This evening I got a phone call from my mother. She informed me that our much-beloved minister, Reverend Anne, is leaving our (Methodist) church at the end of June. Why?
“It’s because half the church is angry about her because of gays. She thinks that we should get rid of them. I wish people would just take their hatred elsewhere. It’s not Christian.”
You said it, Mom.
My church is in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Rehoboth is known for several things- great beaches, being a family friendly town, and being a “family” (gay) friendly town. The gay community, especially in the summer months, is vibrant. There are two gay newspapers, one of which I am a writer for. Baltimore Avenue is the only place in Delaware where quietgirl and I would even consider holding hands in public.
Back to the church. In the early 80s, we had a minister who was remarkably tolerance towards homosexuality, all things considered. He was our minister for almost 15 years- an extremely long time for a Methodist minister. This is important because he was a fixture- he stayed so long that a lot of the church community couldn’t imagine itself without him.
In his time, he allowed several openly gay people to join the congregation. This caused discontent, but very few people left.
Then he moved, and all at once the trouble started. There were various interm ministers, and there was a small movement to “throw out the gays”. At the time, as a young teen struggling with my sexual orientation… well, it didn’t exactly make me feel loved. Especially since one of the heads of said movement was my great-aunt Misery.
At the same time, however, gay people were beginning to exhibit more and more of a presence in the church. Flash forward several years, and we now have a church where the minister is completely accepting, a great number of the congregation is as well, and many openly gay people are the most active members.
This is the woman who came in and mediated when my family was being ripped apart by my lesbianism. This is the woman who has helped my family, other families, in countless ways.
This is the woman who helped me realize a faith in a God that I had previously turned my back on.
All I can do is sit here, feel bitter, and pray.
I like girls. I’m deeply, powerfully in love with a girl that I can see myself waking up next to every day for the rest of my life. Who are we hurting?
When I was younger I would stay up and pray at night until I literally passed out from exhaustion. Don’t tell me I can change. I tried. I wanted to be straight- I wanted it with every fiber of my being. I denied my feelings, I tried dating boys, I begged and pleaded. Nothing changed.
In my mind, there can be three conclusions. There is no God, God hates me and doesn’t care, or I was made the way I am. Because I believe in God, I cannot accept the first two.
You know what? I’ve read the same verses, heard the arguments, heard the same song on repeat for years now. I can toss around the same cites that any other gay-accepting Christian can. Some people think it’s a sin. Some don’t. Should this be what dictates the goings-on in a house of worship?
And don’t give me “love the sinner, hate the sin.” I can take poison and put it in a crystal vial. That doesn’t change what it is.
I am utterly sick of having to justify my life and my love to thinly veiled bigots. The NT seems to me to be a lot about love. I have yet to find the verse that says "gays are less worthy of God’s love and must be continually harassed by the “righteous” for being who they are.
No wonder Reverend Anne resigned. The church will be worse off without her.