Having a gay son got them booted from their church. But look at them now!

Letter of the day below. She thanks me, but I know how much of her thanks belongs to the commenters who regularly make this blog such a thoughtful, caring place to be.

Dear John,

A while back you and I exchanged emails about my experience of my son coming out at 16 and being expelled from his Christian school, me leaving my teaching position at the same school, and my family being “ex-communicated” from the church.

One and a half years ago I was living in fear and devastated at all that I had lost. I was trying to reconcile what I had learned in the fundamentalist church* about homosexuality, and what my son was struggling with. You posted my letter [He hated himself because he couldn't change himself] because it showed the horrible “process” he went through that seems most gay kids go through. He was cutting, depressed, suicidal … you get the picture. I just wanted to update you on our progress.

First of all, I want to thank you so much for your website. Yours was the first I found that helped me understand that there were intelligent arguments against what the church had been telling us about homosexuality. One quote I read on your site was, “Be careful what you say about a gay person because it could be about somebody you love.” [Tweet that.] That hit me so hard. It made me re-examine how I looked at homosexuality. It most definitely is not a choice!

Because of your web site, I met Linda Robertson, and because of Linda Robertson, I’ve met over 100 moms of gay kids, most of who grew up in fundamentalist churches. What a beautiful support we have all been to each other while we navigate learning to truly love our kids and one another as God loves us.

This experience has made me a stronger woman and mom. My son got his GED and is now in college. He is living in a city where being gay is no big deal. I’m still contending with running into church and school members in the grocery store and post office, but I don’t quiver in fear any longer. I realize that they are wrong, and that how they are treating people is wrong. I’ve learned that the most important thing we can do as Christians is to love and not pass judgment. I look at these people and feel sorry for how closed-minded they are.

Ninety-eight percent of the kids from my son’s old high school go to Bob Jones University, so, unfortunately, the cycle of hate continues.

I pray that God finds a way to use me in this fight. I have become a warrior through these trials and you have armed me with great Biblical information.

John, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you are doing to promote Christian love and acceptance. I wouldn’t be in the safe place I am today without your informed information and clear and concise arguments. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and don’t stop!

Gratefully yours,

[X]

*see The fundamentally toxic Christianity

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. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • Eiffelman

    Very good!

  • Gene Christianson

    These kinds of letters make all of your work worthwhile, don’t they?

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    “I pray that God finds a way to use me in this fight.”

    I believe your prayers have been answers. Your son is so lucky to have a mom like you. I suspect that you are a wonderful example to many others.

  • Michael Brian Woywood

    Whenever I get a message from a well-meaning conservative or fundamentalist friend, telling me how wrong I am for supporting full inclusion for our LGBT brothers and sisters, I point them to John Shore and this blog. John, you and others have articulated something in the past couple of years that I felt in my spirit a decade ago, as a struggling college student from a conservative evangelical background. I hope that we never give up this fight.

    And, to the letter writer, you are so powerful and gracious and good. Thank you for learning to listen to your spirit, and learning to see your son through the eyes of God. I love you.

    • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

      Hi Michael
      You say: “I hope that we never give up this fight”
      I pray that there is no longer a fight to fight.

      Thank you so much for being an ally. I know that insisting on inclusion of people like me carries a cost.

      All my best to you

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        I want to like this more than once

      • Michael Brian Woywood

        Ford, I also hope for a day when we look back at this fight as something that never should have happened in the Church – that is, when I have a gay pastor, whose husband (or wife) sits in the front row, and no one bats an eye. I look towards that day, and I wouldn’t be fighting if I didn’t believe it was coming. I am an ally, because you are my brother (or sister)… and, if I don’t speak for you, who will? I refuse to wait for someone else. Now is the appointed time.

        Again, I love you, from the bottom of my heart. It is you who deserve the acclaim, for continuing to desire inclusion in an organization who has made it manifestly clear that they don’t want you. I am glad that “allies” have been able to reach you through the clamor of bigotry.

  • Joseph A. Loerzel

    Nice !

  • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

    Woohoo! I love updates, and Linda’s NALT video is one of my favorites.

  • Judy

    Dear writer , you are in such good company here! I was raised in a fundamentalist church and my husband and I raised our kids in the same. Our son had the same journey, prayed to change,attempted suicide,etc. He hid this from me and his dad, afraid of the consequences. When we finally had the conversation, I was so angry at God. I knew it was not a choice. I could not reconcile myself to a God who would make someone gay and then reject them for it. I wanted a divorce from God. I would get custody of the kids and we would see each other at Christmas. If it meant I was going to hell, well then at least I would be able to comfort my son there.
    I read books and realized how much idiocy I had believed and that it was not God but man.
    We left that church. Johns blog and his books became my church for quite a while. I was too disgusted with formal church to try another denomination until recently. I too am so thankful for John and his unwavering support of all Gods children

  • Christine McQueen

    It is updates like this that make me happy to follow John Shore! So glad to read that this mother can now support her son instead of constantly telling him how “wrong” his life is.

  • Andy

    At times, I see comments on here from occasional people who happen upon your site, though I’m not sure why they read it, as they seem to be obviously resistant to a paradigm shift regarding gays. They have no intention of changing their minds. So I figure either they came to troll (seems unlikely for many of them) or, possibly, they think they can change our minds on the matter. Either way, sometimes it makes me feel like our cause here is fruitless.

    Letters like this one prove otherwise. Thank you, writer; and thank you, John, for this community.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      You know, I get letters sort of … well, all the time, in which people share what this blog has meant in their lives. I never publish them or anything, because it feels immodest. But perhaps I should.

      • Matt

        I think it would be immeasurably valuable and encouraging.

        • Andy

          I agree. Surely the number of people whose lives have been improved by this community is greater than the number of letters you’ve received, right? I mean, not everyone takes the time to write a letter of appreciation. You never know who is going to see your website.

          Whenever I have a problem and I search for a solution online, it’s encouraging to see other people who had the same problem as I did, and how they solved it. It can engender a sense of community, whether it’s shared success or simply commiseration. No matter what your problem is, it’s always good to know you’re not alone.

          • Jill

            This blog = life-changing.

      • James Walker

        John, in my not-so-humble opinion, you should definitely publish an anthology of the letters you’ve received from people whose lives have been touched by your writing, by your blog and by the community of people who follow your work. I don’t think it would be immodest on your part in the slightest because you know full well this is not your work alone but God’s work flowing through you and through these people.

    • http://youtube.com/user/BowmanFarm Brian Bowman

      > They have no intention of changing their minds.

      Maybe. Maybe they’re here because it is just beginning to happen, and that transformation is eliciting fear. Most strong emotional reactions are from fear. It’s how we hairless apes’ sympathetic nervous system evolved: fight or flight.

      But perfect love casteth out fight-or-flight response. :)

  • Michelle Par

    Letter Writer, you are amazing and inspirational. Thank you for sharing your intense journey and the blessings you’ve found, even when it looked like all there was was pain. This is so beautiful.

  • http://youtube.com/user/BowmanFarm Brian Bowman

    If you’ve been booted from church, get chick tracts in the mail, and have people praying for you…brag about it. I do. :)

    Hey, I need help here. On the way to load hay from a neighbor’s barn, I heard a song, with the following lyrics:

    • something about preaching hate and poison in church (don’t know exact lyrics)
    • “she keeps me warm”

    But there’s a song “she keeps me warm” on youtube, that one isn’t what I heard. So what was I hearing?

    • Matt

      That song is “Same Love” by Macklemore feat. Mary Lambert.

      When I was at church, they taught me something else/
      If you preach hate at the service, those words aren’t anointed/
      That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned.

      • http://youtube.com/user/BowmanFarm Brian Bowman

        That’s it! Listening to it on youtube! Well, jeeesh, 110,942,893 views already, seems I’m a day late and a dollar short in the music dept. Thank you for you help! I think the song is cool. And I think it’s cool I’m hearing out here in the boondocks. :)

  • http://www.enesvy.com/ Enesvy

    So encouraging. So beautiful! :)

  • Wysteria

    I’m really glad you do stuff like this, John Shore. I’m LGBT, former Christian, and it helps to have someone say, “My imaginary friend does not hate you.” Last year, we got into an argument and you later said something about, “Half-wits who think you have your ear up to Nostradamus,” and I was like, “No, John Shore; that’s hurtful. Even with brain damage I’m smarter than you.” And it is so messed up for you to be making fun of someone who’s got human-trafficking-related head injuries. I don’t need no stinkin’ religious reason to be nice to my world neighbors. You, on the other hand, are waiting from a voice from God to sign a perfectly reasonable petition that obviously inspired your half-witted “My imaginary friend doesn’t hate you,” petition.

  • Bill Steffenhagen

    I find myself curiously distant from all this gay controversy lately, except when I find something especially significant like the recent Arizona law finally vetoed by the Governor, and I post comments on my FB page (https://www.facebook.com/bill.steffenhagen, for anyone interested).
    I was an activist for more than a decade and just feel a little tired of it all, now that so much progress is being made. Everything I wrote and worked for is happening….sure, now that I’m almost outta the race. Well human history is made up of each generation missing out on something the next generation can have. My grandfather for instance, began in the horse and buggy days and lived to see man on the moon, but he never heard of a computer or an ipod.
    It’s good to see others picking up where I left off, to see the religious fundies finally getting “talked back to”, to hear and see them struggle in the death throes of their ignorant fears and observe the fading of their social power. Even events like the Arizona law happen BECAUSE of the progress. It is their reaction of desperation.
    They have lost the culture war. It’s rewarding to know I contributed to that locally. That’s how it happened, you know. We started talking back….locally. Everywhere. We can see it now. Then, it was the beginning of a Spiritual movement that now we can see IS a movement of the Spirit. There will be skirmishes like Arizona and individual painful struggles, but the overall war has been won. All who still struggle may take heart in that; that, at last, it does get better.
    Formerly, and still some places, “Soulmentor”

    • Lee Delaino

      Thank you for your efforts!

    • Ina Plassa-travis

      and every generation that has something new? has it because we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, and lifted us up to reach a little farther. For the SoulMentors, and the WolfWomyn, and the JohnDarlings, who helped us, directly or from afar, I am grateful.

  • Janis

    My son is gay too and Im proud of him. When he told me he was gay I told him that I was happy that he knew what he was instead of denying it


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X