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.