Sunday, 12 October 2014

Responding to "The Toll of Our Christian Theology on the LGBT Community"

Last night I found a link to a Christian blog post about the way LGBT people have suffered at the hands of Christians.  That's not news to me but the blog post touched me greatly.  I wept about it last night.  I wept about it again this morning.

It's worth reading.  I urge you to read it. 

John Pavlovitz hadn't expected to write this post - it's a direct response to the hundreds of people who wrote to him following another post, hundreds of people each with direct experience of suffering at the hands of Christians for their sexuality.  If I'd written the original post I wouldn't have expected that outpouring either.  But sometimes these things just happen - such as with a post elsewhere on "Post Traumatic Church Disorder".

The biggest of my tears this morning were when I read again the sentence "It certainly doesn’t look like love to the sweet, 12-year old middle school girl in your church whose been repeatedly told she’s an abomination; that God already despises her."

Now I've been told by a church minister that I am an abomination.  But I was 42.  I was totally sure of myself as a transgender woman.  I was totally sure that being transgender was not any kind of a problem for God - whether a "God of the Bible" (I'd already gone through the "relevant" verses) or any other God.  But I thought of this girl.  She was 12 not 42.  She didn't have all the adult experience or two theology degrees and the ability to research more theology.  She didn't have the wonderful support of a church like Northern Lights MCC here in Newcastle.  So I thought of her and what this perfectly "Biblical" treatment would have done to her.  And I wept.  I wept over other stories too.  I am very close to tears again now.

John Pavlovitz's post from two weeks previously is also worth reading.  It's about what he would do if he found that his son or daughter was gay.  To sum that up in a few words: He would love them.  That's what caused the outpouring of response.  Just that.  That a father would love his child.

I posted a link to the blog on a friend's facebook status asking whether she had seen it.  Part of my response to a speech by a Catholic Archbishop who said that "Homosexual relationships are destroying our human identity."

The report about the speech was posted by a good woman.  A Catholic who posts things from either side of the moral arguments currently raging in the Catholic church and expects responses and discussion - from both sides.  And she's good enough to put up with a lot of non-Catholic words from me which to be honest is quite impressive at times as I'm not exactly toeing the party line!  She's doing her best in life and seeks to walk in love of people and in devotion to her God.

Someone responded as follows:  "Hang on a second, acting on being gay and physically attacking others, are both sins in Christian Theology. So because others sin by attacking, it must be the fault of the Theology? That reasoning is beyond moronic..."

You can always tell a loving, rational person by the way they descend to calling someone's intelligent writing "moronic" within three sentences!

I responded to that.  Because yes, I believe it is the fault of the Theology.  It's a theology I once promoted too - much to my shame.  One day I'll write about that.  A post along the lines of Mea Maxima Culpa!


Sorry - this is long.  A length borne of passion.  A length borne of seeing people hurt, again, again, again by Christians and so-called Biblical views and of Christians turning away again and again and saying "It's not OUR fault, our ways wouldn't hurt anyone."  I am so utterly sick of seeing LGBT people destroyed and then being blamed for their own destruction by the Christians who killed their spirits.

Acting on being gay is NOT a sin in Christian theology.  It is a sin in SOME Christian theology.  Get that right.  "Christian theology" is not a blanket term.  It's certainly not a sin in my theology.  Nor in the theology of a local minister who leads Bible studies on the subject covering every possibly connected verse in great detail, solely relying on the works of highly respected scholars.  Nor in the theology of a great many Christians and a great many skilled theologians and Biblical scholars too.

When the theology is that a dignified human being, made in the image of God, beautifully and wonderfully made is also an abomination merely because of who God has made them to be, then yes the theology is at fault.  Or to be more exact, the people who have such a theology and refuse to look beyond the preconceptions of the centuries of homophobic abuse into a more enlightened age where human beings are accepted for being who they are.

I have so many friends who know what the effects of homophobic theology are.  It's not just a matter of people attacking them but also a matter of the beliefs guiding that action.

So many scholars now have accepted that the anti-homosexual clobber verses don't in reality have anything to do with Christian homosexuals.  More will follow.  And in the end the churches will accept that this is a normal, and completely healthy, part of the range that makes up human beings (and many other species too - if like the Archbishop we want to bring in what is "natural").  

That day cannot come too soon.

A day when I as a transsexual married lesbian will never risk encountering a church where I am rejected, told to repent of being who I am, told that it is impossible even to be Christian unless I at least want to repent, told I'm abomination, told that the God of mercy will make me burn in pain for eternity if I don't stop being who I am.  I will never again encounter a Church where my very existence is said to be anti-God (such as the Catholic Church and the certain articles written on major Catholic websites as a perfectly logical result of the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI)

Jesus accepts me.  He accepts LGBTQIA people.  He loves us as we are and has called us to be who we are.  He made us this way.  Yes, God created gay people to be gay people.  He created transsexuals to be transsexuals.

It's just a shame that Christians turned the love of God for gay people into a sham.  The love they show is not love.  No matter how many flowery words are used.  No matter how much Christians try to justify themselves.  It's not love.  It's closed-minded, bigoted, hatred justified by years of doing the same thing.

And yes, I am a Christian.  And I firmly believe God called me to live the life I lead - as a happily married transsexual lesbian.  My wife would agree with that.  And I know the hell it was to believe what other Christians taught - that all these things were evil, disordered, unnatural.  That I should be someone else - and indeed I tried to do it for decades.  Misery.  And to my shame I believed the lies that my gender and sexuality were disordered, evil.  And I believed the same thing about the gender and sexuality of others.

The theology needs changing.  Precisely because the theology leads to the attacks.  The theology directly leads to a hell on earth for innocent people.

The theology needs changing.  Precisely because the theology leads to thousands and thousands of wounded, crushed lives, and not uncommonly even to suicide.

The theology needs changing.  Precisely because the theology forces people to run from Jesus because the Jesus of the theology does welcome people with open arms.

The theology needs changing.  Precisely because the theology gives a church that is not a place of safety but instead a place of death for people against whom other people have a prejudice that has no basis whatsoever in reality.

I see the results of the theology.  Regularly.  It is heart breaking.  I am so thankful for a better theology.  One taught by some of the churches here.  And I am so thankful for the MCC congregation here and for the way crushed people are healed there and enabled to find peace and fall in love with Jesus again after the pain caused by well-meaning Christians.  So, so thankful for the light and love in that place.


  1. Well written Clare. I may not agree with everything you say but I can see your point of view. I became a Christian in early 1989 but I didn't fully transition until 2002. In my formative years as a Christian I was taught and believed that our sexuality or gender problems are not a sin but acting upon them was. I firmly believe that Jesus died for me and yet when I set my mind upon having the operation I wasn't brought under any conviction by The Holy Spirit that I was doing wrong. There is such a thing as God's permissive will, He allows us to do things which although He would prefer us not to do He permits it without condemnation. We all get off lightly and I don't just mean 'us' but everybody! None of us are perfect and never will be this side of eternity and it is only by God's grace and the sacrifice He made through His Son our Lord Jesus that anyone can be saved. What does it say in Scripture? Well you know Clare. It is by grace we have been saved through faith.......none of us is worthy. I am so ashamed of my brothers and sisters in Christ who fail to show the love that Jesus commended of us to show. Here is a site you might find interesting though I suspect you may have seen it before. I presented this site to a Christian leader of a local church where I live and of course he was so dismissive of it and simply quoted Scripture. He more or less told me that the choice I made was wrong and that I should repent just as you were told too. Naturally I steer clear of such places yet I want to be part of a Christian fellowship that accepts us for who and what we are, just as Jesus does. My faith is strong however and I know that in the end it is only to God that I have to answer, not man.

    Shirley Anne x

  2. Thank you. You sound great. Sounds like you've gone through so much in churches while being yourself. And it sounds like you came through it all to a good place of inner security and faith in God. Yep, you only have to answer to God - or as a verse on that site says, God looks to the heart.

    I hadn't seen that site before. Thanks for showing it to me. Any site with a front page that goes through other verses in Deuteronomy 22 is my kind of site! So many of us have read widely on the abomination verse but yes, we encounter so many deaf ears and so much dismissal because the English says ... I will browse through the pages of the site later.

    I am vastly glad that there are safer churches now. Far more than in 1989 - or in 1990 when I converted. Or in 1968 when the first MCC was founded. My first church in Sussex had a lot of ministry tapes by a man who ran a gay cure ministry in America. I was back in Sussex in the summer and someone recommended the very same church as a place where I'd be OK - there might be a few old people who were anti-LGBT but nearly everyone would be fine. To hear about that change brings me more hope.

    Now. About God. To be honest I don't agree with everything I've said either. I should rebrand this as a Unitarian blog because they say if you agreed with everything in any Unitarian service then you weren't listening! Wild ride over the last 18 months and it keeps getting wilder. Not that I'm a Unitarian - but that's a story for sometime too.

    There have been some big surprises lately and I need to get writing about my views on God again once I've settled into the surprises a bit more. I'm massively stunned by some of it but I truly believe it's all for the good. People at church agree with that and are really happy to see what's going on in me.

    As I told someone else, my strict policy of nontheism took a knock recently when I found myself at the back of church, on my knees, hands in air, lost in wonder and pouring out thanks to a personal God. That really isn't acceptable behaviour for a nontheist! I'm not doing the salvation in Christ alone belief - but I do seem to be doing the God thing again and it's been shown to me that Christ is at the dead centre of the path I'm meant to be walking. Highly unexpected.

    My future will definitely not be as I had foreseen. Most definitely not.

    Love & light


    1. Looks like we are poles apart on doctrine Clare. I do believe in a Triune God, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I also believe that Jesus Christ IS the only way to salvation but I also believe that for those who haven't heard the Gospel they are judged by the way they live. It says in Scripture that if having heard the Gospel we reject it then we are condemning ourselves. As for doing the church rounds to find somewhere to fit in well when I became a Christian I was attending a Methodist church but switched to a Pentecostal church soon after. I spent almost ten years in the Pentecostal church under marvellous pastors and learned much. I left the church because of the way I was being treated by some of the members in our music group (I played guitar) and also the church's attitude to the youth. I hadn't come out as transsexual when I left in 1998. Since then I haven't been in a fellowship though I did attend an MCC in Manchester for a few weeks. I didn't agree with the teaching there and it was a long way to travel there anyway. The local church I referred to is a community church who claim and aim to be open to everyone, unless you are a post-op transsexual! I have actually learned more about the faith since I left church though I would much prefer to be in a fellowship. Oh well, I can praise God anywhere and do so.

      Shirley Anne x

      PS. I would love to keep in touch but feel I ought not to use your blog to do so. If you would like to write to me whenever, feel free to use the email address on my blog......assuming you visit there....LOL It is in case you are interested

  3. Yes, I've followed your blog - I will respond & send mail through a proper email address. I'm just rubbish at sending emails and they can take some time,

    Isn't it interesting that the churches whose theology you accept are the very same churches that cannot accept you?
    Actually I know the feeling to an extent, There are some meetings I'd love to go to again sometimes but I know I probably wouldn't survive long in them without being told by a well-meaning person that I need to repent of being transgender.


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