I Can’t Be Your Gay Friend

Dear Non-Affirming Christian,

I have reviewed your offer and the attached job description, and after careful consideration I regret to inform you that I will not be accepting the position of “Gay Friend.”

It was tempting at first, mostly because the alternatives seemed so lonely. And I’ll be honest, you almost won me over with the promise of paying for coffee when we sit down so you can “hear my story.” However, I have some concerns.

First of all, the job description states that you will be name-dropping me in all conversations pertaining to “the issue of homosexuality” from this point forward. I assume you’re referring to the conversations you have with your real friends, when you muse about the world and your faith and the ways the two interact. I’m sure these conversations sometimes turn into debates, especially since your non-affirming position is so quickly losing popularity. That’s where I come in, right? If you mention that you have a “gay friend,” then no one could possibly consider you a bigot. I’m the living proof that we can disagree on divisive issues and still get along, correct? As if the coffee we share could be listed among your credentials and our perceived friendship somehow makes you more qualified to condemn…

But here’s the problem, Non-Affirming Christian: you’re still thinking of me as a divisive issue. Can you understand why that hurts me? Can you understand that I do not want to be used as a mascot for your theology? Your theology puts kids on the street. Your theology tears families apart. Your theology killed Zack Harrington. It killed Leelah Alcorn. Your theology is a murderer, even when it’s wearing a smiling face and skinny jeans. You can try to justify it next time you and your friends get into one of these debates, but please…I beg of you, not in my name.

Forgive me for my bitterness. If I’m being honest, I’m actually a bit jealous that you can have such inconsequential debates. You can argue about homosexuality and then forget about the conversation 10 minutes later. You can arrive at any conclusion you’d like and it will have no effect on your life. I can’t do that. Every time I’m asked to speak on the subject I am making an appeal on behalf of my existence. When I share my opinion, I am sharing a sacred part of my identity that I know could be rejected. We are not having the same conversation. That’s not your fault, but I think you forget about it sometimes.

This job description you wrote also insists that we both “agree to love each other despite our disagreements.” God, that sounds great. It really does. And I am trying so hard to figure out how we might make it work. Non-Affirming Christian, I believe that you think you love me. And I know that I try to love you. But the problem is that one of us has a lot more to lose than the other.

And I’m so scared that you think it’s you.

I’m afraid that after we finish our coffee, you’re going to go home and pat yourself on the back for adequately loving the “least of these.” After all, Jesus also spent time with prostitutes and tax-collectors! Isn’t it somewhere in the Bible that we should love the sinner and hate the sin? And we all know that it’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

So, doctor, am I your friend? Or am I fulfilling your monthly leper quota?

If we’re going to make this friendship happen, Non-Affirming Christian, I have some work to do first. I’m going to have to pray for the grace to love someone who will never fully accept all of who I am. I am going to have to learn how to love unconditionally and without any expectation of support in return. I am going to have to forgive you for your unrepentant wielding of a belief system that has systematically oppressed my community for centuries. That is excruciating love. That is tremendous grace. For a gay person to love a non-affirming friend is astonishingly Christ-like.

I don’t know if I’m qualified for this position. I’m getting there. I feel closer to Jesus than I ever have before, and he’s teaching me a whole lot about grace and love. But listen, I am just so exhausted. And until I can learn how to give you grace, I need to be gentle with myself. I need to learn to love the person I was created to be before I can fully love a person who tells me otherwise.

Non-Affirming Christian, I don’t think you realize what you’re asking of me when you ask me to be your “Gay Friend.” But I’m trying to forgive you for that. In the meantime, I will walk alongside you and I will pray for you and I will ask God for the will to search for some kind of unity. And perhaps one day we can meet for coffee. I’ll pay this time. And maybe then we can renegotiate the offer.

75 comments

  1. Caitlin, At first I was thinking, Do you want us on your side or not? Until I got to the leper quota; then I totally got it. It’s true. However, some people who are LDS believe that LGBTQ’s are actually a part of God’s plan and His chosen few. That it will be revealed in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon that you were sent here to separate those who live the letter of the law from those who live the Spirit of the law. Some of us Aren’t trying to win a trophy for anything. We just know we love you unconditionally and don’t care what other people think about us. We do however, care considerably what they think about you. We never ever want to read about another suicide committed by any of you. We only want others to, at the very least, change how they treat you and talk about you. I will never mention your name, only your reality: you would Never Choose this lifestyle. I feel like you are my children too and that I will do anything to protect you and shield you from the overwhelming Neverending darts that pummel you daily. I have grown weary myself of the narrow or close mindedness and I just wanted to sit down and rest with you for a few minutes and enjoy each other’s company while we’re both still here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s not a “lifestyle”. If you had done any serious work on this struggle, you would know that word is offensive. And yes, some choose to be LGBTQQIA–and that’s fine. Just as fine as you or others choosing to be straight or cis. Saying and believing otherwise simply turns us back into metaphorical lepers. And you remain a dart-thrower.
      If your words here accurately reflect your beliefs, you are not an ally. I’ll say it again: you are not an ally. Please have the courage to accept that. And go away and do some work on yourself, for God’s sake and ours. And yours.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Jules, what about the possibility of you gearing heart of Debra, and offering grace for her usr of words that may offend; but clearly do not represent her heart for Caitlyn. I am a conservative christian, a 40 year friend of Caitlyn parents, and the father of a beautiful daughter who is both Christian and gay. I am so thankful that as I allow the Holy Spirit to teach me to relate to my daughter in New ways, she knows my heart. If I use words that may be old habit, she is not offended, but glad we are in the conversation. Please consider that you may be counting out many who want you to be loved and affirmed if use of a couple of wrong phrases put them in.the enemy camp.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Exactly this. Thanks for saving me the time to have to write it myself. Choice or not. Who cares? Love the sin, hate the sinner. B.S. You/Your people/etc. Just go. You are not an ally, you still don’t get it, and you probably never will. Too late to the party, and we don’t need you now that it’s becoming trendy for Christian apologists to grow hip to the queer beat. Whatever.

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      3. It hasn’t always been offensive to say “lifestyle” as it was my generation that coined that phrase to describe ourselves and what we embraced. In fact, there are many gay and lesbian folk who live a gay “lifestyle” any many others who do not embrace the “all things gay” life. So, it is a nuanced word rather than an offensive word.

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    2. Debra, for many years I would say, in talking with straight people, that lgbtq people must be born that way because no one would “choose” to be gay.

      Now that I have discovered my bi-ness, I disagree. And I find it offensive that some people “tolerate” me. I choose to be in a same sex relationship and feel extremely fortunate to have found my love. It is not a trial even when others want to make my life harder or I loose friends or family relationships.

      So yes, we do choose- to love and be loved, to stand tall and proud, to speak our truth.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Would you mind clarifying this for me? I have been told being an LGBTQ person is not a choice. I get that when someone says you would never choose that, it carries a negative connotation, as though they are saying it is too disgusting to consciously choose.
        When you say it *is* a choice, do you mean the choice to embrace and integrate your sexuality?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Right. Thanks for the bravery of saying the “B” in LGBT out loud. Because we can sometimes feel like the outsiders in LGBT spaces and gain unwanted privileges in church of “assumed straight”.

        Rather as folk think, “No one would choose to be disabled” and therefore pity us. Disability isn’t something you choose, but choosing to take it up as an _identity_ and live comfortably within it and put the work in to educate yourself and others, is a definite choice, but still often subconscious. I don’t know why we are so fixated on whether stuff is choice or not but we seem to be approaching it from a defensive position a lot. I suppose I notice it because my other identities don’t get so often flagged as a choice in a “just choose not to be gay” way, even though it is remarkable how often the power of positive thinking is touted as a cure for disability if I would only _choose_ to work harder at it. 😉

        I don’t know how close a parallel that is but if our attractions and orientations can change over a lifetime just as our state of health does, I think it is pretty close. Unless we are a celebrity looking for ratings we didn’t jump in on a fad, no. Perhaps it isn’t a conscious choice but more the choices we make once exposed to unconscious ones in life that led us to the place where it isn’t a choice (or is)?

        I was going to say that exposed to militant Christianity in my teens had I not also been exposed to the unkindness of the judgements, assumptions and out- grouping that assumes all young women will rush to get into bed with all young men and finding that surviving abuse and being put into a forced marriage was seen as as damaging as consensual sexual activity, that I might have condemned friends and tried to be an “non-affirming” or harmful affirming Christian. It probably helped to have a terrible crush on my first gay friend and to be absolutely oblivious to the fact he was gay til I declared my love for him! I didn’t have a single prejudice in reserve, which I’d odd given a few people were ready to instill all the common ones. I just seem to have missed the memo on LGBT is bad, which given the long list of shibboleths I had to fulfill to be a “good enough for them” Christian is probably just as well! Saved agonising twenty years later and now all I have to deal with is disapproving lesbians who think I’m “with” my current P.A! 😉 I also seem to have had a natural talent for falling for unusual, queer or questioning guys before I ever acknowledged the possibility of attraction to my own _or_ other genders. Even the most ordinary of the ordinary guys didn’t bat an eyelid when I came out to him on Valentine’s Day 3 years ago.

        Looking back, I had been so trained to meet others standards that I didn’t have my own yardstick by which others had to stand or fall. It simply never occurred to me that being gay or trans or lesbian (predictably I had never heard the word ‘bisexual’) was something that would need fixing or be judged. Thank God that my Sunday school so rigorously focussed on the evils of oiuja boards, teenage sex (all sex is hetero, right?) subservience to husbands and the ultimate sin, being a non – born again Christian. Phew!

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    3. Life style? It’s not a life style. It’s how God created me to be.
      Debra, if you can’t affirm gay, sexual relationships as equal and blessed, you are no different from the ones you think Caitlin is addressing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, tears came to my eyes…I had an exact similar conversation with my father who is a Pentecostal Bishop and few of my church “family” when I came out to them.Now none of them sent here expect for my Dad, partially that is.

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    1. I wonder how many of us straight liberals/progressives you also barely tolerate because we only give lip service to notions of equality for our gay friends? I’ve been seriously disappointed in an awful lot of people I thought were true liberals lately.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed. It’s those oh-so-liberal(not) friends, who kick you in the teeth when they say things like: “I support civil partnership, by marriage is for a man and a woman.”

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow. That is quite a comment! And that, folks is humility with badass integrity and allyship! Damn, the damn Onion Fairy (*sniff, gulp, blub*)

        Thanks, from I am guessing, a lot if us, fancy a coffee? 😉

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    2. Oh I fear, me, lots, Nojam . ;-). I can hear the ” Just lets play it camp and comic to get through this, please,” in every line or gay slur my parents report their “gay friends”_saying it is OK to use. My parents on the subject of their “gay friends” is nauseating. Especially since they refuse to acknowledge their daughter’s queerness and instilled bigotry into their other daughter so that she queer- bashed me as a ‘ lesbian’ to all her friends before I had even heard the word, one reason I think that I could never ID as lesbian was that experience of my mother having to go up to school to stop rumours she never knew my own sister had started simply because I was the embarrassing disabled/ autistic kid and it damaged her cool rating.

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  3. Thank you thank you thank you. Attended a non-affirming church for about 5 years, and this catches all the pain and sadness and anger (and the desire to somehow, yes, still find a way to love and live together in grace and compassion) – thank you for these words.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I right there with you but my non affirming gay friends are relatives, my children and brothers. So it’s hard to step complete​ly away from them. But I love your description of why you can stop for coffee.
    My brother actually asked me to join him for brunch some day soon and I had to refuse saying it wasn’t in my best interest.

    People who are not gay, don’t get it. They are talking about a sin, we are talking about our lives.

    Thanks and i’m going to follow you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sue Corran, I’m not gay. I am a new Christian though. Born again in Christ at 47. I have struggled to settle with the Church because of this issue. I am sickened actually. I attend a new frontiers church who are developing and encouraging my gift as a public speaker of the Gospel. So I don’t want to leave, but I have grieved for this issue. It is a stain on the church. When I was little my baby-sitting team included a gay couple, I have family friends with a wonderful adopted family – a sane hard working funny parentage of two women. I have been sickened, shocked by the churches’ general attitude to this. Tears and forgiveness, more tears hope for more forgiveness. And I’m Evangelical! They say ‘look to Jesus about it’ but Jesus of course said… Zero about it. I don’t actually think the people in my church mean any harm. They just don’t get it and are drenched in tradition that binds God’s word. I’m a writer and I hope to publish something on the matter one day. I wonder if I could offend gay Christians though, although there are men who advocate for women well.

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      1. Hi, Berenger,

        “Hold not your peace at my tears”. ….and yet instead of mourning our hurts for us, they add to them, cry about what feels right to us and bind burdens on us that the gospel said nothing about.

        As a writer with a lot of LGBT writer/activist friends I would say that you will always offend someone but what you need is several LGBT+ beta- readers of any piece you intend to submit as an ally. I say several because what a lesbian reader is happy with may jar with gay men and what both are happy with might jar with a trans or bi person and so on… But good luck with that, it really sounds like you can use your gift to call out prejudice and bigotry and I wish you all the luck in the world.

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      2. I published an ebook called 5 Simple Ways to Love Gay Christians That You Need to Know. It’s $1.99 on kindle but as a free download on my website. I think we all need to flood the bookstores with our stories.
        suecorbran.com

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      3. I’ve edited several books that are written by affirming Christian authors, including two pastors. If you’re interested in writing a book, I highly recommend Walking the Bridgeless Canyon by Kathy V. Baldock. You’ll get a great domain on your and any the Christian church got to this point in relation to the LGBT community. You can check out Kathy’s blog and resources at http://www.canyonwalkerconnections.com

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    2. True. She nailed it. Same sort of thing happens to me when folk want to know about my disability or why I don’t work full time. I have to live my life after you used me as an info booth and offloaded you gripes about what it costs you in taxes to keep me….

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      1. Which happens in church more than I would like! Thoroughly stuck having been lucky enough to have LGBT Metropolitan Community Church in my area, that a fellow disabled person started on the “all these frauds when I want to work” thing.

        Talk about “It’s always something.” And trying to resolve it only showed the cracks of the sanist response to disability, “But I believe he has mental health issues” So have many of us , but it doesn’t make us fall for social propaganda.

        I’m just going to have to grin and bear it, I think.

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  5. How about we just buy you coffee because you sound like a really neat person to get to know, and we don’t give a hoot whether you’re gay or not? No job description. No transaction with me trying to rent credibility. Just two people enjoying time, and maybe a laugh. And a day brighter than it was before we talked.

    Pretty sure that’s what Jesus would do. (Well, you might have had to buy his coffee – he wasn’t too big on money.) Pretty sure that’s what we’re supposed to do, too. May you libe among friends who will treat you with that much respect, love even.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That sounds more like it! Flat white, one sugar please. D you think He does coffee? Guess He must do given all those church coffee mornings and all the work he had to get through!

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  6. Wow! Really challenged me. Made me uncomfortable…which I’ve learned is POSITIVE…causing me to reflect, look inward, question myself. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have read some good pieces on “what your discomfort is telling you” Maybe worth a Google search for it in social justice spaces online.

      I think we all do it from time to time. Saw a disabled church member who had employed another church member as a carer big up his own goodness in taking the guy on because he was homeless. Owwww. I don’t know whether I have made similar mistakes but I am sure I have assumed folk needed help or advice where it wasn’t needed online

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  7. I’m curious what coffee between Jesus and the woman at the well would look like. Would Jesus be considered a “bigot” because he was non-affirming of her lifestyle? Would he only be doing it so he can go back and tell the disciples that he has a “promiscuous” friend?

    Must I affirm sin in order to love and be friends with someone? Must I affirm adultery before I buy an adulterer a cup of coffee?

    Why must you pay the price for grace? Has Christ not paid it all – for your sin and for mine?

    So who is being intolerant? The one willing to buy coffee and try to be friends with one who they disagree with, or the one who says “no thanks. I don’t want friends like you”?

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    1. Hi, Tyler! Thanks for reading. I hope you can appreciate that this post was not an attempt to demonize you, but to help you understand some of the pain that LGBT folks experience. I’m not saying that a friendship with a non-affirming Christian is wrong. Just hard.
      Blessings!

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  8. Jake,

    Must I affirm adultery before I treat an adulterer as an equal? And equal with regard to what? With regard to voting? Civil rights? Church office? Theology?

    Part of this is that she is ostensibly trying to make this a theological issue but makes reference that the traditional side is losing. Well.. so? Should we abandon God for the sake of mere “progress”?

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    1. We are all sinners. The fact that you identify and call out what you believe to be a sin in someone else is the problem. It is not for us to judge others. We are to judge only ourselves. Judging others leads to sayings like “love the sinner but hate the sin”. It’s an “us versus them” mindset that is directly opposed to what Christ taught. We are to love God and love our neighbor above all else, and the answer to “who is my neighbor?” is “everyone!”

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    2. Tyler, it seems you are uncomfortable with the idea of a person judging your theology and questioning whether they can be friends with you while you are still unrepentant. You may have noticed that Catlin said she herself needs to grow in grace before she can be close friends with a non-affirming Christian. “I don’t know if I’m qualified for this position. I’m getting there. I feel closer to Jesus than I ever have before, and he’s teaching me a whole lot about grace and love. But listen, I am just so exhausted. And until I can learn how to give you grace, I need to be gentle with myself.” If it stings to hear somebody say “I have to grow in grace before I can fully love a person like you and have a person like you as a friend,” then you are developing empathy for the experience of LGBT people, and this piece has done its job.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s also sad that some people think all people different from them are alike. That is, all Christians who want to meet people who have different beliefs and experiences are the same, all are fakes, no one’s authentic.

    That’s stereotyping, you know. You wouldn’t dream of doing that in other circumstances; why this one?

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    1. Hi, Tom! My intention with this post was not to demonize, but to express some of the pain that LGBT folks often experience when trying to salvage friendships and build bridges with people who do not fully support them. I did not make any of the claims you mentioned, I just shared some of my deep fears and sorrows. We’re all doing our best to love, and I’m still learning how to love those I disagree with on this topic.
      Blessings, brother!

      Liked by 3 people

  10. How about this? I will not define you by the type of sexual experience you participate in, and you do not define me by my Biblical moral code. If we quit titling ourselves and others the divisions just may disappear. You call me non-affirming as if a person cannot accept you despite your sin. If you claim perfection, then we cannot be friends. If you admit you fail as often as I do to live up to the perfect moral life God demands of us, we can not only get along, a friendship can thrive. You cannot be my “Gay” friend, because I will never define you as gay. I will solely define you as a Child of God, made in His image, and would prefer you define me the same way. You may desire to define yourself by the actions and desires you participate in, but I will not and God does not. Get beyond the need to be defined by your selfish desires, and instead just be a whole person seeking God’s grace.

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    1. I hear you, but first of all I would like to clarify that sexual orientation and “sexual experience” are two separate things, and I think your second sentence confuses them. A gay person is gay whether or not they are sexually active, just like you’re straight even when you’re not in a relationship or having sex. Gay people are often over-sexualized in these debates, but it’s not about what we’re doing in the bedroom right now, it’s a much deeper thing. So yeah, no one wants to be defined by their sexual history or activity. That’d be creepy. But that’s not what we’re talking about.
      While ‘Child of God’ is indeed our primary identity, there’s nothing productive about throwing out all of our other very real and consequential identities. Being a gay woman has greatly shaped my life and my opportunities, and I do not have the privilege of being able to ignore that. Not being able to pass for straight has affected my work, schooling, and social life. It’s impossible for me to act like my sexuality doesn’t matter when I’m constantly reminded by society that it does. When we pretend that we “don’t see race” or “don’t care if someone’s gay,” then we’re not seeing the whole person, and we’re giving ourselves permission to ignore oppression. It’s just not helpful. Yes, I am a child of God. I’m also gay. God made me that way, and I think it’s so important to claim both.

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      1. “When we pretend that we “don’t see race” or “don’t care if someone’s gay,” then we’re not seeing the whole person, and we’re giving ourselves permission to ignore oppression.” – Caitlin

        When I say that I “don’t see race” or “don’t care if someone’s gay” that does not mean that I don’t recognize that they have life experiences based on those characteristics. It means that I try really hard not to treat them any differently than I would anyone else, while still recognizing that they have differences that have affected their life experiences. We all have characteristics for which society punishes us. Being left handed, being deaf, being blind, being schizophrenic, being short, wearing glasses, being anything other than the everything-typical, all-American, apple pie and Chevrolet consumer has negative consequences for individuals in this society. Some of the consequences are more severe than others and that needs to be recognized. But in the end, why can’t we just treat everyone the same, by which I mean simply love them for who they are with any and all of their differences and variety?

        Why is being different a bad thing? “Who sinned that this man was born blind? He or his parents?” can give us a clue. Victim shaming is very popular in our society today, just as it was 2000 years ago. Those who are different are suspect. They must have done something wrong to be set apart, to be injured, or victimized. “Bad things don’t happen to good people”, the subconscious message goes. “That could never happen to me because they’re different than I am”, is the subtext. The Jews of the Old Testament carried this line of reasoning a bit further. It had been amply demonstrated to them that their collective salvation could be put in jeopardy by the unlawful acts of a few. There is still some of that unconscious reasoning with us today.

        But with the coming of Christ, all of that was supposed to have gone away. The Law was replaced by Grace. Salvation became dependent upon an individual relationship with Christ, not a group covenant with God.

        I suppose all of this is me trying to say that when I relate to people who are different than I am, I’d like to treat them in ways that honor their differences and allow for them, but also in ways that affirm their humanity on equal terms with my own. We are truly brothers and sisters in Christ, whether they claim Christianity or not. We are all people with an inherent dignity and worth. Why can’t we just treat each other that way?

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  11. Heartfelt and beautifully written. As a senior citizen involved in Social Justice issues and whose sister recently came out, this has given me great need to pause and reflect. I just wonder a few things like “Can you as a gay person have an affirming Christian friend” and “Cannot the same things apply to my Black/Muslim/Hispanic friends?” Blessings on your efforts and on your self, however that seems!!

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  12. I love you unconditionally, Caitlin, and the rest of you, too!

    Just wanted to get that out of the way, first and foremost. It’s really easy to love people who are different than you, maybe in ways you don’t approve of, if you just let yourself love people as they are and look to appreciate all of our differences rather than divide people by them. And it’s not easy being different and a historically oppressed minority – that’s where us majority folks come in: it’s time for us to make room at the table for ALL of our sisters and brothers. It’s time for us to do the hard work of hearing and learning, and listening past whatever anger there might be – because that anger needs to be heard, and we in the majority have done a lot of things we need to change. We can’t change until we know we’re wrong about things. And Caitlin, I don’t know how you haven’t run out of forgiveness yet, you’re a better person than me.

    One final thought. “Hate the sin, love the sinner” is an overused and false axiom: there is no sin to hate, and without sin there is no sinner. And if there’s no sinner and no sin to hate, all we have left is love.

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  13. Love this. Gay former professional-Evangelical-Christian here. I had just finished reading the book Space at the Table by Brad and Drew Harper. My cousin sent it to me. I was skeptical of the book until the end when I began to appreciate the efforts of non-affirming Christians who try to connect with LGBTQ people. Now I read your post the next day and I relate so much to what you say and question the efforts of the book. Have you read Space at the Table? What’s your take on it?

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  14. My denomination in the Pacific Northwest is currently in the midst of a discussion and a separation about precisely this issue. We are splitting hairs about being “welcoming” but not “affirming” of same-sex relationships and those involved in them. The question is even more convoluted than that. There are those who can agree to disagree over whether we should be affirming or merely welcoming, and give God time to change hearts and sort things out. And then there are those who cannot even agree to disagree and demand ostracism and condemnation right now.

    But even being merely welcoming implies a second class existence, as you describe above, Caitlin. Welcome, but not quite right with God. Someone sitting in our midst to be pointed to in order to demonstrate our tolerance and forgiveness. Someone not quite good enough for teaching or leadership positions, but someone good enough to play the role of tolerance mascot.

    The “cannot-agree-to-disagree” crowd has taken control of our governing body and decided to boot out one offending church who published a public statement that they intended to be fully affirming of same-sex relationships. As a matter of conscience, now a half dozen other churches (including mine) have joined that exiled church and we plan to form a new governing body that will be affirming and loving for all people. Things are definitely changing. People in my denomination are finally questioning the rote teachings of 150 years ago regarding same-sex relationships, just as some of our forebears began in 1750 to question the historic Christian teachings about slavery. Pray for us, and rejoice with us in a new found freedom and rightness. This is where Christ is leading us.

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  15. Thank you so much for writing this letter.
    I spent a long time avoiding my old non-affirming friends when I came out and feeling badly for doing that.

    This letter helped me understand that that was okay and I don’t owe them any explanation as I learn to love the person I am.

    Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you!

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  16. This letter was beautiful, insightful and very well written. I am heterosexual. I always feel quite nervous writing or joining in the conversation around sexuality – so much offence can be caused unintentionally…and there are acronyms that ever evolve that I just simply don’t have knowledge of. I would like to be a gay persons friend…but not a ‘friend’, a real friend! I would like to love them for the person they are, and love them quietly, walking with them and journeying with them. I would like to wrestle with theology with them and understand their path and their travelling so far – with its pain and joys. I would like more friends that have experience that are different from my own – not only is having more friends great, but my hope is that the more we share our stories, the more compassion and understanding we share together.

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  17. I have many friends who are lgbtq. In college, they took me to their clubs and introduced me as someone “safe.” Not sure I understood that then but I see what they meant now. We have been friends based on other common interests yet always acknowledging the struggle. I treasure them and I know the feeling is mutual. We are open, honest, and real with each other. We laugh and we cry together. For me, the greatest affirmation I ever received was when I was told that we had been friends for so long and through so much together that they forgot I was straight. I will always be there for them and I will always be learning. What I will not do is back down from the struggle or forget that I am the one who is privileged to be loved and accepted.

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    1. Hi, Stephanie. I’m quite familiar with the word and its connotations. Although, in an effort to show some kindness and grace, I usually refrain from using it to describe people. That’s what this article is about: my attempts and my failures at showing grace towards people who disagree with me. I hope you can appreciate my honesty and understand that we’re all on a journey of becoming more like Christ.
      Have a beautiful day!

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  18. I wonder if (my) parents do this. its sad when Christian parents have to love their children ‘in spite’ of the homosexuality and do kind of the same thing you’re talking about with their children, i.e. I love my child, not their choices…

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