On Coming Out as a Christian Who’s an LGBTQ Ally

I was going to write a post about all the things Candy Crush and the Church have in common.

It was pithy.

It was funny.

It was full of references to the importance of friends and an engaged community.

It was lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek and gently poked fun at the ways the Church and Candy Crush like to point out that we’ve failed.

The sad, disappointed look when you’ve ruined everything. Again.

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The multiple messages that make your failure very, very clear.

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“You failed!”

and

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“Level failed! You did not reach the goal!”

CC3And I was going to make sure we all noticed the undeniable fact that the guy who’s disguised as a cherubic owl with a serious anxiety problem is really THE DEVIL; he pretends to cheer for you and to want what’s best for you, but HE LIVES ON THE DARK SIDE and HE WANTS TO RUIN YOUR LIFE. –>

But none of it feels very funny anymore after watching the Church spank World Vision this week.

Now because this blog welcomes a wide array of people from all backgrounds – faith, culture, ethnicity, etc. – some of you have no idea what I’m talking about, and, man, I wish I was you right this minute, because those of us who are American Christians or evangelical Christians or fundamental Christians or who’ve come from that background are tired right now. Weary to our bones. Disappointed. Hunched in on ourselves. Feeling misunderstood and trying rather desperately to drag our wounded to safety. All of us. From all the sides. This has been an easy week for no one.

Every once in a while, I speak here as a Christian about Christiany things and invite the rest of you to participate because you’re always welcome here and always encouraged to pull up a chair to this table. This is one of those times, so I’ll recap, briefly, the most recent circumstances so you’re not walking into this Family Brouhaha blind.

This week, one of the world’s largest and most well-respected Christian humanitarian aid organizations, World Vision, announced a policy change which would allow Christians in same-sex marriages to be eligible for employment. Two days later, under intense pressure from Christian detractors of that position, World Vision reversed their decision.

It’s no secret that the question of how to love our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ) neighbors – Christian and otherwise – is dividing the Church, and this week was a powder-keg example.

KAPOW! 

There’s Christian shrapnel all over the internet right now, tangled remnants of an ugly war, and even those of us who were bystanders are reeling from the concussion.

As I looked around the battlefield – so many wounded – I felt helpless. Alone. Dismayed. And then I realized how much more alone my LGBTQ friends, especially those who identify as Christian and who want to participate in the life-changing work of organizations like World Vision, must feel. To be so often ostracized by their faith community. To want so desperately to belong and to worship with their family. To finally be invited, publicly, in the door and welcomed to the table. And then, in an abrupt turn of events, to be booted back out. To be told the invitation was a mistake and ill-advised. To have the welcome retracted.

Oh, dear God. This is not – this is not – the Way of Love. It’s just… not.

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We have failed. Not World Vision specifically, although they did fail by even their own account, but, more significantly, the Church as a whole. All of us. We have failed. And we are to blame.

We did not reach the goal which is always – always – to Love God and to Love Our Neighbors.

But what can I do about it, bystander that I am? I mean, really. I’m a straight, Christian woman. How in the world can I mitigate any of the pain? 

And then I realized there’s one thing I can do, even though it’s a little thing – a tiny thing, given my one life and my one voice – and that is to tell the wild truth, as best as I understand it in this moment, about Who Is Welcome at Love’s Table. Which is everyone. All the people. Welcome at Love’s Table. Despite everything, welcome. Despite the war, welcome. Despite the hurt, welcome. Although I don’t blame you if you can’t bring yourself to come or to trust that Love even has a table.

Those of us who slowly move our perspective from our fundamental roots to become Christian allies of the LGBTQ community are, overall, a quiet bunch. For every Christian person who’s out as an LGBTQ ally, I know 20 more who are in the closet. Not because we don’t care about the plight of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Not because we don’t think things should change. Not because we’re apathetic about the truth or love as far as we understand them. But because we want to be peacemakers. We know and very deeply love our friends and family members who remain committed to a different interpretation of the Bible, and we understand many will see our affirmation of LGBTQ relationships as capitulation to culture at best, a deliberate misinterpretation with the intention of leading people astray at worst, and a betrayal either way.

We’re quiet because, well, we don’t want to rock a boat that’s already in very choppy seas.

But while we’re quiet, there are LGBTQ people who are receiving the message from the Church, loud and clear, that they must choose between Who God Created Them to Be versus Faith in God. 

Each person must decide when her silence is helpful and healthy and makes peace and creates unity, and when it has morphed into a silence that perpetuates pain and loneliness and despair and isolation. I’ve reached the point where my silence must end.

It’s time to tell you that I’m a Christian who’s also an LGBTQ ally. 

It’s time for me to stand publicly with the people who are marginalized and those who’ve been asked to leave the table. I cannot, as a follower of Jesus, whom I believe is Love Incarnate, do otherwise. This is, for me, a matter of conscience, a matter of obedience, a matter of justice, a matter of mercy, a matter of resurrection, a matter of truth, and a matter of grace.

It’s time for me to tell my fellow Christians who are quiet LGBTQ allies that I know what it’s like to come out slowly as an ally. To come out quietly. To hover over the Facebook “like” button on a positive article about my LGBTQ friends and try to decide whether to click it. To be afraid to let others see me like it. To be anxious about letting others see me go far, far past tolerating people; far, far past loving the sinner; and run, instead, headlong into support, affirmation, approval and the belief that the love of another person, regardless of gender, can be good, strong, healthy, life-giving and within God’s plan. I know it’s hard. I know. I swear I do. And it’s OK to be where you are in the process until your heart tells you it’s time to take the next step. But when it’s time, take it. Do.

And, finally, it’s time for me to apologize to and ask forgiveness from my LGBTQ friends who frequent this space. Although my friends, my family and my church – some of whom agree with my position and some of whom don’t – are well aware I’m both a committed Christian and an LGBTQ ally, I’ve skirted the issue here, making subtly supportive statements while deliberately avoiding the issue. As though you, my friends, are an issue to be avoided and not mentioned. In that way, I’ve allowed you to suffer while I benefited from my silence, and for that I’m deeply sorry.

You need to know, especially those of you who’ve been invited in and then asked to leave – welcomed and then rejected – that there’s room at Love’s table and friends who long for you to sit and eat with us. We’re still a small table, but we’re growing ever larger all the time, and there is, emphatically, a place for you here.

 …….

For those of you who want it, here’s
More Information:

1. On My Theology

Frankly, the last thing any of us need is yet another Biblical exegesis on homosexuality, and I would be wasting my time and yours if I attempted to outline the 20 year process that’s taken me from my fundamental roots to the conviction that God blesses LGBTQ relationships.

Jen Hatmaker spoke the truth this week when she wrote, “The Christian community is not going to reach consensus on gay marriage. Every article, regardless of its position for or against, is the same. The support arguments; same. The rebuttals; same. The circular thinking; same. The responses are fully predictable, the language identical, the interpretations immovable, and after all the energy expended, we discover we are at the same impasse. This is a fact: Thousands of churches and millions of Christ-followers faithfully read the Scriptures and with thoughtful and academic work come to different conclusions on homosexuality (and countless others). Godly, respectable leaders have exegeted the Bible and there is absolutely not unanimity on its interpretation. There never has been.” 

Nevertheless, for those of you who are curious how I can love the Bible and love Jesus and not simply tolerate but, instead, affirm, encourage and support my LGBTQ friends who are in relationships, I’ll direct you to Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays vs. Christians Debate by Justin Lee and to the Gathering Now video sermon series on The Birds, The Bees & The Bible

Some will say I’m misguided. Or deceived. Or that I’m willfully and nefariously misreading Scripture. To which I say, maturely, Nuh Uh and Am Not, times Infinity.

2. On the Very Best Resource, Bar None, for Christians (regardless of your stance on homosexuality) Who Want to Love Your LGBTQ Neighbors

The Gay Christian NetworkFounded in 2001, the Gay Christian Network (GCN) is a nonprofit Christian ministry dedicated to building bridges and offering support for those caught in the crossfire of one of today’s most divisive culture wars. Our membership includes both those on Side A (supporting same-sex marriage and relationships) and on Side B (promoting celibacy for Christians with same-sex attractions). What began as an organization to provide support to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) Christians has grown into a worldwide movement for compassion with many straight members as well.

3. Other Things I’ve Written About Faith, Doubt and the Church

Here’s my story of Faith and Doubt.
Here’s What I Wish the Church Would Be.
Here’s the Real Reason I Still Go to Church.
Here’s why “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” should be abolished.
Here’s my Confession About Faith.

4. On How This Benefits Me

It doesn’t. I benefit by my silence. By not coming quite all the way out of closet as an LGBTQ ally. By having quiet conversations in private and not rocking the public boat. Churches and parachurch organizations allow me to come speak if I am silent about this issue; one of which told me so very clearly. I will miss having those opportunities, but my minor losses don’t compare to the losses endured every day by my LGBTQ friends, and I am grateful for the opportunity to stand with them.

5. On What I Think About My Friends and Family – both online and in person – Who Believe to Their Bones I’m Totally Wrong About This

I love them very much. 

I believe wholeheartedly that Jesus exhorted us to expand our definition of Neighbor. To extend the title of friend to those on the other side of our cultural fence. To hold Love God and Love One Another as our highest goal. To choose to reject the concept of sides. And so, as my heart has shifted from my conservative roots to a more wild and free and boundless Gospel of Grace, I am convicted that it’s my job to love my conservative neighbors as fully as I love my progressive, liberal and LGBTQ neighbors. To extend to them the same benefit of the doubt I hope they will extend to me: that we are each doing everything we can to reach the goal of Love, devil be damned.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
111 comments
  1. As a Bible believing Christian, I find it sad how we who believe the Bible does speak CLEARLY AGAINST Homosexuality are called haters!!! Unbelievers call us that as well as some of the people here who have replied. JUST because we make a stand AGAINST what you believe does not mean we HATE the gay community. Since you disagree with what I believe does that mean I am to ASSUME you HATE those who disagree??? The answer is no! I DISAGREE, it does not mean I hate. I disagree and still LOVE!

  2. Beth thank you for your bravery. I just happened upon your blog as the result of a re-post of one of your articles about laundry, which was utterly refreshing! I wanted to pipe up here to let you and your readers know I am a parent of a child who self-identifies as gay. I have been fortunate enough to find acceptance in my faith community and family. There are very few people in my life that have made me feel “less than” and I have made it infinitely clear to my child that my love is without conditions. He is fearfully and wonderfully made. I love him for who he is and will love who he loves with the same lack of reservation.

    For the benefit of those reading your article, he did not choose to be made this way any more than you or I chose to our attraction to the opposite sex. This is not a lifestyle choice. I was not remisce in my parenting any more than any other parent. And he had the benefit of loving examples of both healthy female & male role models. The implication that homosexuality is sin is an indictment not just of the person but of their family of orgin – the sins of the father are passed down and all that… After all, what else would drive someone to make a choice that virtually guarantees a lifetime of discrimination and self loathing unless they were given over to sin. And what loving parent would watch their child make that choice and not try to stop them right? What does that say about the God we worship if this our frame of reference.

    Lest we think we have evolved so much that we scoff at the origins of our culture, let’s not forget that 600 years ago, the Black Death, leprosy, pestilence, bad weather and a whole host of natural disaster were explained away by Gods retribution of man’s sinful nature. The only path to prosperity, wellness, and/or health was through living a moral life. The right to peace, prosperity and the pursuit of happiness was a divine right bestowed upon people by birthright and not by the nature off their humanity. If you were comfortable, prosperous, healthy, it was because you had a divine right to be. To be anything else meant that you were a sinner and unworthy. This was not just a belief of the upper class or the clergy. It was the belief of the whole of society. Fast-forward 600 years and it’s the same logic that allows us to believe that two consenting adults of the same sex cannot possibly experience a loving healthy relationship without bringing God’s retribution on themselves and the whole of society, especially on those who condone such act of rebellion against God or nature.

    We now know that plague, famine, weather and even the economy are the result of scientific and socio-economic phenomena that we better understand. We know the world isn’t flat, that the earth revolves around the sun and that many diseases can be cured through something other than prayer or sacrifice. Could it be possible that homosexuality, transsexualism, bi-sexually or however you choose to describe who you love is also part of the grand design? Perhaps, we don’t have all the answers yet. We see through the mirror dimly. I know my critics will say, “it’s a slippery slope! Doesn’t this open the door to other perversion of God’s plan.” No more than you eating meat on Friday during lent has led me to a life of gluttony, obesity, and heart disease. We still are commanded to love God and love others. It’s hard to do that when you are hurting Gods creation.

    I have felt for a long time, long before I was aware of any biblical exegesis on the subject of homosexuality, that to make someone feel less than because of who they were was wrong. That is called a conscience. It’s what happens when you turn your heart over to the One who loves us so much he sent his Son to die in the most horrific way possible to save us. Far be it from me to stand in the way of that. I want to be the one of whom it is said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

  3. […] On coming out as a Christian Who’s an LGBTQ Ally […]

  4. […] Of the many blog posts I read these weeks to get background for this post, the one I most resonated with was Beth Woolsey’s, On Coming out as a Christian Whose an LGBTQ Ally. […]

  5. […] Beth Woolsey had this to say on the subject: “…There’s one thing I can do, even though it’s a little thing – a tiny thing, given my one life and my one voice – and that is to tell the wild truth, as best as I understand it in this moment, about Who Is Welcome at Love’s Table. Which is everyone. All the people. Welcome at Love’s Table. Despite everything, welcome. Despite the war, welcome. Despite the hurt, welcome. Although I don’t blame you if you can’t bring yourself to come or to trust that Love even has a table.” (You can read more here.) […]

  6. One of my Bible professors in college talked about there are going to be plenty of things Christians don’t agree on. He suggested that we don’t talk about those things, but rather talk about Jesus or baseball. In the end does it really matter what I believe about somebody else’s choices? Not really. God said, Love God, Love People. Period, no exceptions. It’s taken me a while to get to this point and sometimes I think I’m on Side A and sometimes I think I’m on Side B but all of the time I think that I love the crap out of the LGBTQ people in my life and that’s what really matters. Thanks for The Gay Christian Network resource! And thanks for spitting the truth, always in love.

  7. I hesitate to make a comment because it’s a fine line to walk: how to stand for truth and yet not make people feel rejected or hated. I don’t have all the answers, but as I’ve pondered this I do have another question:

    Is it love to tell people that their sin is not sin?

    The problem I have with this whole topic is not that it’s a “worse” sin, it’s that we’re all being pressured to say that it’s NOT sin, that there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality. This particular sin is being flaunted and applauded in our society and accepted by many who call themselves Christians, and that’s what I have a hard time with. I believe the Bible is clear about this.

    I sin, you sin, we all sin – let’s love each other anyway and agree that God calls us to be repentant of our sins – all of them. I don’t shout out that my selfishness is not sin, or that my struggles with greed or pride are not sin. I don’t say that these are part of who I am because it’s too hard to change or not be this way.

    I don’t think it’s judgmental to call out a brother or a sister to what God has already told us is sin, but we have to examine our motives and make sure we’re acting with love. We can’t judge others as unworthy or of not knowing God – we can’t judge motives or the heart. I believe part of true love is to lead each other to repentance and right standing with God. We can’t do that to total strangers, but only with those we have a close relationship with. And I can see that we can’t hold non-Christians to Christian standards.

    I’m still learning a lot about love – it’s supposed to be the defining characteristic of a Christian (“they’ll know we are Christians by our love”) – so how do we do that in these times without compromising truth or sanctioning sin?

    1. Robert, I disagree with you that the Bible is clear about this, and I disagree that homosexuality is a sin. However, I know you personally and I know you’ve come to your conclusion because you love Jesus and you love the Bible and you care about living a righteous life; I don’t doubt your intention to be loving, is what I’m saying, and I appreciate your willingness to engage about this topic and to ask important questions. About a week after I wrote this blog post, Jen Hatmaker wrote a blog post coming from the perspective of a Christian who supports traditional marriage. I would encourage you to read it. http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2014/04/02/where-i-stand

      1. I appreciate your heart and I love your writing! I am having a really really hard time understanding your position, though. You say that the Bible isn’t clear about this issue and that homosexuality isn’t a sin. I can’t understand why would come to this conclusion, though. There are many issues that the Bible is murky on, but this isn’t one of them. Leviticus 18:22 Leviticus 20:13 Romans 1:18-32 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 1 Timothy 1:8-10 Jude 7….I could keep going. Over and over, in both Old and New Testament…it’s pretty clear where God stands on the issue. I was wondering if you could elaborate more on why you think differently.

        1. I wrote this as a reply to a post over in loving neighbors not loving sinners and hating sin.

          It deals with romans one and Leviticus so i thought id put it here for you too.
          Determining what is sin… In other people. Is the plank in her eye that jesus told her about that is the issue she is standing on that caused her to write this.

          For instance bacon. (Prostiution, adultry, LGBTQ, genocide)

          When you see someone… Else…. eating pork… Do you love them…. but….hope they change? Jesus had a few things to say about sodom and gamorah and which towns were further down GOD’S list of condemnation for rejecting the gospel… but the lesson on his heart and character on this subject I like most is his reaction to his disciples (“you and me”) asked if HE WANTED… them (“us”) to call down fire from heaven on a town that had rejeceted him… he told him they did not know the spirit they were of. I mean, aside from calling Pharisees bad names and and making whips and driving people out of the temple they were turning it into a place of business… I can only recall one potentially unkind act Jesus did…. casting demons into pigs ..or perhaps he was being kind to demons allowing them to go into pigs because they begged him for mercy? how powerful is the blood and death of Jesus? Did he die for the whole world? Is all of creation groaning waiting for the revealing of the sons of God? Did Jesus actually show mercy to demons? What does love look like? Were they created demons or were they created good and fell just like you and me? Does the name Jesus mean the God who saves…. all the time? does he change? Ever?

          the next time you read Romans chapter 1 and only pull out the part about the LGBTQ. please do not stop reading until you’ve read at least the first four verses of chapter 2 and then go back and read the first part of chapter 1 and see what you think. I understand that you have gay people in your life that you love. I understand that we will judge the angels and that we should be competent to judge between each other what is right and what is wrong. I just think that our definitions of what is wrong are not always how Jesus shows us the Father’s love for us. Because even though eating pork is definitely wrong, Jesus tells us how the father/we love the person who has wasted all of his fathers provision on prostitutes and is now taking care of pigs to help other people eat what is wrong… and is so destitute that he desires to eat what he’s feeding the pigs….the father’s/our love is to activity wait and look and come running with arms of love. And Jesus is very clear on what is adultery: it is looking at a woman with lust; it is divorcing and marrying; and marrying somebody who is divorced, but he is very clear as to how he/you treat somebody who’s been married 5 times and is now living with somebody who’s not her husband. he says I would give water to you and you would never be thirsty again.
          If you want to determine what’s wrong, you are looking at the law, Jesus has very specific things to say about the law. But most important is….. all of the law and the prophets can be understood throught the two concepts of love God and love your neighbor.

          Her entire post deals with love your neighbor…. So they feel it. Love your neighbor without “buts”. Label the sinner your neighbor… Because when you label your neighbors as the sinners… They feel it. You might be able to get away with it if you labeled your neighbors as your sinners… Maybe?

      2. Hi Beth,
        Genuine question: If you “disagree” that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin, then why bother being a Christian?
        If the scriptures can’t be trusted on that point, they can’t be trusted on anything.
        Being a Christian isn’t meant to be easy. You’re making it cheap. It costs. It’s a cross. A narrow way. It cost Him HIs life and it’s meant to cost us ours, one way or another.
        Why don’t you give up your ‘Christian’ label and call it something else? Let Christianity be based on the Bible as it’s meant to be.
        Sincerely,
        Kathryn

  8. Thank you from me, too. Although I never felt you said too little before. I’ve learned to read the small clues, and everyone says what they’re comfortable saying.
    To the allies who are still in the closet, I have one wish: if you can, at least let your kids know how you feel. It doesn’t have to be about them in particular, just generally. Because you never know. Look at me and my sister: two girls, she was the tomboy who liked playing with cars and building things; I preferred dolls and ponies, and I’m the one who turned out to be gay. I just hope less people (because this worry can come at any age) would have to worry about whether their parents will still love them.

    1. Thank you, Maija. I wholeheartedly agree that we must – we MUST – provide safe places for our kids to be themselves, to live knowing they are wholly loved, and to never fear rejection. My heart breaks for all the kids who’ve had to live in fear and isolation… and whose fears were realized.

  9. Beth! Yes! I came out of the closet as an ally last week too. Silence will not work anymore, not when our silence is further marginalizing God’s precious people.
    Thank you.

  10. Beth, I feel like there is something missing in this conversation. If someone already mentioned it in the comments above me, I apologize for being redundant. But here’s the thing, I think everyone here can agree on is none of us are without sin. Not you. Not me. Not Christians. Not non-Christians. Not the people from World Vision. Agreed? Ok. Obviously our world is full of sin and short comings in every single area in every single person. Honestly, I think Christians may fail in this more than non believers. Maybe because we are held to a higher standard? I don’t know. But I need to say that when we put our hope in people (Christians, World Vision, churches) we will always be disappointed. Every time. Why does this surprise mus again and again? Why does this disappoint us? Why are we surprised? I wish I knew.

    All that being said, I’ve been to World Vision. I’ve toured their halls. Met the people there. We’ve given them money because of the good they are doing. So.Much.Good. Not because they are perfect. Even they are going to make mistakes. However they base their company, their Vision if you will, on the one thing that is perfect. The Bible. God’s Holy Word. As long as they use the Bible as their truth, to guide their way, then in my opinion, they are working towards the Right Thing. Yes, it’s sad (unfair?) that a group of people are being excluded, but life is not fair. Didn’t all of our mothers teach us that? They are right to follow the path that is so clear in God’s word, aren’t they?

    I think it’s *great* to be an ally for a group that needs us, that we feel convicted to support, emotionall or financially which is why in this case I’m an ally for World Vision – I’ll support them as they uphold their beliefs and continue to follow God’s word.

    Thanks for listening.

    1. Kristen, you have written my thoughts exactly! Thank you!

    2. Thanks, Kristen. I’m grateful for you chiming in here and continuing the conversation rather than writing me off. As a long-time friend, that means a lot to me.

      I agree with much of what you said. I agree that when we put our hope in people – all those you mentioned and more – we will always be disappointed. This is the nature of humans, who are wonderful and horrible, awesome and mediocre and terrible, often all at once and all in the same person.

      I agree that World Vision is an excellent organization doing so much good. I hope I didn’t imply that people shouldn’t align themselves with World Vision. They’re financially transparent, they offer their services to all people in need regardless of sexuality, creed, ethnicity, etc., a small percentage of donations goes to overhead, and they’re highly rated by charity watchdogs like Charity Navigator. There are many good reasons to donate to World Vision and similar organizations.

      I agree in part about your comments about the Bible, and I disagree somewhat. We could, of course, have an entirely separate conversation on Biblical inerrancy, Biblical infallibility, and, even if we accept Biblical inerrancy, whether it’s inerrant through a plain reading of multiple translations over millenia or, instead, is inerrant via Biblical scholarship that analyzes cultural and historical context and types of writing (i.e. poetry, history, letters, etc.) It’s a nuanced conversation, and one I hesitate to go into here. I do think it’s fair to say that the situation with World Vision last week highlights how very differently – and honestly, and with the best intentions – the Bible can be interpreted, even by the same group of people; in this case, by World Vision’s board, who prayerfully considered their policy change and nearly unanimously decided FOR the policy change which would leave the denominational debate about homosexuality in the hands of churches and allow Christians – sinners, all – to work alongside each other for the poor, and then, two days later, after more prayer and consideration, reversed the decision. Because of these and so many more different interpretations, I prefer to say that the only thing that is perfect is God, and that we humans have a deep and complex history misinterpreting the Bible and, frankly, getting it terribly wrong. See: Christians’ historical response to slavery in America as one of many examples. I WISH God’s Word was so clear; unfortunately it’s been used and abused to justify many wrongs.

      I also believe that Jesus calls us to radical inclusion – that’s the part of the Bible that’s so clear to me – and Christians’ answer to our LBGTQ brothers and sisters can’t be “you’re excluded, but life’s unfair.”

      Kristen (and Kristi!), I am more grateful than I can adequately express for people like you, especially those who think I’m way off base here, who are willing to remain in friendship and conversation. Thank you.

  11. I’m so fortunate to have Pope Francis and an open Catholic church to attend. That’s not to say that I think same-sex unions will ever be sanctioned by the Catholic church, but I have standing in my attitude and belief that all are welcome.

  12. Beth, I agree, thank you for taking this stand. I pray that the doors closed to you as a result will be replaced by many more open doors. I wanted to encourage you, though, to be careful about making a comparison between the conservative viewpoint, and the free, wild, liberating, grace-filled progressive viewpoint. I am not conservative anymore, but in the days when I was, I would have been offended by that – I felt that the rules I lived by gave me freedom because they kept me safe from things that would harm me. Again, I don’t feel that way anymore – I don’t think that gay people are a danger to my safety or that I need to be kept safe from “becoming gay”. I think that erring on the side of inclusiveness is probably a better way to live out Christ’s Kingdom values than erring on the side of defensiveness. But putting someone on the defensive just isn’t going to help continue a conversation. Saying “I FEEL freer and more grace-filled now that I have this progressive perspective” tells the truth, while still allowing that a conservative may FEEL wild and grace-filled, even if they are making a grave error in judgement. That’s all – again, kudos to you, both for taking this honest stance, and also for taking the time to think and pray about it before posting, and not just reacting in what was no doubt your instant rage and disappointment.

    1. Thank you for this caution, Stephanie. I appreciate it.

  13. Than you for writing this.

  14. As a gay mum of two kids ( and yep, two kids is a lot of kids, so 5 is un-freaking-real) can I just say thank you?! I love your blog, I’ve never commented before, but after that, how could I not? Thank you. Seriously, tears of joy over here in Australia.

    1. Thank you, Lindsay, and welcome to unlurking! 🙂 I’m glad you’re here.

      1. Can “lurking” be an official status on this blog? That would be awesome.

  15. Thank you. Just.. thank you! That’s really all that needs to be said.

  16. Love this. Love that you said it. And I’m reflecting on the fact that I too am not totally out of the closet as an ally. I mean I am privately, but not publicly. And how I should respond to that …

  17. It continues to astound me that the leaders of the Christian ‘religion’ forget about unconditional love. We are God’s children. He loves us unconditionally. End of discussion, right?

  18. Great post. I was feeling like everyone was feeling a little smug about WV changing their stance (again). It made me sad. I love my gay friends and I’m blessed to be in a church that openly accepts them the way they were made. I wish more people were more into loving Gods people instead of fighting about our personal interpretations.

  19. Great post! It is so refreshing. I am one of those LBQT people who yearns to be a part of my greater Christian family, but only welcomed at the “progressive” churches. I have always dabbled with Christianity, and sort of been the reluctant prodigal at times (which I plan to blog about soon) because of this push and rejection from a large portion of the Christian community. I have more recently been “born again”, a term that has such negative connotations but is so beautiful once it is experienced. It was this miraculous period where truth found me and I can’t and don’t want to go back. If the Holy Spirit wants you, it will get you! I am still as gay as I ever was and have found myself “standing” for the covenant I made to the woman I love. Oh I can’t even imagine what the conservative evangelicals would think of that.
    I stumbled onto your blog looking for frugal blogs and am glad to have seen this post first 🙂 Thank you for being a brave supporter of us gay Christians. I need to find more of you as my Christianity is such a Huge part of my life, it IS my life.

    1. Welcome here, Amanda. We’re so glad to have you.

    2. It might sound weird, but thank you thank you thank you for loving your partner.

  20. As an atheist, I don’t worry too much about how something is dividing Christianity.
    What I don’t like seeing are the people who use their religion as an excuse to treat other human beings like crap.

    And that shrill hatred, anger and ignorance is one of the reasons I no longer believe in any god.

    When Christians begin following ALL the rules in Leviticus, not just ‘the gay one’, people might be more inclined to take them seriously.

    1. To be fair to Leviticus, mold really is an abomination. 😉

      1. I’m not sure I want to live in a world where blue cheese is an abomination.

        1. I stand corrected. Thank you, Elizabeth. This just goes to show that we really MUST be careful how we sling the abomination word. My apologies to all the cheeses.

          1. …And do I really have to take all my mildewed garments to the priests, like Leviticus 13 says? Firstly, the clergy already have way too much to do on not-too-generous salaries; and secondly, I really feel my dry cleaner does a better job.

            I mean, despite having a flaw in my sight (i.e. wearing glasses) I still come to the altar, so I figure I’m already living a life of sin and hypocrisy. What’s one more?

  21. I don’t normally engage in conversations regarding the gay community because it is one of those circular conversations that is completely unproductive and, often, do more damage than good. But I was interested in your perspective and thoughts.

    World Vision was put in an impossible situation and put there by “Christians” who so hate the gay community they would willingly place in peril the lives of children. Enough said on that.

    The gay community certainly needs straight allies, and we are eternally grateful for those true allies. Unfortunately, those that share our faith are few and far between. I believe that has less to do with being a peacekeeper, and more to do with fear. Fear of what others might think, fear of rejection, fear of losing a loved one. Now, multiply those fears times 10 or 50 or 100 and you’ll have a slight understanding of what a gay Christian faces (or any LGBTQ person for that matter).

    I view a Christian ally with some skepticism, simply because history isn’t really on your side. Too many “allies” have come before you who have proven to be less than a true ally.

    Your words are heartfelt and honest and beautifully said. And you are always welcome at our table. Any person who is truly seeking to come to a better understanding of something they may not fully comprehend, is welcome at our table-with no reservation. You’ve been invited-you won’t be asked to leave.

    Thank you.

    1. Thank you for chiming in, Sara. You wrote, “I believe that has less to do with being a peacekeeper, and more to do with fear. Fear of what others might think, fear of rejection, fear of losing a loved one.” You’re right. And you’re also right that gay Christians (and gay non-Christians) face infinity more loss. I appreciate your words, your honesty and your truth-telling.

  22. Thank you Beth! I am repeatedly dis-heartened by the aggressive nature of our Christian community, when I believe Jesus sent me to love those who are inside the church walls equal to the love for those outside the walls. I listen quietly to those who want to”correct” my thinking. I believe Jesus loves every person including the LGBT community as he loves you and I. I am weary of the walls , boundaries , segregation. I am an ally. I am not an enemy to those inside the walls, I do wish to break the walls apart. I am not a theologian. I am not willing to debate. I love. It isn’t wrong. Jesus said love others. Yep, that is what he sent me to do.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly, Joe. Thanks for your comments.

  23. Thank you so, so much for your words. I am also a straight, Christian, clergy, woman, “out ally.” It is a hard road. It is hard when people tell you that you cannot possibly be a Christian if you are “leading people through the gates of hell” (yes, those exact words). It’s hard when your fundamentalist family and friends think differently of you because of your theological interpretations.

    And yet, as hard as it has been for me to “come out” (both as an LGBT ally and as a woman seeking ordination), I cannot fathom how difficult it must be for our LGBT friends. If just one person hears “there is a place at God’s table for you” instead of “you are not welcome here” because I refuse to stand silent? It’s a good thing.

    For as much as I have talked about marriage equality (and other facets of “The Gay Issue”) on Facebook, it wasn’t until I shared your words – your admonition to be verbal with our support – that some of my friends did too. Thank you for modeling this to us all.

  24. Thank you for this post, and even more so, for your blog. I am a thoroughly out queer, and I continually turn to your blog for insight, compassion, and humor that is directly related to my “lifestyle” as a parent. My wife and I have three children under the age of 6, and life is chaotic and messy and there is never enough sleep or money or clean floor. Yet, every time I feel overwhelmed by finding yet another mummified banana in our minivan, or looking at the mountain of clothes to be folded, or rejoicing that only 2 of the 3 children decided to sleep in our bed overnight, I get some strength in knowing that you are also living this life. When people talk about the “homosexual lifestyle,” I’d really like to know what decadent things they imagine, because my life is filled with full work days followed by full evenings and nights and mornings of parenting, and the mess and stress and joy and heartache and exhaustion and love that comes with it. Thank you, Beth, for standing on the side of love and for being a beacon of hope to ALL parents who work hard and love intensely every day!

    1. I laughed and laughed at this, Matty. YES. You SO ACCURATELY described the parenting “lifestyle.” Well done.

  25. Beth Woolsey, thank you for taking a stand, love is waiting for the rest of the world. When we can learn to love everyone around us we will have perfection even in our imperfection.

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