The God we know loves them, exactly as they were born

I got this in yesterday evening (the bolding—emboldering? emboldenment? bolderizing? phatted-up?—is mine)

Dear John,

Thank you and bless you. I am not an American, in fact, I live on the other side of the world in Asia.

I thank God’s blessings that I stumbled upon your website. Your posts have been always very enlightening and somehow I feel like I understood Christianity and Jesus better when I read your posts.

You know, you have given this struggling, closeted lesbian educator living in a conservative environment some hope in living and knowing that there is a kinder version of Christianity somewhere out there. You have given me some peace after struggling with so much guilt, shame and depression with my present circumstances. I just wish that there are more people like you in this place that I am in who can provide people like me with more resources on Christianity. Even though there are increasingly more gays speaking out in Singapore, it is not easy to find a straight Christian who is willing to go against the conservative hierarchy here. I could especially relate to your post on a lesbian struggling with her sexuality and viewing of pornography because I am too in the same situation. Your article and comments in the post have helped me understand myself better and have allowed me some space to deal with these issue at hand. So, really thank you John. You have been a true blessing to people out here even beyond the shores of America. God bless you and your family.

I don’t get thousands of such emails every day, or anything; I do, however, get enough of them to … well, for one, keep me at this work. But I never really share them here on the blog, since I know doing so can’t help but seem self-aggrandizing.

On the other hand, what we do on this blog is important—so it always feels weird to keep such testimonies to myself. Because that we is everything. No one ever writes me stuff like the above without saying how much the comments on my blog mean to them. For readers of this blog looking for solace, respect, open-mindedness, support and/or love, I know the comments are often if not always as meaningful to them as whatever I write.

When, just two-and-a-half-year ago, I started blogging about the relationship between Christians and LGBTQ people (my first such piece, first published on February 2, 2010, was What Would Jesus Do If Invited to a Gay Wedding?; just about all my posts on the matter are here), I was the only Christian I knew of blogging on that issue. I’m sure there were other Christians bloggers out there advocating for full inclusion of gay people, but safe to say they few and far between.

And just look at the Internet today! It’s positively jammed with such content!

We’ve come so very far in such a very short time. It’s so fantastic.

And I know that as far as my little cyberspace soapbox here goes, none of it would have happened without the compassionate, thoughtful, good-natured, non-logically-challenged, often amazingly articulate “comments” contributed by my readers. I’m not prouder of anything in my life than I am the collective of “commenters” that has gathered, grown, and continues to grow around this blog. And together—in real time, in real lives, in real hearts and minds—we’re making a difference.

So here’s the thing: this is the fifth or sixth letter I’ve received, in the last six or so months, just from Singapore. Increasingly I get letters from people all over the world who are in some way dealing with the issue of sexual orientation and its relationship to Christianity. (I just now started a list of those countries from which people have written me in the last year, and I quit. There were just too many of them. It felt stupid, just going, “Ireland, England, Kenya, South Africa, Australia, Italy, France …”.)

Doing whatever good we do via this blog takes me, the people who comment on my blog, and the people who read my blog who may or may not comment on it, but who definitely support it by sharing it with others. (Oh: and it also majorly takes dedicated Wed Jedi Dan Wilkinson. And far be it from me to overlook the Admins o’ Excellence at Unfundamentalist Christians.)

It’s a pretty nice network. And I just wanted to take a moment—particularly, perhaps, on this most meaningful and, frankly, emotional Thursday of the Christian year—to thank all of you within it for taking this journey with me, and for doing me the honor of using my blog to help people all over the world receive the message that the God we know through his manifestation here on earth as Jesus Christ loves them, exactly the way they were born.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Melissa Chamberlin

    I love your opening photo. What is your source for it?

  • HJ

    This is so wonderful. Thanks to you and all the commenters. Community is so important, as is the sharing of stories. A blessing of the internet uniting us from all around the world to share learn and love. Peace to all on this holy Thursday.

  • justthefacts

    Lady Gaga said “I hate the truth, Id rather hear B.S any day”

  • Anne Kinney

    What you say is SO true. In fact, just this morning I sent a link to your website (specifically the “Best Case for the Bible NOT Condeming Homosexuality” with the note to read John Shore and take comfort – “it will give you hope”. The two people happened to be fellow church musicians – one of them is the Pastor’s wife.

    I think there are more of us (non-haters) than we ever realized. Amen!

  • Valerie

    I just love coming to a blog that makes sense when talking about Christ and Christianity and knowing that I am not the only one that feels that way. Keep up the good work John!

  • Adara Pallady via Facebook

    I think John Shelby Spong has been in there for a long time.

  • Donald Rappe

    Footwashing Thursday. Jesus washes his disciples feet and reminds us we are to be servants of others.

  • Yes, I’m sorry. I meant to say/write “blogging.” I didn’t know anyone blogging about the issue. (I’ll go change that.)

  • Gary

    For a long time John I stayed in my fundamental church hoping to make a change from within. And I could not even address this most important issue. So I spent years teaching how Christ confronted hypocrisy in the religious system and brought a message of love for all. There were a couple of minds opened up somewhat…a few random seeds took root. Finally I left…unable to bear the false teaching and hypocrisy any longer with so little fruit.

    I have since come to realize that this very blog perfectly represents the way we make a difference in the world today. Talented and passionate writers like yourself reach so many lives and help so many hurting. I have not set foot in a church for nearly a year…yet I feel like I have been a part of God’s work more powerfully in this past year than I was in 30 years of traditional bible teaching.

    I have so much more hope for the future now. I feel like the GLBT struggle is but one of the social injustices that is on the verge of defeat by this powerful medium. Thank you John for choosing to make a difference.

  • Lymis

    This is exactly what being “salt of the earth” or being a light that isn’t under a bushel means. It’s about how important and influential simply speaking the truth in love can be, whether you have a worldwide audience or just the single person in front of you.

    Thank you, John.

  • Erin D.

    Gary, your comments strike a chord with me. I have often felt guilty that I didn’t stick around my Catholic church to inspire ‘change from within.’ That guilt is going away, mostly thanks to John’s blog. Maybe in the past, sticking around and spinning your wheels was the only way to hope for change because we didn’t have this amazing thing called the internet to bring people together in other ways. Now we can save ourselves the frustration of trying to circumvent immovable policies and narrow minds and do it with as much effort as a few clicks of a mouse to share an article or comment on a blog! And look at the impact. It’s amazing really. The churches that have historically thrived because they were “the only game in town” or because they were able to keep the shield over people’s eyes is long gone.

  • justthefacts

    no one caught it, eh

  • huh2sq

    you mean she likes hearing it, embraces it, and speaks it?

  • pvres

    got it