Last night, I went to the GLWA workshop here in Brisbane called Faith and Sexuality. The guest speaker was Dr Paul Martin (the Guest Speaker, at the Brisbane Freedom2b[e] launch on the 12 August 2011)
It was quite an interesting nite, and there were plenty of questions put to Paul by those there.
Specifically, Paul spoke about the psychology of why we struggle within ourselves when we are LGBTI from a Christian background.
It was easy to identify with the conflict that we experience internally between what are our fundamental beliefs, and our sexuality, and the shame that we may be feeling.
But he also spoke about the very real fear and the impact of losing our connection with our Christian community – our friends (and sometimes even our family) and our connection / identification with a church through our involvement with a Church and attendance of meetings.
Coming out is really hard, if it means that we are afraid of the rejection of those closest to us – our families, friends, work collegues.
But for us from a Christian background, it is also about the fear of losing our connection with Churches that some us maybe attending at that time. I had questions before I came out. I.e. Will I be expected to leave? Do I choose to leave?
And then once, I had left the Church, I had a whole lot of other questions? Can I read the bible anymore without feeling condemned? If I pray, will God listen to me? Can I participate in Church life anymore? Can I identify as Christian anymore? These were questions that were very real for me.
For me, I chose to leave Church. For others here, who I know personally, they have chosen to stay within their Churches. Each is a valid option.
Since then, I have begun the process of evaluating the other questions.
Can I read the bible anymore? One of the big aspects of Freedom2b[e] online, are the resources that discuss the scriptures, specifically around homosexuality. Reading these has allowed me to begin to feel that the Bible is not going to condemn me.
If I pray, will God listen to me? This can be a very personal thing to work through – but lets just say, that I don’t feel God rejecting me at all.
Can I participate in Church life anymore? I personally have not got to a point that I feel comfortable about going to Church again. However, there are many Churches around, that are gay friendly. We have a few listed under our Resources section.
Maybe, you have felt the same way, or a currently feeling this way, or have some of these questions. Feel free to share your thoughts about these very real fears about losing our connection with Church…