Crashed Love: a Lament

Today, my heart is heavy. I’m so very weary of the divisiveness within the Church over the LGBT issue. I don’t expect mass overnight inclusiveness (although that would be nice). I don’t expect open arms at every congregation. Heck, I don’t even expect people to change their minds. What I would wish for—if only granted one wish—would be a populace love revelation. But have battle lines have been drawn too deeply into the sand? Believers on both sides are standing up for something, and standing passionately. I truly believe that those opposed to gays in the Church are convinced they are being loving by “standing up for the truth”. But is love truly the message being conveyed by the Church at large? For me, the answer is a resounding “no”. After reading an article by Rachel Held Evans, it seems I’m not the only one who feels this way.

When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers. (The next most common negative images? : “judgmental,” “hypocritical,” and “too involved in politics.”)

Does no one see this as a problem? Perhaps I would be blinded as well, if it weren’t for the fact that I’m a Christian lesbian. Unfortunately, it’s at the very forefront of my life.

Every. Single. Day.

I would love nothing more than to be able to move on with my life. I don’t want to have to dwell on my sexuality every day—because although it is a part of who I am, it is not my identity. Those who think I am an abomination define “it” as my only character trait. I am no longer a writer, a singer, a Jesus-follower… I am simply lost. And what makes it worse in their minds is that I still claim the Christian label. Some think it would be better if I just turned from the faith altogether, as to not lead others astray with my thoughts on the matter. I want to serve God. I want to minister to those in desperate need of His love… and many of the ones in need of that love are people who have been shut out of churches because of their sexual orientation.

Can I be honest? Sometimes, this struggle for acceptance just gets too personal. There are times when I think it would be better to leave it up to the straight allies. I want to spread the message of God’s inclusive love… but the negative reactions of some pile up like cinder blocks on my chest, suffocating me to death. When communion turns into alienation, when those I used to fellowship with aren’t willing to hear my story even once… it hurts beyond words. Instead, they want to read me the six passages of the Bible that they assume I’ve never seen; the six verses that I’ve spent the better part of a decade dissecting, praying over, and pouring my heart into.

And as I feel the knife plunge deeper, the air rushes from my lungs, and I wonder if physical death could hurt as much as this does.

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11 responses to “Crashed Love: a Lament

  1. Antihomosexual is NOT what I want people to think of when they think about christianity :/ and I don’t really like the next most common words either. We are so obviously doing something wrong.

    • Mallory, thank you for commenting. If everyone would treat others with kindness as you do, then the world would know that Christians can love each other without having to agree on everything. In my world, you are a light in the darkness! 🙂

  2. COC I enjoyed reading this, one of those article I stumbled on in the spirituality category and had to read it. I myself am a pagan with a Christian, mostly Roman Catholic background. For many different reasons, one of the biggest being the attitude and “laws” regarding homosexuality, is why I will no longer have anything to do with organized religion of any kind. Even with the pagan label I don’t fall under any of it’s specific labels. I figure if I fly one flag I might miss something of value, a nugget of wisdom from another spritual path….want to remain completely open minded I guess! I can’t imagine how difficult it is for you to have chosen Christianity but it is possible. There are many Christians out there who believe in the inclusive love you speak of….just wish there was more! Recently I saw a news report about two lesbians who attend a Catholic Church being denied access to the Senior Prom….so sad! A learning opportunity lost I think. I really am disgusted with the internal religious “war” going on in our country – instigated especially by the GOP.

    • Thank you for commenting! I’m so glad you happened upon this post. Thank you so much for your perspective on the issue. I know many people who have left organized religion for the exact same reasons. It seems as though that would cause people to stop and say: “We’re obviously not doing something right.”

      • Couldn’t agree more Mandy and folks like yourself are the spiritual pioneers of our age. As Jesus said, “Be not afraid!”

  3. ” I truly believe that those opposed to gays in the Church are convinced they are being loving by “standing up for the truth”. I believe that you are right and this makes me sad. Just remember that long suffering is one of the fruits of the spirit along with love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. (Gal. 5:22-23) and 1 John 4:17-18 … have boldness, there is no fear in love. Stand up for God’s love and that will be your truth. Eph. 5:9 for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth, finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
    We find that that it is easy for Christians to feel safe in believing and practicing what they have always known. Strife and unrest comes when people stand up to the wrong in our society and say enough is enough. Strife and unrest are needed for change. Change takes time and change always hurts. Our society is going through a lot of hurting right now. Yes, our most useful service is to love those who have been hurt the most, to stand up and show those who oppose us what God’s love really looks like. Often times, though, those who are speaking out against us and who are hating us in the name of love are experiencing as much pain as those who feel their wrath. It takes a lot of strength and we actually will grow stronger when we learn to love those who hate us. Remember we are asked to be strong in the Lord and wear the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18). We are asked to forgive as Christ forgave, putting on love, the bond of perfection (Eph. 3:10-17). When those handful of verses are used against us as darts, use the rest of the Bible verses about God’s love to stand firm. Wear the name of Christian proudly. Stand on those cinder blocks and sing your songs of rejoicing. I know the struggle with acceptance and being a disappointment to those we care about cuts deep. Reach out and love those who have been shut out. You are a strong voice for the voiceless! Stand with those who share your love and you will thrive. You are not alone!

    • Thank you, Anita. These words brought encouragement to me: “There is no fear in love.” I know that when I feel down, alienated, or “less than”, that those are simply tools of Satan to keep me from God’s greater work. You are right: change takes time, and change always hurts. The best way I’ve found to help heal the wounds of my past is to surround myself with loving people who love me as God loves me—just as I am.

  4. “Antihomosexual” – what a horrible indictment of modern Christianity. Brings to mind this quote from Max Von Sydow’s character in Hannah and Her Sisters: “If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”

    • Yes, Erin. I agree. Those statistics reminded me of the famous quote by Gandhi:

      “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

      I fear many people see Christianity through this lens.

  5. I have hope that someday more people will say, “I like your Christ. I like your Christians. I’m closer to Christ because of the love of your Christians.”

    This hope is part of what keeps me in the “Christian” faith tradition. And I have this hope because of Christ. There have been times that I felt complete loneliness in the midst of a large loving Christin community and it was God and the love of Christ that comforted me. I can’t let that go. And I’m confident that with time, patience, and courage, Christ will bring together those who appose homosexuality and those who affirm homosexuality….and it will be beautiful.

    It seems impossible for this to happen when there is so much negativity and hurt…..it is hard….but I’m still hopeful because nothing is impossible with the true love of Christ.

  6. Pingback: Crashed Love: a Lament | Coming Out Christian | Christian Dailys

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