission Center for Community of Christ in their weekly update on Thursday, March 30, 2023.

“Anti-Hero” and thoughts on shame


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“This song really is a real guided tour through all the things I tend to hate about myself; we all hate things about ourselves” – Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift recently released a music video for her new single “Anti-Hero”. It’s another masterpiece that brings this deeply personal song to life for the viewer and fans. One of the things I love about Taylor Swift is her ability to masterfully articulate her thoughts and joys and struggles through lyrics. In the video for the song there was a scene of her standing on a scale with the words “Fat” being shown. In response, some started making tik-toks and other social media posts because they didn’t think it was fair or appropriate for someone like Taylor to use that label for herself. In response, her team did remove the scene showing what the scale said.

I have really been bothered by the response this video has received, especially from those, like me, who are overweight. Her new album is a collection of songs written while she was kept up late at night. That space in the day where we all have our restless thoughts and where our inner demons and easier access to our brain and soul. Here’s the thing though, we don’t get to look at someone else and tell them that their insecurities and struggles aren’t valid because they don’t match our idea of what that struggle should look like. In this situation, to do so promotes body shaming, can invalidate eating disorders, and frankly, it’s bullying.

As someone who has long struggled with my weight, I’m really disappointed that others would invalidate the experience of someone else when it comes to body issues. We may not always get to choose how we perceive ourselves but we do get to choose how we treat others who share their struggles with us. There is enough shame to go around in this world, let’s not add to it.

Next Adventure: Rocky Mountain Mission Center


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“I’ll spread my wings | And I’ll learn how to fly | Though it’s not easy to tell you goodbye | I gotta take a risk, take a chance, make a change | And breakaway | Out of the darkness and into the sun | But I won’t forget the place I come from | I gotta take a risk, take a chance, make a change | And breakaway”

– Lyrics from “Breakaway”, as sung by Kelly Clarkson –

In August I posted a meme that said, “And suddenly you just know it’s time to start something new and trust in the magic of beginnings.” You see, just a day prior my attention was drawn to a job posting for Mission Center President of the Rocky Mountain Mission Center. It was now the first night of the Adult Reunion and I was having a sleepless night thinking about a potential job change and what that might mean for me, if I decided to send my letter of interest and was offered the position. Not being able to sleep, I opened my phone and the very first post I see is that meme. Oh, did it hit me! It was my first confirmation that I should send in my letter of interest for the position. 10 days later, I would. The funny thing is that after I shared the meme, a friend said that it appeared as if a work change must be coming. HOW COULD THEY KNOW!? Haha.

Now let’s go back. In the summer of 2011, I was let known that a half-time Director of Youth Camping position was being created in the Greater Pacific Northwest USA Mission Center. I expressed my interest and started working as an employed minister with Community of Christ in January 2012. A year later that increased to ¾ time with more responsibilities added. Then in September 2015, my time was increased to full time.

It has been a deep joy to serve the GPNW USA Mission Center but a little over a year ago, I sensed that it was time to begin preparing for a change in my ministry. I wasn’t sure what, but I sensed that I needed to be open to the ways in which the Holy Spirit might be moving in my life. This past summer had me experiencing several things that signaled a change. I found myself engaging in conversations that had me thinking about my future. I also was invited to preach at Spectacular, our Community of Christ Youth Camp at Graceland University. That was an amazing experience that caused me to reflect on my ministry and where the focus should be. So, after over a year of being open to what may be shifting in my life, I believe that the Holy Spirit was preparing me for this change.

As a local boy, I have been so blessed to spend the first 37 years of my life here in the Pacific Northwest. While serving the GPNW USA Mission Center, I have greatly benefited by serving under the leadership of Kathy Sharp, Mike Bessonette, and Kim Naten. I take what I have learned from each of them as I transition into the role of Mission Center President. I have also been fortunate to have many co-workers, friends, and companions on the journey who have helped shape me into the minister I am today. It is with that that I now say, it is time for me to “take a risk, take a chance, make a change, and breakaway.”

Weary Soul: Will You Cross the Bridge?


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Let me be honest for a moment, my soul is weary and I’m not in a great place. As could be expected, 2021 is already producing a shit show of emotions for many people. I’ve come to realize that the events in D.C. on January 6 have affected me more than I originally anticipated they would. It’s important to me that people understand that when something like the domestic terrorist invasion on our US Capitol Building takes place, people in communities who are marginalized simply for being who they are as a child of God, view those acts through a different lens. We recognize that the folks who are willing to do that are the same ones who would be willing to harm us while going about our everyday routines of life. Though, my soul has certainly been weary at times since then, especially as someone who is in the LGBTQIA+ community, I haven’t felt like this since the Orlando Nightclub massacre. Back then, I just didn’t have an outlet for expressing so since I was not yet out to the world in 2016. 

Trust me, I want to be able to simply embrace the call for unity and a way forward. I can’t do so though without acknowledging that the division in this country is deeper than just a difference of opinion. When who you are is not only subject to debate but outright hate from groups of people, a call for unity and peace is met with deep distrust. 

I have friends and family who I love and care about but who support a political party with a platform which promotes values that are harmful to people like me. A platform that emboldens behaviors in folks that are acted out in harmful ways towards people like me. Friends and family who seem to follow rather than honor the worth of all people and help change the culture within. I don’t see how this is in any way reflective of the teachings of Christ. My soul is weary and my heart aches because I do care deeply about many of these folks. They are an important part of the relational fabric woven within my soul and throughout my community. 

I want unity. I want peace. Unity and peace are not possible though if marginalized groups of people have to feel unsafe for it to occur. Unity and peace are not possible if we have to try and hide parts of who we are to make you more comfortable with being around us. We can respectfully disagree and try to find common space on many things in our society but human dignity and worth is not one of them. 

A swift, fierce river separates two sides. If you find yourself in the middle of the bridge because it is safe and you are not comfortable engaging in the hard conversations for fear of alienating people you love on one side while others who you also love continue to stand in harm’s way on the other side, the bridge is crumbling underneath, and the water will continue to drown the moral fabric of humanity. You are not helping anyone, if this is where you find yourself. If you are willing to cross the bridge and build more of them though, thank you. We need bridge builders more than ever before. When it comes to human worth though, we can’t simply meet in the middle of the bridge. If peace and unity is truly desired, we have to do the hard work that is necessary to cross it. We have to listen and then respond.

I pray for peace. I pray for unity. I know many of us do. Often times though, prayer without action lacks authenticity and is just words muttered rather than heart and soul engaged. 


A weary traveler who is tired today.