I’ve been struggling with an issue for the past few months, and I’m hoping you can help me out. Back in August when I went to church for the last time, the pastor gave one of those “gay people are going to hell” sermons. It completely turned me off from organized religion. Which I hate. See I consider myself a Christian, and want to be a part of a church body. I’m just not with being condemned every other week. What are your thoughts? I’ve read some of your posts and know you’re a Christian.
Still A Believer
Dear Still A Believer,
Thanks for writing me. You are wrestling with an issue that many LGBT Christians wrestle with unfortunately. Numerous homosexual men and women across the globe are turning away from the church because the place they sought out spiritual guidance and uplifting, to them has become a place of hurt and suppression.
The pastor of my current church put it like this, when you go to a restaurant and the food or service is bad, that doesn’t deter you from eating out. You may never go back to Mama Denise’s Seafood Emporium or Warrio’s Pizzeria again, but you’ll go to other establishments. And why is that? Well the answer is quite simple. You’ll still be hungry and there will be days you don’t want to cook. LOL!
So bringing this around full circle, you shouldn’t give up on “organized religion.” Now trust me, I get being turned off from attending a church because of something the leadership has stated. If I’m to be completely honest, some of the reasons I wish not to go back to the church I was baptized and grew up in, is because of the reverend’s views on the gay community and his tendency to at times discuss politics from the pulpit. And look, I don’t feel any ill will toward him or that particular body of believers. I just know that I don’t want to go back because I’m no longer spiritually nourished there. But make sure you understand, I was turned off from attending this particular church, NOT church altogether.
I happen to attend house of worship now where the leader of it believes in the equality of same-sex marriage, but won’t perform a ceremony for a gay or lesbian couple within the sanctuary. And this may come as a surprise to some, but I’m completely fine with his choice, because that is his right. Since becoming a member of the congregation, I have not once heard him condemn homosexuals to hell, nor have I witnessed him saying one derogatory comment about our community. In fact, he publicly disagreed with those condemning others from the pulpit. As long as I’m in the area and he continues to deliver powerful and Biblically sound sermons, I will continue to be in a pew.
Suggestions going forward.
- Again, don’t give up on attending church because of your bad experience. Do some research and find the right church home for you. With that said, make sure the pastor of whatever house of worship you choose teaches from the Bible.
- In your search, if you have friends that belong to a congregation of believers, ask to go with them to church one Sunday.
- Before I forget, let me make one more point. Ministers and religious leaders don’t have to agree with all your particular views. You may differ with leadership on a few issues, and that’s okay. Difference doesn’t necessarily equate to condemnation.
As always nothing but love,