A Safe Space for the Life-Changing Questions

John Backman is a guest writer who’s voice we’re honored to share. You can read more about John in his bio at the end of the piece.

If, standing somewhere in the maelstrom of faith, sexuality, and gender, you’ve listened deeply to your own heart, you may have heard a question like one of these:

  • Could I possibly be gay?
  • My daughter just told me she’s a boy. What if she’s right?
  • If my beliefs on homosexuality are wrong, what else might I be wrong about?
  • Can I ever come back to faith while still being fully myself?
  • Can I even be a Christian and have these thoughts?
  • How am I going to deal with this?

The unsettling questions have ambushed us all, whatever our beliefs, whatever our truth. They may start as vague, whispered doubts. But we know they have the power to turn our lives upside down. That makes them fearsome—even more so if we dare to consider that maybe, just maybe, those whispered doubts are the “still small voice” Elijah heard (1 Kings 19:11-12, KJV).

Many people try to ignore the unsettling questions. Others write them off as Satan’s work. But what if you’re not convinced? What if you decide they deserve a hearing?

Continue reading

We Must Listen: A Response to the Orlando Shootings

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.09.20 AMI write this post with a heavy heart today, as we mourn for the lives of those in the LGBTQ community who were brutally gunned down in the Orlando shootings early on Sunday morning. We must remember them.

Like Christians after the shooting at a Charleston church, like parents after the Sandy Hook shooting, I’ve heard my LGBTQ friends crying out with horror and deep pain, “This could have been me, my family, my loved ones.” During Pride, a moment meant to celebrate the overcoming of brutality towards LGBTQ people, a gay bar, on Latin night, was specifically targeted for a mass shooting. Continue reading

Does Gay Pride Matter?

Photo by Frankie Fouganthin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Frankie Fouganthin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the beginning of LGBT Pride Month and, as such, I want to share with you several voices from LGBTQ folks and those who love them, as they reflect on Gay Pride.  You’ll hear a variety of perspectives in the weeks to come, some grateful for the Gay Pride celebration, and even one or two that don’t have a real appreciation for the event.  We’ve done this series in past years too, with even more wonderful voices. You can read some of our past posts on this topic herehere, here, here, and here.

For some Christians, particularly those of you who do not believe God blesses gay relationships, Gay Pride might seem like a sinful event – like a flaunting of immorality. News stories and YouTube videos show off the most shocking parts of the event, painting a picture that Gay Pride is a public celebration of promiscuous sex, drunkenness, orgies, and the like.

For most of my life, this is what I believed Gay Pride to be.  But after I began to meet and befriend LGBTQ folks, I discovered that Gay Pride holds much deeper meaning and importance to many in the LGBT+ community than what I had previously understood. Their reasons for celebrating Gay Pride are varied, important, and often based on a history of physical abuse and persecution of which many of us straight folks may not even be aware.  For conservatively-minded Christians, listening to LGBTQ voices speak about Pride is one practical way we can practice loving and understanding the LGBTQ community.  So, if you know someone who is LGBTQ, I challenge you to ask them this month, “What do you think about Gay Pride and why?”  Just ask, and listen, with no judgment. And when they ask why you want to know, tell them you’re just trying to understand them better.  Continue reading