Letter to the Church from a LGBTQ Christian
This is the first in a series of 3 letters. We want to hear the voice of LGBTQ persons in and around the church. As we call each other towards historic Christian sexual ethics, one of our goals is to see the humanity of LGBTQ persons as people to be loved.
As this series shows, there are Christians in our churches who struggle with sexual orientation and gender identity, and they too wish to follow Jesus wholeheartedly, and to be loved by their community.
As you read these letters, consider joining us on November 9 (evening) or November 10 (full day) for our Sexuality, Gender & the Church conference with Dr. Preston Sprinkle.
The church members speak as if members of the LGBTQ community are not beloved members of their local church. As if they are not part of this same discussion.
I am a closeted LGBTQ Christian. Specifically, I am a bisexual woman in a straight-presenting relationship. What this means: I am in a relationship with a man, but I also experience attraction to women. This puts me in a weird spot; I am too gay for the church and not gay enough to count as gay. I am… lukewarm. I exist in the grey. I am a living oxymoron; sitting in the church pew as the pastor tells the congregation that gay people should not have rights, getting mad, not being allowed to show it so as not to out myself. The church members speak as if members of the LGBTQ community are not beloved members of their local church. As if they are not part of this same discussion. It simultaneously puts me in the dark and in the spotlight. All eyes on me, but no one cares to look inside. If you think your church is not like this, I encourage you to look deeper.
If you think your church is not like this, I encourage you to look deeper.
I am an active member of the Church. I have served well for a decade. I have made known my spiritual gifts: teaching, empathy, leadership. I am close with my pastoral staff. I am deeply involved with the community as a whole. Yet, if I were to tell my “dirty little secret,” I would be stripped away of any leadership position I hold, told I make people uncomfortable, and am incapable of helping others see Jesus. I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen it done before. Moreover, I’ve gone through it myself before. You may say that I’m not even “acting on it.” I agree. Still, I was told I was unworthy. I know that “it was the Church, not God,” but for the Church to act this way is nonetheless unacceptable. I refuse to be treated as lesser because of who God made me to be. Stop fearing what queer Christians are capable of, and start loving them. Start loving us.
Is a relationship possible between myself and non-affirming churches? Yes. However, it will be a relationship in which I will serve in fear and others will serve in ignorance. I fear that the more church members learn about who I am, the more they will doubt my leadership abilities. It’s hard for me to live in that, let alone serve in that. I want to push forward. I want to be an active church member. I want to serve. But most of all, I want to be loved.