If you’ve been hanging around my blog for a while, than you probably have seen that I’ve spent a little bit of time talking about the LGBT topic. You’ve probably also seen that I stand in a bit of an odd place on the issue. I hold a traditional interpretation of Scriptures’ boundaries on the issue, however, I support a lot of the causes of the movement, such as stomping out gay bullying and creating a safer environment for LGBT teens.
Personally, I believe that this is an issue that should concern us all as the body of Christ. I’m aware that there’s a variety of opinions about topic, and if you want to know more about my personal stance, you can look up Wesley Hill and Matthew Franklin Jones, or look up any of my previous posts on this topic.
But, that isn’t really what I’m going to address in this specific post. Because regardless of your stance, I think we can all agree that we have a problem right now.
Hundreds of teenagers are being kicked out of their homes for having a gay orientation (Or same-sex attraction. Whichever term you prefer)
According to http://www.speakforthem.org, suicide is the leading cause of death for LGBT youth
According to http://www.bullyingstatistics.org, nine out of ten LGBT youth report being bullied for their orientation.
Houston, we have a problem.
It’s not just a “gay” problem either; It’s a people problem. The people being affected are living, breathing, human beings created by God, just like me and you. Right now, hurting people are being even more deeply wounded by those closest to them. Not to mention that according to Spiritual Friendship, many of the teens being kicked out of there homes are celibate, being deserted by their families simply for having feelings!
So, how should we, as Christians, engage in this dilemma? Some may feel that the only way to do so is to support gay marriage, but I don’t believe this is the main issue. I think some of the biggest problems that we have right now are
- Within Side B churches (Churches that don’t affirm gay marriage) gay behavior is often viewed as the worst sin
- A lot of gay Christian teens and young adults are combating high levels of fear and anxiety, worried that their attractions somehow disqualify them from being a Christian.
- Many LGBT youth deal with bullying and scrutiny from family, friends, and classmates.
These are all areas that we can work on regardless of our beliefs.
Pertaining to the first problem, Jesus always reached out to those whom society shunned, including an adulteress (John 4), a tax collector (Mathew 9:9-13), and many more. Jesus did not always agree with a person’s actions, but He still saw them as a person. He made us all equal under the law and reached out to all of us through grace. We have no reason to believe that He wouldn’t do the same today.
Concerning the second problem, many leaders are finally beginning to speak out about this problem (Praise God!). Andy Stanley recently stated that “church should be the safest place in the world for gay teens“, which I wholeheartedly agree with. Also, many people who grew up in the paradox of being both gay and Christian are beginning to speak out on blogs. Spiritual Friendship, a project dedicated to finding a positive narrative and calling for LGBT Christians, is probably one of the largest.
As I’ve done a lot of research on this topic, I’ve found far too many testimonies of people who have grown up head-deep in fear. Teenagers (and adults) who identify as gay need to know that they are loved by both God and the church. And, they have so many amazing options within orthodoxy, such as close friendships, and possibly even sharing a house with a friend. Churches that are Side B and promote celibacy as the best option for gay individuals need to make it widely known that this does not mean a lack of love, denial of feelings, or loneliness. In fact, many gay celibate Christians would say it’s the exact opposite. I have read countless blogs from people who say that celibacy is actually a great avenue for love and community.
Lastly, we need to be just as involved in the fight against bullying as the mainstream culture. It’s a huge problem right now and many teens are afraid to go to school because of this. Some even feel that their lives do not matter. Groups like The Trevor Project have stepped in to help LGBT teens struggling with depression and I applaud them for it. Christians are often very vocal about organizations that they disagree with, but what about the ones that we can (and should) support? I don’t think any of us condone bullying, but right now, Christians aren’t doing a whole lot to stop these tragedies. We can’t be apathetic about this. In many endeavors, Christians have been the loudest voice and we need to use that same passion for the vulnerable. Imagine how shocked the world would be if Christians, in armies, got passionately involved in the fight against bullying and suicide. It would be incredible!
My vision for the church is that someday, gay individuals will feel comfortable sitting in a church, and coming out won’t be the scariest thing a gay Christian will ever have to go through.
Someday, it is widely known that God’s grace extends to all.
Someday, I hope and believe that the problem of bullying and suicide will lessen.
Someday, we will all be seen as nearly navigating the affects of the fall, and doing so together as a church family. People will not judge or condemn on the basis of attraction, but have the courage to embrace each other in the love of Christ and say “You are my brother.”
We cannot afford to step back in this pivotal time in history. To quote the lyrics from Those Who Can’t Speak by Tenth Avenue North, Derek Minor, and KB
“I don’t want my son to say I was one of the ones
that watched 27 million suffer and never say no, no, I won’t be that
I don’t deserve a mic if I ain’t got no feedback.”
How will Christians of the 21st century be remembered? Will future generations be able to say that we sought justice, loved mercy, and walked humbly with our Lord (Micah 6:8)? I want to be able to tell young people in 2060 that I did my part in making the world a safer place for all people; that I dared to be an Atticus (To Kill A Mockingbird) even though it wasn’t always the popular thing to do. I want to be known for taking a stand.
And, change starts by standing together.
Published by Courtney Whitaker