This week, a letter prompted by a recent blog about the very personal struggle with church and sexuality…
I have spent years trying to understand you I have done everything I can to bind myself to a teaching that calls me to love God and my neighbour. I try to remove the plank in my own eye and recommit to the Way, the Truth and the Life. I listen closely to what you say, Church. And I’m confused, conflicted, and at times even angry.
You see, I’m sick and tired of interacting with “Church teachings” around the “big sin” of sexual morality when the teachings appear as moving targets. The Church says the problem is sex. When I ask about other forms of intimacy with my girlfriend, the Church says the problem is about my girlfriend. When I ask about cultivating rich and meaningful friendships, the Church says that I misunderstand “rich and meaningful.’ When I ask about where I am supposed to live in community, the most candid response that I’ve received to date is “on the outskirts of a men’s monastery.”
As much as I desire to abide by the Church’s teachings, when it comes down to a vocabulary lesson that I am never to say the words “I’m gay” I can no longer abide the instruction. To rob me of my vocabulary is to rob me of my experience.
I long so much to be in a Christ-honouring relationship with someone who calls me to experience the fullness of God’s Love in my life. I long to find a partner who can complement my weaknesses relative to the missional work God has called me to. I long to find guidance on pursuing a vocation outside of the Church and outside of marriage.
I long so much to be a part of a Church that will help me through the confusion of being 28, of watching all of my straight friends marry and found families, of trying to steward my own sexual and relational energies…. and when I share my plea with the Church, I find the door slammed in my face.
I find myself so often in tears, begging God that He would reveal what specific parts of my conduct He would have me change. Reaching to God through shame with a desperate longing in my heart burns tears in my eyes more potent than any I’ve ever cried. When I find the courage to call a friend, my friend has to try to understand my words through the pain of a convulsing soul. Tears have clouded my vision and snot clogs my nose. And I’m grateful for each friend God has given me on the journey. I am so profoundly grateful for friends who can hear my desperate pleas for help from a community of Christians.
But this handful of friends is scattered across two continents. And they are friends who are the ones who simply decided to be my friend through WHATEVER my life entails. They remind me constantly of God’s love for me, even when they themselves have decided that “Christ” no longer makes sense as a name to call God.
And as I encounter a Church that constantly change the rules for me…. I wonder if the Church used moving targets to try to convince some of my friends to give up the name of Christ. All I long to do is to love Him…. and to love the others I come into contact with….
Because the words “I’m gay” describe my experience, the Church tells me I cannot love. How can the Church tear down the image and likeness of God deposited in me by my Creator at the very beginning of time?
Lord have mercy.
I can live without sex. I am prepared to live without sex. But I cannot live without a community who cares to affirm God’s love for me.
With earnest and heartfelt prayer,
Someone who doesn’t mind standing at the doors to let others inside