An Open Letter to the Church, from a Queer Guy

 

Dear Church,

Two disclaimers to start off. First, We don’t have to agree, we could both be wrong. Second, I’ll use the term “gay” or “gays” to refer to the LGBTQ+ community in a broader sense.

I had a lot to say. But there’s already so many people’s voices, and so much already being discussed and said. Just do a google search and you’ll find different voices, different opinions on all sides. So I’ll keep this brief.

The two cents I wanted to add is this: Some of us from the LGBTQ+ community already go to church. We’re already here, sitting in the pews, listening, listening, listening.

What was hard for me, about my relationship with you, wasn’t necessarily everything that was said – a lot of what you taught me was good and enriching and beautiful. But I think that every time we talked about gays, we talked as if they were outside the church, rather than right there, like I was.

Most of the time it the conversation emphasized the us and them, this complete separation of gays and Christians. It was as if church members and LGBTQ+ community members were like water and oil, never mixing. Even when I’m here saying this, it feels like I for a brief moment have to exclude myself from you and only be in the gay community.  Almost, as if I can’t be in both. Which is not true. I’m a part of both communities.

But there I was listening. The hurtful things were said because you didn’t see I was there, listening; you thought I was outside of your community. And I understand, it’s not the easiest to take off the lenses that you received from those before you.

But, please, remember.

We’re here, with you. We sit next to you, helping out with kid’s ministry, assisting in worship and service, every Sunday.

Please, remember.

We are your daughters, brothers, best friends, and cousins.

We’re right here, and we’re listening. So please, listen to your friend and their struggles when they come out. Listen.

One last remark is that I do not in any way represent the entire gay community. We’re all so different, with different stories and experiences within and outside of your community. Some of us have been ostracized, some of us have left you by choice, some of us struggle to remain friends, and I’m sure there must be some of us who are doing just fine with the way things are.

My experience with you, I have found to be one of the best ones out there, and it saddens me when I find out about many others who have had it harder than me, being rejected and from their communities and families.

Thank you so much for your time, your patience in listening to my complaint. I’ll strive to work for a better relationship between me and you. I know we’re still figuring this all out, and it’s hard and complicated. But thank you for trying, for caring. We’re all human, and we all make mistakes.

Sincerely,

Andrew Gilbert


I have wanted to write something like this for the longest time. I only found the courage to finally post this after a recent Sunday when the Calvin College pastor, Pastor Mary, talked about the subject in a very loving and caring way. The sermon was recorded and can be watched here.
Also please note that the way she talks about it, while still holds onto a “us” and “them,” paradigm she acknowledges this and confesses the difficulties of bridging this divide.
If you want to engage the whole debate of whether homosexual activity, two persons of same sex getting in a relationship, is correct or not, I ask that you do that in private, rather than out and loud here. I just want to keep it more civil. Also, some literature that I’d recommend before you fly at all the arguments out there, would be:
Torn, by Justin Lee
What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?, by Kevin DeYoung
Bible, Gender and Sexuality, by James V. Brownson
Washed and Waiting, by Wesley Hill
I’m sure there’s other ones I’m skipping, but this can be a good starting place.
I also recommend listening to this episode of the Liturgists Podcast that definitely made me cry when I listened to it.
Lastly, if you can’t afford the books, either money or time-wise, a good place to find some reading material could be here. Though some of the reading material might make you uncomfortable. Look under “blogs,” for free accessible material.
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