I know the lgbt issue in the church is very controversial. If it’s the dividing line between who you believe to be acceptable to Christ and who you believe not to be acceptable, this post won’t be for you, so feel free to pass on by. I’m not here to argue: I’m here to share both an experience I had and how I feel God is leading me.
In October my husband, my daughter and I attended The Reformation Project conference in Chicago. It’s a gathering of Christians who identify as lgbt. We were thrilled with her opportunity to get to know other people who are trying to follow Christ as they also acknowledge their sexual identity.
What an experience!
First of all, I felt that I was worshipping with the persecuted church. The amount of pain in the plenary sessions and workshops was palpable. And the longing to someday be accepted by the rest of the Body of Christ was painful to feel and hear. But the amount of confidence in the love of Christ for them was equally palpable. It was humbling to listen to the testimonies and life experiences of these people who have been so marginalized.
It was also very stretching to listen to some of the people whose theology is different than what I was raised in. I was forced to struggle with beliefs that I don’t hold but that are held by other Christ-followers. I have come to realize that God includes in His Body many more people than I was taught to believe.
There will be many who won’t like to read this and you can feel free to unfriend or unfollow me, (I realize that my posts to some of you are like driving by a bad accident—you don’t want to look but you can’t help it!) but after that weekend, I am more confident than ever of God’s call on me to be affirming of all people. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t understand some areas of the lgbt continuum, but I will keep digging. In the meantime, the thing I will no longer do is believe that some people are beyond hope in Christ.
If you think about it, the lgbt community is the only group to which we, the church, give no hope. And, yet, God is a God of hope! We tell them that the only way they can ever be acceptable to God is if they stay single, have no family, and live as second-class citizens in the church. And even if they do this, they are still suspect. While I believe that God expects a purity of life for them the same as he does for me, I do not believe He considers them sub-Christian. And that purity of life that God expects is for them to work out with Him, the same as I had to work it out in my own life. (The absurdity is that we expect them to work it out with God after we’ve already told them they can’t have God!)
As to where God is taking me with all this, I have no idea. Am I called to just be the mom of a kid whose spiritual life and commitment I would stack up against anyone else’s relationship with Christ, including my own? Am I called to be more vocal, and if so, how? I’ll admit to being a coward. I don’t like people not liking me, but that’s an insignificant thing compared to what the lgbt community puts up with from good Christian people every day… And I realize I have nothing to offer the lgbt community, except my acceptance. But maybe God will want to use me to help other parents know it’s okay to love their lgbt children and to believe that they can still have access to God. There is so much pain out there in families with lgbt children and my heart breaks for these families who need support from fellow Christians who will love their children without judgment.
SO MANY QUESTIONS!
Thankfully, God is good and I don’t have to have all these questions answered today, but I do know that I am forever changed, both by my family’s personal circumstances and by the weekend spent with other lgbt Christians. Thanks for putting up with me working out life by writing about it. I don’t expect anyone else to have answers for me, but I just want to share where I’m at…