The Church is Responsible for This

 

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by Candice Czubernat

I hold the church personally responsible for any LGBTQ person who walks away from God and Christianity. Every week, I get emails from individuals all across the country who are full of desire to be a part of a church. They want to go on the church-wide mission trip, join the choir, serve in the youth group and attend a small group. These are people who long to serve God, connect with other Christians and be a part of a wider community.

Sounds pretty good, right?

Here’s the heartbreaking part: they write me because the church won’t let them do those things and they don’t know what to do.

Their church has found out they are LGBTQ and because of this are no longer welcome to join in these church activities they long to be a part of. The worst are the emails I get are from young people who are no longer allowed in their youth group or who are bullied at church camps because of their sexual orientation. You might not think this is a big deal, or would just tell that person to go to a different church. You might be so used to the idea that those in the LGBTQ community are not welcome at church that this does not alarm you.

But WAKE UP. THIS NEEDS TO GREATLY ALARM YOU.

People are being turned away from the body of Christ.

Shouldn’t that bother you?

“But whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in Me–it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” – Mark 9:42

I don’t know about you, but I never. ever. ever. remember Jesus preaching in any way that would allude to a church making this kind of decision, of turning people away. To the contrary, even when the disciples asked Jesus about turning people away he always told them to – at the very least – leave people alone. To stop bullying them.

“Whoever does not gather with me scatters.” – Matthew 12:30

This week wasn’t the first time I personally experienced this kind of rejection, but it was the first time I did so as a new mom and it’s left me feeling sad, hopeless, angry and in tears. In the past, my wife and I weren’t super careful about what church we attended. What I mean is, we spent time attending churches that weren’t super clear about their stance on homosexuality. Even though we would have liked a clear support, it wasn’t a deal breaker for us. But now that we have children, it totally is. We don’t want to feel anxious about a “well meaning” person indoctrinating our children in a way that makes them question their moms salvation, or even their own. We also want a place where we can serve the Church; we both attended Christian colleges and seminary, so we have much to contribute to a church community. And lastly, we want a place to grow in community with others where we can make friends with other parents.

I think if you ask any parent, this is exactly what they’d say they want in a church. When I look at my own parents and their closest friends, those friends are people they made at church when my brother and I were toddlers. These families are the people I grew up around and who my parents still spend time with to this day. It was (and is) such a beautiful, loving way to grow up and I want what my parents had. I want a safe place to serve, find belonging and community and to grow in my relationship with God.

I was once young, now I am old. And in all that time, I have never seen a godly person abandoned, or their children forced to search for food. Such a thing is unthinkable. (Psalm 37:25)

I live in southern California, so as we set out on this journey to find a church I didn’t think it would be very hard. I ache for those people living in rural areas, or middle of the country places where they don’t have access to variety of church options, making it difficult to find a church that is open and affirming.

The first church we attended was great! It was filled with gay and straight people alike, all worshiping God. We could feel the genuine kindheartedness of the people and very much liked it. But there were only a couple other families with children, and it was roughly 40 miles from our home. That’s a long way to travel for church with two infants in the car. We left there feeling encouraged, sure that it won’t be hard to find an option just like this closer to our home. So, the next Sunday we attended a Methodist church. It was beyond beautiful inside and how could we not feel welcomed in a place where this was stamped on the front of every bulletin:

“We are a warm and loving Christian community of faith where we continually strive to create meaningful opportunities for growth and service.  First church is also a Reconciling Congregation which intentionally welcomes all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, age, physical or mental capacity, education, and socioeconomic or marital status.”

This statement is so beautiful and I’m not sure I’ve read anything so Christlike in a long time. Still, while this church had the heart and the location we desired, I’d say roughly 90% of the people were over the age of 60.

At this point you might be saying to me, “Listen lady, stop being so picky, beggars can’t be choosers.” To that I say, am I a beggar? I suppose on many levels that’s exactly what I feel like, a beggar. Why do my family and I have to choose between driving an hour every Sunday, or go to a church with people who are so much older than us? Is it because we are gay beggars? In the following week since last Sunday I’ve spent much time researching churches via the web and calling 3 particular churches.

Jesus said, “It’s not right to take bread out of children’s mouths and throw it to dogs.” But the woman was quick: “You’re right, Master, but even beggar dogs get scraps from the table.” (Matthew 15:26-27)

When you’re gay and you’re looking for a church, they fall into two main categories; those who state clearly that they are welcoming and affirming to the LGBTQ community and those who say something like, “This is a church for all people” but don’t mention the LGBTQ community by name. The “welcoming and affirming” speaks to a church that believes it’s not enough to simply be willing to have you come to their church without blocking the door, but is willing to take a stand with and for the LGBTQ community. For example, I know of a church that chose to stop performing marriages until everyone was allowed to be legally married. The entire congregation was willing to suffer with the LGBTQ community in what it was like to lose the right to marry. These churches allow everyone, gay and straight, to be members and serve according to calling and ability. That’s what I am asking for, begging for — to be treated fairly, equally, and have a community that supports that pursuit. In this time, we wouldn’t think of treating anyone else unfairly in the Church — except for gay people.

In the research I’ve done, there’s one major theme I found with those churches that are up front about welcoming the gay community. They are filled with older people. And when I say older people I don’t mean 40’s and 50’s, I mean white haired, elderly people. Which is so amazing and sweet, but my young family and I desire to build community with people who are closer to our stage in life in addition to those whom are much older than us.

Knowing this trend had me reaching out to three particular churches that I could easily see our family fitting into. Their websites were cool, hip and filled with images of young families. Their worship bands have banjos (our family loves music like Mumford & Sons or Bob Dylan) and their children’s ministry is just as vibrant as their church service for adults. I felt so excited in finding these churches, but also equally as nervous knowing I needed to call them in order to make sure my family and I were welcome before showing up on a Sunday morning. We could have just gone and I’m sure no one would have said anything mean to us like, “Get out of here gays!” but we didn’t want to get attached to any particular church that we’d eventually have to leave. It would be far too painful to attend a church that we loved only to find out we weren’t allowed to become members or serve in any way. My calling of these churches was a self-protective measure.

You can’t imagine how vulnerable it is to leave a voicemail that sounds something like this, “Um, yes, hello Pastor So-and-so… um my name is Candice and my wife and I and our children are looking for a church… I’m calling… well… wondering if we are welcome to attend your church? What I mean is, well — I’m having a hard time finding the words, but… will we be discriminated against? Or told we are sinning as homosexuals if we come to your church?” Clearly, I have not found the best language in order to leave this message! I suppose I have a hard time finding the right language because it’s kind of a vague and yet huge thing I’m asking and trying to describe on a voicemail.

Leaving this kind of message left me feeling shaky and exposed. Now all I had to do was wait for the pastor to call me back.

I’m not over exaggerating when I say this but all three pastors said the same exact thing and almost in the same exact tone. It was so eerie and similar that I wonder if they all went to the same training on how to reject a homosexual while sounding super nice about it.

“You and your family are of course welcome to come to our church, but I don’t want to mislead you. If you wanted to join our church or serve in any way, you wouldn’t be allowed. Our congregation is mixed on the subject and to my knowledge there aren’t any other gay people.”

They follow this statement up with a, “But I’d love to help you and your family find the right fit for you in the way of a church community” and with one swoop, I felt my humanity go out the door. The pastors all mentioned the few churches that I had already found that are filled with grey haired people. So I said to them, “We want to come to a church like yours where the worship is contemporary and were we’ll find other families our age. These churches you mention are filled with old people, what should we do?” The pastor follows up with a, “Hunh. Yeah, I guess your right, hmmm…” And then silence.

Silence.

At this point, my mind begins to roll over verses about God not quenching small flames of desire (Isaiah 42:3); that verse in Hebrews where God says he’ll never, ever, EVER leave someone (Hebrews 13:5; Deut. 31:6); the time when the disciples asked Jesus to reject those who didn’t do it exactly the way they were doing it and Jesus says “leave them alone. If they’re not against you, they’re for you” (Matt. 9:40). I mean, how can you reject someone who WANTS to be a part of your church? Even if we went out on a limb and said, Okay, okay, being gay is a sin, well doesn’t Paul discuss with the Corinthians the idea that you never fully reject someone from the local church? Even if someone sins, the Church should make an effort to restore a sense of community to the people it has rejected.

 

Put another way, the Church should at least try. Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, and James never said, “Be ye lazy and inconsiderate, for God in Heaven says some difficult things and don’t try to work it out and be kind to people. It’s cool. Just be jerks.”

I of course could go on, but at this point I’m wondering why so many churches seem to miss these stories (among others) in their Bible. I wonder if the pastor’s silence is them thinking about the same scriptures I’m thinking about? There is the possibility that these individual pastors aren’t the ones who make up the “rules”. It could be that they wish as much as I do that their church was open and affirming and their board or conference or whoever really has the power is telling them, “If you want to pastor this church you won’t let the gays in”. In those cases, I can only imagine how grievous it must be to pastor a church and have a conversation with someone like me, hard in many ways. But I don’t get to know the truth of their heart so instead the silence feels painful. Even if these pastors are as grieved as I am, why won’t they take a stand? At this point in the conversation – the silence – I feel my stomach quickly turns into knots. I get hot, my blood starts racing through my veins and my eyes fill with tears. I break the silence by saying something like, “What are my family and I going to do?! I know we would add so much to your church. My wife and I are creative, smart and seminary educated women. We have much to give and yet your church is going to miss out because we’re gay.” It’s even worse when the pastor responds, “Please do let me know if there’s anything I can do for you in the future.” It feels like an empty statement and with that I know it’s time to end the call.

Perhaps my skin should be thicker, but it only took having this same conversation several times before I broke down. I’m filled with a deep ache that my children don’t get access to the same church experience that I had while growing up and that my wife and I will have to find a community of friends somewhere else. Feeling the personal pain of this experience quickly took me back to all the emails I get filled with similar sentiments from those around the country.

How are Christians reasoning that the LGBTQ community is the cause of the fall of the family, and evil at the core when it’s us, the gays who are wanting to be a part of church but get turned away?! I’m face-to-face with messages from people whose desire to grow closer to God and the people of God is consistently met with rejection and hopelessness. These people have only one conclusion that they can draw from this — that God must not want them. And the Church is responsible.

Let me say that again.

These people have only one conclusion that they can draw from this — that God must not want them. And the Church is responsible.

Usually the emails I get end with something like, “I don’t know if I can be a Christian anymore, or why doesn’t God love me anymore,” or “I feel so alone in the world.” I wonder if the church isn’t responsible for these people turning away from God, who is?

Of course, there is a personal responsibility for every individual to find and choose God. But when people in positions of power who represent God reject someone in the name of God, it’s hard to separate God from the human rejection that comes from a pastor. That kind of weeding out process can take years and requires a certain level of mature brain development in order to understand a complicated experience like this.

I get these emails because I’m supposed to be the professional filled with answers.

But here’s the thing: I don’t have any answers and my heart is completely broken by this fact. I should have a list of 5,000 churches where these people would be welcomed to serve, join and grow in, but I don’t. What I have is a list of churches that are either filled with an older congregation, are far from where these people live, or are more liberal. And that’s for those people who 1) reach out to me, and 2) who are adults able to choose where they worship.

The answers and options for young people still living at home are even more scarce. So instead of sending them to a church to find healing, community and answers I only have one option, I send them to their local LGBTQ community center. They will surely end up finding what they need there in the way of friends and support, but there’s a great chance they will forever be turned off by Christianity, perpetuating the feeling that God does not want them. This is why I can say with confidence that God is deeply grieved by all of this.

Rejecting people from worshipping God is everything – everything – that Christianity is opposed to but we have somehow reached the point where rejecting people is the normal, even “Christian” thing to do.

696 thoughts on “The Church is Responsible for This

  1. You need to attend Bible study immediately. You are taking the scriptures out of context. The LORD JESUS is not referring to gay people. “Little ones” are children. The church is not suppose to condone sin. Church leaders are acting within the guidelines of the Christian faith. The word of GOD reads, “Be ye therefore holy for I am Holy.” LGBTQ lifestyle is in accordance with that scripture. They can only participate in the faith when they renounce that lifestyle choice and truly turn to THE LORD GOD and repent for the remission of sin.

    • “Little ones” does refer to children. But then… aren’t we all God’s children? Who are you to pass out judgement in God’s name? You are reading the scripture and interpreting it the way you want it to read. You are using scripture as a weapon of isolation and bigotry, this is very sad and very wrong. I hope one day you understand that faith is a beautiful thing that should not be used as a weapon against anyone. Do not hide behind faith, revel in it and let it lift you to become someone of substance and worth, let it lift you above your own misguided predjudices. God loves everyone, even you. I am sure God will forgive you for your sins against your fellow man.

      • The LORD GOD does not condone same sex relationships now or ever. His word will not change no matter how we may feel. I am not hiding behind my faith. I am speaking the truth & the truth will set you free & you will be free in deeds. We have to stop manipulating scriptures for our own desires & purposes. I will say it again attend Bible study & make sure the teacher is chosen by OUR LORD & SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. You need wisdom from THE LORD GOD when it comes to interpreting the scripture. I believe what I believe & it’s the truth.

      • I attended a lot of bible study in my younger years.
        How would you suggest I make sure the “teacher” is chosen by the Lord? Do I attempt to drown them and if they survive they were selected by God?
        I wish you best in your beliefs and truly hope they make you happy and cause others no misery.

      • Attending Bible study and understanding the lessons are different. I hope you obtain knowledge and wisdom on your journey in CHRIST. My beliefs are my beliefs.

      • I literally have a degree that says I am an expert in researching, interpreting and teaching information. So my level of understanding lessons and the written word is quite high. I’m trying hard not to be offended here as I am a quite educated and very well-read person and I feel like you are saying I am ignorant.
        I know your beliefs are your beliefs and I am not trying to change them, in fact I believe I wished you the best and hoped you’d find happiness.
        I think this conversation is moot so I wish you the best in life and may you be happy.

  2. I have never understood why Christian churches will turn away anyone. Part of being a Christian means to accept your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Not turn them away because they choose to live differently than you. They are to “love thy neighbor as thy self” not “love thy neighbor, who lives the way you think is right, as thy self.” It’s not humanity’s responsibility to judge others. We have no right to tell other people that they are living their lives wrong or to push them away from God. It’s so sad and it’s so messed up.

  3. Whatever is against the plain sense of the written word, or which gives countenance or encouragement to sin, we may be sure is not that which the Lord has spoken.
    Matthew Henry commentary
    Deuteronomy 18.

  4. Candice, I am so sorry to hear that your family has been turned away by churches. Whenever our Christian community frustrates me, I try to remember what a pastor once told me: “A doctor doesn’t tend the healthy, but the sick. Jesus didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners. The church is a hospital for those sick in spirit.”

    Please know that these churches are not representative of Christ’s love for you and your family – they are just full of people deeply deeply in need of His love to shine and work in their own lives.

    I hope you don’t mind if I reblog your post – I think it is a message more Christians need to hear!

    Love you. XOXO

  5. Reblogged this on and commented:
    This story is heartbreaking.

    Jesus never turned away anyone who wanted to come to him… tax collectors, prostitutes, MURDERERS… but the church community doesn’t want to accept a perfectly loving, devoted Christian family.

    And we wonder why our numbers are dwindling.

    Candice, you and your family (and anyone else reading this, for that matter), are welcome at my church any time you’re in upstate New York.

  6. I love this post and share your sentiment. Thankfully, and somewhat shockingly, my wife and I found a church in Kansas City that is Methodist and open to LGBT. It’s so refreshing to find an inclusive church that excepts people from every walk of life.

    It’s unfortunate that many Christians are inclusive, and if someone is not just like you, they don’t belong in your church. That is not how Jesus preached. I put all scripture through a colander to separate the true heart of God, versus scripture written as a product of the times. The colander is simply this: Jesus tells us to love God with all your heart and soul, and love your neighbor as you would love yourself.

  7. First of all, let me say that ONLY God can & will judge people, so I am not trying to cast any judgement here, at all!!! We all have our sins that we answer to God for……….
    The Body of Christ DOES Love You and your family! BUT, there is this thing called SIN. God is a Holy & Righteous and Just God, and He is too pure to allow UNREPENTANT sin (of any kind) to continue and foster in the Church.Jesus said that “A little Leaven Leavens the Whole Batch” I am sure you know of that verse. The world is wrong when they say that homosexuality is not a sin, and you are basing your life on that lie. The Church should be very kind & loving to you and your “family” BUT they should deny you fellowship & participation in events, because you are trying to gloss over your sinful lifestyle, and from your post, it sounds like you are not very repentant of your sins. Honestly, more Churches should be exclusive of ANY people living in sin, be it gay, straight, or whatever.
    I noticed you quoted several scriptures about Jesus loving & welcoming people, as is true! BUT, you seemed to ignore the Scriptures that condemn people in unrepentant sexual sin. I am sure you know most all of them, so I will only list a few here. Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, Galatians 5, Matthew 7, Colossians 3, and Revelation 21:8…
    Ephesians 5 is one reason why the Church shuns you, until you Repent. James 5:19-20…
    I am not trying to “beat you up” but rather point out in love the answer to your questions. I don’t even know you or your partner, and I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but Jesus Does! IF you repent of your sins, and stop practicing lesbianism, you both will be welcomed! BUT, if you don’t repent of your sins, then you are only fooling yourself when you call yourself a Christian.
    PLEASE read Isaiah 59:1-3. I do not even know if you will see or read my reply, since you have almost 500 replies already. Some of them are good, honest replies, some are from others that are deceived like you, in to thinking there is nothing wrong with being a LGBTQ, that you were born that way. Truth is, NOBODY was ever born gay! That is one of the lies that is straight from the father of lies himself- Satan. He has VERY MANY people on the path to destruction with his lies!!! PLEASE don’t be another one! I DO care about you & your “family” and I will offer my help. If there is anything I can do for you,(or anyone caught up in this sin) please contact me through my blog, and I will be more than willing to try & help you!!! (Sailor Dale Cares) PLEASE REPENT!!!!

    • “Honestly, more Churches should be exclusive of ANY people living in sin, be it gay, straight, or whatever.” – Honestly, I feel that it would be impossible to do this. If they did the places would be empty and no one would give their donations and the church would go out of business. Which depending on the church we’re talking about possibly wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to the community, I suppose it all depends on how much the business was siphoning off the community to start off with.

      “Truth is, NOBODY was ever born gay! That is one of the lies that is straight from the father of lies himself- Satan.” – I found this a very interesting point of view or belief as I truly believe that people are born with a predisposition to homosexuality. Could you please point me to the bible verse that specifically states that satan created this lie?

      • OK. True, we are all sinners! Including ME! BUT, the key is UNREPENTANT sin. If one confesses their sins, and truly wants to REPENT (Turn 180′ the Opposite direction) of their sins, God will forgive them of their sins. Yes, I agree with you that some “churches” should close their doors & go away! The ones that don.t follow God’s Word, or condone sin, and ones that just preach of a loving God that accepts all people without any evidence of REPENTANCE! God is a Holy, Just, & Righteous God who can’t glance over unrepented sin! It would not be loving & just if God just said all people are OK without any repentance, at all. That would not be Just, because the wages of sin is death, and for sins to be forgiven, blood had to be shed! That’s just the way God set up the world, and He Loves us so much that He came to Earth in human form, in the Person of Jesus Christ, and shed His Blood on the Cross, once & for ALL, that whoever believes in Him (and repents of their sins) can be forgiven of all sins. I heard an expression once that a Christian can sin all they want to, BUT, if you REALLY ARE a True Christian, you WON’T WANT TO SIN, because we know how much sin hurts God, thus we won’t want to hurt God, and continue in a life of sin. God can & will forgive all our sins, we must be willing to REPENT of them! ALL Kinds of sin.

        As for the lie that people were “born gay” Well, Satan is the father of all lies! God created Adam & Eve- Man & Woman. Period. One of Satan’s strategies is to get people to doubt the Word of God, and it works well. It is common sense to know that satan is trying to counterfeit everything God said & did. That is just one more of his lies. Read the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and you will see the answer……..Sailor Dale Cares!

      • Let’s just suppose everything you said is true. It is up to God to judge people at their time of meeting at the end of their lives. It is not for us to judge others. We do not have the right to judge in Gods stead.
        May you have a wonderful life sustained and supported by your faith.

      • I am not judging Candice,you, or anyone! Why do you and the majority of people today think someone is judging them because we just say what the Bible (God’s Word) says about all kinds of sin? That is the now the MOST misquoted verse in the Bible- Matthew 7:1! I personally could care less who anyone sleeps with, but GOD DOES!!! And, at the end of the day,what any person says about anyone will not matter one bit. The one we all NEED to fear is God Himself! Because when one is standing before God, NO excuse about who is responsible for any action or sin will not matter! It will be Just You & God, Nobody or Nothing else will matter! Candice and her “wife” will each answer for their OWN sins. And being a Seminary Graduate, she should know that lesbianism IS a Sin!!! Romans 1:18-32…
        >>>>Sailor Dale STILL Cares!!! <<<<

      • My apologies, I was not trying to say you were judging. My point was just to say that we are not equipped to judge anyone for their actions. I wasn’t trying to directly quote Matthew 7:1, but that quotation would be reasonably apt to my point. Many others do judge, very actively and sometimes use hateful messages in God’s name and this does upset me – Please note that I am not trying to say you do this. This was just a general point.
        May we both be happy with our judgment when our time comes.

      • Thank you, and Likewise! Because when we get to that point, it will be too late to change our mind.
        We have all of our life to change our mind, to believe whatever you want to believe! All I can do is to present the truth of the Bible in a loving way to as many as I can. What anyone else does with what I present is not my concern…(Well, I would love it if more people would turn from sin & accept Jesus, thus changing their Eternal destiny from hell to Heaven) But, ultimately, that is their choice, and nobody elses… I do apologise if I have come across as judging anyone for anything, because that is never my intent! Sometimes I do not know the best way to express in words the thought in my mind, and so again, I apologise if I have ever sounded judgemental. That IS God’s job, not mine. I just stand firm on the truth of God’s Word, and after I share it, the “ball is in their hands” as to what they do with that Word. Peace & Blessings to all of you! Especially Candice and her “wife” Sailor Dale Cares……..

      • “What does it mean that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44)?”
        Jesus said, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s
        desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in
        him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John
        8:44).
        Satan is the “father of lies” in that he is the original liar. He is the “father” of lies in the
        same way that Martin Luther is the “father” of the Reformation and Robert Goddard is the
        “father” of modern rocketry. Satan told the first lie in recorded history to Eve, in the Garden of
        Eden. After planting seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind with a question (Genesis 3:1), he directly
        contradicts God’s Word by telling her, “You will not certainly die” (Genesis 3:4). With that lie,
        Satan led Eve to her death; Adam followed, and so have we all.
        Lying is Satan’s primary weapon against God’s children. He uses the tactic of deceit to
        separate people from their heavenly Father. Some of his more common lies are “there is no
        God,” “God doesn’t care about you,” “the Bible cannot be trusted,” and “your good works will
        get you into heaven.” The apostle Paul tells us that Satan “masquerades as an angel of light” (2
        Corinthians 11:14), so that what he says and does sounds good and seems reasonable. But it is
        nothing more than a false appearance.
        Many of Satan’s lies tend to perpetuate themselves. This is what happened when Eve
        convinced Adam to also believe the devil’s lie. Today, Satan still uses people to spread his lies
        for him. Often, he uses charismatic but foolish people to further his falsehoods, as in the case of
        false religions and cults.
        The Bible has many names for Satan to describe his true nature, including “ruler of this
        world” (John 12:31), “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “tempter” (1 Thessalonians 3:5),
        “deceiver” (Revelation 12:9), “Beelzebub” (literally, “lord of the flies,” the ruler of demons, in
        Matthew 10:25), and “Belial,” meaning “wicked” (2 Corinthians 6:15).
        Satan has told more lies to more people (and even angels) than any being ever created.
        His success depends on people believing his lies. He has used everything from “little white lies”
        to huge, pants-on-fire whoppers to deceive folks. Adolph Hitler, a man who learned how to lie
        effectively, once said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be
        believed.”
        Whether a lie is small or large is not really the issue. Lies are of the devil. If you’ve lied
        even once, then, unless you repent, you will not enter heaven. The Bible teaches that all liars
        “will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Revelation
        21:8). Proverbs 19:9 also teaches that anyone who lies will be punished.
        Avoid this fate by obeying Mark 1:15: “Repent and believe in the gospel.” Jesus is the
        truth (John 14:6), and He will never deceive you. Those who come to Jesus in faith will find that
        “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
        From: The Serpent of Paradise by Erwin Lutzer

  8. I have no problem with gay people whatsoever, some of them visit my church and keep coming, nevertheless their chosen lifestyle is incompatible with the gospel. They are welcome, but not as a regular church member. The way the Bible is used in this article is not hermeneutically acceptable. There are several kind of gay church around, go and join them and be happy!

  9. I understand a lot of how you feel. Though not the same, I am a Jewish believer in Jesus and as you can imagine it has been a difficult transition. But Christ never promised us an easy live, He promises us a fulfilling one. There is a cost to following Him. May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you today.

    • Hi there, you are so positive and full of Christ, thank you, you are a gift to the body.
      I went to your blog site and it’s a blessing thank you.
      I could nto contact you at your gmail address as its inactive… Please could you direct me to a place on your site where you tell of your coming to Christ?
      The best teacher I ever had was a guy called Russel Kelfer (also a Jewish believer) with the Lord now.
      Most of his teaching sessions were closed off with a poem and here is one for you from his pen:
      You are who you are for a reason
      by Russell Kelfer –

      You are who you are for a reason.
      You’re part of an intricate plan.
      You’re a precious and perfect unique design,
      Called God’s special woman or man.

      You look like you look for a reason.
      Our God made no mistake.
      He knit you together within the womb,
      You’re just what he wanted to make.

      The parents you had were the ones he chose,
      And no matter how you may feel,
      They were custom designed with God’s plan in mind,
      And they bear the Master’s seal.

      No, that trauma you faced was not easy.
      And God wept that it hurt you so;
      But it was allowed to shape your heart
      So that into his likeness you’d grow.

      You are who you are for a reason,
      You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.
      You are who you are, beloved,
      Because there is a God.

      You are on the best, most existing adventure in eternal life… it never ends and just keeps getting better… enjoy.

      Love, Mark in Cape Town.

  10. Have you tried the Episcopal Church? Here in Canada, the Anglican Church is openly welcoming of the LGBTQ community, and I believe it is the much same in the States.

    I understand your feeling about the desire for a younger demographic. Perhaps driving that extra 40 minutes might be worth it?

  11. I am greatly upset, I don’t know what that thing the LD? Something? But I do know how it feels to be cast out and it sucks. Just sucks.

    • I would value it greatly if you could drop me a line and tell me your story. I am studying tribulation and am in need of personal testimony about rejection, isolation and abandonment. The word speaks very poignantly to the widow, orphan, sick, divorced, lonely, strangers, aliens, rejected but there is somethign fresh in a personal account so if you have something freshly squeezed…

      • I don’t know how much I can say, I like to be very secret. lets just say, as a kid, when I moved I was alone because no one “got” what went on in my head.

  12. Wow. I keep seeing here where old people are referred to as “the white-haired people”. I have to admit I’m from Utah and have NEVER heard the elderly referred to this way. Is it kind of like “black people” or “Catholic people”? Hmm…We don’t go to church to be with a certain “kind” of people. I’m sad to think that this is what some of you consider a negative thing when looking for a church. I’m not old, but my life and my children’s lives have been greatly blessed by what some of you refer to as “the white-haired people” and I do not consider it a problem or something to prevent me from attending church. Some of you might need to ask yourselves why you are wanting to be at “church”.

    James Chapter 1 (Bible, KJV)
    26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
    27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

    The “church” isn’t responsible, people are.

    • Hi Tamara, don’t you know that we grey bearded ones are in serious need of reviving? We are sleepy and near to dead’. We ave nothing to offer young children or young people. Experience is one thing but the grey haired ones are too out of it to bother with.
      I was a hero to my son till he reached 14 then it was ‘what do you know? You know nothing! Now that he is in his thirties he wonders how I got to be so clever and know so much.
      I read this comments page with much mirth.

  13. Having studied in the seminary, I assume you know that homosexuality is universally condemned in the Bible.

    The Lord, at this point, does not want the talents you can contribute to the Church. What He desires is your obedience. The Father loves you so much He sent His Son to take your place on the cross, to save your soul from eternal damnation–but if you insist on what you want (which you know is contradictory to the Word of God), then you are not accepting God’s offer. It is only when you accept that offer that you become adopted into the family of God–the Church. Otherwise the “church” just becomes a place to go to where you can enjoy activities and events–and yes, you’re welcome in those, but not to lead–the Scripture is clear on that.

    We are all sinners like you. We have our struggles too. But if you really, really wish to follow the Lord’s commands, to please Him, you will feel remorse for the things you’ve done that grieve Him, and be repentant. Only then will you receive His righteousness, His atonement for you. And the proof that you have this righteousness [from God]–it should show in your life–learning to follow in the steps of Christ, the will of God; a character that slowly gets molded into the character of Him.

    No temptation has seized you except what is common to man–remember the passage? And the promise is that the Lord will provide you a way out! Claim that promise! 🙂 And remember that the moment you accept His atonement–He will give you His Spirit who would help you to win your battles.

    Of course we love you. But it pains us to see you clutching to your self-destructive way. It is not about you. It is not about us. It’s about HIM. You have to let go and surrender everything and you’ll find release from all these things that you feel are pulling you down. If you do, the Lord has something so great in store for you that you can’t imagine!

    • I refer to your blog post “The law of love” published October 6, 2014. In this post you quote Matthew 7:7-12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (v.12). You then go on to state, “just love your neighbour as yourself and you wouldn’t be breaking any law! Finding it hard to love? Again, no worries—Jesus can enable you, us!” – This is an extremely basic translation of a beautiful quotation that is mirrored in many religions and cultures throughout the history of the world.
      Nowhere does it say, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets… Unless they are homosexuals. If they are homosexuals feel free to shun them from service in God’s home because when God says he loves all of his children he obviously did not mean the homosexuals”.
      If you truly believe in “do to others what you would have them do to you” then you should not shun Christian people from church… ever heard of the rule of three? This is another beautiful idea held throughout many cultures and religions, basically it means whatever you give out, you get back times three. I try to live my life by this beautiful morale along with the quote from Matthew that I mentioned above.

      • Of course, Candice and her family are welcome to attend church services and activities. I didn’t say they are not. I would be happy if they could worship regularly and get to know more and more the Lord.

  14. Wow, what a huge response! Talk about a touchy subject in today’s culture. I have to admit, while I read the post and some of the comments, I did not read all the comments.

    First, I want to say that I am a raging sinner. I am no one to judge. But you are posting this for advice and comments, so here are mine. I also want to say that any time I take a stand on this issue, I am immediately labeled as hateful and ignorant. I guess I just do not care what others think of me, so I continue writing. If it is right, I don’t really care who I offend.

    I appreciate your quotes from scripture, but I also point out that it has to be looked at in context. And these verses are taken out of context. The way you quote them, anything can be inserted, “murderers, rapists….” And according to your application, they should be allowed on mission trips and church boards.

    I would like to know if you want to attend a church to know and worship God with other believers or if you are looking for someone to affirm the decision that you have made concerning this issue.

    I can not agree with you more, and others that have commented, that the church has failed miserably. I was raised in church and still attend, but I know fully of the hypocrites, the liars, and the sinners that point their fingers and judge.

    So, why do I still attend church? Jesus. Please remember that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, people of the church, while hanging out with prostitutes, tax collectors, and the socially outcast. However, these people were repenting. Jesus loves and forgives the worst of sinners. Saul was a murder of Christians before Jesus stopped him in his tracks on the road to Damascus and Saul gave his life to the Lord. Jesus loved Peter even after he denied him three times while Jesus was being tortured. This is not the Jesus that we see in most churches.

    This said, if we are looking to the Jesus of the Bible for answers, he clearly states that homosexuality is wrong. I am not saying that. God is.
    Most of the comments on here, point out other faults of the church. I agree.
    Some of the comments say they do not turn away other sinners. No one agrees with you more that the church has really screwed up. But Jesus hasn’t. So, the argument of the church messed up here so I get to do whatever I want was never a message of Christ.

    I always wish conversations like this could be discussed over coffee or I wish I could have you and your wife and children to my home for dinner. But I can not, so these are my thoughts.

  15. I have a question…I didn’t read your WHOLE post (I hate reading lol)…but I read your title and skimmed. Here’s my question…how does one stand up for what they believe is right and still love at the same time? It’s a hard thing especially for “Christians” because if we don’t allow something they we are being judgmental but if we allow it then it’s deemed as acceptable…when being gay is something that Christians believe is stated very clearly as being wrong? Are you wanting Christians to not believe what they believe? Is that fair? Are we not entitled to our own religious beliefs? Are Christians supposed to comply to your beliefs? I’m asking…I do believe there is a place for EVERYONE in the church…but don’t ask me to believe that it’s ok…

  16. This is EXACTLY the kind of church behavior I would never understand. If Jesus were here today and I tell HIm, “sir, I’m gay but I want to be with you,” I bet He wouldn’t say, “no can do, missy. You gotta clean up your act first.” The essence of a church is not just a group or organization. It is a BODY of BELIEVERS. If i want to be a believer despite my sexual orientation, why turn me away?? Isn’t that pushing the very people these high and mighty churches say they want saved? Ah, the irony.

    Great post and kudos on a well-deserved Freshly Pressed. 🙂

  17. Peace and love to you. We are judged with what we judge. Each of us have our own relationship with God..our own path. We have a lot to learn about ourselves and how we relate to the world. Just when I think I know…the Spirit taps me on the heart, head, shoulder and it can be quite humbling. The hardest part of scripture for me is facing the word that relates to my own personal “thorns”. Attend a church that says “all are welcome”…ultimately we are all joined in God’s Almighty Love.

  18. There is a brilliant documentary on channel 4 (or online at 4od) called ‘Father Ray Comes Out’. It is the story of father ray (his last name escapes me) coming out to his congregation. It really was an amazing program. So much so that I contacted Fr Ray to say how much of an effect his story had had on me. He said that he had been contacted by gay people wanting to be Christians from all over the world. Watch the programme if you can- his message is simply HOPE!

  19. I have found an awesome church where I live that is very accepting of the LGBT Community. I am however, the youngest one there. Everyone else is in their 50’s and 60’s. So while it feeds me spiritually on one level, There is no one there my age and that is hard. I haven’t tried any of the other open and welcoming congregations yet because I’m kind of fearful of trying another church by myself. And then with my work schedule it’s hard too. My church is in the evening so if I have to work Sundays, I am still able to attend church.

    It’s really hard. I hope you are able to find what you are looking for.

    Devin

  20. Does it not say in the bible don’t judge your neighbor for that is Gods duty. More like a man without sin may cast the fist stone. Which no man is without sin, so no stone can be casted. Hmm I guess not all church’s follow the bible then. That’s sad plus scientists have proven that sexuality is in the brain not the genitals. I pray everything works out for you.

  21. This subject is close to my heart, you are so right in your writing. I’m a parent of a homosexual and yes he’s a Christian. I should add, he’s a Christian first..he is courageous and loyal. The churchs great commission …to go out and preach the gospel of Christ ….we..the church, can be a guiding light or a dividing schism ..

  22. Going to church doesn’t make you a christian, just like walking into McDonald’s doesn’t make you a happy meal. Christianity isn’t about church, its about growing deeper in your relationship with the Lord.

  23. I agree people might just get rejected by the churches but that doesn’t mean you have to stop believing in God.It happened to me before a girl said God isn’t real why do people believe in that. I just ignored her and walked away I said in my head people should believe in God Jesus will come one day and take us to heaven with him.

  24. Looking at some of the comments above, I’m surprised burning at the stake hasn’t been mentioned!
    I bet that some of those whom have condemned your lifestyle are obese. Funny, that seems acceptable in Chuch!😝
    And they wonder why we stay away!
    Good luck in your journey Candice, but as some one suggested, just enjoy living. Jesus is just as much involved in your daily lives as in the church.
    Much love.
    Xxxxx

  25. It’s horrible for people to be turned away, but it is also a major sin to be gay (according to the Bible). Would you let a pastor still preach if he cheating on his wife? Would you allow a child molester continue to teach children’s Sunday School? Sin is sin. I’m not judging anyone on that but seriously. Someone who decides to accept that sin for the rest of their life isn’t trying to get rid of it.

  26. It’s like Ghandi quote, ” I like your Christ, but not your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” The downside of organized religion for me is that when people group together and give one of the people or a set of them authority. They tend to sway toward the rules and opinions of the ones of authority. If the one in authority don’t hold steadfast to the core of beliefs they began with they lost sight of their purpose.

  27. I really don’t get why some people are so keen to tell you to repent of your ways and to suggest you are being selfish and hurting god for loving who you love, when this hurts no-one. And they suggest all you need to do is to suppress who you are, split up your family and turn away from the woman you love and who loves you as though this is a tiny matter and something Jesus would be in favour of. I wont profess to know the scripture but I understand there are places in the bible where homosexuality is condemned, and there are also places where slavery is condoned, the bible tells you to both turn the other cheek and take an eye for an eye. Without having a split personality it is not possible to interpret every word of the bible literally and people shouldn’t try to do this. Isn’t one of the common answers to the question ‘if there is a God why is there evil in the world?’ that ‘people have free choice’ and shouldn’t this free choice, which should be so much more than obeying, be choice to interpret the bible in a way that is in keeping with the compassion and love I thought Jesus was meant to be all about?

    My only suggestion to you Candice would be to create your own niche in the space of the Churches that do love and welcome you. Perhaps offer to run a children’s service there? See if you can be the vibrant Bob Dylan loving family that draws in other parents with young children.

  28. The world needs more people like you, Christian and otherwise. It is a monstrous tragedy how so many hateful souls are shutting others out of churches, simply because of how they love. I desperately hope more people like you spring up someday.

  29. Candice, thank you for this post, for sharing your struggle and your pain. I am not part of the LGBTQ Community, but I am a friend. It was in college that I truly became an ally within the church. My best friend, a truly beautiful and caring person, was told that she could not longer serve the Sunday school classes when the minister found out she was gay. She stopped going to church that day and hasn’t been back. It’s been 16 years. My heart broke for her then and it breaks for her now because I know she yearns for that community. She tells me now that she thinks I was more mad about it than she was.
    I can relate to your pain on the age demographics of the church. It took me a long time to find a church with other young people (and as a single person, I’m a minority in that way for sure). It took time. It shouldn’t have, but it did.
    I will pray that you and your family find the church family that you are seeking. I believe it is out there somewhere. And I will continue to pray for and work for justice in the church. So that your family no longer needs to feel shame, but can feel the wholeness that truly is yours!

    PS. Regarding the Methodist Reconciling church…you can find other Reconciling congregations at rmnetwork.org. You might find another in your area that has a different age demographic?

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