Abbotsford just held it’s first Pride parade for the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Questioning) community this past Saturday. In Winnipeg, the Little Flowers community, a group of Jesus followers near and dear to my heart are again apologizing at the Pride parade in Winnipeg this coming summer. Yet, in the messy world of church relationships there is still significant disconnect between the LGBTQ community and the church. It is a disconnect that is, frankly, dehumanizing! The reality is, for anyone open about their sexuality willing to engage the church in any kind of conversation, there are some very real fears which the church will need to quench through a ‘ repentant, grounded in shalom’ hospitality.
The excerpt below, from Andrew Marin’s fantastic book, “Love as an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community” is a must read (seriously, get your hands on it).
Believers are convinced they know what gays and lesbians think, but actually, GLBT people’s real thoughts and fears are totally different. This is exactly where the systemic disconnect begins. There are nine main concepts that both the secular and religious GLBT communities think and fear regarding conservative evangelical Christian churches and people.
1. How can I possibly relate to Christians in a church environment?
2. Will Christians always look at me as just gay?
3. Will I be able to be like everyone else in church activities and groups?
4. Do they think that homosexuality is a special sin? 5. Do they believe that I chose to be like this?
6. Do they think that I’m going to hit on them?
7. Do they think that I’m going to abuse their children?
8. Are they scared that I’m going to infect them with an STD or HIV/AIDS?
9. When will I be rejected and kicked out?
There is a striking belief in the inevitability that one, if not all, of these nine reactions will happen at some point if GLBT people were to involve themselves with Christendom.
Andrew Marin. Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community (Kindle Locations 291-297). Kindle Edition.
How do you feel when you read these fears and concerns? How could you offer a ‘grounded in shalom’ hospitality in light of these debilitating fears?