On Coming Out as a Christian Who’s an LGBTQ Ally

I was going to write a post about all the things Candy Crush and the Church have in common.

It was pithy.

It was funny.

It was full of references to the importance of friends and an engaged community.

It was lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek and gently poked fun at the ways the Church and Candy Crush like to point out that we’ve failed.

The sad, disappointed look when you’ve ruined everything. Again.

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The multiple messages that make your failure very, very clear.

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“You failed!”

and

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“Level failed! You did not reach the goal!”

CC3And I was going to make sure we all noticed the undeniable fact that the guy who’s disguised as a cherubic owl with a serious anxiety problem is really THE DEVIL; he pretends to cheer for you and to want what’s best for you, but HE LIVES ON THE DARK SIDE and HE WANTS TO RUIN YOUR LIFE. –>

But none of it feels very funny anymore after watching the Church spank World Vision this week.

Now because this blog welcomes a wide array of people from all backgrounds – faith, culture, ethnicity, etc. – some of you have no idea what I’m talking about, and, man, I wish I was you right this minute, because those of us who are American Christians or evangelical Christians or fundamental Christians or who’ve come from that background are tired right now. Weary to our bones. Disappointed. Hunched in on ourselves. Feeling misunderstood and trying rather desperately to drag our wounded to safety. All of us. From all the sides. This has been an easy week for no one.

Every once in a while, I speak here as a Christian about Christiany things and invite the rest of you to participate because you’re always welcome here and always encouraged to pull up a chair to this table. This is one of those times, so I’ll recap, briefly, the most recent circumstances so you’re not walking into this Family Brouhaha blind.

This week, one of the world’s largest and most well-respected Christian humanitarian aid organizations, World Vision, announced a policy change which would allow Christians in same-sex marriages to be eligible for employment. Two days later, under intense pressure from Christian detractors of that position, World Vision reversed their decision.

It’s no secret that the question of how to love our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ) neighbors – Christian and otherwise – is dividing the Church, and this week was a powder-keg example.

KAPOW! 

There’s Christian shrapnel all over the internet right now, tangled remnants of an ugly war, and even those of us who were bystanders are reeling from the concussion.

As I looked around the battlefield – so many wounded – I felt helpless. Alone. Dismayed. And then I realized how much more alone my LGBTQ friends, especially those who identify as Christian and who want to participate in the life-changing work of organizations like World Vision, must feel. To be so often ostracized by their faith community. To want so desperately to belong and to worship with their family. To finally be invited, publicly, in the door and welcomed to the table. And then, in an abrupt turn of events, to be booted back out. To be told the invitation was a mistake and ill-advised. To have the welcome retracted.

Oh, dear God. This is not – this is not – the Way of Love. It’s just… not.

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We have failed. Not World Vision specifically, although they did fail by even their own account, but, more significantly, the Church as a whole. All of us. We have failed. And we are to blame.

We did not reach the goal which is always – always – to Love God and to Love Our Neighbors.

But what can I do about it, bystander that I am? I mean, really. I’m a straight, Christian woman. How in the world can I mitigate any of the pain? 

And then I realized there’s one thing I can do, even though it’s a little thing – a tiny thing, given my one life and my one voice – and that is to tell the wild truth, as best as I understand it in this moment, about Who Is Welcome at Love’s Table. Which is everyone. All the people. Welcome at Love’s Table. Despite everything, welcome. Despite the war, welcome. Despite the hurt, welcome. Although I don’t blame you if you can’t bring yourself to come or to trust that Love even has a table.

Those of us who slowly move our perspective from our fundamental roots to become Christian allies of the LGBTQ community are, overall, a quiet bunch. For every Christian person who’s out as an LGBTQ ally, I know 20 more who are in the closet. Not because we don’t care about the plight of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Not because we don’t think things should change. Not because we’re apathetic about the truth or love as far as we understand them. But because we want to be peacemakers. We know and very deeply love our friends and family members who remain committed to a different interpretation of the Bible, and we understand many will see our affirmation of LGBTQ relationships as capitulation to culture at best, a deliberate misinterpretation with the intention of leading people astray at worst, and a betrayal either way.

We’re quiet because, well, we don’t want to rock a boat that’s already in very choppy seas.

But while we’re quiet, there are LGBTQ people who are receiving the message from the Church, loud and clear, that they must choose between Who God Created Them to Be versus Faith in God. 

Each person must decide when her silence is helpful and healthy and makes peace and creates unity, and when it has morphed into a silence that perpetuates pain and loneliness and despair and isolation. I’ve reached the point where my silence must end.

It’s time to tell you that I’m a Christian who’s also an LGBTQ ally. 

It’s time for me to stand publicly with the people who are marginalized and those who’ve been asked to leave the table. I cannot, as a follower of Jesus, whom I believe is Love Incarnate, do otherwise. This is, for me, a matter of conscience, a matter of obedience, a matter of justice, a matter of mercy, a matter of resurrection, a matter of truth, and a matter of grace.

It’s time for me to tell my fellow Christians who are quiet LGBTQ allies that I know what it’s like to come out slowly as an ally. To come out quietly. To hover over the Facebook “like” button on a positive article about my LGBTQ friends and try to decide whether to click it. To be afraid to let others see me like it. To be anxious about letting others see me go far, far past tolerating people; far, far past loving the sinner; and run, instead, headlong into support, affirmation, approval and the belief that the love of another person, regardless of gender, can be good, strong, healthy, life-giving and within God’s plan. I know it’s hard. I know. I swear I do. And it’s OK to be where you are in the process until your heart tells you it’s time to take the next step. But when it’s time, take it. Do.

And, finally, it’s time for me to apologize to and ask forgiveness from my LGBTQ friends who frequent this space. Although my friends, my family and my church – some of whom agree with my position and some of whom don’t – are well aware I’m both a committed Christian and an LGBTQ ally, I’ve skirted the issue here, making subtly supportive statements while deliberately avoiding the issue. As though you, my friends, are an issue to be avoided and not mentioned. In that way, I’ve allowed you to suffer while I benefited from my silence, and for that I’m deeply sorry.

You need to know, especially those of you who’ve been invited in and then asked to leave – welcomed and then rejected – that there’s room at Love’s table and friends who long for you to sit and eat with us. We’re still a small table, but we’re growing ever larger all the time, and there is, emphatically, a place for you here.

 …….

For those of you who want it, here’s
More Information:

1. On My Theology

Frankly, the last thing any of us need is yet another Biblical exegesis on homosexuality, and I would be wasting my time and yours if I attempted to outline the 20 year process that’s taken me from my fundamental roots to the conviction that God blesses LGBTQ relationships.

Jen Hatmaker spoke the truth this week when she wrote, “The Christian community is not going to reach consensus on gay marriage. Every article, regardless of its position for or against, is the same. The support arguments; same. The rebuttals; same. The circular thinking; same. The responses are fully predictable, the language identical, the interpretations immovable, and after all the energy expended, we discover we are at the same impasse. This is a fact: Thousands of churches and millions of Christ-followers faithfully read the Scriptures and with thoughtful and academic work come to different conclusions on homosexuality (and countless others). Godly, respectable leaders have exegeted the Bible and there is absolutely not unanimity on its interpretation. There never has been.” 

Nevertheless, for those of you who are curious how I can love the Bible and love Jesus and not simply tolerate but, instead, affirm, encourage and support my LGBTQ friends who are in relationships, I’ll direct you to Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays vs. Christians Debate by Justin Lee and to the Gathering Now video sermon series on The Birds, The Bees & The Bible

Some will say I’m misguided. Or deceived. Or that I’m willfully and nefariously misreading Scripture. To which I say, maturely, Nuh Uh and Am Not, times Infinity.

2. On the Very Best Resource, Bar None, for Christians (regardless of your stance on homosexuality) Who Want to Love Your LGBTQ Neighbors

The Gay Christian NetworkFounded in 2001, the Gay Christian Network (GCN) is a nonprofit Christian ministry dedicated to building bridges and offering support for those caught in the crossfire of one of today’s most divisive culture wars. Our membership includes both those on Side A (supporting same-sex marriage and relationships) and on Side B (promoting celibacy for Christians with same-sex attractions). What began as an organization to provide support to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) Christians has grown into a worldwide movement for compassion with many straight members as well.

3. Other Things I’ve Written About Faith, Doubt and the Church

Here’s my story of Faith and Doubt.
Here’s What I Wish the Church Would Be.
Here’s the Real Reason I Still Go to Church.
Here’s why “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” should be abolished.
Here’s my Confession About Faith.

4. On How This Benefits Me

It doesn’t. I benefit by my silence. By not coming quite all the way out of closet as an LGBTQ ally. By having quiet conversations in private and not rocking the public boat. Churches and parachurch organizations allow me to come speak if I am silent about this issue; one of which told me so very clearly. I will miss having those opportunities, but my minor losses don’t compare to the losses endured every day by my LGBTQ friends, and I am grateful for the opportunity to stand with them.

5. On What I Think About My Friends and Family – both online and in person – Who Believe to Their Bones I’m Totally Wrong About This

I love them very much. 

I believe wholeheartedly that Jesus exhorted us to expand our definition of Neighbor. To extend the title of friend to those on the other side of our cultural fence. To hold Love God and Love One Another as our highest goal. To choose to reject the concept of sides. And so, as my heart has shifted from my conservative roots to a more wild and free and boundless Gospel of Grace, I am convicted that it’s my job to love my conservative neighbors as fully as I love my progressive, liberal and LGBTQ neighbors. To extend to them the same benefit of the doubt I hope they will extend to me: that we are each doing everything we can to reach the goal of Love, devil be damned.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
112 comments
  1. I find it interesting that those who put pressure on World Vision may have pledged to sponsor a child then decided not to because of the policy change. Wouldn’t that then be a lie not to fullfill the pledge? The same ones who would put the emphasis on the “sexually immoral” (whether homosexual or heterosexual) must forget that liars are listed in some of the same verses along with other sins. (Rev. 21:8) Didn’t the Bible also exhort us to care for widows and orphans?

  2. Thank you, Beth. ❤️

  3. Beth, thank you. I have wavered back and forth for years on my stance on this issue. I’ve struggled to reconcile the real life stories of LGBTQ friends and acquaintances with the fear-based theology and actions I see around me. And I’ve wondered where I should stand. Opening this post last night sent me off on an hours long search through some of the resources you presented here and some I’ve been meaning to peruse on my own.

    I feel my heart has finally found its grounding in Love on this matter. So thank you, for bringing this into light and sharing your passionate love for people and how important it is. Because that is what we all are. People who long for love and companionship. And some people have been handed a set of cards in this life that requires such bravery and perseverance. I, for one, don’t want to be a part of the burden anyone carries.

    I’m still sorting out how to present this all to my children and how to even offer support especially to gay Christians in my community because, sadly, I don’t know of any. But I’m sure they are there and I want to be ready, to know exactly where I stand when I encounter them so that I don’t inadvertently inflict wounds that would hinder their walks with Jesus.

    May I recommend an amazing documentary to you and your readers that beautifully presents the journeys of a few gay Christians? It is so incredibly powerful. And not just for Christians. It’s available for free right now online at http://www.sgamovie.com/free

  4. As someone who is fully queer, who grew up in the Christian church (who left the church because I was intensely tired of the “we love you, but we don’t agree with your “lifestyle choices”‘), Christians NEED to speak up against the BULLSHIT of a tiny minority of the population, who are vocal and obnoxious and full on crazy and do not represent the vast majority of their peers.

    As one of my favourite podcasters frequently mentions, why is it so hard for conservatives to empathize with everyone else unless it’s right in their faces. They’re completely anti-marriage equality until one of their children comes out, and on and on and on. You do a tremendous amount of good by coming out as an ally.

    Also, it’s time to stop the “well, I want to be an ally, but I don’t agree with the lifestyle”. No one’s asking anyone else to be apart of a “lifestyle”. I have perfectly decent working relationships with my co-workers who are intensely conservative catholic, who do not “agree with my lifestyle” (a term I LOATHE with every fibre of my being). Being an ally doesn’t mean you have to jump on a bandwagon, it means that you will not tolerate homophobia, gender-based discrimination or hatred. I’m not asking you to JOIN MY MARRIAGE (in fact, I would much prefer if you let me live my life how I choose). I don’t care whether you support my marriage or not, but the good and decent and LOVE based thing is to help all couple secure the benefits of legal rights as married spouses (this is not about religion, this is about legal protection for your family).

    Protecting families is at the heart of marriage equality. Some of the stories out there would make your hair curl with how horrible they are, further highlighting how important marriage equality is. Just because you support gay marriage doesn’t mean you have to break up your straight marriage and rush to marry someone of the same sex (and honestly, there’s not that many of us, so please stop!). Marriage equality also helps to prevent gay people from entering into straight marriages, thinking this will “help fix it” out of shame and internalized homophobia. This is SO MUCH WORSE than just letting us all get married to the person we love.

    Stepping off my soap box, thanks for listening! 🙂

    1. I would love some clarification on your statement:

      “Christians NEED to speak up against the BULLSHIT of a tiny minority of the population, who are vocal and obnoxious and full on crazy and do not represent the vast majority of their peers.”

      When you talk about speaking up against “the bullshit of a tiny minority of the population”, are you talking about Christians challenging fundamentalist and hateful interpretations of the Bible? Or are you talking about Christians challenging the 5-6% of Americans who are LGBTQ seeking to reinterpret Scripture which in the area of sexuality has been uniformly interpreted for almost 2 millennia until the late 20th century?

      The reason I ask is because both can be construed as “a tiny minority of the population”. If the voice of the tiny minority should be dismissed simply on the basis of its size, would that not preclude the LGBTQ voice in the framework of the US?

      Also, what would be your advice for someone who recognizes that Scripture teaches that sin has communal as well as individual consequences, i.e. our individual lifestyles do not affect ourselves alone? I would love to hear your proposal for a way forward in the conversation where one party perceives same-sex sexual action as sin that impacts the community and the other perceives it as permissible and affirmed by God. This is an obstacle that I have not been able to surmount.

      Thanks for your insight!

      1. David, I like your questions. I would say that the size of the group holding a given position (and you are right that to be consistent, this must apply equally to all sides) neither speaks to whether they should have a voice in our society, nor is it an indication of the validity of their position. Similarly, I posit that the amount of time a particular biblical interpretation has lasted is not a good indication of it’s validity either. For example, reliance on historical interpretations of scripture to defend the institution of slavery (within the past 200 years) was misguided. Rather, I believe that we must do our best to interpret scripture via reliance on inspiration from the Holy Spirit, our (God-given) intellect, our life experience, and historical perspectives (in that order of importance).

      2. The tiny portion of a population I’m talking about is the violent, abusive, hateful “christians” (who, in my opinion cannot actually be CALLED christians, since Jesus never said anything about picketing anyone’s funerals or beating them to death).

        Your sexual acts are squicky to me, too, so lets just agree to NEVER TALK ABOUT IT and be done with it. Just because someone does something IN BED that you don’t like or don’t agree with, isn’t enough to block an entire portion of the population (the queer people) the right to get married. In my (very gay) opinion, anything involving a penis is just… ick…. No one’s asked you to divorce you wife and go have sex with a man, either. My marriage does not impact yours, since I’m not asking you to participate in my marriage.

        Of course our individual lifestyles affect our outside world. A teenager who hates themselves SO MUCH because of internalized homophobia, who then KILLS THEMSELVES, affects everyone around them. A woman who is so deeply closeted that she hates herself cannot enter into a loving, authentic relationship with anyone (friendship or romantic) because you cannot love from a place of hate. A father who spews hate against gay people damages his children, even if they are all straight, because homophobia comes from a place of discomfort with gender identity (insults towards gay men poke at their femininity, I’ve met lots of straight guys who are more gentle and more “feminine” who suffered terribly at the hands of school bullies as a child, who were deeply damaged by the homophobia when they weren’t even gay!!). Homophobia affects ALL of us, because it narrows what we accept as “normal” for men and women, which is detrimental for the men who are naturally more effeminate and the women who are naturally more masculine, and ESPECIALLY the people who fall in the middle or completely off one side (transgendered, intersexed, people who do not identify as a man or woman, etc). It means that our boys are socialized into being “tougher” and “more masculine”, and that our girls are encouraged to be more “feminine” and “like pink” and “raise babies”. It doesn’t really allow for the fluidity of gender roles (men can be excellent parents and stay-at-home-dads, women can be the aggressive career powerhouses, etc).

        1. Amanda, thank you for this. For your story. For your comments. For your clarification and for taking David’s questions seriously. That’s gracious of you.

          David, thanks for your comment, too, and for bravely asking for input from other perspectives. I want to address this part of your comment: “Also, what would be your advice for someone who recognizes that Scripture teaches that sin has communal as well as individual consequences, i.e. our individual lifestyles do not affect ourselves alone? I would love to hear your proposal for a way forward in the conversation where one party perceives same-sex sexual action as sin that impacts the community and the other perceives it as permissible and affirmed by God. This is an obstacle that I have not been able to surmount.” Here’s my advice, since you asked for it:

          1. Be very, very careful what you’re calling sin and HOW you’re calling it out. I cannot caution Christians about this enough. I’ve written at length about it here: http://bethwoolsey.com/2013/10/3-reasons-i-quit-loving-the-sinner-and-hating-the-sin/ and it applies no matter what your beliefs are about homosexuality.
          2. Be very, very careful about the “sin that impacts the community” statement. I would posit that Christians have done more to harm our communities through our sins: failing to love our neighbors, failing to fight poverty, failing to instill hope, failing to be Light-bringers and Love-bearers, and on and on and on. If we’re serious about protecting our communities from the sinners, we must – we MUST – begin by confessing our sins, changing our behavior, living humbly, listening to our brothers and sisters (and Jesus called EVERYONE our brothers and sisters)… taking care of the plank in our own eyes before we even consider there may be a speck in someone else’s.
          3. To be clear, Jesus did not call us to protect our communities from sin. Or to read the list of rules. Or even to tell people to go and sin no more (see link in #1 for more on that). Jesus called us to put down our stoning rocks. Jesus called us to invite “sinners” to dinner. Jesus called us to advocate on each other’s behalf. Jesus called us to embrace each other and call each other neighbor and friend.
          4. We’ve now had long enough to conduct scientific studies on the ways children are affected when they’re raising in LGBTQ homes. The studies agree – these families are horrible and heroic, awesome and awful, beautiful and brutal, like ALL families. In some cases, because LGBTQ folks have to fight so hard to HAVE families, they’re even more focused, more engaged, and more present as parents. We need to PAY ATTENTION to studies like this and not make the preemptive decision that LGBTQ families and individuals are causing harm. That’s patently – and provably – false.

  5. Beth, I love your heart and I am especially proud of your guts today. You have vocalized so many of the conflicts I have felt within my own heart and in my own relationships and I almost want to print this post and carry it around with me on an index card so I can just read it aloud when a tough conversation on this topic comes up.

    So many Christians, myself included, get tangled up in the balance between Truth and Love. Sometimes we lean so heavily toward Truth that we forget completely about the Love. Other times we get so caught up in the “Love everyone for everything!” mentality that we ignore that there is still Truth and Jesus made it very clear that some things are right and some things are wrong. It’s such a tough dance to do as we navigate this life and I’m so grateful that God is patient with us as we fumble about and try to figure it out.

    Congrats on your “coming out” and I think you will find that there is an army of supporters standing behind you on this one that far outnumbers the ones who desert you or turn their back.

    We love ya.

  6. Thank you thank you thank you for writing this. I kept asking myself over and over this week, “where is the LOVE in all of this?” Didn’t Jesus tell us to love our neighbors as ourselves? How can we love if we are too busy telling everyone how “right” we are? I feel SO misrepresented as a Christian this week. I am so thankful to you and Jen Hatmaker for the thoughtfulness of your writing.

  7. Thank you for writing what I’ve been trying to figure out how to say for a long time. As a straight Christian woman, I’m not always sure how to be useful as a peacemaker, though I know it must mean standing for peace and for those being hurt in the battle, and I struggle with how to stand beside someone without standing ahead of them, giving them voice instead of being the voice. You’ve done a beautiful job expressing gracefully the conclusions I’ve held for several years, and I love your resource list at the end.

  8. Thank you, Beth. Thank you for posts that so often make me think “this friend speaks my mind”; and also for reminding me so often that I can do this Love thing better.

  9. Bravo, Beth! As a Jew, there’s a lot of this that I can’t comment on – but I can say overall that I’m very proud to count you as an ally. I do think, respectfully, that the one issue you are still skirting a tiny bit here is that of imposing religion on others – that supporting or not supporting on a personal or company level is one thing (for instance, World Vision choosing to employ or not employ homosexuals), but broad political efforts that affect everyone (like the marriage debate) are very different and to my mind, much more disturbing. If people don’t believe homosexuality is morally right and choose not to employ or befriend those who disagree, that is their own prerogative – but there is a huge gap between not supporting something personally and not permitting others to live out their lives as they choose, even in areas that are absolutely no one else’s business, behind closed doors. Again, I applaud this piece and think it is a really important step – this is just my personal feeling on the distinction between two types of opposition, that often gets ignored in these discussions. Thank you for starting this important conversation!

    1. I agree, Bekka, wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, since Jerry Falwell began to successfully rally fundamental Christians in the 1970’s into the political force that is the religious right today – and due to the fact that until very recently, Christians were the majority in the U.S. – Christians have been trained to truly believe that their beliefs should be the law of this land. I believe that that unhealthy marriage (or, to put it in Christianese terms, the unequal yoking)of politics and Christianity has done more to undermine the reputation of Christians in the U.S. than any other single factor. It makes me sad.

  10. I am disappointed to read that World Vision reversed their decision. I read their initial statement and applauded the stand they were taking.
    As a fundamental Christ follower that is deeply committed to Love I do wonder if it is at all possible to be an ally to a LGBTQ and not agree with the way they live their life? Can I not choose Love and invite ALL to Love’s table and have differences? It feels unsafe to disagree with a LGBTQ or an ally of a LGBTQ without feeling like All-Inclusive Love is compromised. It feels uncomfortable for it to be suggested that because I don’t agree with the way a person lives their life that any care, compassion or love I may hold for them, just because they breathe, is completely discredited. I very much appreciate you perspective and bravery!

    1. Hey Jennifer,

      You might be really interested in the GCN’s explanations of the “Side B” form of Christian Homosexuality. In short, it helps explore the distinction between being LGBTQ (not a choice), and participating in homosexual relationships – there are a significant number of gay and lesbian Christians who do feel convicted to a celibate lifestyle, but they are still homosexuals. There are also members of the LGBTQ community who are still sorting out – prayerfully and with wise guidance – what God is calling them to in terms of living as a gay Christian, and they still need to be invited to the table and invested in as they are going through that process, without constantly hearing the “truth” from every Christian they meet. I encourage you to read up on the many ways in which LGBTQ Christians are sorting through the contradicting statements given to them, both in culture and in the Church, the assumptions that many Christians make about the “lifestyle” that members of the LGBTQ lifestyle live, and why many of the phrases that Christians use to express the truth in love have become harmful or passive-aggressive forms of rejection. The GCN is a great place to start. Beth has the link above.

    2. “As a fundamental Christ follower that is deeply committed to Love I do wonder if it is at all possible to be an ally to a LGBTQ and not agree with the way they live their life?”

      No. Not really. Sexuality isn’t a choice. Supporting your teenaged son who desperately wanted to learn the drums by putting up with band practice every day in your garage is “not agreeing with the way they live their life, but loving them all the same”. It’s actually brutally harmful to continue this rhetoric, because it’s just another version of “love the sinner, hate the sin”. It is *soul crushing* to have someone tell me “I totally think gay people are fine, but I can’t support your marriage”. Um… what? Then how can you be OK with me. This isn’t the time I mohawked my hair, dyed it bright red, had multiple facial piercings and dressed like a punk (much to the chagrin of my parents). This is inescapable, irreversible, unchangeable ME.

      I was made this way, perfect. There were no accidents, god didn’t make a mistake. I deeply appreciate that you are working hard towards reconciling your beliefs, and I know that Christians will all come around eventually (except the fake christians, but they’re not really christians anyways). I know that things are slow to change, but they are changing!!

      Blessings.

  11. I grew up a conservative Christian who went to a liberal high school and then on to Fox. Ironically, I kept up my fundamentalism through high school, and Fox changed me. So did my sister coming out while I was in college.

    I am a youth group leader at my church. Despite my age, I have responsibilities there. Pressing the like button was hard for me. I did it anyway. Because I have read and studied the Bible for eight years trying to know where I stand.

    I figured it out, but I kept my alliance in the closet. And maybe that’s sin, too.

  12. Yes. Yes. Yes!

  13. I love you, I love your blog, and good for you for being yourself and speaking your mind! Love, love love. You just write love and it’s beautiful.

  14. I’m a frequent lurker here. But this touched my heart so much that I actually had to comment. This is so, so me- a closeted Christian LGBTQ ally. I love what you said. Our God is a God of love and I have always believed that His love is for EVERYONE. Thank you.

  15. I’ve always been conflicted on this issue. I love friends and family who are gay. I also want to follow God’s teaching and not affirm something that the Bible seems to say is wrong. It’s a painful duality that I’ve not resolved. I do keep silent because I don’t want to hurt people. On the other hand, I think we are called to be truthful. This is what I mean–I do not feel resolved. I’m thinking about what you said, though, and I’ll look into the resources.

    1. Though I myself am not a Bible believer, the New Testament threshold for goodness seems fair. From where are coming the good fruits? What I perceive is a stance that leads to exclusion, alienation, and suicide. On the other side, I perceive a stance that leads to healing, reconciliation, and maybe most importantly for Christianity, a way for many people to remain within the church, and often their faith entirely. Choose for yourself what you think a God of love would have you do, but please also be fully aware of the consequences of choosing poorly.

  16. Love your blog. Love your honesty. Love your bravery. I work with an organization called Intersections (intersections dot org) and one of our programs is BelieveOutLoud (believeoutloud dot com)… It’s an online network that empowers Christians to work for LGBTQ equality, offering a national platform and a safe space for those exploring inclusive faith. Check it out. xoxo Bets

  17. Love this! Thank you!

  18. I believe that the Bible says living a homosexual lifestyle is a sin – an abomination even – for me. However, I also believe the Bible says that it is the living and active Word. Further, it says it’s not my place to judge. And I also believe that the Bible can say and mean one thing to me while it says and means another to someone else, because, well, it’s living and active by it’s own account. And the Bible says it’s my job to let the world see God’s love through my life, and to share the story of His grace through the gift of Jesus Christ when I’m given the opportunity. All that being said, I think it would be really easy to make the whole gay marriage thing a non-issue. The way I see it, the reason they want it is so they can have access to the benefits that heterosexual married couples have access to. Extra tax deductions. Health insurance. Adoption. Etc. Sooooo… why not just have “people rights”? Each individual person gets a tax deduction. If two people file together, they get two deductions. Everyone who lives under the same roof can be on the insurance policy of a person they live with. Why is this so hard? Why do we have to make it a fight? Even if you are a “fundamental Christian”, one of the fire and brimstone ones, you still have to admit that God says we have to love everyone. You can “hate the sin” but you have to “love the sinner”. No? So how are you loving them if you’re denying them employment? They still have to eat – even in their sin. We all do. Even in our sin. And we all have it. And no one’s is worse than any one else’s. That’s why Jesus’s sacrifice was necessary.

    1. Maira, completely agree that we’re all in this together, that no one sin is ‘worse’ than another. Follow up questions: Would you therefore use the term “abomination” in reference to other sins? Why or why not?

      1. OK, here’s the story of why I used the word abomination in my reply. About 12 years ago, I had a conversation with a deacon pastor who was also my friend and my husband’s best friend. If I remember correctly, something was going on in the world where a Christian organization had refused to hire anyone who was homosexual. My friend said that the Christian organization should have the right to refuse employment based on homosexuality because it was sin. My response was that sin is sin is sin and once you’ve committed a sin – any sin – you’re damned (unless you’re saved – but that’s another conversation). So then I couldn’t support their stand unless they were also going to never hire anyone who’s obese, because gluttony is a sin; anyone who has ever lied or will ever lie, because lying is a sin; anyone who’s committed a crime; anyone who hasn’t paid taxes they owed; anyone who has ever thought an evil thought… Because they don’t employ sinners. So basically, we should all go slit our wrists right now, because we’re all going to hell in a hand basket and since we’re sinners we don’t deserve jobs. His reply was, “Homosexuality is the only sin that’s called an abomination in the Bible, so it’s worse.” Ummm… no it’s not. According to MY Bible, any sin – ANY SIN – separates you from God. It only takes one. It can be a big one. It can be a tiny one. It can be one that doesn’t even make sense to me (there are several) because basically, He’s the Creator and he makes the rules, so He gets to say what is and what’s not. The blood of Jesus covers ALL sin, and nowhere in the Bible does it say, “Except homosexuality.” At least not that I’ve seen. I have to admit that I haven’t thoroughly researched this although I probably would if I suddenly because homosexual, but I’m pretty sure that’s not there anyway. I’m not convinced that it’s a “worse” sin. And I never researched it, so I don’t know if it’s the only sin the Bible calls an abomination, but since that conversation, it’s been brought up more than once, so I put it out there up front when I talk about it.

        1. In answer to your question, any sin that God calls an abomination, is also what I would call it – just cuz He’s the boss.

          1. The Hebrew word used in Lev. 18:22 is “toevah”. That word is used more than 100 times in the Old Testament for all kinds of things including eating shellfish, and wearing cloth of mixed fibers. In Duet. 24:4, the twice divorced woman who wants to remarry her first husband is “toevah”. So is that the list of things you would call (in English) an abomination? What I’m trying to say is this: If we truly believe that it is the work of God to convict, and our only job is to point people toward Him, then does using words like ‘abomination’, or ‘despicable’, or ‘disgusting’ help in that effort, or hurt?

    2. Maira, I have wondered this for years. Not to the same way, but even when the gay marriage debate started oh, 10 years ago or so for real, I just wondered why can’t it be that anyone could get married for any reason? If they want to make the commitment to reap the benefits, why not?

      But I also don’t think that’s all they want. Perhaps I’m misguided, but it feels like they will never be satisfied until every last person says that what they are doing is not only okay, but right. And that’s a fight they will never win because there are just plenty of us “fundamental” Christians who will never be able to agree that what they are doing is right, loving them aside.

      Beth, I’m honestly at a loss here. I can’t convince anyone, and I’ve quit trying, but neither can I be convinced that I am wrong. And believe me, I read all of this very carefully. Unfortunately, many are not like you and will not agree to disagree politely and that makes this whole issue very hard.

      So, in as much as you have kept quiet about your support, in the same way I keep quiet about the fact that I don’t agree, simply to keep the peace. But it’s frustrating and sad to me too.

      (and yes, I fully realize that I speak from the “privileged” side here that doesn’t have to deal with the discrimination, but I’m not sticking my head in the sand either)

      1. Krista, respectfully, I’m confused. Are you saying gay marriage should be legal, as long as they don’t demand that “every last person says that what they are doing is not only okay, but right”? And are you suggesting that we SHOULD politely agree to disagree, even as you acknowledge discrimination? I’ll try to take your lead on the disclaimer, and admit that I’m may be misguided, but the angst here seems to prioritize our desire as Christians to be seen doing/thinking/proclaiming truth, over being loving. Why do we need that so badly, that we will ostracize and even actively discriminate against others?

        1. To answer your questions in order Jeff…

          1) yes. because this is the feeling I get.

          2) yes, that we should be okay with agreeing to disagree – politely. And I don’t necessarily think this leads automatically to discrimination. I personally do not have any close friends that are gay. But I do have some on FB and in other areas of my life. I don’t say anything to them that I wouldn’t say to other friends about life in general, nor do I NOT say things to them because they are gay. I treat them all alike and usually simply don’t mention the gay part at all. Does that make sense? I’m fairly certain that some of them don’t even know I don’t agree with homosexuality.

          3) and why do we need that so badly? That’s harder to put into words since you can’t be me or inside my head. But as much as I would like for this to be a non-issue I simply cannot reconcile the fact that I believe that this is a sin – along with the Side B people. But it feels like we who don’t agree are being forced to agree or be ridiculed as well. Basically I’m trying to say – where is the love for all people regardless of their beliefs? Mine included.

      2. I don’t think that all of the homosexuals want everyone to say it’s ok and right. I think the majority of them just want to be left alone and allowed to live their life. I think the ones who are demanding oneness of mind that we can’t go along with are spoiled brats and much like the 2 year old version, if you ignore the bad behavior eventually it will disappear. That being said, it’s up to God – and only God – to convict them if he wants to, and I do believe he does this. The only responsibility we have is to point people toward Him – he will do the rest, and judging by the way Jesus handled sin when he walked the earth, he will handle it much better than we seem to be able to.

        1. I believe what Maira said is true here: “I don’t think that all of the homosexuals want everyone to say it’s ok and right. I think the majority of them just want to be left alone and allowed to live their life.”

          I think it’s fair to say there are people from ALL positions on this issue who want everyone else to acknowledge that their position is ok and right, and who won’t be satisfied until EVERYONE believes as they do. I think it’s unfair to paint either side as wholly this way.

          1. Oh true Beth. And I don’t feel like I fit into that side either, but I feel like I fall somewhere in the middle and that’s just “not good enough”.
            Which is also why I said, why can’t we politely agree to disagree? This is the stance that I feel gets very lost.

        2. I think you’re right too. But the ones who want to make us agree are so vocal it’s hard to see the rest. Maybe that’s the point for me. That the Christians who are so ANTI are so vocal that it’s hard to see the rest from the other side too, like you and me.

          1. Evelyn Beatrice Hall once wrote “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. That is a concise statement of of one of the tenets of freedom of speech, but it also applies to the freedom to act and live according to one’s beliefs. You’ve said, I think, that you think that LGBTQ people should be accorded certain rights even if you don’t agree with them. I admire you for saying this, because a lot of people can’t distinguish between their feelings and opinions from what is right. What I’d like to ask is would be willing to defend the rights of LGBTQ people with actions? As Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Because, if you are willing to do this, then I would respect that, and I think a lot of LGBTQ people would, too: because, regardless of what your personal views are, you are following the example of the Good Samaritan. We don’t have to see eye to eye on everything, but we need to act out of love to others.

  19. Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes! As a closeted Christian LGBTQ ally with an extremely conservative husband, my heart has been so heavy on this subject. Thank you for putting into words what I couldn’t. Thank you for giving me a little more courage to “come out”. Praise God for you Beth & the words He put in your heart to write on this subject. They truly touched my heart!

  20. I think this was beautifully said. I do think you’re wrong about one thing though. I think you will benefit from coming out as an ally. Every time a person stands up in the name of Love and says “This is me, and this is who I love”, no matter how much crap they take for it, the freedom gained from, and the beauty in that declaration… it’s immeasurable.

    1. Well said, Beck. And thank you, Beth…nothing is greater than love, and you say that with every post.

  21. Thank you, Beth. I’m not at the place yet where I can “share” this publicly on FB yet. The Very Large Majority of my friends and family would be quite displeased with me – although they would express it as kind concern.

    Maybe, hopefully, someday I will have the courage…

  22. I totally empathize with wanting to be a peace keeper. I don’t like to poke the fire on religion or politics, or anything for that matter. I have turned bowing out of conversations into an art form. And, I too have hovered over many a like button, and moved on. But you are so totally right on, so right on in fact that I both ‘liked’ and ‘shared’ the FB link to this post! May the way of Love prevail!

  23. Thank you – heartfelt, beautiful and important words, especially after such a heart wrenching week of ugliness.

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