So my last posts were a bit dark, depressing maybe, and it’s probably because that time was dark for me. But dawn started to creep through the horizon.
One of my best friends became a stalwart supporter for me. My sister was also wonderful because she understood the family so well. These two accepted me where I was and were able to ease the heavy stress.
Through a church I got connected to a mentor and counselor to help me through my coming-out and beyond.
LGBT folks from DU helped set me up with housing for school when my parents wanted me out of the house.
And even before I came out to my family, I came out to my house church ( a home group that met every week). I knew that some of the folks in my house church were probably not sure how they felt about it, others were supportive. But together they all gathered around me and accepted me for who I was. There was no condemnation; they listened to my story, embraced me, and rejoiced in my freedom.
The actions of my house church were integral to my continuing with the Church as a whole; if I had experienced a backlash, I’m sure I would have left the church and not have come back. In fact I may not have even come out to my parents.
A few posts ago I asked, “what are ways you can help Christian culture walk away from its often hostile attitude towards gays?” Others have asked me “If I don’t believe its ok, what can I do to show love?” I think some of the stuff I mentioned above is a start. I also wanted to share this coming-out story with you that I found here:
Mrs. H. was a woman in her seventies and a member of my church. She had taught me Sunday School, sung in our choir, directed countless Christmas pageants, visited hospitals and nursing homes as a pastoral visitor, served in outreach and led Bible Study. I looked up to her as the epitome of everything holy and Christ-like. When I came out as a seminary student, and word got back to my church community, the only person whose response I worried about was Mrs. H. For me, Mrs. H. “was” the church. Would she be horrified? Would she be disappointed?
I was so fearful of her rejection that when I went to church with my family on Christmas Eve, I avoided her completely. When she walked past my pew in the choir procession, I did not look up and carefully avoided eye contact with the choir throughout the service. At the end of the service, as the choir walked back down the aisle past my pew, she handed me her bulletin, on which she’s scribbled a note. As the congregation sang “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, I unfolded the note and read: “Dearest Danny, I have a great deal to learn about gay people and how this all fits with my faith. I hope you’ll be able to help me with that. But I do know a few things: God is love. God loves you. And perfect love casts out fear. So never be afraid to love or be afraid that I’ll stop loving you. Merry Christmas to you, your family and if there’s anyone special….him too.”
Had it not been for that little hastily scribbled note, I may not have remained in the church, much less become an ordained minister – but Love made a place for me – as Love always does.
That is love, that is beauty, that is what I think the church should strive for. And to those of you who have reacted like Mrs. H. Thank you!
How have you seen people react to yourself or others coming out?