One thing which keeps me blogging is the opportunity to interact and build relationship with you, my readers. As regular readers will know, one thing I am passionate about is authenticity. For us all to be true to who we really are, to discover our true identity & calling.
Maybe it’s because of my own past – a victim of bullying, feeling an outsider, growing up in a broken home & losing my Mum relatively young, and being shy & introverted – but I’ve always felt a passion, a desire to speak out for minority groups. For those oppressed, rejected, outside, misunderstood, either by church or culture, or both.
For me to be true to who I am, to practice what I preach and be authentic in my writing, at least some of my writing is going to involve speak out for some of these groups. This is what’s led me to speak up & blog about gender equality in church. And it’s what’s now leading me to speak up on one of the most contentious issues in the Christian church today.
A topic which is divisive, and which makes this one of the bravest blog posts/series I’ve ever written.
Because the group I’m speaking out for is the LGBT community.
I’m publicly speaking out as a ‘straight ally’. That is, someone who is straight, but who speaks up for sexual equality, and the LGBT community.
Why am I doing it? Why not keep quiet? After all, I can speak out merely on social media and leave it there couldn’t I?And speaking out could even cost me readers. So why risk it?
I’m speaking out on LGBT issues because I believe in authenticity – and authenticity sometimes demands sacrifice. (you can tweet that)
Now I’m not always good at the sacrifice thing. But I knew this was the right decision – even if it costs me readers and subscribers. If I don’t do this, I’m not being authentic.
So, what does being a ‘straight ally’ mean on this blog? It means for the next few weeks, and possibly in future, I’ll be ssharing both my own and others stories relating to this issue. In the next few weeks I’ll be sharing a couple of guest posts, one by an out gay Christian, another by a recently out bi-sexual Christian, sharing their stories
And it absolutely does not mean I’ll be talking about theology, making arguments or getting into debates, or trying to get anyone to change their mind on this issue. I’ve got no intention of doing this whatsoever.
My goal is simple. It’s to be part of a growing number of Christians who want to make the church a place where the LGBT community feel loved, welcomed, and accepted – as they are.
The reality is the traditional theology of the church in this area – which I believe is flawed – can, and continues to bear the fruit of self-harming, mental illness and a rising suicide rate amongst LGBTQ young people. It drives people away from God, and from the church.
That, to me, is not the fruit of the spirit of God.
Whatever people believe, the fact is, LGBT people don’t choose their sexuality. And they don’t choose how they feel, or what gender they feel they are despite their bodily design. It’s part of who someone is. It’s not a lifestyle choice, it’s not a demon, or something which can be changed.
So whenever anyone – whatever their intentions – tells someone, ‘in love’ or otherwise, that they are wrong, inherently sinful, or have to stay celibate because if they don’t they are sinning and might end up in hell, they are telling someone a key part of their identity is wicked, evil, and distasteful to God.
They are giving the impression God hates a fundamental part of who they are.
Which, of course, is toxic. It’s poison. It causes incredible damage to a human being.
And it’s not even accurate anyway.
The LGBT community needs more Christians who are openly straight allies – who will remind them and show them how much God loves them, who will welcome them into churches, and speak out for this community when so many Christians speak out against it.
I recognise some of you may disagree with my position – and that’s fine. Just because people disagree on one issue doesn’t mean we can’t be brothers and sisters together, in community. But if some of you choose to stop reading, I’ll understand. Feel no guilt about doing so. We’re all entitled to our choices.
The only thing I will take issue with is when people comment – either in my comments here, or on social media anywhere – who either attack the LGBT community, want to simply have a massive debate or argument for arguments sake, who act like they have the only right argument and just want to force their opinions on others, and put down or patronise the LGBT community in any way.
Whatever your beliefs, that’s not loving your neighbour. It’s not loving, generous, kind, compassionate or considerate in any way. And if I see comments like that, they’ll be deleted.
Instead, let all of us, whatever our perspective, join together in love, and tell the LGBT community, both in our words and actions, the simple truth.
You are loved.
You are accepted.
You are welcome.
By us, and by God. As you are. Now. Today.
I hope you’re with me.
Questions For Reflection:
Would you be willing to sacrifice stats for authenticity?
Let me know in the comments below.
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