Crisis of Faith

4 11 2013

I have veered off of my usual LGBT blog topics in the last blog and now in the one I am about to write. It is not my intention, yet, I need to write. Writing helps me organize my thoughts and feelings and I usually come away with a new perspective that didn’t seem to come together prior to writing it all down, so to speak. To my LGBT friends and Allies, thank you for your patience.

I truly have been in a crisis of faith the past few months. I think this actually all really started a few years back. When I realized that what I had been taught about gay people all of my life was false. I became angry. I think I have been angry until just a few months ago. Life is a process and I think anger was the beginning of this crisis of faith. I think it was easy to just blame those who taught me those things rather than to get really reflective about myself. Over the past year I have begun to realize that I can’t just blame them. Sure, they taught me incorrect things, but I chose to just walk blindly and not question what I was taught. Of course then the argument comes up that in certain types of churches we are told our faith is not strong enough if we question things. The definition of faith is walking without knowing what is ahead after all. So, be faithful and blindly march on. I was told that, but I am smart. I could have cared enough to think more for myself, but I guess maybe I was too lazy. It was easy when I was surrounded by others who thought exactly as I did. That confirmed that we were doing the right thing after all, right? Actually, I think this is the very example of the blind leading the blind. And at this point in my life I want no more of it.

So, back to my crisis of faith. I began to wonder, if what I was taught about gay people was so far from the mark of truth, what else do I believe that could possibly be off the mark? I began to question EVERYthing – I even began to wonder if there is a God and does He even hear me when I talk to Him? So, I began to do exactly what I was told would send me straight to hell as a kid – I began to test God. I really could not care less if you judge me for this. This is MY journey and quite frankly it is between God and I and has nothing to do with you or your opinions. What I found was time after time after time, in little and a few large things, God came through. I can now say without a doubt in my mind that my God hears me when I talk to Him/Her. I now realize that God isn’t wrapped up in all the silly rules that people create by picking one bible verse out to support their legalities. Test God – go ahead – I dare you – He is big enough to handle it. I promise.

I recently began reading a book that my daughter recommended to me. “How to get the love that you want”. I am about to start chapter 2. It is about how we chose our partners based on our parents. I have been about to start chapter 2 for 2 weeks. I just haven’t been able to make myself read it. I sometimes revert back to that blind drone who thinks it would be easier just to walk blindly than to find out what I thought was true actually isn’t. Over the past two weeks I had actually convinced myself somehow that reading that chapter will change how I feel about my husband. You should probably know that after 27 years of being together, I am madly, passionately, deeply in love with that man. This is how silly I can be about knowledge. I somehow had started to believe that I would read that chapter and things would change. I would find out that I am not in love with him at all, that somehow  I would discover that I am just a co-dependent nut case. I finally got brave enough to talk to my hubby about it last night. He laughed and said, “Michele, you know that knowledge is power. It can only make things better if you do discover some things about yourself.” He is a smart man. I will start chapter 2 today.

I have also found lots of other things I took for granted and thought to be true that were not. I don’t know if it is because I was in Texas or because I was in a very conservative evangelical church, or both, or neither, but I thought  Democrats were evil and Republicans had a straight shot to God’s throne. I now know that God is not a Democrat or a Republican. I have learned that there are Christians who are Pro life and also Christians who are Pro choice and it is not my job to worry about it. I only have to answer for myself. I can also be a Christian and believe in science!!! I was taught that scientist spent all of their time trying to prove how God is insignificant. Good grief, it makes me laugh now. I think this is the one thing that makes me feel the silliest, that I argued against actual scientific truths as if it lessened my God. God is certainly bigger than that. I just have to look at all of the things in nature that work that shouldn’t work to realize science is God’s middle name.

Finally, I have so much regret for my twisted love. Yes, I really and truly believed that it was my job to correct and coerce those I loved to my way of thinking. I thought I was “saving their souls” with my opinions and judgment. Oh how I wish I could go to each of them and beg forgiveness. You have no idea how many nights I cried about people I loved and their souls because they accepted someone who was gay, or because they believed in evolution, or chose not to attend church. Who the hell did I think I was? I will tell you – I thought was a direct messenger from God almighty and I might be the only person capable of reaching their poor lost soul. How prideful and arrogant I was. I can not go to each of them, but I will be writing a letter today to someone. I also need to say here, publicly, that I am sorry to my sister-in-law for throwing her into that youth sunday school class when she was 15  years old and walking away. I know I have apologized several times, but I really am truly sorry. Such an embarrassing age anyway. Geez I was an idiot. On the flip side, I do hope that Sunday we sat in church and that guest preacher said, “The devil is a dildo” right from the pulpit in some way lessened that blow. I really wish you could have been at church with us the Easter Sunday the preacher was talking about a car wreck. He was talking about a Volvo that was in an accident, only he didn’t say Volvo, he said Vulva. “and the Vulva just continued to get rammed over and over from the rear.” Yes – that was one of my favorite moments in all the years I have attended church. Who says that preachers are infallible and that God doesn’t have a sense of humor? I bet He was laughing too.





Short Story

30 05 2013

I was asked to give a short statement about why I believe in equality to Fair is Fair Montana. Here is what I wrote:

Grabbe 3 sepia

“For most of my life, I believed that homosexuality was both a choice and a sin. I was raised in a very conservative church and state in the south. About ten years ago, I began to have a switch in my thinking. I realized that what I had always been taught about homosexuality did not mesh with what I was learning to be true in my relationships with gay friends. My faith is very important to me, so I was still confused about how to rectify the scriptures regarding homosexuality. At that point I began my own research of what the bible really says about homosexuality. I was very surprised to find out what I had been taught and had believed most of my life was not even close to the truth. My faith has grown so much through this journey.
As life usually happens, the rug was swept out from under neath me during this process as my own son told us that he is bisexual. I regret that he didn’t feel comfortable coming out earlier due to my own homophobia. He had to carry that burden alone for many years. I am very grateful to be his Mom and to fight along side him for equality. I have three American children who are all proud Montanans. I believe that all three of my children should have the same rights. That is why I speak up for equality in the great state of Montana which I dearly love.”





A bit Angry…

29 03 2013

I began a little bit of a rant to a friend on Facebook yesterday. I hadn’t really realized how much frustration and anger I had pent up inside of me until I started typing and had trouble stopping. I decided then and there that I needed a therapeutic blogging session. So, here I am! Aren’t you lucky? Well, you can decide that for  yourself in a few moments…

So, this week, unless you have been living under a rock, which I sometimes do and am not underrating the wonderfulness of being oblivious to the world at times, then you know that the Supreme Court of our great country heard two seperate cases which both had a lot to do with gay rights. It was a great week, for the most part. I am a Facebook addict, see – I can admit to it! I noticed that this last week there was much less negative floating around on my wall, mostly because I scared many of the staunch fundamentalists away during the Chick-fil-A fun awhile back that we all had.

Now, this past week someone had the bright idea to “Go Red for Equality”. So, most people who support equal rights for LGBT people switched their profile pictures to some form of a red equality pic. I had several red pics pop up from friends – many who are straight people supporting equality and that always makes my heart happy. But I had a few, a very few I might add. That posted pictures that were either just a blue cross or a man and a woman and said “marriage”, things of this nature in opposition to equality. Some of these were people I really really like and they have a right to their opinion just like the rest of us, but I would be lying if I didn’t say it hurts a little bit.

It hurts because it is still that mentality that they are on God’s side and the rest of us are not. That you can not be a Christian and love God and support your gay friends and family. That is the piece that hurts. Because Jesus is my Main Man ya’ll. I consider us real tight and to be told that can’t be the case while I stand up for my tax paying LGBT friends and family to have the same rights as my tax paying straight friends and family is quite frankly offensive.

I get it – I really do – because embarrassingly that would have been me ten years ago posting such a profile picture. I would have been appalled at the “sin” of our nation and would have felt fear as well. Now, it just seems so unbelievably silly that I thought that. Logic and reason out the window, my pastor said so, so it must be true!! In the church I am in now, I can sit down with any one of my church leaders and question them on any topic. They would not be offended or defensive, they would welcome it! When I was in a fundamentalist church, that wasn’t the case. It was actually inferred that I was the one not in sync with God if I questioned anything the Pastor said. I guess this is the difference between churches that encourage you to use your brain that God gave you and ones who expect you to check it at the door.

I feel bad for these people, I really do. This week I keep putting myself back to the old me ten or more years ago and how I would have probably just been sick about what is happening in our country today. I know the people that really believe that homosexuality is a sin must just be thinking the world is ending. How scary is that? I would like to say something to you – if you are there. The bible repeats over and over again “do not be afraid”. Do you still believe God is on His throne and in control? If you do, and the country is heading towards equality, could it be remotely possible that God is heading it this way? I know that you have a rock in your gut right now. I had that rock many many times over the years as I wrestled with the issue of homosexuality in my own life. Now, that I think about it, I have not felt that rock in a very long time. That rock is fear, fear of drifting from God, fear of questioning all that you have believed your whole life. But the truth is, fear does not come from God. God brings peace and understanding. So, delve head first. Start researching. Find the truth for yourself – the truth will set you free.

And in the meantime, please be very careful about claiming to be more “Christian” or closer to God because you believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I know many LGBT Christians who walk with Jesus. He seems fine with them. Maybe that should be our first clue…





Marriage Equality

10 12 2012

I am sure you know that marriage equality was passed in several states in November. These all have different dates that they come into play. For Washington State, it was this past weekend. Many places staffed their courthouses beginning at midnight. Couples lined up for hours to get their licenses. The images and stories were so touching. The picture that stuck with me the most was of a Sunday morning service at Seattle’s First Baptist Church. Twenty five same-sex couples were wed that morning.

As a Christian who is for Marriage Equality, it often feels it is an uphill battle and that we are a voice that isn’t heard over all of the louder, more prevalent voices in the Faith communities. It can feel discouraging. I think sometimes when you are in the middle of the fight, it is hard to have a good perspective of the big picture. I meet people of faith all the time with a similar story to mine. A story of transition and change for the better. I truly believe that we will see the day that marriage equality is accepted nationwide. I feel so hopeful for what the future holds!!!

 

seattle1stbaptist





Missions

2 12 2012

I may be weird – but I do feel like I get called on “missions”. Not really the “Mission Impossible” exciting kind of missions – but things that just seem to seep into my very being and won’t let me go until I do something about it.

I feel strongly about speaking out as a mom of a bisexual kid – but I also feel compelled through our PFLAG Bozeman/GV work. I have been doing those things for a while now and still find them very energy giving, but I have recently been called in a different direction. I have blogged before about my grief over how Christians treat LGBT people, being a Christian myself. I often even find myself hesitant to speak out and say I am a Christian – I generally say “I am a follower of Christ” or “I am a progressive Christian”. I really feel strongly that there is so much misinformation and confusion out there in our churches about the LGBT community. Most Christians do not even realize that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, I didn’t for most of my life. I want to be a part of the change. I see it starting to happen, in many denominations and it is exciting. We need more people to hear the truth. I want to stand in that gap between the truth about LGBT people and the church.

So, I have been feeling this way for a while now, but wasn’t really sure how to go about it or where to start. I have opened up the conversation and will be doing some PFLAG Faith work  at my own church – but my vision is bigger than that. Well, just as God sent Aaron to Moses – He has sent me a cohort!! A woman who found my blog in internet land – and we live in the same town! Coincidence? I think not! She has the same vision. Our stories are similar – she is even from Texas! Could it be that God put us both right here in this town, right now at this time to begin the work He wants to do here?

I am super excited and honored and scared, but mostly excited! We had a face to face meeting recently, she asked me to coffee, me not having a clue why – and what a wonderful surprise it all turned out to be. I do not even know if she really knew why she asked me, just that she knew we needed to get together. When we were finished and putting on our coats it was all just really starting to sink in. I asked her, “are you and an organized, detailed person by chance?” She replied, “Yes!” See – God does send us exactly what we need when we need it, because those are big weaknesses of mine! OH MY – you should pray for my new friend, because I am probably going to drive her batty with my lack of attention to details. Even still, somehow I feel we will make an amazing team! This town may not know what has hit them!





Love

18 11 2012

I wish I had something profound or fabulous to write about today. I wish I could gather up that feeling deep inside me and put it into words. I wish I could convey to you the feeling of talking to someone who has been rejected by their family and friends when they came out to them. The pain and hurt in their eyes. The confusion that their parents would spend their whole lives teaching them to love God and others and then to reject them whole heartedly. Or even the pain when someone tells you they have hidden who they actually are for their entire life because they couldn’t face who they were themselves, much less come out to anyone else.

All because of who they love. Since putting words around it all is impossible – I can just hope and pray that everyone will one day be able to experience it themselves – then hearts would be softened and people would listen to others and actually hear them. Then hopefully the hurting and judgement will stop – because once you have seen and felt another’s pain for yourself – then you can never go back to the way you were before.





Stories…

25 09 2012

There are people in your faith community right now who are either gay or love someone close to them who is gay. Contrary to popular belief – gay and faith can coincide nicely. The majority of people of faith are loving non-judgemental people – the problem is that they seem to be louder than the rest of us. Read the short stories below (which all come from the Straight for Equality website – www.straightforequality.org) and think of the faces you see each Sunday morning. Some of these are not very different from some of the people you see on Sunday – I promise you that is true. They just have not figured out you are a safe place to share their story yet…

“I had many conservative friends who were wonderful, generous

people, but whom I felt had a huge blind spot when it came to

gay people. This created a crisis for me when my brother came

out. I became emotionally agonized by the conflict between the

people I respected and loved on the conservative side, and the

people I respected and loved who were gay. For the first time,

I found myself asking God to help me reconcile these things

and to help me seek the truth. I believe that God answered my

request. I found a local church, and told the minister I needed

to find a place with people who can help me seek God, and who

also would accept all of my family as they are. With the help

of that minister, I joined the church, and our congregation has

begun a journey to becoming open and affirming of gay people.”

~Sister of a gay brother

 

“When our daughter came out, we worried about letting people

at church know. We didn’t know how they would respond.

We even considered going to a new church, but we had been

members for our entire lives. Our children were raised in our

church. We couldn’t imagine our lives without the community

created by our faith family. When we finally got up the courage

to start confiding in a few people at church, it was much better

than we expected. While our faith is not open to LGBT issues

yet, the members of our church were very supportive.”

~Mother of a gender-variant daughter

 

“I heard homophobic remarks in church from both the

members and the pulpit. The minister told my family that the

congregation, including him, was afraid of us. For a while the

local wildlife refuge became my sanctuary, and then I heard

about a small, welcoming Episcopal church. The new church’s

members continue to surprise me – even offering space in their

bulletin for my PFLAG literature.”

~Mother of a gay son