I’ve written this story before, but, again, time passes and new people gather and I feel the need to repeat myself. (So, for long-time readers, apologies if this tastes stale.)
Several years ago I found myself being an assistant youth pastor at a somewhat small country church. Our youth group was a rag-tag band of struggling teens who all seemed to have major issues. There were a few boys who had fallen into addictions, a few who had major “authority issues”, a few girls who were raging gossips, a few fashionistas, a few of my favorites- the social outcasts.
And then there was this boy whom I’ll call John. John was a sweet kid, into theater and show-tunes, the classic gentle heart who just never seemed to fit in. There was another kid, Rachel, who was one of the fashionista gossips. Rachel, it turned out, got into a highly inappropriate and sexual relationship. And John? John thought he might be gay.
I must point out that John’s questions were only questions- he hadn’t gotten into a relationship with another guy. Rachel, on the other hand, was sexually active.
John was terrified. He wondered if he was going to burn in Hell. He asked questions like, “what about all of the good things I try to do? What about how badly I want to have a ministry?” He wondered why God would torture him. He prayed and prayed to just be straight so everything was okay- but God didn’t change his orientation. Months of struggle led to cursing God, doubting God.
Around that time Rachel was found out. She acted somewhat repentant, and was embraced by the congregation.
John, on the other hand, was starting to be ostracized. Part of it was his own doing, because he felt as if he wouldn’t be accepted if he was honest. Mostly, though, it was because people felt strange around him. He made them uncomfortable.
It’s not right.
It’s not right that people who really want to serve God, really want to be holy, really want to be pure become lepers to the faith simply because they ask questions about their sexual orientation.
It’s not right that people who barely put any effort into their relationship with God are embraced simply because their sin is more “acceptable” than having the wrong sexual orientation.
The point, through the last several posts, has not been that homosexuality is AWESOME and EVERYONE SHOULD TRY IT! The point is that the attitude the mainstream church has taken towards homosexuality breaks the spirit of boys like John and drives them out of the flock. It is not the hard heart of the homosexual as some would posit- John had a soft heart, one that was totally broken. It is not the twisted nature of their sin- there is no sin in temptation and questions, only in deliberately choosing a path that seperates you from God. John did not choose his nature- he didn’t want it. Had I been able to snap my fingers and make him like boobs he would have been grateful.
The problem is that when Christians talk about the evils of “homosexuality”, they are talking in vague and blanket terms that leave no room for people like John, good kids who are given a grievous burden to carry. Kids who want to do right (to be right) but are by nature; nurture; or divine providence cast out of the societal norm. I don’t care if you think that two guys having sex is bad. I don’t care if you think it’s base and immoral. What I do care is if you phrase your argument in a way that makes a kid like John feel cursed by God and leave the Church.
*Any comments stating that homosexuality is a sin without addressing the actual content of this post will be redacted and the commenter verbally spanked.