5 Things I Wish Everyone in Church Knew About Gay Christians

A young gay Christian on how he wishes to be seen by his fellow believers.

My social media feeds light up whenever the subject of faith and sexuality is in the news — and it feels like hardly a week goes by that I don’t see some sort of conversation. It is easy for me to look in on these discussions and feel unseen by my fellow Christians. Here are five things that I wish all people in the Church knew about gay Christians:

1. We didn’t choose to be gay.

I’m still surprised how many people see my sexual orientation as a choice that I made. The increasingly familiar question “When did you decide to be straight?” is a good one for Church people to think about. I didn’t choose to be attracted to men; that deep-set attraction was something that I gradually realized about myself. For a long time, I was horrified and attempted to redirect myself in a variety of ways, but nothing I tried worked. Yes, I can choose the actions that flow out of my orientation; however, I cannot choose the type of person I am attracted to.

2. Celibacy isn’t something to be taken lightly.

Many gay Christians are choosing to pursue celibacy. This is a difficult decision that often comes after years of wrestling and it means giving up hopes and dreams. When I was leaning toward celibacy, I spent many nights grieving the loss of the husband and family that I so desperately wanted. The problem is that too many people in the Church act as if celibacy is a wonderful thing — I’ve heard it cheered in an auditorium filled with Christians — without understanding the incredible burden such a lifestyle can require. If the Church is going to advise celibacy for gay people, a life of singleness should be regarded as the profound commitment that it is.

3. We want to be part of your church.

A little Facebook group that I’m a part of serves as a support for fellow LGBTQ Christians as we navigate life in the world. One of the most common conversations I see is about trying to find church homes. Many of us were raised in evangelical circles. We hold Scripture in very high regard and have conservative values. But it is extremely difficult to find a church where we both feel spiritually fed and welcomed. We want to be part of a beautiful church family, and we don’t have to agree on everything. However, if there is not space for dialogue within disagreement about human sexuality, then we’ll probably find ourselves searching again. Please don’t treat our identity like an “issue” that needs to be dealt with, especially from the pulpit.

4. We aren’t broken.

Of course, we are all sinners and we are inherently broken people. However, I am not broken simply because I am gay. In fact, if God came to me today and told me that he would change me to being straight if I wanted, I would tell him no. Many of us are proud of our sexuality despite the difficulties it may cause within a church context. We see it as a blessing to be able to view the world from a different perspective. We experience our sexuality as something that God is using in our lives for his Kingdom.

5. We are everywhere.

Somewhere between 4 and 10 percent of the population is gay. That means even in a tiny rural church of 100 people, there may be at least 4 people in that church who are gay. Don’t assume everyone in your church is straight just because you don’t know a gay person — chances are you know several. Please don’t talk about us as if we are “somewhere out there” — you don’t know who is listening and what damage your words are causing.

As more and more people in the Church come out, we must be willing to put our faith into action and truly be Jesus to our gay brothers and sisters.

 

Matthias Roberts
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  • christianpundit

    Hi. I left a post here earlier – why was it not approved to appear? The church ignores HETERO Christian single adult celibates, but this editorial makes it sound as though being celibate is only an expectation for, or difficulty for, homosexual singles, but it is not. This affects hetero adult singles as well.

    • bakabomb

      I don’t think it’s so much that the church ignores celibacy, it just doesn’t arise naturally as an issue in the life of most congregations. There’s an assumption — or there should be — that one’s sexual preference or activity isn’t properly a matter with which a congregation should concern itself. And I suspect in general, most congregations don’t give a second thought to the possible presence of celibates among them unless the issue is raised in some way. Most likely, it’ll have to be celibates themselves who raise it.

  • bakabomb

    There ARE churches where you are loved and welcomed exactly as you are, and for who you are. If you don’t share a church’s theology, that’s fine — that’s why there are many Christian denominations. But you will never be judged or marginalized at a church such as ours merely because of your sexual orientation or gender preference.

    • Rebecca Erwin

      Often, the churches within a geographical community are heavily influenced by the town’s culture. For example, in the town where I live it is heavily conservative. It makes it nearly impossible to find a traditional community for those outside “traditional” lines to grow and flourish in/

      • bakabomb

        Thanks for your comment. Of course you’re correct. I can think of quite a few places where the first question you’re asked is whether you’re Baptist or Methodist. And it’s entirely possible that neither “traditional community” would accept you as the child of God you already are. Unfortunately, too many times there’s no simple solutiion. Although we live in a country that prides itself on mobility, leaving is oftentimes easier suggested than accomplished. “Blooming where we are planted” can work, but can also mean staying isolated from other believers who don’t accept you, or taking on the hard task of working with like-minded others to form a new and not-quite-traditional community. Our church now embraces full acceptance but it took several years to reach that point, and we did lose some of our flock. I pray communities like yours will someday find that same path.

        • newlifej316

          For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
          2 Timothy 4:3

          • bakabomb

            (shrug)

            It’s not like there haven’t been a rash of homophobic pastors in the news who evidently have an itch somewhere else but their ear.

            See John 8:6-7

    • newlifej316

      For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
      2Timothy 4:3

  • Nelson in Texas

    Being attracted to the same sex is not the sin, but being unrepentant is. God looks on the heart, not the flesh. There are many Christians that battle sames sex attraction, but the key is “Battle”. I have sins I battle with on a daily basis, even fall into these sins, but I know they are my breaking of God’s very clear laws. The fact you are clear you have no intention of trying to turn from your sins means that you may not truly know God. God does not tell us to stop a sin to come to him to be saved from sin, but he does not leave one of his own in this place. So either you want to obey God which is a sign you know Christ or you remain unrepentant and in danger of God’s eternal judgment. You may always have the attraction, but acting on the sin with no change of heart is a dangerous place to be in.

  • Rebecca Erwin

    Beautifully said. I cringe for my gay friends each time celibacy is ordered-not suggested. With straight friends, the church prays and encourages them to find complete fulfillment within the marriage paradigm.

    There is NO community support for any person who chooses that life- gay or straight.

  • newlifej316

    We choose the desires of Our Flesh. You must restrain and repent for behavior ( sin ) against Your Holy God. Especially when it is clearly in Black and white print.

  • http://zackallen.me Zack Allen

    If you don’t mind sharing, what’s the Facebook group you’re referring to?