Finally getting a chance to collect my thoughts more as the mid-way point in the semester is approaching, and I wanted to do a follow up on the last post to flesh out some of the questions I asked as a result of my Sexual Ethics class. Also, as an update, I started therapy for real this time with a therapist who is both a lesbian and Christian and specializes in reconciling lgbtq issues with faith. Anyway, I wanted to touch on two questions that I’ve spent a lot of time asking myself and asking about the church as a whole:
“How can churches better minister to the LGBTQ community that is in the margins between their faith and sexuality?”
The first question I put chronologically before the second but really, if the church wants to minister better to LGBTQ people, a good first step in that is not making them choose between being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans and being Christian. No exceptions. Loving, affirming church communities do not equal welcoming. Welcoming is great, but welcoming can be just as homophobic in subtler ways. Yes, I got this from my therapist. No, I don’t believe it 100% yet because of internalized homophobia–more on that later.
“Why do they have to choose between two things that are a part of who they are?”
This question has one simple answer: homophobia. But to further answer it, people hate what they do not understand. So, they try to stigmatize it, erase it, disallow it, reject it–whatever the hell it takes for that uncomfortable thing to go away in order to pretend you aren’t different than them. If it doesn’t exist, they don’t have to deal with it. If I’m gay, I obviously can’t be Christian. If I’m a Christian, I obviously can’t be gay. And can I say this: that is fucked up. Pardon the language that I don’t normally use in this space, but this is so wrong. I’m sorry, but in the church, here there be lesbians, gay and bi people, trans people, queer people of all expressions and identities. And Jesus loves us as we are.
It was wrong for the church to ask women to be ok with it when they interpreted passages of Scripture in very sexist, misogynistic ways. It was wrong for the church to defend slavery and segregation based on an incorrect interpretation of the Bible. Using the Bible to judge or abuse to de-humanize another person and make them less than. is. wrong. This is not only saying I cannot express my sexuality by being in a loving relationship within the church, it is also saying, I am not worthy to exist in the same space as straight Christians. Yet, while still teaching I cannot lose my salvation, telling me I’m not a Christian because I’m not like you.
So, am I in or out of the kingdom of God now? Who am I if not a committed Christian studying at a Christian seminary because I love Jesus too? I feel like I compromised for the comfort of those around me. In my church growing up, people would only accept certain parts of me. So, I split myself in pieces and only shared parts of me. I don’t remember who I am as a whole person, but I’m trying to piece myself back together. I followed all the rules. but if they can’t accept me for who I am, that’s not ok. I am a whole person. Take me as I am or not at all.
I’m still learning to accept and embrace myself. I feel like I spent my whole life having others affirm who I am and accept me before I could affirm and accept myself. I need to accept and affirm myself whether or not anyone else does and maybe even before they come to that conclusion.
I cut my heart in pieces for you, church. I was who everyone wanted me to be but me. For all of you…simply to get thru this life. I am whole as I am. No more. No less. I am enough as I am. No more no less. So take me as I am–rainbows and all. I am whole as I am. God loves me but do you? Do I even love myself? One thing at a time, I guess.