I grew up in the institutional church and was always of the persuasion that being gay was a sin. I still felt I was being loving and inclusive, since by saying I hated the sin but loved the sinner, I was being more open than other religious folks. Yet I was still saying that being gay was a sin.
I never treated those who were gay in a bad way. I never treated any of my friends or relatives who were gay any differently than I treated anyone else. I saw them as normal everyday people...but with a great sin in their life.
Things changed for me on this subject, and amazingly it was after leaving the institutional church. I started to see that God loves people, all people, just as they are. There was no, "I love you but", when it came to God. I started to read some books on the subject (something I never dreamed of doing before). I read "Torn" by Justin Lee and "God and the Gay Christian" Matthew Vines. I really thought hard about a God of love and how could such a God condemn people for the way he made them.
I finally began to see the LGBTQI+ community for who they really are...people. Take away the labels and you have human beings like everyone else. Just because they were born with different sexual expressions does not make them second class citizens nor does it make them deserving of the awful ways they are treated, especially by the Christian world. They are doing nothing more than being themselves the way God made them.
Today I seem to have a special sense of wanting to show those who are LGBTQI+ that all Christian people are not the same. I want to help promote information and acceptance between Christians and those who are LGBTQI+. I know many who are LGBTQI+ who are also Christians who love God and serve him. I can no longer say I believe being gay is a sin. I think there is a lot of misunderstanding and misinterpretation by the Church and evangelical Christians.
I do admit that I do not understand the attraction of two men or two women. Of course, that is because I am straight. I imagine that those who are gay or lesbian do not understand me and my attraction to the opposite sex either.
I recently read a book by Amber Cantorna called "Refocusing My Family". It is such an interesting and honest read, sharing her questions, struggles and hardships in her walk with God and her family. Her traditional Christian upbringing and her father being an employee of Focus on the Family made it extremely hard on her when she realized she was gay. It broke my heart to read of the terrible struggles and treatment she received. It is so hard for me to understand how parents can disown their children, yet I know it happens all the time.
Church, we can do better
I also believe that the Christians who do believe that being gay is sinful are still handling it all wrong. Whether you agree or disagree, our instructions from Jesus are to love God, love our neighbor and love our enemies. We are to love, not judge and condemn. I have read so many articles about the abuse the gay community takes - beatings, murders, legal and social exclusion, disowning, suicides. It is terrible. No matter what stand we take on the issue we are not to judge and condemn. As followers of Christ we are to be known for our love and treating everyone equally.
I personally am devastated by the way the Christian Church has treated those who are LGBTQI+. Whether we agree or disagree we should be treating everyone with love. For me, I have concluded that being gay is not a sin and I fully love and accept all people just as they are. I hope I can show that love and acceptance to others in some way.
I do not completely understand it but for some reason this topic has taken on a new meaning for me. I am tired of seeing the abuse, the exclusion and the discrimination against those who are LGBTQI+. Hopefully, I can help by showing love and acceptance to those I meet who are LGBTQI+, offering them some of God's unconditional grace that the Church has had such difficulty with. And I hope that, in time, the Church can learn something from those who are leading the way in sharing that grace with all people.
Jim was raised in the Methodist church and spent nearly sixty years in the organized church. He and his wife became dissatisfied with the way things were going and became very disillusioned the weekly service format. After several years of looking for answers and trying different churches, they left the religious system and have been living for God outside the walls of religion and traditional church. Jim believes that God loves all people and that everyone should be loved and accepted as is. Jim started writing a blog called Done with Religion where he talks about various topics of Christian living in non-religious ways. Jim and his wife live in the Columbus, Ohio area of the USA. They enjoy their family, traveling and meeting people from all walks of life.
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