So I have a master's in theology but I didn't realize one of the things said most in the bible is "Do not fear" or "Do not be afraid". Tonight I was talking with the pastor from the open and accepting church I mentioned previously about my struggle to integrate my faith and being gay. He actually is much more similar to me theologically than I thought he would be. He has a bit of an evangelical tone to him in spite of the fact that he is in a mainline denomination.
He asked me "What brought you to this point?" I shared about how the last person I had a crush on was anxious and afraid of everything. And how I know people who are either dead or too afraid to live because they fear who they are. I don't want to live like that. I don't want to be afraid to be me. Whatever it means. Even if I choose to be fully me and celibate. I think these people and their fears were anti-mentors for me. :)
He asked me what my blocks are in my journey. And again I was reminded of how often it says "Do not fear" in scripture. I almost cried right there in front of him. I fear that I have to lose my particular evangelical faith community because of being gay. So many gay people leave the church because it's too hard. I can't do this. I irrationally fear that this might happen even if I were to choose celibacy. He was reassuring and talked a lot about how sexuality and gender aren't "everything" to who we are. Somehow this helped. He was reassuring also in talking about how there are people in his church who didn't have to leave their faith community.
I also was reassured hearing him talk about all the studying he has done of scripture regarding homosexuality. How it reassures him that Jesus never says anything about homosexuality. When christian liberals get up and say "Scripture doesn't matter we accept you however you are." We talked about how we both want to say "No, to me it does matter!" I was formed and birthed in the midst of it. The solution to how to be christian and gay is not to say scripture doesn't matter. I have to wrestle and deal with it.
This paster has found a way for scripture to matter and to find the "good news" in it. I don't think I'm there yet. I'm jealous of his hard work and wrestling. And I am newly encouraged to do my own study. Just so that I can say what I believe more clearly. We talked about lenses in reading the bible and how the holy spirit's influence in my life matters. That the church changes. The church was never meant to be the same way throughout time. eg. A good example of this is slavery. People used to think slavery was biblical. If the church didn't grow and change people might still be saying slavery was biblical.
Two other things he said that I liked was that he preaches the same message to straight and gay alike in his church about relationships. And that is if are single you are to be celibate, and if you are in relationship you are to be monogamous. Now the reason that I liked this wasn't because of it, itself. But rather that in him saying this I could see my desire for integrity mirrored. That there is some sort of integration of my faith and what it's like to live a christian life in how he gives the same message to gay and straight.
The final thing that I appreciated was this. He said he thinks he is right on homosexuality. But if he is wrong in the end it is not something that matters ultimately because of God's grace. It is God that makes us holy whether we understand everything or not. We are human. There will always be something we don't do or understand perfectly. And it is truely because of God's love and grace that I can travel this journey, keep my faith, and not fear! :)