An Open Pastoral Letter to the Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgendered, Gay and Questioning Communities of Michigan
Rev. Deborah Dean-Ware,
Pastor, The Church of the Good Shepherd, United Church of Christ
Washtenaw County, Michigan
I am a local church pastor and this is my letter of apology to the people of the LBTGQQ communities in Michigan. I apologize for the harm that has been and continues to be done in the name of Christ. I apologize for your deep pain inflicted upon you by the weaponizing of the Bible. I apologize for the political and theological rhetoric that gives subtle (and not-so subtle) permission for violence. I apologize for the years, the decades, of warfare that Christianity has waged against you. Most importantly, I apologize for choosing silence much too often while you and the people you love have been demonized and marginalized.
I don’t blame you if you are hesitant to trust my apology. I don’t blame you if you can’t help but anticipate the inevitable “love the sinner, hate the sin.” No one pastor can make up for the oppression you have endured—the pain runs too deep, the wounds are too numerous. One Christian voice cannot silence this mean-spirited rhetoric completely. But I hope that this letter might offer, even if only to one person, the tiniest bit of healing.
It is time for another Christian perspective.
I am an ordained pastor in a “traditional” marriage. I am a follower of Jesus. I hold the Bible as sacred and foundational. I cherish Christian community. And I deeply, fully, passionately believe:
By Rev. Dr. Janet Edwards
"…in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27)
I was recently with a friend who also identifies as bisexual, and we began talking about the widely-held presumption that bisexuals "become" straight or gay depending on the gender of our partner.
For instance, since I am faithful in marriage with a man, it is assumed that I am living what is "straight" in me.
It is as if being bisexual means that there are distinct facets to my identity—gay or straight—and my partner determines which "side" I'm living out. For my friend, who is married to a woman, this means that many people assume she is living out the "gay" side of her bisexuality and forsaking her "straight" side.
My friend confessed that, when she was young and identified as lesbian, she deeply resented bisexual people who were in a relationship with the other gender. She took offense at what she saw as hiding behind a "straight life," which led her to strongly object to bisexuals participating in LGBT political activity.
At one meeting, she became especially vocal about this topic. After the meeting, someone pulled my friend aside and told her how offensive her words were. This person shared with my friend that she identified as bisexual, and she did not become gay when she was with her female partner.
She explained she was bisexual whether she was with a man or a woman.
There were no bifurcated sides of her sexual orientation, and she did not switch between aspects of herself in her loving relationships. If she were with a man, she would not be living a “straight” life. She was herself: bisexual in sexual identification, everywhere and all the time.
This assumption that a bisexual person morphs into being straight or gay depending on the sex of the partner is unfortunately common in both LGBT and straight communities. I have also encountered it among Christians I have talked with about my experience.
One commented that what I do in my marriage is exercise my "heterosexual tendencies." I confess, I had not thought about this very much until the conversation with my friend.
Am I bisexual everywhere, and all the time? As far as I know myself, I am.
What I have come to see is that the heart of the matter resides in the "and" of the verse from Genesis.
For me, the beauty of bisexuality is in the both/and experience. Identifying as bi allows me to further explore the reality that the Divine and the human are comprised of male AND female. Being sensitive to both/and allows me to encounter the immensely complex nature of God and of humans, who are made in God's image.
Inside every human is a mix of male and female dimensions. For my friend, and myself, intimacy means choosing one person, bringing our love of more than one gender into the relationship as a way of loving the male and female richness inside each of us.
God knit me together as bisexual in my mother’s womb.
It took me a long time to grasp this complexity, and I am still discovering what it means for me. I am grateful for those who help me know I dwell in a place of both/and, not either/or, where I can appreciate the wholeness of God and every human being.
I am bisexual everywhere and all the time. I so hope you can see that.
- See more at: http://www.believeoutloud.com/latest/beyond-eitheror-how-i-am-bisexual-everywhere-all-time#sthash.is24fdNS.dpuf
By Alison Amyx
This Valentine’s Day, I pledge to love my queer identity.
I pledge to honor the truth I hid for ten years—the door that remained unopened, the secret I was too afraid to face.
Today, I pledge to love the part of myself I was told to hate.
I pledge to remember the relationships I never had, the teenage romance and heartbeats lost in in the darkness of the closet—the love I didn’t know I was missing.
I pledge to tell my teenaged self that it is ok to share her secret—that we can find love, and be loved, even in the midst of our own devastation.
And today, I pledge to make those lost years count. To never forget what once was hidden, celebrating my coming out as a vital step on my journey toward wholeness, in myself, in my relationships, and in my community.
This Valentine’s Day, I pledge to share the light of my truth so others may shine.
I pledge to find beauty in difference, living with eyes open to see love the world refuses to embrace.
I pledge to honor the gift of my perspective, my queerness, in a world too quick to extinguish our flames.
Today, I pledge to find beauty and strength in the broken and healing places, and to share the love of God for all creation.
This Valentine’s Day, I pledge to love beyond expectation.
I pledge to share this love with others, spreading the good news to all God’s children that each of us, blessed and beloved, is worthy of love unending.
- See more at: http://www.believeoutloud.com/latest/loving-my-queer-identity#sthash.wHhO0xVT.dpuf
Posted on January 30, 2014 by sacredtensionstephen
This post and many more excellent post can be found at http://sacredtension.com/
As a gay man, one question more than any other has kept me up at night – the question that draws all other questions into its gravitational pull: what if I’m wrong?
If I believe God blesses gay marriage, and I condone gay marriages among my friends, and I eventually get married to a man myself, what if I’m wrong?
Does that mean I am in grave error, condoning a sin that has very serious consequences on souls, hearts, communities and families? Does that mean I will be held accountable before God as a teacher of sin? Does that mean I am leading people into sin, death, and decay instead of redemption, goodness, and love?
If I’m traditional regarding homosexuality and marriage, what if I’m wrong?
If I’m wrong, I am guilty of condemning an entire people group to never experiencing something central to human life and stability: marriage. I am guilty of standing in defiance to 2000 years of Christian tradition that affirms that marriage is good and that celibacy must never, ever be forced upon anyone, because celibacy is a gift.
I might be guilty of encouraging the culture of promiscuity within the gay community by not believing marriage is a viable route for them. I might be bringing greater instability to the gay community because of my conviction. I am guilty of saying that self-sacrificing, long-suffering, mutually giving, monogamous love is wrong, while serving a God of love, thereby damaging the witness of my faith.
If I am traditional and wrong, I am guilty of perpetuating a ferocious and evil injustice against a vulnerable people group that deserve equality and love.
If I am wrong (or right), if I am misguided (or totally on track), if my convictions fail me, (or if they prove to be true) there is one – and only one – thing I have left, and that is the Gospel.
There is only one thing that will not fail, one thing that stands no matter what else may fall, one thing that never changes, no matter how subject to change we are, and that is Christ himself.
In the face of such terrible consequences of being wrong, and in the face of my own intellectual shortcomings that are so prone to error, the only thing I have is Christ’s grace: his Cross and His resurrection, the conviction that He is the way, the truth, and the life. All I have is the assurance that He is good, and that His grace is sufficient, even when our own minds fail. All I have, when all words are written and all questions answered, is the cross.
My mind – frail and human and prone to delusion – cannot carry me to salvation, or even total rightness. It will shift and grow with time, and will never be fully correct at any given moment, no matter how close I may get. As I’ve prayed and meditated, I’ve realized the depth of the truth that only something beyond myself and my own mind could ever truly save me.
And this is why, over time, I am becoming less concerned with “sides” and more concerned with the Gospel. Because, regardless of which Side of the gay debate is right, and regardless of how grave the other side’s wrongness might be, its rightness or wrongness cannot save us or condemn us. Only Christ can.
From time to time a member of All One Body will post to this blog. We will also have guest commentary. Stay tuned!