Not long ago I had two brief conversations about the LGBTQ+ community. Both disturbed me deeply. These conversations wouldn’t have troubled me a couple of years ago. But I’ve changed my mind.
Here’s a question from the first conversation. “How many LGBTQ+ people do you personally know?” As a straight person that question stopped me in my tracks. My brain fired back, “Lots of them!” But then I tried to name the LGBTQ+ people in my life. By that I mean people I could call on the phone and they recognize my name when they answer the phone. The brevity of the list shocked me. (What is YOUR answer to the question?) I counted less than five. Five. I feel a void in my life.
The second conversation focused on the stand of the Church of the Nazarene in which I’m ordained. Ready for this? After hearing the next sentence I found it difficult to sleep at night. “In the Church of the Nazarene, we reject the gay community with open arms.” Ouch. If this makes no sense it’s because you are unaware of the church’s stand. We Nazarenes believe being a homosexual is not a deal breaker as long as there’s abstinence. Of course, many in the church do not even go along with the official position of their church. They believe it’s a sin to have sexual attraction to a member of the same sex. Yes, in the Nazarene world “we reject you with open arms.”
After careful study and prayer I no longer reject the LGBTQ+. I’m becoming an advocate for them and those struggling with gender issues. I embrace them, as I embrace all people, without reservation.
To my bewildered Christian friends, I know your reaction is one of disappointment. You will add me to your prayer list. You are angry. You are confused. You know I’m on my way to hell. I’m OK with you telling me how wrong I am. But if you comment to this article do so in love.
To my readers who are part of the LGBTQ+ community I ask forgiveness. Forgive me for the years I embraced the traditional party line about homosexuality. Forgive me for being silent when I should’ve been vocal. Forgive my insensitivity. Forgive my lack of love. I would like to hear from you. Feel free to send my a private message. And if you are a Nazarene struggling with homosexuality and need someone to talk to, feel free to reach out to me. And if you are a parent struggling with accepting the coming out of your child or grandchild, I’m here for you.
In the future I plan to write a few articles explaining why I changed my mind. The goal is not to provide a defense of my position but to hope you might take the journey with me. Yes, I’m a dreamer!
In a way, I’ve now come out of my own closet. And I’m feeling fine!