A new year, a new start.
We find one of the biggest obstacles to LGBT people being accepted in UK churches is that Christians aren’t always told true stories about what it’s like to be an LGBT person.
You’ll have heard some of these stories: that people choose to be LGBT as an act of rebellion against God; that all gay people live a hedonistic party lifestyle and will die an early death of drug overdoses or STIs; that all bi people are promiscuous.
And so on.
Or, the existence of LGBT people simply isn’t mentioned at all. We are invisible, inaudible. Unfortunately, for too many churches the attitude of “if we just ignore it, it will go away” has meant that it did. Or rather, we did. It’s hard to find a safe home where you supposedly don’t exist.
So this is where some of us begin to tell parts of our stories. These are real life, not prettied up or over-edited. You’ll see a variety of experiences, of theologies and ethical stances. We’re all on a journey, and generally that’s very obvious. What we think now, we may not be so sure about this time next year. There's not a party line. Some of us have found church homes that accept us; others have left organised religion. Some of us are downright weird, some very normal. Whatever your idea of normal is, anyway.
Because in the end, everyone is welcome. Everyone is loved. Every one of us is going to test your patience somedays while simultaneously bearing the image of God. Wherever you are on your journey of self-acceptance or world-transformation, your story is valid, and we can all learn from each other's different experiences of how God works beauty and love into our lives.
We'll monitor comments in order to protect the dignity of contributors - questions and genuine dialogue are welcome, but abusive ones are not (see also: comments that suggest people who have loved the Lord their entire life have never read Romans 1.)
If you've been affected by any of the issues in this blog and would like to talk to someone, we recommend the LGBT Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 or their online chat facility.
Or get in touch if the Two:23/Gathering Space family might be able to help you in your journey.