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A Letter From A Christian Mom Of A Gay Daughter To Her Conservative Christian Pastor

by Alex Iwashyna

in Christianity, Cultural Norms (that are abnormal)

Bible&RainbowBookmarkA long time reader believed that I would care about a series of email conversations with her friend, the friend’s pastor and the friend’s young teenage daughter who, six months ago, told her mom that she was gay.

Back in January, the daughter was terrified to come out because her family attended a conservative Christian church. She honestly thought her parents would rather have her dead than gay, but she took the chance and thank goodness, she was so far from wrong.

Her parents immediately expressed their unconditional loved for her but inside worried about reconciling their faith as Southern Baptists so they turned to their pastor. At first, they felt some support until his personal council was followed up by public pronouncements equating homosexuality with bestiality among other irresponsible ideas. The family left the church quietly because they could not abide by this sentiment. However, because the girl’s father was still on the email list, they recently received a newsletter impressing upon the congregation the importance of listening to the pastor’s three-part series on homosexuality.

The newsletter also included more malicious misinformation:

Even if a biological or genetic factor is discovered for homosexual behavior (as some say is in alcoholism and a multitude of diseases, disorders and behavioral traits) we have never said that a person is and should become 100% of what his genetics describe. If everyone acted out according to all the biologically urges, genetic predispositions the world would self-destruct in five minutes! Plus there are probably HUNDREDS OF SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS if you want to get right down to it. There are hundreds of sexual predilections, obsessions, preferences. They are not healthy and the mental health community knew that until political correctness caused the American Psychological Association to snatch just one of them–homosexuality–and remove it from the list of disorders.

You are NOT 100% of all that genetics tells you you are predisposed to be BEHAVIORALLY! Thank God! Besides that, it seems clear that there are many other factors involved in homosexuality besides anything genetic, including socialization, childhood sexual abuse, early sexualization, parenting styles, and much more.

This conservative Christian mom replied to her pastor not just for her daughter but to remind the pastor how his choice of words and lack of love affect his congregation. She  shared the changes in her heart and in her relationship to God over the last few months.

With this courageous mom’s blessing, I am reposting her response (with names removed or replaced titles):

Dear (Pastor),

Since I am no longer on the church email list (my husband) shared your email with me. I understand that you’ve just wrapped up a series on homosexuality. The tone of this email and others I’ve read from you regarding homosexuality since we’ve left the church is in stark contrast to the conversation I had with you just five short months ago when I told you of my own child’s profession. Your vilification of a subset of the human species is quite evident.

I am not writing to try to persuade you one way or another because I know that could never happen. I wanted this email to serve two purposes.

First, I want to remind you how important your job as a pastor is. You are shaping not only the minds and judgments of teenagers and young adults but also of their parents. These are the parents who, statistically speaking, like us, will one day find out their child is gay. There are many in your youth group and congregation today who are gay. Instead of love and acceptance, your sermons may be producing hateful cruel words on their parents’ lips that will also make them vilify their own children. our words are a sword that will cut the flesh of these young people who grapple with the realization of their own sexuality and learn to hate themselves even more. These kids are dying at their own hands or at the hands of others because pastors like you speak your own truth and not God’s truth. You speak lies in the name of hate but wrap it up as love. God says love is good, in all forms. God says judgment is for him, not for man. God says it is a sin to stand above any man.

Second, I wanted you to know how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned in the past five months. The dogma I was spoon fed by the Baptist church my whole life had me clouded and confused when (my daughter) told me she was gay. I knew I would always love her, but because of the “teachings” I had received my whole life through ministers like you, I wondered how I would reconcile my faith with her truth. The truth was, there is no reconciliation because my faith was false. The God I serve is bigger than any religion. The God I serve loves my daughter unconditionally and wants her to be happy and find love in return. I know now for a fact that finding love is not a sin no matter what you or other pastors preach from your pulpit. I am so proud of myself for reaching beyond what I thought I knew with regard to human sexuality and clearing up decades of false teachings that indoctrinated my mind. For the first time in 44 years I have finally learned what Jesus meant when he said to love others as ourselves. I have learned there is a story behind every face, a story that, if you listen and do not judge, may break your heart. And I’ve learned to gain knowledge from their stories and become a better person because of their trials and tribulations. I’ve been able to meet amazingly brave lesbians, transgenders, parents of gays, straight allies, many of whom love the Lord and serve a Mighty God, one mightier than I even knew. For that, I am thankful. I just wanted you to know that it is possible to break free from the propaganda the Southern Baptist Convention has preached for the last fifty years and find truth, justice and mercy.

(My daughter) has been, still is, and will always be the most important thing in my life. There is nothing she has done, is doing or will do that will ever change my love for her. And I will die in support of her right to feel that same love for another person one day and profess it before God and her family in a legal and spiritual way. It is not your’s nor any other persons “right” to say otherwise.

I had reservations about leaving the church when we did. It was difficult because we had formed some really close bonds and friendships. But I know God pulled us away just in time. Had (my daughter) not told me when she did and we had stayed for your series on homosexuality, I know the lies of homophobia would have rooted deeper in my heart and I may have lost her forever. My condemning words may have pushed her thoughts of suicide into action. As the song goes, I was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see. I thank God for his amazing grace that opened my eyes to the real truth. My mission in life now is to help others make their way out of the dark shadows of “truth” cast by the Southern Baptist churches.

And I just wanted to add that (my daughter) was never sexually abused as a child, she was never exposed to sexually explicit material as a young child and her father was not an overbearing alcoholic, but she is still gay. I was subjected to all those things and I am NOT gay so you’ll need to come up with a different theory because homosexuality is completely about biology not upbringing. This is not a choice, this is the way she was born, it was the way God made her and intended her to be. As Lady Gaga wrote in her song, “I’m beautiful in my way, cause God makes no mistakes, I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way.”

I thank God I’m on the right track now, His track.

I am honored by this family’s bravery and desire to tell their story.  I believe it will help other families who feel confusion and despair around their faith and their sexuality or the sexuality of those they love. I have always been taught to shed light on the dark places so more people can find their way out, and I hope one day being gay does not bring anyone to a dark place.

A few hours after I emailed back-and-forth with the mom and sent her some of the posts that I wrote in support of gay youth, gay marriage and on upholding gay rights as a Christian so she could feel less alone, her teenage daughter unexpectedly emailed me.

Her reply made me cry. I have reposted it with her permission (again, names have been removed or replaced titles):

Hi Alex,

I’m (the daughter), my mom has been talking to you about our pastor’s recent message. I just wanted to write to you and say thank you. You don’t know how much it means to me that you and so many others are standing behind me. I never would have thought 6 months ago that I would have gotten the support that I have. It trully is amazing and comforting to know that there are people out there who know the truth and are willing to speak up for what they know is right.

I have learned to laugh at other people’s ignorance, but the recent message of that pastor goes beyond ignorance I think. His words don’t hurt me or make me feel any different about myself. I know who I am and who I am not and for once in my life I am proud of who I am. That is huge for me. I don’t think pastors like (him) truly know what their words do to a broken down teenager sitting in their congregation. They have lives in their hands. I had to endure his views on homosexuality for a long time and it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

I am just so happy to have parents like mine. I was actually afraid that I would be kicked out of the house as soon as I came out. Looking back, I don’t know why I thought I would, but I knew it happened all the time to teens. My heart breaks thinking of all the teenagers and adults that are still living in fear of being themselves. Our uniqeness is all we have. It makes us who we are, so why not be proud of it. If we were all the same the world would be a boring place. Now don’t get me wrong, I still am working on being truly proud of who I am but I have come a long way in the last 5 months.

My parents have been amazing. They have stuck by me through it all and even left their church for me. I could not ask for better parents. I am so proud of them and how much they have grown, especially my mom. I don’t think she knows how much it means to me that she is not afraid to stand up for me. She is actually proud, which I thought would never happen this time last year.

Thanks again and just know that you help more people than you realize.

After this email, I smiled for a long time. I wrote those posts on gay rights to give voice to what felt like a minority: God loving and gay supporting. I didn’t know those words would reach across the country to help a family feel a little less alone.

I didn’t know that I would be able to provide a platform to a brave mom and her beautiful daughter.

But thanks to my readers, to this blog, and to the Internet, we have.

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

By Word of Mouth Musings June 17, 2012 1

A virtual hug to you, your reader, her child …
This, this is the good in the blogosphere, this is using your blog for good – I applaud you. You keep me coming back for more because of your honesty, sincerity and integrity in this bloghome of yours – you do it so very proud xxxx

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Late Enough June 18, 2012 2

Your visits helped me and others trust this space. Thank you so much my friend.

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Lisa Ann Setchel June 18, 2012 3

That mother’s email was so moving and written beautifully.

Once again you have spotlighted a delicate subject matter with conviction and courage. Thank you!

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Muttering Mama June 18, 2012 4

Applause! Applause! Applause!!

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KLZ June 18, 2012 5

This is what a loving, strong, Christian family looks like. I am so moved by this story. Keep on keeping on.

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Erin P. June 18, 2012 6

Fabulous. Hugs to all involved.

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Kate Hall June 18, 2012 7

The reason this is so powerful is that it illustrates the problem with the thinking that we know eat what God wants. Does God not want us to live, support, and understand others?

I grew up in a very conservative small town where no one would ever have openly admitted that he/she were gay. It was not until I went to college and graduated then worked for a gay person whom is one of the best and most loving parents (& persons) I’ve ever met.

For me, it’s not really my job to judge. I do hope that conversations like this will Eli open the lines of communication & pray that it will help end the bullying, ostracizing, and often suicide of young gay people.

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Angelilque Yantch June 18, 2012 8

Very inspirational! Both letters (from mom and daughter) brought tears to my eyes. I am so proud of the way in which the mom has stood (and continues to stand) up for her daughter. Thank goodness that family was able to pull away from the very warped mentality of their (now former) preacher. Hallelujah!!! :)))

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Carly June 18, 2012 9

Great post Alex!

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Jim W. June 18, 2012 10

Great post.

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Jenni Chiu June 18, 2012 11

I am so glad that some of us who have blogs use it the way you do, Alex.
She is a brave girl and has brave parents… but more importantly, they love each other – and love is not wrong.

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walt June 18, 2012 12

Awesome post. Awesome emails. Awesome blog. HUZZAH!!!

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Mandy June 18, 2012 13

What a fantastic post, Alex. The mother hit the nail on the head when she said her former pastor holds lives in his hands. My stomach churns at the thought of homosexual youths and adults sitting in his congregation and perpetuating the cycle of self hate because of this man’s ignorance.

I am floored when I read the sort of viritol in the pastor’s email and pained when I think anyone would ever doubt God’s love for them. God’s love is unconditional. Too bad so many of His representatives on earth did not get that email.

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Dana @ Bungalow'56 June 18, 2012 14

Thank you for shedding light not darkness. You and Momastery are blazing wonderful new trails.

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Jayme @Random Blogette June 18, 2012 15

Bravo to the mom for standing up for her family. Bravo to you for having a place for people to share their stories and show that the world is not entirely evil, just some parts. It just breaks my hear that there are religions out there that fill people with this evil and cause the murder and suicides of the innocent.

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julie gardner June 18, 2012 16

So you really are my hero.
You know that, right?

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Katie June 18, 2012 17

It makes me SO happy that this blog…no this space…you created is such a safe place. Such a POSITIVE place.

Love and hugs and high fives to your reader and her daughter. I have had many, MANY gay students over the years tell me they wish I was their mom. It makes me smile…until I realize why. There is nothing stronger and more powerful than the parent/child relationship. Or at least there shouldn’t be.

Good for you. All of you.

Love from Sluiter Nation.

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tracy@sellabitmum June 18, 2012 18

Such beautiful love and light. I am so glad you shared this. It needs to be shared. xoxo

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Kristin June 18, 2012 19

Willful ignorance, the closing of your eyes to understanding something different, makes me crazy. I believe it could destroy the world.

Excellent post friend.

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Jessica June 18, 2012 20

I think I had goosebumps two sentences in to that mother’s letter. What an amazing family. I’m so glad they chose to lift their daughter up and support her in the way that they did and honored to be able to read their story here. I’m sharing this everywhere. It needs to be heard.

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Kristin Shaw June 18, 2012 21

Great post. Thank heaven for smart people like you, who are sharing the truth. To anyone who rails against homosexuality, I’d like to ask, “With people like you around, can you still believe that ANYONE would choose to be gay, knowing the hardships he or she will face?” No. Everyone is born the way they are.

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Denise June 18, 2012 22

I am so happy that this family continued to love each other and stand together against the hate.

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Practical Parenting June 18, 2012 23

This is very moving, on so many levels. What an incredible family to stand united and move forward together. That does not happen often enough. The ignorance and hatred in that email from the pastor is alarming. To shape people’s minds with that kind of hatred…it’s just so irresponsible. I’m so glad you were able to provide some comfort for this family.

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Itsadomelife June 18, 2012 24

This is beautiful and amazing! It gives me hope in humanity and I feel so lucky to have been able to read it. Love does in fact conquer all!

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Sarah June 18, 2012 25

This line: “I’ve been able to meet amazingly brave lesbians, transgenders, parents of gays, straight allies, many of whom love the Lord and serve a Mighty God, one mightier than I even knew.” That right there gave me goosebumps, as I’ve found it to be true time and again in my own life.
What a beautiful post!

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Shosh M June 18, 2012 26

I pray that one day I will be half the mother she is.

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Kerstin June 18, 2012 27

Incredibly moving and inspiring post.
I am so glad the Mom listened to her heart and put her daughter first, which in turn even enabled her to find a “better” faith.
Happy for the family and grateful to you for sharing this!

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Galit Breen June 19, 2012 28

How completely amazing and heart-warming and just plain RIGHT is this?

You did good, girl!

(My heart is smiling for one more teen/mom/family feeling supported and less alone. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?)

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Julia June 19, 2012 29

This is a wonderful glimpse into the unfortunate realities of judgement in a world where we all, at times, struggle to be that which is most important; ourselves. I am so glad this family was able to find comfort in each other and a new understanding of faith. And I am incredibly glad they have you as a platform to voice this moving story.

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Kristin @ What She Said June 19, 2012 30

The pastor’s homophobic rhetoric enraged me. Not only was it thoroughly irresponsible, it really didn’t even make sense! It was obviously his personal attempt to rationalize the so-called “evils” of homosexuality in the face of the inarguable truth that it is biologically inherent. But there’s absolutely no basis – no statistics, no support – for anything he said. And yet he’s teaching a SERIES on homosexuality? Based on what, exactly? His own beliefs? Where does he get off? He should be stripped off his cloth; he’s not fit to be an ambassador of the Lord.

As for that mother and her teenage daughter, God bless both of them. I’m so proud of and happy for the daughter for not only accepting who she is, but embracing and taking pride in it. And the mother is a role model in every way possible. She personifies the unconditional love of motherhood.

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holly June 19, 2012 31

I am a lesbian and just came out at 43 years old, after being in a severely unhappy marriage to my ex husband for 19 years, I have two beautiful children and a beautiful step daughter with my partner who completes me in every way…I am too faced with the stigma and criticism associated with being gay, my mother and my aunt are both born again christians….needless to say, I rarely have a relationship with them anymore and as much as it hurts, it has to be that way because the comments they make are cruel and hurtful to me as well as my partner…so I understand the judgement that people are faced with when they come out…it has been very hard on us emotionally, but we love each other, complete each other, she is my best friend and my life partner and we both know that God brought us together, and at a time both of us were dying inside, our hearts are now one…and I thank God everyday for having her in my life…our love will get us through any trials that human beings instill upon us, as for the mother kudo’s for you for sticking to your beliefs and loving your daughter…God Bless <3

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Sheena Hartgill June 19, 2012 32

This is truly awesome, its only when people come to know that we as gay folk are just as human as straight folk that we we all be set free in the truth to grow in the love of Christ. Thank you for sharing.

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Izzy June 19, 2012 33

I applaud her response. Finally, people are realising that God is not in these so-called churches, that these pastors/priests only serve their means.

To her I say thank you.

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Danny June 19, 2012 34

Im sensing propaganda here? Yes, rejection and discrimination and suicide are terrible and that pastor needed to tread carefully in order to be loving. But given the context of this story (Christianity), it seems unbalanced that the sinfulness of homosexual sex is not mentioned, even in the comments? Criticizing a Southern Baptist pastor for preaching that homosexual sex is sinful, is like criticizing McDonalds for selling food.

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Fox Sharp June 19, 2012 35

how is homosexual sex any more sinful than heterosexual sex?? Why is a loving comited gay couple sinful and a senator who has been married 3 times and cheated on all his wives not sinful?? Someone needs to try and explain that logic to me.

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Danny July 16, 2012 36

Who said that cheating is not sinful?

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Jennifer Campbell June 19, 2012 37

I know exactly what this family is going through with the Southern Baptist Church. I am a Male to Female transsexual and I attended a Baptist church all through my youth and young adulthood. I struggled with my Gender Identity from a very early age and tried so hard to be what others expected me to be. I finally started my transition at age 33 and 18 months later, I changed my name legally and started living full time as a woman. A few days after I started living full time, I attended Christmas Eve services with my family at the church I grew up. I found out that people I thought were my friends, treated me like I was a bug to be squashed under their feet. Several of them had the nerve to tell my mother that she did a horrible job raising me and blame her for why I turned out the way I did. I wasn’t expecting to be welcomed with open arms. I knew that going in, but to have people who call themselves Christians, condemning my mother for me being Trans spoke volumes to me about where their true hearts were and it wasn’t about living the example of Jesus. This mother, daughter and family make me proud with how they have stood up and spoke out about the hypocrisy that exists in churches who preach and practice beliefs that are completely opposite of our Lord Jesus Christ’s example of unconditional love. Being LGBT is not a choice as this mother has so eloquently stated. Who would “choose” to be ridiculed and condemned for who they are? We were born this way. The way God created us and we are loved by him unconditionally!

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Ronald Spencer June 19, 2012 38

It is time that all of God’s people realize a number of truths:

1) all are God’s (whether or not you claim Him, He claims you).

2) All are on path leading toward or away from God

3) Being a pastor is often a difficult, stressful and thankless job. Still, that is no justification for changing God’s truth to match your own.

4) God does not hate sinners (of which every one of us are), he hates Sin.

5) (this one may sting a little). Anything that goes against God’s teaching and his Perfect Will is Sin (to include Homosexuality). It is not God’s will for man to be with man, no more than it is for woman to be with woman. Man has justified his sinful nature by altering God’s word, but it does not change that word.

6) Having said that, refer to #4. God does not hate sinners, He HATES sin. And just because your sin or mine may not be Homosexuality, does not make our sin any less significant.

Praise be to our Father for giving this Woman courage to support and love her child. I pray that each of us, when faced with difficult choices such as that, will choose to Love. Let Judgement be His, ours is to Love.

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Fox Sharp June 19, 2012 39

what a wonderful family. I have gay friends who have been disowned and have no family but the friends who know and love them. It is a hard thing to stand up to a church and say they serve a bigger God. Kudos and blessings to them. just beautiful!

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Amanda June 19, 2012 40

Im choked up cant even think of the words to type, all i know is im glad i bought tissues yesterday. Thank you so much for sharing that story of a mothers love.

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S L Price June 19, 2012 41

I am the mom of an amazingly brave 14 year old. She came out to us in August of last year. I am so proud of her for refusing to give in to the pressure to be ‘normal’. She faces struggles but always remains true to herself. We are living in a new city now, away from family and old friends, some of who accept her and some who don’t. Their loss. We have many new friends here in our new hometown who love and support our family and I am so thankful for them. We are looking for a loving, accepting church family to join.
My daughter is not a mistake because, GOD doesn’t make mistakes. We are all wonderfully made in HIS own image. He has given us a great commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you”.

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Becca June 19, 2012 42

I am so happy for this girl to have the support of her parents. My own mother is coming around, but it has taken almost 6 years for that to happen. It took 32 years for me to come out, I don’t know what it would have been like to come out earlier. So happy for supportive families!!

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Marilyn McAllister June 19, 2012 43

“This is not a choice, this is the way she was born, it was the way God made her and intended her to be.” (a direct quote from the mother) No, I hate to disagree, but GOD does not go against HIS OWN WORD, which can be found in: Romans 1:26-32. Keep praying for her and her relationship with the LORD and keep loving her.

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Late Enough June 19, 2012 44

Or it could be that “nature” in that passage includes both homosexual and heterosexual and bisexual and God is telling us not to lust after something that we aren’t attracted to. Or it could be translated as “lust” being the sin not homosexuality. In other words, your translation of Romans is not God’s translation. People mistranslated ideas in Ephesians with slavery and Corinthians with women so I understand how it could happen but maybe you should pray about it.

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James Bray June 26, 2012 45

Is it even possible to truly lust after something that is not desirable? I think that the picture that Paul is painting here is much larger than homosexual/heterosexual but in the same includes it. Paul is talking about sexual sin all together. He used the words “dishonorable passions” and “natural” to illustrate years of tradition from the Old Testament. He writes these verses in reference to those traditions, but does not contradict those traditions.

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Late Enough June 26, 2012 46

We will probably find that we must agree to disagree on this one but I try to answer the idea of “lusting” after something that isn’t desirable.
Addicts lust after drugs even when they don’t want to be using. Alcoholics will do the same with alcohol. I think many people will attest to sleeping with someone for the wrong reasons and/or waking up next to someone they aren’t attracted to or desire. People (heterosexual and homosexual) fall prey to using people to satisfy themselves sexually. In the end, I think lust has very little to do with true desire and attraction or with sexual orientation.

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Danny Rosen June 20, 2012 47

I am so proud of this family and the courage that the parents took to really look inside of themselves to see that the love that they had for their daughter was what mattered most. This last weekend was Portland Oregon’s PRIDE festival. It was a magical weekend and the families that shared their love and respect for the GLBTQ community were numerous. But today I received an email that reminded me there are those families that struggle. A beautiful participant in the PRIDE parade was told by their parents that they had to move out. This is a young adult of color. The news channels tell us the economy has hit hard the young, especially those who are in the hispanic or black communities. I imagine that this is going to be a very stressful Summer for this person. But there is hope. You see in Portland we have active and supportive PFLAG chapters. The call has gone out to support this person through this. Those in PFLAG will reach out and give their love and support until this crisis has passed. Please help to remind parents and their GLBTQ family members that PFLAG is there to help them and all members of the GLBTQ family. Thank you for sharing your stories.

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erin crouse June 20, 2012 48

thank you i am learing not to judge people who appear to be hypocrits. thankyou for this reminder. i know my identity and way of life is not a sin. but these swords have broken my psychie i am trying not to be a victim though sadlly i am and act it.

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Sunday Stilwell June 20, 2012 49

Alex, this letter and the response from the daughter herself is nothing short of fantastic.

I am so glad to know there are other conservative Christians like myself who believe in a God who NEVER makes mistakes. Who know that God’s love is greater than anything man can try to tear apart. Who live as Jesus truly intended and love all others as we love ourselves.

Bravo, my friend, bravo!!

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Jamie June 20, 2012 50

This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing. As for the family you’ve written about, they have many more supporters than they realize. May God continue to bless this family with the unconditional love I wish we could see so much more often in this world.

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Eduardo Manoel Silva Carroll June 20, 2012 51

I fell love in my heart after reader this letters!

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Jennifer Worrell June 20, 2012 52

That mother AND daughter just illustrated to the world what true Godly love as I know it is really like. Thank you for sharing something SO beautiful with the rest of it. Their bravery shines.

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Dylan Lin Calista June 25, 2012 53

I came out to my parents when I was 14…and since we are a conservative Christian family, it tore us apart.

My mother, being a church elder was torn between God and her own daughter and suffice to say, it was extremely difficult, no only for her but for me as well. I felt like I was ‘everything WRONG’ in this world and it got to the point where I loathed my very existence that I wanted to take my own life.

Thankfully, by some miracle, our relationship improved over the years and while my family does not accept that I am a lesbian, they have learned to respect my wishes and happiness.

Ever since I experienced that kind of ‘judgement’ and ‘ugliness’ from what I thought was a sanctuary of love and peace (Religion), I have somewhat distanced myself from the church. I still believe in God but today, I remain spiritual and I do not adhere to any specific church for the ‘salvation of my soul.’

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Late Enough June 25, 2012 54

I wish that you had been better supported and I’m so sorry that you felt like something was wrong with you. I’m glad you still have God because in my (little) opinion, having God is a lot more important than having church or religion. I think you are pretty amazing sticking in with your relationship with your family and allowing it to grow. Hugs.

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Robert McCann June 26, 2012 55

Alex: This a powerful blog, and a wonderful story. Please try to convince the mother and daughter to identify themselves and go public with it. All Southern Baptist Churches and their pastors who preach this way should be identified, and the harm they cause should be exposed.

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Late Enough June 26, 2012 56

Thank you. The family is willing to talk with anyone privately (and has helped people already!). I did not want to “out” the daughter on my blog as she is young and should have the right to tell more people as she is ready. I also felt like the preacher, while doing harm, should not be singled out if I could not identify the family, which brought me back to my first problem. The family agreed with my reasoning although they also agree with yours.

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James Bray June 26, 2012 57

I agree with some of the logic in the mother’s letter, but not all of it. The pastor’s job is two part; first to shepherd the flock which includes love and being a priest (advocate, stand in). Second, the job is to share God’s word. Putting aside the personal feelings involved, the pastor is being held accountable for what he says by God. God’s word clearly says homosexuality is wrong. We can’t change that. I am genetically predisposed to be attracted to women. My hormones lead me to want to have sex with them. I don’t because I choose not to honor my own interests but to glorify God with my actions and my life. I feel for the LGBT community that have a heart for God; but putting my own spin on God’s word to fit my agenda doesn’t accomplish anything but my own desires. God never promised us happiness he promised us His joy. I don’t think they are the same thing. To sum this up; regardless of gay/straight issue, I think all of us need to quit thinking that our desires in life are more important than fully submitting to God. It’s a never ending quest and causes me to strive to not be like the “many” in Jesus’ words in Matthew 7, but rather the few.

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Her Mom June 26, 2012 58

James, I appreciate your comments. I’m the mom that wrote this letter to my former pastor. Tis is the first time I’ve responded to anyone’s post. I’m still struggling with religion and faith. The Bible says many things are sins and I’m sure we all still do them, willingly. I am glad that at least you seem willing to talk about this issue in a non-judgmental way (at least I hope that’s how I read it). I don’t know if you have a child or not, but if you do I’m sure you can understand the unconditional love you have for that child. That is what put me on a pursuit for real answers to tough questions. I would just encourage you to keep an open mind and challenge the life-long beliefs you have. You may find they are still real and/or you may find you need more information like I did. I only want people to know this – by judging these kids we are all (and I include myself because I was there just six short months ago) putting them in the closet. Statistics show that 25% of these kids get kicked out of their home just for being honest. That’s not biblical. Statistics show gender/sexual orientation questioning kids are eight times more likely to commit suicide. I can tell you personally that my daughter contemplated it many times and was completely serious, even drafting a letter in her mind. As a mom it chills me to the bones to think my comments would have driven her to that. It has sent me on a path to find love and tolerance for all people and I think that’s really what God wants from me. I really do appreciate your comments more than you know. Please understand that judgment is killing these kids, seriously. That was really at the heart of my letter to my former pastor. I respect his choice to believe what he wants and I honor the fact that his job is often times thankless and tiresome. But when he said my daughter was gay because I molested her or worst yet, he related it to beasiality, I couldn’t stand by idley and listen without speaking up. Whatever our views are, I always hope that we can come together and agree on one thing – these kids are too important to kill with our judgmental words. Thanks again to everyone for commenting. My daughter is so overjoyed at everyone’s outpouring of not just support but acceptance of who she is as a person. I hope all of us can show that to all these kiddos!

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James Bray June 26, 2012 59

Mom, it pains me to think of how many kids are out there and feel alone. I sometimes pray to see things through Christ’s eyes. I know he would be grieved by the way these kids are treated. I am a pastor. I mentioned in the previous post what I believe the Bible says about homosexuality. I think American Christians have been missing Christ in their walk for a long time. Jesus, although sinless, spent most of his time with those the Jews hated and pushed away. Jesus was with the sinners whom he loved and was loved back. It’s un-Christ like to not treat all people with love. Christ was three things to us. (Prophet -Priest-King). A prophet’s role was to be frank about sin. We are told about sin and we do one of two things we either repent and turn away from the sin or we choose not to fully follow God. The Priest role was what we tend to think of Jesus as most. He was the advocate for us, the penal-substitutionary atonement (big word) for our sins. He loved us. The King role is one that causes us to surrender all to Him and let him lead our life completely. If we are missing one of these three in our view of Jesus we are incomplete. I say all of this to say that while Jesus hung out with sinners and loved like no other (Priest), he was still that prophet who said you are a sinner, you must repent. Follow me (king) and I will set you free. I have a hard time with one thing, and that is the sin part. I can’t explain the sin part away. I would love for all good people to make it to Heaven. But, Matthew 7:21-23 tells me that what I do is not good enough. I do have a child and if he were to tell me that he was gay, I would hopefully treat him the same as if he weren’t gay. But, treating him the same would cause me to be like Jesus and that would be to love him, but also make it known that he is in sin. My best friend’s little brother is gay and he loves God. I used to tease him growing up because he was so feminine and not like me. I have been part of the problem for a long time.

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Her Mom June 26, 2012 60

Thank you for your explanation. Just the fact that you’re willing to have a conversation and gently explain your belief brings hope to my heart. The problem I had with your reply was your adverb “hopefully.” You said you would “hopefully” treat your gay child the same. No one knows for sure how they would react until they’re put in that situaion like I was. When my daughter told me of her sexuality there was not “hoping” to treat her the same, she WAS the same. I would just really encourage you to delve deeply into the scripture and examine it as a work of poetry and not just black and white, something I’m trying to do now. I’m not justifying sin, but I’m redefining what sin is based on what the scriptures reveal to me. If it were to be taken literally, men would have 700 wives, I would be whipped for wearing mixed-matched fabric and outcast for loving shrimp (fried shrimp!). Galileo spent the end of his life under house arrest because he went against the church’s literal interpretation of the scripture that said everything revolved around the earth. These are facts I never would have found out had my daughter not told me she is gay. I’m thankful that she forced me to find real answers to real problems and love real people where they are, as they are, for who they are. I think there are so many other things churches and pastors and parishioners can concentrate on. Drugs, poverty, homeless, teen pregnancy, adultery, lack of tithing, all orginate from sin. Why single out homosexuality and make it the core for abuse of a group of human beings? I no longer think that my daughter’s desire to find one person to love for the rest of her life is a sin. That’s the truth I’ve found for myself. I don’t expect anyone else to change just because I have. But I do expect them to treat her with kindness, compassion and love. As a pastor I just want you to always remember your words affect these kids more than you’ll ever know. Thank you for your response and for the work you do to minister to those in your congregation. My former pastor’s words have completely turned my daughter against God, Christianity, the Bible and anything spiritual. I would not like to see that happen in your church if your words can help it.

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James Bray June 26, 2012 61

Hopefully is just like you said it. You don’t know until it happens. I can’t imagine treating him any different. I can’t imagine any parent ever doing that. It unfortunately happens. Thanks for the discussion. I will truly pray for you and your daughter.

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David Mensch June 27, 2012 62

I have learn that no matter who you are, its not what is on the outside but its what on the inside that counts and it took me all my life to understand that. now I feel like that I kind of feel that I have wasted my whole life living as the person that I am not.

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Robin Moore September 16, 2012 63

Thank you so much for telling your story!!It touched me deep in my soul!!Thank GOD for you and your daughter!!Know you are in all my prayers!!Im a gay woman and Im a christian!!!GOD LOVES us ALL!!!!

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Jessica May 21, 2013 64

Hallelujah! That is a wonderful mom. God is good, gay is not a sin. Spread the truth. It is not about uniform, it’s about unity. GOD IS LOVE, LOVE IS GOD.

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Howard Lamb December 13, 2013 65

There are seven mentions of homosexual acts in the Bible:
-2 refer to rape (Genesis 19:5, Judges 19:22)
-1 refers to prostitution and pederasty (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
-4 are nonspecific (Leviticus 18:21-22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Timothy 1:8-10)

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