LGBTs and Christians: bridging the chasm

Posted on June 29, 2012

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A friend of mine posted a link to this blogpost by a straight Christian ally. He writes to affirming Christians, non-affirming Christians, and to us.

To my LGBT friends:

If you used to be a Christian and aren’t now because of the way you’ve been treated in the church or your Christian home, I understand and don’t blame you. If you hear the word “Christian” and the only feeling you have is anger—believe me, I understand.

If you really wanted to believe in God but the only god you’ve ever known is one that hates you at the very core of who you are—know that god is an absolute lie.

If someone ever told you that God sent natural disasters because of homosexuals in this country, or on a more personal level, that some sort of horrible experience happened to you because you are gay—they are wrong.

And if anyone ever told you that you are unlovable—they were DEAD wrong.

I think that his words are important. They are words that suggest the type of bridge-building that is needed to bring the two violently separated sides of this argument into conversation, communion, and communicating. Some Christians are regretful about what they consider to be God’s commands against being gay. They love gay people, they maybe even consider them “misguided” brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of my LGBT community would have me believe that their inability to blindly follow me in my spiritual journey is a signal that they hate me.

It is not.

The people in my commune have been considerate, careful of my feelings, and have struggled deeply with what it means, that they have a brother in Christ who is gay, has always been gay- can’t change, and loves Christ with the same passion that they do. Unlike members of my family, they have not considered my homosexuality as a signal that I am not right with God. If anything, they consider it a challenge to their understanding of God.

In the past century, as denominations of Christianity have sought a way to co-exist, to live in peace, to consider each denomination as a part of the Church- they have managed to settle on some major points of theology as being “neccesary” to Christianity, where other points allow disagreement.

Homosexuality is not one of the major points. They would be things like the Trinity, the resurection, that Christ is the only way to be forgiven of sin, etc.
Other things like works vs. grace, method of baptism, age of baptism, pacificm vs. Just War Theory, have been left up to denominations to decide.

It is this pluralism which has allowed many churches to accept gay people- regardless of the disapproval of other denominations or, in some cases, the disapproval of their own denomination. The gay affirming Mennonite church where I attend is in disagreement with its conference.

The gay community has been greatly wronged by the Christian community. Some parts of that religious community have apologized, adn are working for our rights. If we allow room for conversation, instead of simply shouting at one another, calling each other bigotted and intolerant, there could be more change for the better.

I do not call for tolerance of obscene language directed at LGBT people. I do not suggest that we take anti-gay legislation sitting down. I do not suggest that anyone maintain a relationship with a “Christian” who is damaging their soul, or mind.

I do hope, however, that we can recognize the difference between someone suggesting our deaths, and someone mistakenly supporting a group that seeks our detriment (I am talking specifically about people who support Focus on the Family or similar groups whose main purposes have nothing to do with LGBT folk).

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Posted in: Political, Theology