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What’s God saying about the LGBT Community?

what's god saying about the LGBT community

As Christians, we’re constantly weighing the words of others, searching out what is truth and what is a product of our own opinion or bias (or at least we should be). For a long time, I took what was handed to me at face value because my leaders were obviously more learned than me. They had more life experience.

I was taught that God was still speaking, both through scripture and through the Holy Spirit. I was told that I could go to Him with my questions, seek wisdom, and I would find the Truth. So my question was this:

What’s God Saying about the LGBT Community?

I was under the impression that everything God had to say about the LGBT community was said: being gay was a sin. Period. There was no gray area and this wasn’t one of those non-essential theological things that we could just agree to disagree. For some, I realized, this was a matter of salvation. And so I shut up.

For a while, I was perfectly content to stay single, go to therapy and men’s groups, hoping that at some point God would fix me or bless me with an orientation change or with a wife or something. But nothing ever happened. More and more I sunk into shame and doubt and fear. I would sit in countless sermons where the pastor would say something about how gay people were ripping away at the fabric of our country’s morality.

It reached a tipping point for me though. One day after leading worship, a woman came up to me. She was a lesbian and her and her wife had been attending our church for a while, despite our church’s very clear stance on what was and wasn’t acceptable as far as sexual morality. She came up to me and said, “I feel like God asked me to share this with you: He loves you, as you are, not for what you think you should be.”

Honestly, I think I gave her a less than stellar look. Girl, you obviously don’t know me, and you don’t have the promises that I have because God is gonna bring me a wife. It was prophesied!

That’s a true story: Years before this conversation, someone actually prophesied over me that I he saw a vision of me on my wedding day. He said I was going to have a son that would never have to deal with homoesexuality because I “did my job” as a father.

I held on to that vision tightly. Trusting, fully believing that it was possible, because anything is possible with God. But years went by, and nothing was changing for me. No amount of prayer, no book I read, no deliverance ministry/exorcism (which also happened), no counseling session changed anything. I was still gay.

And then this woman comes along who says exactly what I’ve wanted to hear from God for years, someone who knows nothing about my story? It couldn’t have been coincidence. It was startling to me. She couldn’t have known what those words meant to me, and it was obvious the Holy Spirit was present in her. And her gaze was so loving and kind, full of compassion, like Holy Spirit was saying, baby, why are you doing this to yourself? I wanted so badly for it to be true…

But I rejected it. I put it out of my mind because I wasn’t about to give up the fight.

However, something my spirit started to shift that day, a holy unrest, if you will. A question began to well up within me:

Why is it that I believe what I do? Why is being gay a sin? And how does this other person feel so comfortable embracing that part of her heart, and I feel so guilty about wanting that?

What’s God really saying about the LGBT community?

I tried to put it out of my mind, because I didn’t want to be a ‘backslider.’ I was in a good place with my church, great place with my circle of Christian friends, and enjoying the benefits of community. (And I also served as the perpetual third wheel.)

But the more I pushed the doubt to the back of my mind, the more I felt that unrest grow. It got to a point where I would get angry when a pastor would talk about gay marriage being the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen in our country. I was getting fed up, tired of the injustices flung at LGBT people from straight, white, male pastors who didn’t have a clue about what it was to wake up every day and feel like second class member at a church that preached love and welcoming all into the family. Because ‘all’ always came with ‘if.’

If you were straight or celibate.
If you believe the way we believe.
If you submit to the authority of how we interpret scripture.

You have no idea how much damage you’re doing, do you? I remember saying that to myself every time sexuality or marriage was brought up at the pulpit. My skin would crawl, thinking about the thousands of LGBT people who stay quiet in their churches because they stand to lose their entire world if they come out.

This question was something I was deeply struggling with and was given little to no room to wrestle with. In many ways, I felt like I was the only one willing to struggle with this, and while some people claimed that they wanted to discuss and read over scriptures together, it turned out to be nothing but lip service.

Everyone said that they were willing to wrestle with this issue with me, but no one would get in the damn ring. Not one.

I mean, nothing beyond, “Well you know we hold a traditional view. The Bible says…” blah blah blah. Yes, I’ve heard that before. And I’m reading the same Bible as you, reading the same words,  so why is my spirit so unsettled?

It didn’t make sense to me. Why would God allow something like this to happen, especially to me, of people? I was a ‘good Christian.’ And I did all the right things that a good single Christian man was supposed to do, and yet here I was —gay, closeted, and unable to talk about how I was actually feeling.

So I began delving into scriptures, academic texts, listening to presentations and watching videos from people on both sides of the conversation, both affirming and celibate LGBT Christian voices. And as I’ve shared in some of my other blogs (this one specifically) for all I’ve read, I never really read or heard anything that made me change my mind one way or the other.

I was stuck firmly in the middle and I was unable to be convinced by mortal words.

But then Heaven came down and whispered softly in my ear the same words that woman at my church said to me.

God said, “I love you, as you are, not for what you think you should be.” Click To Tweet

And that was that. I was convinced. Holy Spirit hit me hard and I wept the freedom I found.

I’m not going to pretend to understand much beyond that. Yes, I can articulate theology and doctrine and historical interpretation of scriptures and all the things that all the voices that have come before me say so eloquently in favor of LGBT inclusion and affirmation, but none of that matters terribly much to me.

I’m not a pastoral individual like Justin Lee. I’m not an academic or one to debate this issue like Matthew Vines. I’m not well versed in the socio-historical view of this issue like Kathy Baldok. I’m not highly scholastic like David Gushee. I don’t have a masters of divinity, nor a history of social justice work.

I fully admit that I don’t know a lot of things. But I am convinced of this:

When I read my Bible, look at Jesus, meditate on the heart of God, and walk in the Holy Spirit, I don’t see the Church as being a body that keeps people out of the House, but one who sets a banquet table, and says, “Come, all who are hungry, come and feast!” That’s what Jesus does for us.

I don’t know much but, I do know this:

I love Jesus. I love Him so much. And for the freedom He has given me, I will be eternally thankful.

whats god saying about the lgbt communityI believe Him to be the Way, Truth, and Life, and I believe He is asking everyone, and I mean everyone to look to Him for answers. Not history, not doctrine or reason, but to Him.

We are at a point in history that Holy Spirit is beckoning us to shut up and listen. Listen to the voice of God for a cue as how to move, not to go off of knee jerk reactions to cultural shifts. Not to point the finger, saying who’s in and who’s out. But to stop, meditate, hear, examine, and thoughtfully consider that maybe Grace is a lot more radical than we thought, the Family much bigger than we anticipated, and Love being more important than being right.

 

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  • Jäcob Pintle

    Kevin 🙂 thank you for this! Many of us have lived in this similar situation… but God has been there all the time 🙂

    I would like to share this list of resources for LGBT Christian … hope it is a blessing as much as it has been for me…
    https://iamagaychristian.wordpress.com/2015/09/09/christian-resources-for-lgbts-recursos-cristianos-de-apoyo-para-lgbts/

  • E. Sault

    You talked about deliverance, a spouse prophecy, and holding out for a sexual orientation change and I was like, “Yes, yes, yes!” I went through those when I was pretty young and really held onto the belief that yeah, that guy that was prophesied about would actually show up; deliverance would really work on me (and to an extent, it did, but it didn’t effect my orientation); and I figured if I came out to anyone, they’d tell me to pray to God to “change me,” so I did that for awhile with no luck.

    Basically… I’m glad you’re at a place where you’re loving yourself and understanding that God loves you as well. It’s kind of neat- relaxing, liberating, a breath of fresh air- to realize He loves us, as we are. 🙂

  • Thank you Kevin. I love that you focus on your relationship with God.

    My journey started about 22 years ago when I got to know one gay man deeply. Back then, I was a psychotherapist and he was my client. After nearly a year of weekly sessions, he pointed out to me that I had shed my previous anxiety about homosexuality. I had not noticed it happening, but he was right. Our relationship opened my heart and my mind followed. We never actually talked about God, the Bible, theology, what Christians think, sexual attraction, nature or nurture. We just talked about life, how he was doing with getting out of bed and leaving his room, etc. And then one day I got mad at him because he was using his good looks to flirt with strangers and I told him he deserved a real relationship with someone who would be there with him day after day. I, the therapist who had been uncomfortable with homosexuality, wanted him to have a steady man in his life! It then dawned on me that I was the slow one. God had been waiting for me to catch up.

  • Jennifer Christine Sidwell

    If you were honestly being real and truly desired God and the truth… why do you structure God around your own life? You are asking God but with a wrong heart, when you pray, you pray for your own desires instead of for the one true God and for the truth. Of course, the same goes for straight people as well. . . anyone who is putting the desires of their heart first in their life rather than offering their lives as a sacrifice (which is where we must die so that Jesus might live in us). There are many voices which we may be inclined to think are “the Holy Spirit” and which we justify. . . simply because they affirm what we want. This is not the voice of God. This is the voice of our flesh, our selves, our own self-god. If you want to be gay, then do so, but don’t claim that what you are doing is inspired by the Holy Spirit.

  • Hank Selzer

    “I wept the freedom I found”? You write so beautifully, and I love you. YOU FUCKING ROCK, BROTHER!

  • Mariah Smith

    How did the Holy Spirit speak to you? Was it an audible whisper or a feeling? I’m going through my journey and I’m scared I won’t know how to interpret the Holy Spirit whether He’s telling me if it’s a sin or not. I’m stuck in the middle like you were after doing all of the Biblical scholarly research and I’m afraid accepting this is the wrong choice and I don’t know if it’s years of homophobic programming or the Holy Spirit telling me it’s not okay and that I shouldn’t be with my girlfriend (who is the most amazing and beautiful person in the world). Would love your insight.

  • kimjason

    Hello Kevin. I recently came across your article on a social media site and felt really compelled to comment. I am thankful that I have. First, I wanted to thank you for sharing your journey. I’ve read a few testimonies of other Christians who had struggled with homosexuality, but yours is different in a particular way. The turning point in your story is that you realized God loves you no matter what. That is very true. He loved us and died for us while we were yet sinners (Rom 5:8). Of course, realization of that amazing love causes people to turn away from sin and the destructive path that we were on (Rom. 2:4). Experiencing God’s love involves repentance and freedom from sin. It’s the nature of forgiveness. There should be a genuine struggle against sin until we enter glory and stand before our God and judge (2 Cor. 5:10). Zacchaeus, for one, had a radical transformation once he encountered Jesus and His love. On the other hand, the rich young ruler, walked away sad when Jesus invited him to follow Him, leaving everything behind. There were things in the rich young ruler’s heart greater than the love of God in Christ Jesus. “Being gay” has never been the issue in Christianity as some would argue. The issue is embracing the passions of one’s heart (Matt. 5:27-28) that is contrary to what God desires which constitutes sin. That goes for any sin, of course. Furthermore, if one chooses to declare that the issue of homosexuality is subjective and is a matter of interpretation, what would prevent others from declaring that God’s love for you or any of us is subjective and a matter of interpretation? If homosexuality is not a sin as some have argued with weak evidence, shouldn’t the evidence be overwhelming not to reject it as truth? May we all have a greater and deeper understanding of Gal. 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” I am not sure if you have more peace or joy since you have affirmed your sexuality, but I pray that you will continue to desire closeness to Him, in Spirit and in Truth. Of course, we need ears to hear and eyes to see what He is saying and doing. God bless you.