Tag Archives: reconciliation

A Backpedaling Apology

In September, I wrote a farewell post. I simply couldn’t take the negativity going on in this culture war. To be honest, I still can’t. Many of you have written me to express your support, your kindness, even your frustrations with me for not continuing this journey of reconciliation. Every single word has been heard, treasured, and put to good use.

After thinking on these things for the past few months, I’ve arrived at a few conclusions:

I stand by my decision to take a break from staunch advocacy. However, I would be remiss if I said my journey had ended. For better or for worse, I still deal constantly with living as a lesbian in the bible belt south. And at the risk of making myself too vulnerable, I feel the need to come clean on a few things.

Before going into that, I must say: I am extremely happy. I love my life. My partner (who I’ve put through a lot, by the way) has helped me realize true love is not a lost cause for this sappy romantic. However, as someone who has experienced social anxiety on some level my entire life, it has become nearly unbearable over the past few years. Self-acceptance was never as much of a problem until I came out.

I worry. Constantly. I can feel the disgust people have for me, even when they don’t say it out loud. It hurts. Like everyone else, I want to be accepted and loved. And to know there are some people who feel they can not be in fellowship with me because of this issue damages me on a cellular level.

I see other LGBT friends living life normally with their partners. They don’t let the naysayers bother them. Truly, they are able to simply brush it off and go on with their happy and healthy lives, without one worry about what people think or say. I envy them. Why is this so difficult for me to do as a grown woman in my thirties?

In addition to everything I just referred to, I feel guilty for mentioning it. I feel as though by giving into these negative thoughts, I’m allowing myself to stay in the role of the victim. And I despise the thought. When I truly give into the negativity surrounding my life as a lesbian: I feel cheated. I feel victimized. I feel hated, loathed, and cynical. I feel talked about. Whispered about. Laughed at. It may not be true for every person in my life, but it’s there. I’ve seen it happen, time and time again: Before someone knows I’m gay, they enjoy my company. They take me seriously. They treat me like a human. After they find out—either by me or the grapevine—they avoid me. They see me as less than. They treat me as the “other”. I don’t want to fall into the trap of over-generalization, but it’s difficult not to when you’ve seen it happen as many times as I have.

So the primary reason I wanted to say farewell to you, my dear friends, is because I don’t have a lot of positivity to give about this subject at the moment. But perhaps there is value in authenticity. Maybe it’s important to come right out and say I’m not in a good place. As it currently stands, I feel like I’m in an incubator, just waiting to emerge a better person. I’m attempting to nurture my soul by immersing myself in hobbies, in spiritual readings, in Christmastime traditions. But despair is still there, underneath. It always is. Maybe with every passing year, it will shrink, growing smaller and smaller, completely enveloped by my joy. Until then, it’s my cross to bear. And as long as I have feelings, I suppose you’ll find me writing about them. For your sake, I wish they were always happy ones. But as long as you’re willing to read them, I’m willing to share them… for better or for worse.

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Coming Out Stories

In order to share in one another’s sorrows and carry one another’s burdens, we must learn  to tell our stories. The “Our Stories” page on this site is designed to do just that. It’s my hope that it will also tell our collective story to the Church as a whole. When we put a face on the issues at hand, the game changes. Once people find out they have a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered family member or friend, it makes this topic personal. If you haven’t already, I invite you to take a look at the “Our Stories” page, and read the personal testimonies of people who are on the continuous journey of reconciliation.

I would also invite you to submit your story as well. Whether straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning… by telling your truth, you are helping others accept theirs.

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Over the next couple of days, I will be doing site maintenance. Hopefully, by the end of the weekend, you will be able to comment on each person’s coming out story individually.

“This I Know” Bible Study

Last week, I attended the first session of the “This I Know” Bible Study: a multi-week companion guide to the award-winning documentary “For The Bible Tells Me So”. As the date approached, I became more and more nervous. I began to wonder if there would be any other gay people there. I wondered if the straight people who did show up would be open to this idea of frank discussion concerning the Bible and homosexuality.

My anxiety vanished the moment I walked through the door. There were about 20 people in attendance. The 2011 President of PFLAG-Nashville Chapter was there, and plans on participating weekly in this study. Everyone was so kind. I was surprised to find that the majority of those in attendance were heterosexual. There are a couple of gay men in the group, but it seemed that Jessica and I were the only lesbians there. We introduced ourselves, settled in, and watched the documentary.  Jess and I were the only two in the entire room that had previously seen the film. It was quite humbling to watch the reactions of our new acquaintences as they watched this presentation for the first time.

There was a brief time of discussion following the film, in which everyone seemed to be very open-minded. The sheer fact that a Methodist church in the middle of the Bible belt would offer this study to the community shows that we are making forward progress as a society. I don’t think the Belmont United Methodist Church is technically listed as a gay-affirming church (I’ll confirm that by next week), which makes the existence of this study group that much more amazing.

I think this study has the potential to bridge some serious gaps between the Church and the LGBT community. I’m so blessed to be a part of it. I’ll be updating you on the discussion as it unfolds during the following weeks.

A Mother’s Love: Guest Blog Series

Author’s Biography

Kathie was born and raised in Southern California and was the last of five children.  She attended the public schools until high school where she attended Bishop Amat Memorial High School in La Puente, California.  She attend USC School of Law, La Verne College of Law, and Cal State L.A. to earn a certificate as a paralegal.  She worked most of her adult life in the legal field as a paralegal.

Kathie founded a paralegal service for nearly nine years.  She then worked at the Academy for Academic Excellence in Apple Valley, California, where her youngest daughter attended, for six years.

She is married and a proud Christian mother of three daughters and five grandchildren.

After learning her youngest daughter was a Lesbian she retired from the working world, kept a journal of her feelings and the journey she now found herself on.  She developed her writing skills through the Christian Writer’s Guild, and after much research on the topic of homosexuality, she turned that journal into a book in the hopes other families would not have to suffer as she did.

 She believes there is a light at the end of every tunnel.

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As a Christian, doing everything I believed God asked me to do as a mother; raising my girls to believe in God, to accept Jesus as their personal Savior, and to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind, … imagine my reaction to finding out my youngest daughter was lesbian!

So many emotions ran through my mind and my heart was literally broken.  I felt chest pain and was sure I was being punished.  Didn’t she know better?  Didn’t I teach her that being gay was an abomination to God?  Did I fail her?  Did I fail God?

Oh my gosh!!!  I was a mess.  I begged her, pleaded with her to change her mind.  I told her this was a choice and that her life would not be what it could be!  I got on my knees and pleaded with God to intervene.  “Please, Lord, change her heart and make it what you desire it to be!”  I began developing health issues, depression and illnesses.

I kept a daily journal of what was happening and how I was feeling.  Looking back at that journal is now very painful.  Not painful for what I put myself through but painful for what I put my daughter through.

It took me several years to realize, it wasn’t ever about ME!  It was always about my daughter.  She couldn’t change who she was.  I had to research her community and the information surrounding her life, her friends, and her future for a better understanding.

What I found through a few years of research, meeting her friends, attending a Pride Parade (although I was very afraid at first), is these kids are still OUR kids.  God gave them to us to raise, to teach them about God and how to live a productive adult life.  I did all that!  I didn’t fail God and I didn’t fail my daughter!  What a realization that was! I began to feel a peace.

To see her thrive and flourish, to obtain two Associates Degrees, a Bachelors Degree and a Masters Degree was amazing!  To see her work and go to school, obtain many friends who were all going to school or had careers and were also gay!  God blessed her throughout those years and I could see His hand in everything!

During those years she met a girl and wanted to bring her home.  I wasn’t sure I was ready for that.  I wanted to dislike her.  I decided to have a BBQ and have the entire family over to meet her.  The minute she walked through the door I fell in love with her.  She is an amazing person, from the same type of family we are!  All of us fell in love with her.  That was four years ago and they are still together.  Now I can’t imagine my daughter walking through the door without her partner.  Wow!  Have I come a long way or what?

I also learned through my research that some churches are “welcoming”, meaning my daughter can feel safe worshipping in those “particular” houses of God.  There are some churches that are NOT welcoming.  My first question to one pastor was “who owns God’s house?  Is judgment up to man or to God? And who are you and your Board of Directors to say my daughter has to CHOOSE which house she worships in.  Doesn’t God call all of us to worship?”

His response was “being Gay is an abomination to God and our job as Priests and Pastors is to educate our congregation on what God says and what He means by saying it!  We are called to speak God’s truth!”

WOW!  What an eye opener.  What I saw was a business – not God’s house!  What I saw was a bunch of men and women “interpreting” God’s word rather than have their congregation ask for God’s guidance and allow God to speak directly to each individual.  What I saw was a Board of Directors dictating how this church should be run.  And it is run as a business.  God has no say in the matter!

I went to a Bible teaching church for many years and the Pastor there said “I will not ask for money as the collection plate is passed around.  Give or don’t give. My God is a rich God and he is now, and has always, provided!”  Can you imagine?  He went from having church in a park, moved to an abandoned grocery store, and now has a church that houses thousands each and every week!  What an awesome God!  And yes, this Pastor never asked for money, it was all provided by God.  He also called all of us to seek God’s guidance, not his!

My main point now is to let other Mothers know that our kids are God’s gift to us and how we raise them is our gift to God.  They will be with Him in the end.  We gave birth to these beautiful children.  We taught them they first belong to God and to give Him all glory and honor; to pray and seek His guidance.  Once they have that personal relationship with our Lord, they seek his desire for their lives.  As adults they continue on that journey.  They don’t give up on God – they give up on the God of their parents, and of non-welcoming churches, who believe these children should be punished for being gay!

I have a true peace with my daughter.  We are so close and always have been.  But I believe this experience drew us even closer.  We talk every day online and on the phone.  She tells me everything, confides in me and asks me for advice.  She appreciates the fact that I took the time, effort and energy to find out all I could on the subject of being gay and the effects that she and so many others have to endure.

I have been reaching out to other Mothers to counsel them on how to react and learn before passing judgment or going through what I put myself through.  There is no positive result when you refuse to listen and pass judgment.  There is a positive result when we can listen to our children without reaction, ask questions, meet their friends, and research what they are facing, again without judgment.

They are our children and my motto is “keep your children close!”  They are the same children we gave birth to and raised.  They are a gift from God!  God doesn’t make mistakes, and He certainly didn’t make a mistake by giving me this particular child.  She has truly been a gift all of her life and continues to be.

Our God is an awesome God.  He gave us our children and it is our responsibility to Him to do everything to keep them close, be a big part of their lives, and to love and encourage them as they go through adulthood.  They are the same person from birth to the present day.  If we loved them without exception prior to learning they are gay, why do we question everything after finding out they are gay!!!  That is the question!

-Posted by Kathie Hynes

Getting Past Ourselves

There’s one thing that’s been on my mind a lot lately, concerning our plight as gay Christians.  There is such a debate going on in our churches, that thousands of people are being pulled away from productivity in the Kingdom, just to claim their side of the battle line over homosexuality.  It’s true that this journey is one of the most important ones we will take as Christ-followers.  After all, we want to know what’s righteous in the eyes of God.  That’s why every gay Christian knows those 6 clobber passages oh, so well.  And we welcome the day when we reach the end of this emotion-filled journey.  But what happens after?  Where do we go from here, once we can fully grasp our faith and our sexuality?

“I’ll be glad to be over this hurdle, so I can begin living for God again.”  I’ve heard this more than once when talking to gay Christians.  This issue is so difficult, so draining, so intense, that we often spend every ounce of our energy deciding what our personal belief system will be.  And for most people, that’s what it takes.  But it’s worth it… because once you make that reconciliation, you can begin to use those amazing gifts of yours, full throttle, for God.

Unless, of course, the battle just won’t die.

Many of us gay Christians find ourselves defending ourselves over and over again within our churches.  The very place we are supposed to feel safe just as we are… it becomes a battlefield.  The more time we spend fighting with each other inside those four walls, the less time we spend ministering and loving on those outside them.  And Satan loves nothing more than to distract God’s people from the greater work.  Wouldn’t it be better to move forward together with a common goal of serving God?

The bottom line is, this debate over homosexuality has always been bigger than it really should be.  Whether you believe it’s a sin, or whether you don’t… there are way more important things to be focusing on.  Too many people are holding picket signs, and not enough people are feeding the poor, or building houses for the homeless, or reaching out in love.

Let’s get past ourselves, homosexuals and heterosexuals alike, and move forward together!

Kathie Hynes: Christian Mother Becomes an Ally

During the few months that Coming Out Christian has been underway, I’ve had the opportunity to chat and converse with lots of amazing people.  Kathie Hynes is one of those people.  She is a Christian mother from southern California, who struggled when her daughter came out as a lesbian.  She began recording her emotions in a journal, and eventually transformed the journal into a book.  “My Name is Kathie and My Daughter is a Lesbian: From Bible Verses to Rainbow Stickers” is designed to help others parents who are coming to terms with their childrens’ sexuality.  Read the official press release below:

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Apple Valley, California – June 8, 2010 – My Name is Kathie and my Daughter is a Lesbian: From Bible Verses to Rainbow Stickers journals the challenges of a mother in an atmosphere fraught with tension, where self-esteem and livelihoods were on the line every day after discovering the alternate lifestyle of a child. The book is designed to provide help and hope for mothers of gay children. It demonstrates that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

My Name is Kathie and my Daughter is a Lesbian: From Bible Verses to Rainbow Stickers gives a candid account of the cocktail of emotions the author experienced — from shock to denial to acceptance to hope. The book reveals that with faith, one can create a stronger relationship with God, learn to be more kind not only to oneself, but also to those who live an alternate lifestyle.

Kathie Hynes, author of My Name is Kathie and my Daughter is a Lesbian: From Bible Verses to Rainbow Stickers says, “I struggled as a Christian mother when I learned my youngest daughter was a lesbian. The journey took me from helplessness and hopelessness, to forgiveness and acceptance. My hope is that this book will help other mothers of gay children through the seven stages of grief to acceptance.”

Gordon Soholt, Chief Academic Advisor, The Lewis Center for Educational Research, said, “No bond is more praised than a mother’s love for her child. But what happens in a family with traditional Christian values when that child grows up gay? This important book explores the questions, doubts, angers, fears and ultimate acceptance that one mother went through. Deeply personal and intimate, you will be moved to tears, laughter and a greater understanding of the love between parent and child, and ultimately between God and us. A must read for those confronting the realities of today’s society.”

The book is due to be released in August 2010, and will be available at bookstores including Barnes & Noble, Borders, Online book distributors such as Amazon.com and Amazon Kindle.

Kathie was born and raised in Southern California. She attended USC School of Law, La Verne School of Law, and Cal State L.A. to study as a paralegal. Kathie is the former founder of a paralegal service that she ran for nearly nine years. Kathie then worked at the Academy for Academic Excellence in Apple Valley, California.

She is married and a proud Christian mother of three daughters and five grandchildren.

Contact:
Kathie Hynes, Author
Email: hynes.kathie@gmail.com
Website: www.kathiehynes.com

God Don’t Make No Junk

As a Christian lesbian, I really get my feathers ruffled when others are so quick to judge.  Ignorance runs so rampant in the evangelical, heterosexual world, doesn’t it?  And the hurt it brings runs even deeper.  From my observations, (growing up in a very rural Kentucky town), whenever someone hears the word, “gay”, their mind immediately turns to gay sex.  Never mind monogamy.  Never mind love with a spiritual connectedness.  Never mind purity.  No… let’s talk about what goes on between the sheets of those perverted, psychologically disturbed gays.  I find it horribly insulting, to put it mildly.  Yet… if there is to be a bridge built between the church and the LGBT community, we must reach out in love.  We cannot respond with the same hate and disgrace of which we have been victims.  In my opinion, the answer is education.  The more people talk about it, the less taboo it will become in our churches.  And that would be progress!

If any of you have used GCN (The Gay Christian Network) as a resource, then you’ve probably heard the terms Side A and Side B.  Side A Christians believe that same-sex relationships are a-ok in the sight of God.  Side B Christians support the theory that being gay is genetic, and something you’re born with… but they consider homosexuality to be a calling to celibacy.  This great debate will certainly be the topic of many blogs and podcasts to come, but the real point here is that many heterosexuals don’t even realize there are shades of gray in the gay Christian world.

In my truly humble opinion, I believe that the nature vs. nurture argument is so vital here.  To me, it does not matter if a person agrees with every detail in my belief system.  Of course, it would be convenient… but that’s just not the reality.  However, when it comes to the infamous question: “Is it a choice?”, then I feel there’s lots of room for improvement in the Christian society.  If you’re gay, then you’ve muttered this too many times to count:  “Why would I choose to be gay when being straight is a much safer, easier choice?”.  Not long ago, someone told me, “Well… I definitely DO believe being gay is a choice.  It may be an issue you deal with, but I was raised to believe that anything is possible with God.”

Ok.  Hit the pause button.  That hurt.  Telling me that I wasn’t born gay is like telling me that I wasn’t born with blue eyes.  I’m staring into the mirror, and into the truth that I’ve known my whole life.  And someone is telling me that’s not really who I am.  Listen up, religious right… that doesn’t help me.  It just makes me feel crazy.  And as far as God making things possible… boy, do I know it now more than ever!

Indulge me for a moment here… but this is something I’m passionate about:  How many times has God answered your prayer in the exact way that you imagined He would?  The point is, God answers prayers.  I believe with all that is in me, He answered my prayers to be healed; but His healing came in a different (and much more profound) way.  I prayed to become straight.  But instead, He opened my heart to accept myself.  He loved the person that I had grown to hate.  Some see that as the easy road… they think that staying gay and justifying it is less difficult.  But take it from me… my journey was anything but easy.  However, it was in that dark place that God refined me.  He finally made me see that what I’d been so terrified of was actually something quite beautiful.  I am embracing my identity in Christ.  And well… being a lesbian is just part of who I am.