Throughout history we’ve been blessed to have so many religious and spiritual leaders guide us through divided times. MLK, Gandhi, Mother Theresa united people through peace and love, and we’ll never forget them.

It’s a shame the leaders of the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Lake Shastina haven’t learned from history’s heroes. The words displayed on their sign this month “tell us” – in their interpretation - what the Bible says about homosexuality and transgender people. At best, their words are dated and divisive. At worst, they’re damaging.

Don’t they know? There’s no room for hate in Lake Shastina.

It’s possible the leaders of the church were trying to be topical or funny – or maybe they’re out of touch about the windy little community and it’s people. Lake Shastina is where parents, grandparents, and children live – right next to peace – across the street from quiet. Little goes on here: there’s one store and a park that gives us green grass, a playground, and live music one day a year. What began as a community for retirees is evolving into a place where millennials are moving in to start families. Mine moved here 25 years ago. I’ve always loved turning down Big Springs Road, into my parent’s cul-de-sac where our modest home humbly sits in front of the mountain we all share. A feeling of calmness enters me when I reach the church. I know I’m home.

There are many words. I challenge the leaders at Trinity to find ones that unite us. If there’s one thing I remember from my time at Sunday School in Lake Shastina’s community church years ago, when I was a boy, it’s this: we don’t get to judge how others live their lives, only God does.

Mando Navarro