There are gay Christians out there. They are actually Christians who read the whole Bible and pray and practice spiritual disciplines. There are people who take the Bible pretty seriously and support gay relationships (committed, monogamous gay relationships usually) . Gay Christians aren’t dancing around naked wearing beads and holding a Bible that consists of 2 verses. I had no idea. What can I say, I live in really conservative circles. No one talks about gay Christians and when they do they portray them as the antichrist – evil people who have completely turned the Bible on end to suit their own purposes. That’s what I thought when I first saw this post. The image I had in my head involved snapshots I’ve seen from pride parades plus tacky crosses. I didn’t read the post for a while, but finally my curiosity got the best of me.
Why does everything always have to have a perfect and complex explanation? Something bad happens and we want to know exactly how to fix it and prevent it next time. I suppose that’s how we become better people, learning from our mistakes. But sometimes it’s a little extreme, isn’t it? Some things don’t have an obvious cause that is easy to fix. I catch myself trying to figure out how to solve problems that are simply beyond my control. People get mad, things break, and there’s just not anything I can do about it.
It’s difficult to say very much about the experience of LGBTQ people in the church without bumping up against this idea called shame. In fact, even LGBTQ individuals who have never set foot in church have likely come up against people who caused them to feel as though there was something inadequate about their sexual identity. These people hang out at school, the gym, a restaurant, a sports field, really anywhere people interact meaningfully with other people. Often in my experience the shaming happened without ever being acknowledged. It can be as simple as sharing an opinion that gay people are <insert negative adjective here>. Often they don’t even know there is a LGBTQ person in the room. That’s when I have felt shame. Based on what they just said, if they knew the truth about me, they would give me that negative adjective. At best they would reject me, at worst lash out against me in anger.
For me the shame is worse in church. When a pastor alludes to the fact that people like me are somehow more flawed than the average church attender. When people who seem to be good Christian people express serious concern over the fate of my soul. These are times when shame is quickly linked to hopelessness, isolation, despair. Continue reading
In the years I spent as a student of history, I learned a lot about the Biblical defense of slavery. I had primary sources from Godly southern men who wrote wonderful prose defending their slave holding preferences. The most fascinating piece was an excerpt from a seminary textbook, teaching pastors how to defend slavery from the pulpit. It was a chapter right between such topics as marriage and stewardship. In that day, powerful southern churches defended the practice of slavery and could lay out scripture to back up their claims. I’m sure if they’d have had Facebook back then, it would have been full of blog links and status updates and wars waged by comments.
From the same churches today flow condemnations against homosexuals. With arguments based on A FEW scriptures. And “common sense” about the “way God created us to be”. Continue reading
I find myself embarking on a Church hunt yet again. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on this in the future, but for now I just want to express why it is that I felt a need to leave the place I was attending in the first place.
I was raised to believe that Church membership is a commitment not to be trifled with. That could be why I’ve never joined a church. Growing up, my parents were members of a church that practiced believer’s baptism (as opposed to infant baptism), and would baptize teenagers, but reserved membership for those over 18. So I was baptized, but went away to college before I joined that church. That fellowship of churches is rather limited to certain geographic areas, so I find myself now living in a region that doesn’t really have any of those churches. Other denominations I was around growing up practiced believers baptism linked to church membership. Some of these churches had standards of dress and other guidelines for their members – head coverings and plain dresses for the women, restrictions on the colors of cars, no TV, and various other guidelines. It was obviously a big deal when my friends decided to be baptized and join their church when it meant they would be submitting to these guidelines. Continue reading
As I’ve been working through this idea that, hmm, this is what my sexual orientation is, I’ve also been working through the idea that, hmm, people around me wouldn’t like to know this.
Vulnerability. Daring Greatly. Coming out of the closet.
Secrecy. Shame. Hiding.
A friend I respect kind of a lot encouraged me to read The Blue Parakeet, a book by Scott McKnight. It blew my mind wide open. In a really good way. (No, it’s not an affiliate link, so no money to me if you buy it). Refreshingly, it has nothing to do with Gay anything. Whew. But I think it would be the first book I would hand to a straight Christian who wants to have a more open mind. Play number one in the Fundamentalist playbook for challenging a gay-affirming Christian is accusing them of de-valuing scripture, or ignoring the Bible. Actually, that comes up pretty quickly any time Christians are arguing about anything. Continue reading
In case you missed it, Vicky Beeching did an interview with the Independent August 13, in which she announced that she is in fact attracted to women. A subsequent film interview gave her story and a somewhat passionate debatewith anti-gay preacher Scott Lively. Coming about a year after the World Vision fiasco (remember when World Vision announced that they would allow gay folks to work for them RHE’s comments on this here, only to reverse the decision in an few days due to the number of dropped sponsorships and overwhelmingly negative response online??? RHE’s update here), I expected my news feed to be full of hateful responses, or at least a call to boycott her music. I’ve waited all month and it seems as though none of my conservative friends are outraged by this. Perhaps no one really knows who the artist is who sings this song or that? Perhaps because she’s been out of Christian music for almost 5 years no one cares? I’m sure she’s gotten negative responses, but it’s been surprisingly refreshing not to have to read them all over my news feed. Yet there’s almost a dread when I open Facebook as though I’m waiting for the ignorant to realize there’s something new to hate on.
I am so far in the closet in my real life that I’m not sure I can tell the door from the wall. I have my reasons. I do. To come out takes an immense measure of vulnerability, courage, and has a very real cost for those who choose to do so. I respect them. I can understand why they would have a little less respect for someone like me. Continue reading
Ex-ex-gay, that’s a thing? My momma always told me that a double negative is a positive. She was an English teacher, and if she ever figured out where I live on the internet, she would read this post, and say, if you are going to say ex-ex-gay, just say gay. Continue reading