“I Came Out to My Evangelical Family. And Guess What?”

On January 2 I received this email:

John Shore,

I’m not sure who you are or where you came from, but I’ve spent the morning reading your blogs and I’m compelled to say a very sincere “Thank you!” Your thoughts ring true to what I’ve always felt in my heart.

I won’t bore you with details, but you have restored my hope that there are common sense Christians still alive in this world. After growing up as a minister’s kid, I had my doubts.

I’m coming out to my family soon, and I will be passing on your blog for them to read. They are very devout, but kind and open-minded, so I hope it will help in sorting out their confusion.

I look forward to hearing what you have to say in this new year. Thanks again.

I love that “John Shore.” It’s so … comprehensively communicative.

Three months later I received this email from the same reader:

Hello John.

I wrote to you a few months ago about finding your website, my soon-to-be coming out, and being, in general, encouraged by your and your readers’ level of love, logic and realness. Just wanted to let you know I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth, and am preparing to tell my friends and family within the next couple of weeks about the true me.

Although I no longer consider myself a believer, I’m following your blog closely, and have been encouraged by the issues you discuss and the points you make. Thinking back over my 11 years in the ministry, I truly wish I’d been around people like you all during this time. I love that you aren’t afraid to discuss topics and delve into tough issues–a quality that is sorely lacking in the church today. I’ll admit that I am intrigued by you all, and you’ve given me much to think on these last couple of months. If nothing else, you give Christians a good name, in my opinion.

I’ve also been enjoying The Smith Family Chronicles. Wow. What a creative way to express the true absurdity of it all. Please keep it up!

My family members are all very devout, but reasonable, Christians, so I’ll be sharing your website with them to read and to ponder.

Thanks again. Keep writing. I’ll keep reading.

And then, this morning, from the same writer, I got in this:

Hello John.

Just a quick note. I’d emailed you a few months ago telling you thanks for your writings and your voice. I hadn’t yet come out to my fairly conservative family, but I had some of your articles in hand for when I did. [I'm guessing she means from this group.] Well, last week was the week. Along with the letter, I left some past articles of yours, and then sorta held my breath.

So today, I write again to say thank you for your writings and your voice. My entire conservative family’s response has been overwhelmingly loving, and even supportive of who I really am. I know you hear many stories of hateful and hurtful coming-out experiences, but I wanted to bring you up-to-date on a “happy ending.”

I am still amazed every time I think about it. I’m actually myself now. No hiding, no beating around the bush, no vague answers as to why I’m not married. I get to be me. One hundred percent, crazy-ass me!  And for the icing on the freakin’ happy cake — I didn’t lose my family in the process.

Thanks again, John. Your voice has been priceless.

So now I can die happy. Sweet! I always figured I’d die in a bush outside a convenience store somewhere. And I probably will. But at least I’ll be smiling!

I wanted to share these emails (which of course I do with their author’s permission) by way of saying this: If you blog, keep at it. Keep writing the truth as you understand it. Don’t mitigate, placate, obfuscate, adulterate, ameliorate, or propitiate. (Do, however, alliterate. It’s awesome.) Say what you need to say, say it plainly, and say it every day. Because you never know who might be out there, taking your words to heart.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • DR

    As hard as I can be on Christians who hurt the GLBT community (a lot of times without knowing it), there are a lot of really wonderful ones out there too.

  • [Anonymous]

    I would like to know what the person above said th his family, I am facing the same situation and just don’t know how to go about it or what to say. I have 5 kids and just realized I am Lesbian so at 58 I get to shake up their world again. five years ago I divorced their dad. So I am hoping I can get some wisdom here. thanks LB

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      [Anonymous]: Do you want me to share with all — via a blog post — the letter you wrote me about this? And maybe find out that way what people might advise you? (I replaced the full name you left with your comment with [Anonymous], just in case you did’n’t mean to leave your name.)

    • Suz

      Linda, you’ve come to the right place, although I personally, can offer you little in the way of advice, only support.

      Here’s some advice anyway. It might be a walk in the park, and it might be a journey through hell. Be honest and stick by your principles, but don’t burn any bridges with your family. (They may burn a few, but you can’t stop them.) Don’t say anything you will regret; the last thing you need right now is shame. And DO NOT let anyone convince you that what you are is shameful! I wish you peace.

    • Brian W

      How old is your youngest child?

      • Mindy

        Why does this matter? Really – why? She’s 58; I’m guessing her youngest child is nearly grown if not so. And even younger children can understand the general concept, Brian. It’s pretty simple.

        • Brian W

          Mindy,

          Was I asking you? It can matter because 5 years earlier the kids suffered through a divorce of their parents, which is never easy no matter how old. I suspect a woman of 58 probably has kids all over 20, but you never know and older children can understand better than younger kids.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            I soooo want to do a post consisting of the the back-and-forths between Christy, Mindy, DR and Brian. If anyone wants to cut-and-past that together for me, I am so in.

          • DR

            I’m officially exhausted. Officially. :D

          • Brian W

            check your email John…..

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            I didn’t get anything.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            =) Fun….

            Gotta take my sweet boy to the zoo today. Sorry. Maybe later.

    • Debbie

      Very cool!

      To the lady above, keep it treasured in your heart that no matter what goes down Jesus is enough. You can add nothing or take away from what He has done and you cannot stop Him from showering His entire creation with His redeeming heart. Jump into the sea of uncertainty with only this – He is enough.

      • RuthAnn

        Debbie, I don’t know who you are, but your words spoke so deeply to my heart this morning. I have copied your quote to my FB page, and stored it in my heart. Thank you. Most of my family has rejected me, so this spoke much hope for me.

  • Suz

    You made my day, John! It’s been a wild week in here, and this is what it’s all for. There is no bad news here, and I pity anyone who wastes their time and emotion thinking otherwise. This is how the story should always read.

  • A’isha

    What a fabulous story! The writer of these letters will probably bring hope to many people thinking of coming out to their parents. I hope that parents will read this as well and realize how ridiculous it would be to meet their children’s coming-out with condemnation instead of love.

  • http://www.beckygarrison.com Becky Garrison

    That’s why I came out swinging when the Sojo Snafu started … if we don’t speak the truth to power than we’re just Christian cash cows looking to capture the cha-ching on the Xn author/speaker circuit. People need to know that the vast majority of these holy hipsters are blowing hot air. (BTW, yes, I can be full of crap but I admit when I freely stink.)

    I just went today to an affirming Baptist Church in the Philadelphia Main Line – pleasant surprise.

    • kimberly

      Cool!!! the affirming Baptist Church experience, i mean. :-)

      • Debbie

        Bugger the church I was blown away by the way you express yourself Becky! Loved it!

    • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

      Thank you for the good work that you do to shed light in dark corners, Becky. We are grateful.

    • Leah

      was it Central Baptist Church in Wayne? :D I’ve been there many a time for their LGBT youth group, Mainline Youth Alliance. Wonderful, sweet people. :D

  • Brian W

    “…there are a lot of real wonderful ones out there too…”. More than you’ll ever know

    • DR

      Really? Then get them to start acting more like this set of parents and start repairing the damage that the others are doing. You’ve read these stories for yourself, people aren’t making this up. Spend your energ on that instead of trying to defend what you and others believe.

      • DR

        (behavior – not intent – determines our goodness).

      • Brian W

        DR,

        I wish I could, but I can’t, but what I can do is share the Gospel to ALL people freely. Like one person already said, “Religion sucks, but Jesus is awesome”.

        • DR

          Brian your response has a term it is called “selective helplessness”. Hive heard these stories for yourself, there are specific things your fellow evangelicals are doing. You worship alongside of them every Sunday, I presume. You could make any number of choices, you could show this blog to your pastor. You can ask your friends o er dinner how to handlethe reality that gay people feel condemned and pushed away by what you believe the Bible says about them. That’s just for starters. It’s a lot more than preaching the Cospel, when someone is in pain we don’t yell “god loves you!” without finding out what type of band aid we can provide for their specific wound

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            DR you seem to have “selective helpfulness”, Your burden is for the gay community. Reminds me of Peter in the BIble, he was focussed so much on the conversion of the Jew, he neglected the Gentiles, it was so bad that Paul rebuked him face to face about it.. The Gospel is for all, not just the Jew. Pain and suffering is not limited to the gay community, the world suffers and the world needs Christ and The Gospel (which is more than “Jesus loves you”) heals the root problem and not just the symptons (a band aid)

            Your burden is for the gay community and overly generalizing how virtually all my “fellow evangelicals” have hurt or are hurting the gay community. DR, I realize there are specific things that my “fellow evangelicals” are not doing, or are doing to cause pain to the gay community (how can I NOT, since you continually beat that drum) but I would say most evangelicals are reflected by the letter writer’s family, not all, most however.

            Frankly, I wasn’t surprised that the writer’s family was so supportive and loving.

          • DR

            My burden is for the Gospel of Christ reaching everyone that intends to, Brian.

            These stories speak for themselves, if you are choosing to read them then you know that. That even one of God’s children – the people He came to die for – is being pushed away from an experience of salvation as a result of how we are interpreting Scripture regarding their sexual orientation? That is 100% our responsibility to fix. To even make sure that’s not happening *once* is the goal, Brian. Jesus died for everyone.

            You’ve indicated that you go to a Bible-believing church that does not affirming of homosexual behavior. You’ve seen for yourself how that impacts the gay men and women here, how many experience rejection, shame and condemnation as a result. So the burden of those consequences of that behavior rely on us to address. If you want to believe that homosexual orientation is not of God? Fine. Then make sure you are addressing the impact that has with the gay men and women who would still like to be at your church, take the steps you need to in order to make sure that how you all address that is clear. Perhaps even run it by them to make sure it is effective.

            I go to a church that affirms gay men and women but I’m doing my part here.

          • DR

            In other words Brian, you are the bearer of the message that homosexuality is not of God. As a result, you are also responsible for making sure that you do all you can to create a safe, welcoming place for homosexuals in your church so they can actually *hear* the Gospel that you say they need. From what they’ve said here, in those environments they’ve felt rejected. They actually don’t feel welcomed. One writer said that her friends still reject her. What are you doing in your church to make sure this isn’t happening?

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            DR,

            You make very valid points and I agree, if a person is being denied the opportunity to hear and understand the Gospel because of their sexual orientation and made to feel “unwelcomed” that is indeed wrong. I do my part to be a witness in word and behavior for the Gospel that is freely available to all. In no disrepect, Jesus is an equal opportunity Savior.

            I do my part whenever I can to make everyone who comes to my church feel welcome and safe. I think pretty much everyone does, it is a big church so I can’t speak for all. I try and treat everyone the same, if I know they’re gay or not, everyone needs Jesus and everyone is welcome. I don’t know what else to tell ya DR…the Gospel is freely preached to all.

          • DR

            Brian I don’t have any issue with you preaching the Gospel of Christ. What I’m asking for – what a lot of people would ask for – is that you actually find a way of incrementally addressing this issue with those in your church who also believe that homosexuality is not of God. That you would perhaps consider that despite your belief that preaching the Gospel of Jesus is enough? That people who are gay don’t stick around long enough to hear it because they are too ashamed or too rejected by your stated belief that their sexual orientation is not of God. As a result, your environment is not welcoming to gay men and women (from what they are telling us) and they instead, seek religious environments that are gay affirming. Which if you believe your church is too big or the problem isn’t worthy of a specific plan of action by your church elders? That might be the best option for them.

            The amount of energy we put toward something indicates how much in truth, we care about it.

            I’m not gay, I don’t know what they need. But from what I understand, many have stated very clearly that just preaching the gospel of Jesus isn’t enough to counter

          • DR

            “Isn’t enough to counter your belief that their sexuality is not of God”. (I’m completing my last sentence, I need to stop typing on an iPhone).

          • Matthew Tweedell

            “[Y]ou are the bearer of the message that homosexuality is not of God.”

            Indeed there is no sexuality such that it is properly of God: sexuality is not a characteristic of deity, and sexuality will not inherit the Kingdom. It is a gift from God—yes—but also a temptation from the Evil One. Is it the role of religion to be affirming sexual behavior? In the proper separation of religious and secular life, should not sexuality belong to the secular? Effecting a proper balance in the world begins with achieving proper balance within, not with becoming the counterbalance.

            It’s not bad enough that religion is complicit in the attempted “conversion therapy” of LGBT folk: why don’t we just go ahead and reintroduce temple prostitution? Hasn’t the time has come when it could be regulated, by enforcing modern means of STD testing and safe-sex practices, so as to be no longer considered unclean? Yet the uncleanliness that religion is concerned with is spiritual. Though we might make it balanced unto itself, making both male and female prostitutes available for either gender, we would nonetheless fail to achieve the proper balance between the religious and the secular life. So how about the religious world affirm divinity, including the divine image in everyone, and leave the secular world to affirm (well enough on its own, really) the rest of our humanity, including our sexuality?

            It’s not that sex cannot be itself an act of worship, but it is not an act of worship because it is sex; the same may be said, for instance, of kneeling: Religion does not affirm kneeling—even if its adherents routinely practice it, it is only as a physical means/expression of spiritual matters which unadulterated religion might concern itself with affirming as legitimate paths of righteousness—it is not itself a virtue, even if it’s not a sin.

            Anyway, just how often do think beliefs regarding the relationship between God and homosexuality are stated at Brian’s church? To what extend do you really think Brian and his fellow churchgoers go around delivering the message that homosexuality isn’t of God?

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Focussing on one sect of society (Like Peter did with the Jews) will almost by default, neglect another (which is what happened with Peter, he neglected the Gentiles). So if you simply go into the hedges and the by-ways to all people (not a specific sector of society), then by the rule of averages, a representive cross-section of the local community will be reached with the Gospel (read: straights and gays will both be reached).

            No fellow churchgoers deliver a message that homosexuality isn’t of God anymore than they would deliver a message that heterosexuality is of God. The message delivered is the Gospel and the Gospel is sexually non-discriminatory.. Heterosexuals are sinners as much as (or more so) than homosexuals.

            If you want to make sexual orientation an important factor in your chuch, and the GLBT community your primary focus of your ministry outreach you’re free to do so, we chose to preach Christ and him cricified to all, with equal emphasis to our entire local community.

          • DR

            No fellow churchgoers deliver a message that homosexuality isn’t of God anymore than they would deliver a message that heterosexuality is of God.>>>

            Wow. Brian, you’ve said several times here that “homosexual orientation is not supported by the Bible.” you’ve said this directly a number of times and you’ve also confirmed in a number of threads that this is what Bible-believing churches believe. That everyone is sinners yes, but when asked specifically you’ve provided this additional detail. This contradicts everything you’ve said up until this point.

            I know you want to believe that there is some kind of ability to offer John 3:16 to everyone while at the same time, saying things like you’ve said so yourself here – that homosexual orientation is not of God – and believe that people who are gay still feel welcomed enough to be a part of your church but they are telling you here that it is not their reality. But it seems like you’re more invested in what you *want* their reality to be instead of what so many gay and lesbian women have offered to you here regarding their experiences in churches like yours that claim the theology about homosexuality that you claim. You can deny that or focus exclusively on what you want to be true instead of what is true though, that’s your right to stay in denial.

            The message delivered is the Gospel and the Gospel is sexually non-discriminatory.. Heterosexuals are sinners as much as (or more so) than homosexuals.>>>

            This is far more than someone’s sin. This is their being, their being that they cannot change. But it’s clear that you’re not able to make that conclusion. My only hope is that those who are reading will be able to.

          • DR

            Brian, my last words to you are about what your words were here to me:

            “You make very valid points and I agree, if a person is being denied the opportunity to hear and understand the Gospel because of their sexual orientation and made to feel “unwelcomed” that is indeed wrong.”

            Just stay with this. What are you doing in your church to ensure this isn’t happening? You’ve participated with a lot of energy here, I’m sure it’s a result of caring tremendously for gay men and women who are experiencing this in your church. If that’s the case – if it’s a priority – if you are just as concerned about their ability to be welcomed and comfortable enough to hear the Gospel, if you believe they deserve that chance just like anyone else – what are you doing to you to make sure that even the slimmest chance of someone experiencing that won’t, at your church? We have all been given our corner of the world to change.

            The bottom line is you deciding this is a priority in your corner of the world and changing it.

          • DR

            (And I don’t have to focus on this because my church is a gay affirming church. They don’t send the message to gay men and women that the Bible says their sexual orientation is wrong or sinful. So this is something you and others who do belong to a church need to take care of, not me.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            DR,

            Since all the gays I know or ever met, don’t wear a sign declaring they are gay and as far as I know, we don’t ask about a persons sexual orientation when they visit, (I guess that makes us “sex neutral”??), I suppose then there is nothing we are doing to find out of someone was offended or felt unwelcomed. Everyone is welcome. DR, we just try and peach the Gospel to all without reservation or prejudice. I guess you just can’t please all the people all the time and what most people do is find a church they like and become a member.

          • Mindy

            Not meaning to “butt in” on your conversation here, but Brian, I don’t think you are really naive enough to think that just because no one asks about a person’s sexual orientation when they visit your church, everyone who might want to hear you share Jesus’ message feels welcome.

            Gay people, searching for a church where they can be comfortable, will probably make an effort to learn where the church stands on such a matter, don’t you think? Even if they don’t out themselves, I’m betting they will listen and ask questions til they learn if it is a place in which they can be true to themselves AND learn about and worship Christ.

            And people who are born into your congregation, or join because their parents do, and then, as they grow up, figure out that they are gay, well, they’ve probably already heard homosexuality mentioned as a sin along the way. Or have asked about it innocently, as children, and been told that God thinks it is wrong.

            So even though you insist that your church would welcome anyone, even though its theology preaches against homosexuality – it wouldn’t. Gay people would not be or feel welcome, and current congregants would never feel comfortable being themselves.

            You can’t have it both ways. “We love and welcome everyone” and “homosexuality is wrong” are mutually exclusive concepts, whether you can bring yourself to admit it or not.

            And never talking about it or mentioning it unless pressed doesn’t make it any better – if it were me, I’d darned sure press until I knew whether I was truly welcomed, or not.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Mindy,

            I’m sure you’re right, 100% of the people that visit or grow-up at my church will not like it, the same holds true for any church. People will join or remain in churches they like / relate too. Everyone is welcome, but not everyone will like it, I know that. Gay people may or may not like it I don’t really know, I don’t take surveys to seek out gays and ask them. I do know everyone is welcome, it just may not be what they’re looking for – gay OR straight.

            There are many different “flavors” of churches- Spanish, Asain, Indian, Catholic, Protestant, liberal, conservative, and on it goes. Find a church where you believe God is ministering to you and the community and get involved. Don’t know what more to say other the preach the Gospel in season, out of season – reprove, rebuke exort – in all longsuffering….

          • Mindy

            Brian, this isn’t about “liking” a church. You are defending the rights of Christian churches to continue to damn homosexual people, and you are getting called on it. DR’s point to you, over and over, and the point I was trying to make is that this is about far more than feeling comfortable in a church. I felt comfortable in my former husband’s Catholic Church, because it was life-affirming and I knew a lot of people and loved the music. I was not comfortable in my sister’s evangelical church, because I don’t enjoy “Christian pop” music, and I found the pastor very off-putting and fake-seeming. To me. I don’t like formal, staid Catholic services. I’ve enjoyed other Christian services I’ve attended, even though I haven’t sought out a church. But that has NOTHING to do with the point I was trying to make.

            If a church acknowledges that it buys into the “homosexuality is sin” Biblical nonsense, then it is wrong and it is hurting gay people. If your church buys into that, no matter how lovely the services may be and how kind the people might, your church is hurting gay kids. If you’re OK with that, if you’re OK with the idea that they should just leave and find a different church, then FOR GOD’S SAKE, JUST SAY SO!!!!!!!!!! Quit talking around it, saying you agree with DR and then saying it’s not your job to try to change the minds of people in your church. If you agreed with DR and John Shore and the others, you’d take it upon yourself to try to educate your church members. You’d ask your pastor about it and begin a discussion. You’d share these blog posts and conversations with those in your church, in the hopes of moving Christian thinking forward in your church as it is moving elsewhere in the Christian world.

            But you don’t. You come here and justify your outdated thinking with the Bible, tell everyone to play nice and then go back to a church that instills self-hatred in gay youth by calling it sin. You obviously don’t have a problem with that, as your attitude seems to be that the gay youth and anyone else who isn’t comfortable with that way of thinking should just go find another church.

            So admit your bias, Brian. Admit that you’re OK with a church that hurts kids, and move on.

          • DR

            Brian one more thing. If being gay was a spiritual condition? People who are gay who have accepted Jesus into their life as their Savior would cease being gay. There are a number of gay men and women on the forum who have confirmed that they are Christians and still gay. So it’s not a sinful condition that as we repent before God for our salvation, changes. That is a huge, huge thing you need to understand. Being gay is not a sin.

          • DR

            Brian, I don’t even know why I keep trying but again, while I don’t think you are ever going to get this or acknowledge anyone’s point. there might be someone reading that will.

            SImply put – given the stories here of the tremendous rejection gay men and women have felt from the evangelical church? (Are you even reading them?) It might be worth you talking to your pastor about it, perhaps in the welcome of the visitors that most churches have or even in a sermon for your pastor to say something along the lines of “It doesn’t matter if you are gay or straight, we want you to know that you can be yourself here – gay – and still enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ.” assuming you believe that.

            You’ve been a part of these conversations. You’ve chosen to enter in, you’ve brought that on to yourself, regardless of your intent. And as a result, you are now accountable for what you’ve read and the experiences others have shared with you as they have been vulnerable and courageous in sharing the rejection they’ve experienced from your’s and those like-minded peoples’ interpretation of the Bible regarding homosexuality. I sense that you’re not going to do anything about that, I think you’re simply here to defend yourself. To justify yourself. But someone reminded me that perhaps, God has something else for you in mind. So we’ll see if you make the choice to take what you’ve learned here, educate your pastor if he’s not already aware and challenge him to make a public statement to the congregation about the importance of making gay men and women comfortable and welcomed, particularly because they’ve felt so rejected by Christians. I don’t think you’re going to do it but I really hope I’m surprised.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            DR,

            How many times have I said I agree with people on here? I don’t agree 100% on every point, I admit that, but I have agreed on many comments, I have agreed with you too.

            If gays feel rejected by a perticular evanglelical church(es) it is not my “responsibility” or duty to be the Holy Spirit and judge them. I’m responsible for myself that I do my best to live the Gospel and tell all people without reservation or prejudice that salvation is available to them through Jesus Christ. People do find that offensive, Jesus said they would.

            The answer is simple, find a church that you like and feel accepted. I doubt a Lutheran would feel all warm and fuzzy in a Catholic church, in fact they would probably feel rejected in a short period of time. People tried to “reform” the Catholic church for centuries and it didn’t work they were rejected and even murdered as heretics, so after a thousand years of so, Protestant churches were established.

            I’m not here to “justify” or “defend” myself, I’m here to declare that the Gospel is for all and not all evangelical churches reject gays. Some people / churches will never change (just like the Catholics prior to the Protestant Reformation), so let God deal with them and find a church you’re comfortable with, or establish your own local New Testament church and run it the way you want and the way you believe the BIble teaches.

          • DR

            How many times have I said I agree with people on here? I don’t agree 100% on every point, I>>>

            Um, what exactly have you agreed on? Nothing with me, that’s for sure. You’ve actually said that being a homosexual is not of God’s Will according to what you believe the Bible says and you’ve also refused to affirm gay marriage being something you believe should be legalized. The two things that gay men and women have told us all here directly that makes them feel condemned, pushed away and rejected. So no, you’re not in agreement with me or those here who are gay affirming.

            If gays feel rejected by a perticular evanglelical church(es) it is not my “responsibility” or duty to be the Holy Spirit and judge them. I’m responsible for myself that I do my best to live the Gospel and tell all people without reservation or prejudice that salvation is available to them through Jesus Christ. People do find that offensive, Jesus said they would.>>>

            Yes, and part of that responsibility is making sure that your church – if your church also believes as you do that being a homosexual is not of God’s will – feels totally comfortable there so they can actually hear the Gospel of Jesus. You are the one telling them that their orientation is not of God – not me. So you’re the one responsible for their rejection. Care about that or don’t, up to you. If you don’t? Then a lot of us have to clean up your mess you leave with them.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            DR,

            I said just a few posts up that you make valid points and I AGREE, there are other times I said I agree with you too.

            Anyway, no church can please all the people all the time, so find a church you like, is that so hard? I have felt “rejected” becuase I was Christian, I have experienced rejection because I was an American , I have been rejected for other reasons too (bad eyesight for example) and on it goes. I went my way to where I wasn’t rejected for how I believe or who I am or to where I was accepted, do the same.

            Society isn’t perfect and no church is either, since they are made up of fallible, sinful, ego-centric and self-righteous people. I try to be the best I can be (and I’m not doing well admittedly), I have enough problems with me,

          • DR

            I have felt “rejected” becuase I was Christian, I have experienced rejection because I was an American , I have been rejected for other reasons too (bad eyesight for example) and on it goes.>>>

            Brian, I’m speechless. You actually just compared being rejected for bad eyesight the rejection that a gay man or woman who is told – by you and your alleged Biblical theology – that they are “not of God” (which means “evil, by the way).

            I don’t even know what to say.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            I think I realize where some of the misunderstanding is coming from. It appears people are equating “sin” with “hate”. For example 25% of Americans are defined as obese, so it is probably safe to assume that some of that obesity is the direct result of sin, the sin of gluttony / lack of self-control. So if someone says, “obesity is the result of sin”, that does not mean they hate obese people (agreed some are born with a physical abnormality that causes obesity).

            The Bible declares unbelief as sin, so saying an “atheist is a sinner” doesn’t mean one hates atheists. There are evangelicals that proclaim that same gender sex is a sin, that does NOT mean they hate people that have same-gender sex.

            The Catholic Church believes that non-Catholics are sinning because they’re not Catholics, that doesn’t mean they hate me because I’m not a Catholic (I don’t think not being a Catholic is a sin, though I am a sinner, but not because I’m non- Catholic). So since I believe some Catholic doctrine is not soundly biblically based, I will not become a member of a Catholic church. I don’t hate Catholics, I have Catholic friends, I have attended Catholic marriages, baptisms, first communions, funerals, etc. I just don’t have the same biblical beliefs. I’m not going to attempt to change them nor call out Catholics and claim they have some responsibility to change their beliefs because they are hurting so many non-Catholics. I won’t pressure them to confront the parish priest about the pain and suffering they’re causing and have caused to all the non-Catholics around the world. I’m sure everyone knows that the Catholic Church is decidedly NOT a champion of gay rights. I don’t want to focus on changing Catholics and their doctrine / beliefs, I want to focus on sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people, ALL people.

            Just because a church or preacher says same gender sex is a sin, does NOT mean they hate gay people, any more than Catholics hate non-Catholics. I don’t believe that being a non-Catholic is a sin, that’s why I don’t attend a Catholic church. If you’re gay, you probably don’t believe being gay is a sin, so attend a church that believes the same, it’s that simple. Evangelicals simply do not hate gay people, sure many believe same-gender sex/marriage is a sin, but they don’t hate gay people nor does it imply God hates gay people.

          • DR

            It appears people are equating “sin” with “hate”.>>>

            No, that’s not the problem. The problem is that you equating “gay” with “sin”.

            Being gay is a permanent state of *being*. It is not a condition that one can abstain from or cure. It is not a set of behaviors that one can just stop doing. When someone is gay? It is the same as being a man or a woman, whether or not you want to believe that is true, that is what the GLBT community has told us and they get the last word on who they are and what being “gay” really means. So the problem is that you believing “gay” = “sin” means you are condemning them as a whole as being not of God in ways they cannot change.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            In 3rd person FB fashion: Christy likes this response.

            AND: Brian, you would no more appreciate Catholics using Catholic doctrine and interpretation of scripture (with which you yourself do not agree) or Jews or Muslims or Hindus to create government laws, that restrict your human rights or personal freedoms, based on their religious beliefs to govern the lives of all non-Catholics (non-Jews, non-Muslims and non-Hindus) than the GLBT community appreciates “true Bible believing Christians” using their interpretation of scripture and their personal convictions about what’s “right” and what “God intended” to restrict their human rights and personal freedoms.

            PS: I’m back from the zoo. It was awesome.

          • DR

            Brian said: “The Catholic Church believes that non-Catholics are sinning because they’re not Catholics, that doesn’t mean they hate me because I’m not a Catholic”

            How did I miss this? Brian this is absolutely inaccurate. I am a Catholic and there is no Catholic teaching that says you are “sinning” if you are not a Catholic. That may be your interpretation of Catholics stating you may not possess “the fullness of truth” but Catholics accept protestant baptism when non-Catholics would like to join the Catholic church. You are not “sinning” being a Protestant.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            Aye, there’s the rub. Cuz in the fundy camp, Catholics aren’t only sinning, idol worshippers, they are going to that place that doesn’t exist that John keeps talking about if they don’t believe in Jesus the “right” way. See, they don’t hate Catholics, DR. They just think you are going to hell because you don’t believe the “right things.”

            Worst thing I saw this week: Missionaries to the Amish in Ohio. I $#*! you not.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Christy and DR,

            Our laws in the U.S. are based on the Constitution and all citizens (homosexual or straight) have the same rights, protections and freedomes. When our Constitutional rights and freedoms are infringed, then we have an issue. A Christian or non-Christian could never “create a government” law that infringes or removes these rights and freedoms without first amending the Constitution – a very daunting task .

            I don’t know what you’re infering when you mention believing the “right” way or the “right things”, it is believing God’s things and living God’s way.

            Now there are Evangelicals AND Catholics that would agree “homosexual” = “sin”, (“uncontrolled heterosexual sexual behavior” = “sin” too) that still doesn’t mean they hate homosexuals or heterosexual sex addicts.

            Catholics certainly DID (many still do) believe non-Catholics were sinning because they martyed millions that would not bow to the Pope / Church dogma for over 1,000 years. DR, I find it most perplexing that you would call yourself a Catholic when official papal decree is that homosexuality is a sin and there is a hell (purgatory too) as well as the partaking of the Sacraments to be sacred and oops the Catholic sacrament of marriage is between a man and woman – this is offical doctrine of YOUR church, don’t forget abortion, no right for feedom of choice for a woman.

            Is it safe to assume that you’re NOT a Progressive Christian because of the offical doctrine of your church? What are you doing to change that? Now that you know the truth, you have an obligation and responsibility to fly to the Vatican and confront the Pope, get all up in his grill, about these matters.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            Sarcasm is an unbecoming character trait and an unhealthy communication tool.

            Brian: “all citizens (homosexual or straight) have the same rights, protections and freedomes.” This is a factually inaccurate statement. Perhaps you mean “in a perfectly applied world” but here in the real world in application and in everyday life – it just isn’t so.

            I don’t know what news channel you’ve been watching but same sex domestic partners do not have the same rights as heterosexual domestic partners in many legal and practical ways. Because of discrimination, until the sexual orientation clause was included in legal non-discrimination statements the GLBT community suffered and continues to face the same discrimination in housing and employment that other minority groups have faced in the past and still face.

            What part of this do you not understand? Last week a gay developmentally disabled man was thrown out of a public pool in Kentucky for sitting on the lap of another man and the person who insisted that they leave quoted scripture as his reason and authority for kicking them out.

            Brian, DR and Suz (and I) are so exasperated with you because of the types of assertions like the ones you have made in this last statement. My friend Bill calls this willful ignorance. And yet, I believe you to be more well rounded than this, but perhaps it is just not coming across as so.

            You said: ‘I don’t know what you’re infering when you mention believing the “right” way or the “right things”, it is believing God’s things and living God’s way.’

            I am inferring to the corner of the market on God that the Religious Right professes to have or at least act like they have: that their interpretation of what God’s things are and what living God’s way is the only right way to believe and to live and to be a Christian.

            Even in this response, your reply smacks of hubris: “It’s not *my* interpretation – its’ what GOD says.”

            This is what the Christian Left, the Progressive Christians, the other than Religious Right Christians, the Red Letter Christians, the all are welcome-ers, the mainline protestants, Progressive Catholics, social justice Christians, Spiritual but not Religious, Native American spirituality, Celtic Christianity, Sufis, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, et al are trying to say: We’re here. We have a personal connection to the Divine. Deal with it.

            We are Martin Luther nailing our Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the American Evangelical Traditionalist Christian Church and saying: We Don’t Need Your Interpretation of Scripture and Your Understanding of God and Your Rules that you call “God’s things and living God’s way” to get to God!!! God already got to us and God and us have a mutual understanding. And if you ask us what America will do without living this traditionalist way that you call God’s way, we will say what Martin Luther told the Religious Legalists of his day: We will stand with God under God’s Blue Sky (and if I can have the permission to add a John Shore-esque rant filled flourish at the end……) and we will be just fine. So leave us the f*** alone and stop trying to enforce your understanding of the Divine on all of us.

            Thank you.

          • DR

            Brian, if you had a microscope I could not detect my level of care as to whether or not you think I’m an official Catholic or not. I find it fascinating that you’ve now completely switched the subject to once again, deflect from your views of homosexuality being against God and how damaging that is to the people of that community. You try to come across as being kind and gentle but you’ve been on the run from the beginning in this conversation. Your defensiveness is the the real truth of what’s going on in your heart.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Ladies,

            Everyone is protected by the law and discrimination is unlawful, does it happen, yes, does it only happen to homosexuals, no, it happens and its illegal, but if someone is discriminated against, the law is on their side and they can file a civil suit and prossible criminal charges.

            If you don’t believe what the “Religious Right” believes, well then don’t believe it or listen to their rhetoric. Pretty simple. As far as others having a “connection to the Divine” it is their Constitutional right to believe so and Muslims have the freedom of speech to say THEY have the only way to “the Divine” – which is what they beleive. I deal with it just fine, it is their right to do so. Don’t infringe on my rights not to believe it either.

            You relate to Martin Luter and the 95 Thesis, that is fine, believe what you want, but don’t infringe on the beliefs of others. I don’t infringe on anyone’s rights either BUT we all have the Freedom of Speech and Religious Freedom and if a Muslim wants to print that Jews and Christians are going to hell because they’re not Muslims, they are free to do so. I don’t, nor can’t, “force” anyone to believe what they don’t want to, nor to believe as I, it is freedom of choice we have here in America.

            DR, you wrote “I am Catholic” so I can only assume you agree with their doctrine, at least enough of it to call your self a Catholic. So since you wrote “I am a Catholic” what are you doing about the offical “anti-gay” policy of the Catholic church? When you say, “I am a Catholic” what message does that send to the GBLT community when everyone knows what the “offical” Catholic stand is.

            Finally I don’t deflect my views of homosexuality, because to the GLBT community what I think or what my views are doesn’t matter, I’m a nobody, what really matters is the Gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t damage, it heals, gives hope, love and life eternal. How is that being defensive? The message that is for all people, ALL PEOPLE is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that’s what matters. I stay on the same topic -The Gospel of Jesus Christ – and evangelicals don’t “hate” homosexuals.

            You two always want to make it about me, I want to point people to Christ and the Good News of His Gospel.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            Brian, I am opposed to religious fundamentalism of all stripes.

            You said, “we all have the Freedom of Speech and Religious Freedom and if a Muslim wants to print that Jews and Christians are going to hell because they’re not Muslims, they are free to do so.”

            And they would be no different than Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christians who print and say and preach and campaign on and make legislative decisions based on their belief that Jews and Muslims and all other “non-believers including many people who claim Christianity but who believe differently than themselves are going to hell because they aren’t “true” Christians.

            I see this to be only functionally different than the crusades and the inquisition in it’s timing in that those who believe this way aren’t willing to act on it in the present, but prayerfully “look forward to the day of the returning of the King when He will rid the world of unbelievers and the blood will run as high as horses bridles.” So, those who would castigate the Catholic church for their horrific track record but claim innocence in the purposes within one’s own heart……aren’t being honest with themselves.

            The enemy of God is the one who puts his own narrow understanding of God above the Greatest Commandment and tries to enforce it as absolute truth to which all others must yield. It is not the way of Jesus. And the “other than religious right Christians are tired of not being given an equal seat at the family dinner table and having the rest of the world believe that the Religious Right speak for all Christians. Which they don’t. So that’s why se’re speaking out….loudly. It’s like Horton Hears a Who: We are here! We Are Here! WE ARE HERE!

            There’s a book that’ I’ve heard is very good called “Rescuing Jesus from the Church.” That’s what the emerging church movement and Progressives by whatever definition you want to use are trying to do. So it’s not as simple as what will make me happy (not believing what the Religious Right affirm as fact). It’s, as you say, about getting the message of Jesus straight so that he and his gospel are not lost in the noise of the literalists, legalists, and Pharisees of today.

            And you’re right; it’s not about you. It never has been.

            Blessings, C

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Cristy,

            OK sounds good. All legislative decisions are based on the legislators beliefs, that is nothing new. If they voted on pieces of legislation using racist or bigoted criteria, they wouldn’t be in office long.

            If people want to believe that anyone that doesn’t hold to thier narrow view of Christianity is hell- bound, they are free to believe so and they are protected by the Constitution to speak and write about it. That’s why the uber-racist skin heads can spew hate speech about everyone contrary to what they believe. I don’t listen or read or believe what they have to say, though they have the right to say it.

            The religious right (I call them the religious wrong) certianly doesn’t speak for me. Yes the message of Jesus IS simple and clear and the narrow minded fundamental literalist / legalists / Pharisee’s / religious self-righeous were strongly rebuked by Jesus in his day.

            Preach the simplicity of the Gospel….

          • DR

            Brian you won’t vot for gay men and women to experience the myriad of tax benefit and legal rights that you as a straight man get because you get to marry and they don’t because people like you recuse to vote for their ability to do so when given the opportunity. You bow out of saying you’d refuse to vote for them getting the legal rights that marriage so it doesn’t look like you’re part of discriminating against them. You are a bigot and your 15 minutes of John Shore fame is over. Try justifying yourself to someone else (good luck).

          • Brian W

            So your big issue is same sex marriage (which you can in New York) and tax benefits? Really that’s what it’s all about, money? All this bantering back and forth over taxes? Ever heard of the “marriage penalty” when it comes to taxes?

          • DR

            That you would actually boil this down to money is repulsive. Seriously. I am repelled by that comment and your continuarras idiom to just pick just what you want to respond to and then ignore the rest when you’ve been countered.. Honestly Brisn? I’m starting to think that you aren’t smart enough to understand what’s being offered to you here. I know that is an awful thing to say and im sorry if thwt is hurtful but there’s just no way someone who is genuinely interested in this issue, who cares about the witness of Jsus would act this way.

          • DR

            continuarras idiom = continuous decision (Auto correct fail)

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            This is about love, for me, and doing what is right.

            I have a friend who has a brother who is in his 80′s now who has been with the same man for well over 40 years. Her brother had heart surgery recently and has been in cardiac rehab off and on. His partner brings him the food he likes and visits every day. They talk. He helps him. When he’s not there visiting he’s taking care of their home and fretting and wondering when and if he’ll get to come home. When the staff at the rehab center showed interest in his partner, since he was coming so often, they asked his partner who he was. His partner replied, “I’m the person who takes care of him.”

            We should all be so lucky to have a person love us enough to care for us this way.

            We don’t choose who we will fall in love with.

            Love chooses us.

          • Brian W

            Christy,

            Wonderful post, imagine so much the more God loves us!!

          • Brian W

            DR,

            How is it you can call me many different offensive names yet you get sooooo easily offended at the littlest insignificant comment I write that wasn’t even adressed to you? Also what are you doing about the Catholic position that is so anti-gay, since you said,”I am a Catholic”. Are you going to take a stand and denounce the Catholic Church or instead get offended at my posts? Shouldn’t you be more tolerant of differing views and opinions to yours?

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            Brian and DR, I wrote a little essay awhile back. It’s part of the explanation of how I shifted from the far right to where I am now, and it speaks to your last comment, Brian.

            Here’s a portion of it:

            Growing up Baptist, I never identified very much with Mary, but I was never really given the opportunity. Mary didn’t receive much credit within our church outside her role in the Christmas story. A great disservice I think. But it was after I left that denomination and had a child of my own that I came to find an emotional connection with her. There is something that seems to be innate to the female gender that takes great comfort in the shared experience of other women.

            Two memories in particular helped me connect with her and better understand what might have been something of her experience as a mother. In Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ” there is a scene in which Jesus as a young boy is playing in the street outside his Nazareth home; his mother is watching from a doorway. He stumbles and trips. He scrapes his knee. He is crying, and as tears stream down his beautiful little face from his big brown eyes you see the concern in her’s and the immediate urge and response to rush to him and scoop up this curly headed child whom she adores and comfort him. She loves him – as any mother would – as every mother should. She loves him. And she wants to take away all of his pain and suffering, because she loves him. He is her child – her first child – and he is precious to her……… I sobbed. Because, I love my child like that.

            When my first child was born I had a real epiphany about the emotional depth of God’s love for us. I am sure that I am not the first to experience this, nor will I be the last. But in the emotional turmoil of my raging hormones, utter exhaustion, and rapturous joy in the days following my son’s birth I was frequently overcome to the point of tears (and often sobs) about how amazing this tiny, pink, squirming, helpless creature was that had been gifted to us. I loved him so much – so deeply – so instantly. I would do anything to protect him. I would die for him. How could this be that I loved this child so much? And then it hit me, a sudden realization, a knowing, a gnosis: If I can love this child this much in all of my flawed humanness, how much more does God love each of us?……….. It was a powerful realization.

            I shared this story with a seminary friend, and although I had been “born again” as a young child and baptized by full immersion when I was 12, she said, “Thank you for sharing your conversion story with me.”

            And I thought about that for awhile and knew that she was right.

            ~~~~~~~~

            The angels asked the disciples why they stood there gazing up in the clouds.

            God gave you this wonderful gift. This grace. Go. Be grace in the world. Love like God loves – extravagantly, unconditionally. Go. Be apostles of peace.

            (Note: this passage is not officially copyrighted, but I would in good faith appreciate retaining all rights for use and reprinting. Thank you, CC)

          • DR

            Brian I no longer give any money to the Catholic church, I don fund organizations that hurt children by their theology.

            As for beig offended by you, dont flatter yourself, there’ve been hundreds of people who’ve tried to defend themselves and the damage they do to the gay community better than you do. Your absolute refusal to look at this issue in any way other than what serves you and allows you to remain unchanged and bigoted is what’s repulsive to me, but you are no different than a lot of people who are clinging to what is simply an ignorant, self-serving view. You dot seem to have the capacity for change but based on some emails received it’s been enlightening for those who have been reading, have held your views and do possess the desire and capacity for a more Christlike approach to their relationship with the GLBT community. So there you go.

          • Brian W

            Christy,

            Another wonderful post, I understand the love you describe as a new mother. Unless one is a parent, it is hard to fully grasp that love. That epiphany of sort that you experienced when you connected that deep love you have for your child with the even greater love God has to us, is indeed profound. Thanks again you write some very “divine” posts and they do speak right to the heart.

          • Brian W

            DR,

            So you don’t give money to the Catholic church, but you still call yourself a Catholic. So if you don’t give them money, then you don’t really support them financially but that would still imply you believe their anti-gay position, pro-life and marriage is only between a man and woman teachings.

            I don’t damage the gay community, I proclaim to all the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • kimberly

    this is a cool-breeze-on-a-warm-summer-evening kind of moment. just a sigh and some gratitude for the depth and power of love. praise God!!!!

  • Patty

    I am so grateful for this person’s happy ending! I pray their thoughtful emails will inspire others to be who they are and find comfort in their own reality. Keep up the good work, John.

    • http://www.nathantaylor.net.au Rabid_womble

      I agree. Funnily enough I used a similar strategy coming out to my parents (ie armed with a blog of John’s, the fist I read of his, on the true meaning of denying the capacity for queers to ever experience romantic love).

      Alas, my parents were not so open minded and so I did not experience a ‘happy ending’.

      • DR

        First, I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how much courage that took, I’m beginning to think that bravery is far more of an important resource than confidence.

        I was thinking this morning on my way to work – why don’t we as Christians insist that straight men and women stay in loveless marriages? We not only allow divorce (which God hates, apparently we just ignore that), we allow remarriage which spits in the very face of God. But if we’re insisting you remain loveless and alone, we should also insist that straight people stay in loveless marriages. A vow before God is a vow before God.

        • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

          Or we can affirm that people, given the opportunity to become fully their best selves, are more important than rules and that our humanness means we’re never going to get it all right and perfection isn’t the answer anyway. Openness and awareness is, listening for and recognizing that still small voice within that calls us. And our response: Following that sense down a lifelong path of learning and growing and becoming.

          M. Scott Peck in his groundbreaking work, The Road Less Traveled: “Only a relative and fortunate few continue until the moment of death exploring the mystery of reality, ever enlarging and refining and redefining their understanding of the world and what is true.”

          And Anne Lamott so wisely wrote: “I do not understand the mystery of grace — only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”

          Thankfully…..

          • DR

            My hope in asking for that Christy is empathy. In all of these conversations, the common experience I’m seeing is a lack of empathy that christians who hold these views have. Sure there is sadness or a “Wow, yeah – that would be bad to experience a lack of love all of your life”. But it’s offered in a very cavalier manner.

            Once we have an experience where we actually discover the pain of someone else, we’re never the same. So while I appreciate the suggestion that Grace is transformative (and it is, it’s really the only hope), sometimes I offer these things to prod a discovery someone may have and wake up to the actual reality they are imposing on others.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I disagree that our humanness means we’re never going to get it all right. I do not understand humanness to entail imperfection. Exhibit A: Jesus Christ.

            If we set our sights too low, of course we’ll never get there, but if we just follow after the Way of Christ, why not?

            Of course, maybe we won’t, and maybe that has nothing to do with our being human. Perhaps humans aren’t born sinners; perhaps we have a choice, and so in theory could always happen to choose what is right (even if we might not realize we are doing so)! Surely God made nothing that He did not see was good. Surely none is good but Him alone, but His Spirit does fill all things.

            It’s a key element of the Tradition of the Christian faith that a man can be—indeed a son of man is—perfect. To say otherwise is to deny the Incarnation of Deity in the fullness of time: that is, to deny Christ.

            I know I’m not perfect, but it would be rather judgmental of me to conclude that *every* human being is not. What if it’s just my problem with the way I think about things and/or a problem with how entropy corrupts the information I have about someone, when I should see someone as imperfect? Why not let them be perfect to me? Should I not at least treat them as such, when Christ—the only sinless one who dwells in and among us—has told me, truly—not merely metaphorically or allegorically—truly, whatsoever I do unto that son of man’s brothers, I do unto him.

            Perhaps perfection *is* the answer, but we just have to admit that we’ve no real idea what that looks like and right to say what perfection really means. The fruit of the knowledge of good and evil is not for us. But certainly I could be wrong here, for I know myself to be imperfect, for I myself have partaken of that fruit.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            Matthew, I mean perfection in the neurotic, pathological sense. In the beat myself up because I’m not good enough sense. In the extremely well organized but insufferable to live with sense. In the one must adhere without wavering to all the rules in order to be pleasing to God sense. Not in the we shouldn’t seek after enlightenment sense. Kapish?

        • Annie

          “we allow remarriage which spits in the very face of God”

          Hi DR,

          Please help me to understand how remarraige spits in the face of God? I am confused. Could not remarraige be just that grace that offers healing and wholeness where there had been none? If the Christ Spirit is the marraige of male and female in all of us, to make us whole, then how can remarraige be wrong? Also, I am always sad and confused when someone says they are certain of what God thinks. Unless they are of course God themselves, which, I am betting, you are not. But you are divinely human, as are we all. We divorced people have also vowed to “love and honor” ( Ithink that ‘obey’ thing has gone by the wayside), but may find that we were not loved and honored. That vow to us was broken, so we should be punished for finding that love and honor later in life? With all respect, please help me to understand why you say this.

          Peace,

          A

  • BB

    One of the hardest things to do is come out and the second hardest thing is to come out twice! Yes you heard me twice!. Came out at 19…got bashed with the bible..conformed…married, two kids, divorced, and then back out of the closet at 47. No turning back now at 53. I hid my relationship status in plain sight with my kids and my family always thinking I would tell them soon. Soon never came but my family figured it out and because they know me, know my heart they no I’m not some pervert who is going to break hell wide open! And now they accept me just the way I am. My ex husband didn’t waste anytime when my youngest turned 18 to tell her that the reason we split up was because I was a lesbian. Not exactly the truth for sure but whatever. My kids response was ” and your point is?” They love me and it’s be a year since the truth was out and they love my partner. Life is good and religion sucks, and Jesus is awesome.. Amen! So don’t be driven by fear! Trust the folks that love you and in due time, if not right away, they will come around. And my friends that have somewhat rejected me… I remain their friends and we talk but I don’t allow them to “preach hell” to me anymore. Let them take it somewhere else.

  • Jack

    I’m more concerned about your correspendent losing his/her faith. But God’s not through with any of us yet.

    \Don’t mitigate, placate, obfuscate, adulterate, ameliorate, or propitiate. (Do, however, alliterate. It’s awesome.)\

    This is not alliteration, but asonance.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      People think alliteration refers strictly to like sounds at the beginning of words, but the word also applies, in a more general sense, to any consistent sounds in successive words.

      • Don Rappe

        And here I thought you might be rhyming. I’m glad I stayed out of that one!

  • http://lisainbc.blogpost.com Lisa Salazar

    Though my disclosure was about being transsexual and that I was in the process of making changes, I had not yet come to the place where I felt I could transition and still did not know when I would finally take that step. At the time, my dad was 89 and my mom 83 and I feared my disclosure would make the few remaining years of their lives more difficult. I also had not disclosed to our adult sons either, but I had already shared with many of my friends—including my pastor. Though I was loved and affirmed by all with whom I had shared, I knew I would not be able to transition until I shared with my parents, or I would have to wait until they both died. Could I wait another five to ten years to transition?

    One day I was thinking about my sons and I was praying to God that I would hope that if any of them had some issue they needed to tell me about, that they would never fear that I would reject them and condemn them for it, regardless of what that issue might be. How sad would that be, that they would fear coming to me? That is when the thought hit me, that my parents probably felt the same way about me. I knew at that moment that I needed to tell them. I had feared how they would respond and had imagined the worst-case scenario, that my mom would be devastated and blame herself and that my dad would kick me out of the house and tell me I was dead to him. This is not what happened; the complete opposite occurred. This was three years ago and I am always in awe at how the two of them have embraced me and love me unconditionally. From time to time, they get the pronoun and name wrong, but after having known me for six decades by one name and gender, what can I expect?

    Fear is an insidious thing, it can paralyze us and keep us from moving on. I lived with fear all my life—I feared rejection, being different, being laughed at and being lonely as a result. I also feared how my disclosure would impact the most important people in my life, starting with my wife, followed by sons, parents and siblings. I did not want to hurt anyone and I would have preferred death if all my fears were realized. I was not immune to suicide, but I know that whenever I entertained those thoughts, that the Lord was able to keep me sober of mind and protected me from self-destructive behaviors and actions. For this, I am grateful.

    I have met other transsexuals for whom it has not gone well, who have been rejected by their “Christian” family and their churches and condemned to hell. I have tried to understand how this could be and as I have compared notes with my new friends, all I have come up with is that for years Christians have been sold the binary view of sexuality and that everything else is an abomination. “He created them male and female…for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife…” Ironically, this is the same verse I used to flog myself with in my attempt to “retrain” my mind, hoping to exorcise the demon inside me. It is also ironic how it wasn’t until I read the full passage in Matthew 19:1-12 and understood its context that I was able to reconcile my faith to my transsexuality. Those are sobering words that Jesus spoke, that not everyone would be able to understand. He was referring to the fact that sexuality was not always binary, that some people did not fall neatly into one sex/gender category, the implication being that sexuality was not binary to begin with.

    I have discovered that when people are able to understand this fundamental truth, that their fundamentalist view of sexuality, gender and orientation get turned upside down and they suddenly get it. My prayer is that more people would be able to receive it.


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