Nick is my first born, and when I held him in my arms for the first time, I discovered a love inside of me that was stronger, gentler, and more fragile than I could have ever imagined. He has always been a good son. His love for life is contagious. His relationships with family and friends are his highest priority. He has a persevering spirit and a positive attitude. He is a lover of God and others. Over the years he has brought a ton of joy and energy into the life of our family. I not only love him dearly but I like the person he is. He is a bright light.
At the beginning of his second year of college, he told me he was gay and that he didn‘t believe same-sex relationships were sinful.
At the time, I was convinced that same-sex relationships were sinful, and I fully expected to be able to go to the bible and find Scripture that would prove him to be wrong.
I was accustomed to “studying” Scripture as I led women’s ministry in church for many years and also wrote and taught women’s Bible studies during that time. I knew what it meant to dig into original language and consider the historical context of the verses I was studying. I was shocked to find that my son was right–there was no clear condemnation of the kind of same-sex relationship that my son was talking about. None of the “clobber” verses were speaking about a loving, monogamous, healthy same-sex relationship–my son had not forsaken God, nor was he living some kind of lustful life. There was nothing in Scripture that spoke of a same-sex couple falling in love, marrying, building a life and a family together. Therefore, in light of insufficient evidence in Scripture, I had to ask myself: How should I respond to something if Scripture doesn’t clearly condemn it?
The only thing I could think is that I needed to know if there was any evidence that same-sex relationships were hurting people in real life. I took time to meet and get to know same-sex couples and families, and I couldn’t find evidence that they were any different than opposite-sex couples–the evidence I discovered was that healthy same-sex relationships had the same potential to be good and healthy and life giving that opposite-sex relationships had.
When I was going through all of this study, research, thought, and prayer, Micah 6:8 became a focal point for me:
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the Lord require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?”
It was one of those verses that I kept being drawn back to and became one of those verses that ended up being “written on my heart”.
The lack of evidence to condemn same-sex relationships and Micah 6:8 led me to this:
If Scripture doesn’t clearly condemn it, and there is no evidence that it is harmful to anyone, it would be unjust for me to condemn it, and I know how God feels about injustice.
Shortly after I realized it was unjust to condemn same-sex relationships due to insufficient evidence, I also began to understand that good theology should produce good fruit in the lives of those who embrace it.
I knew that Scripture says that followers of Christ should be known by our good fruit.
I knew the Good News should produce life-giving fruit, and if my theology was producing depression, hopelessness, self-loathing, and suicide, I had to come to grips with the reality that my theology must be wrong.
As I pondered the “good theology = good fruit” principle and began to connect with a lot of Christian LGBTQ people, I began to see a pattern: When LGBTQ people were connected to non-affirming faith communities, they were typically very broken, desperate, hopeless, unhappy people, and many times they were living out their brokenness in self-destructive ways; but when they were connected to affirming faith communities, believing that it was okay to be gay, and that it was okay to fall in love and get married and have a family with someone they were attracted to, then they typically were a lot healthier and living much healthier lives. The evidence was very clear and convincing.
I began to realize that we can almost always find a verse, a teacher, a church, a book, or a community of people to match our beliefs, but the fruit produced in our lives when we embrace a way of believing and living doesn’t lie. We can’t manipulate the fruit that is produced. It is what it is. If a theology is mostly producing bad fruit, we have to admit that it should be abandoned, because the fruit doesn’t lie.
As all of this started to sink in I knew I had to let go of the theology that was producing death (emotional death, spiritual death, relational death, physical death) and embrace theology that was producing healthy ideas, healthy choices, healthy living–theology that was producing health, wholeness, and life.
As all of this started to sink in I realized that I could no longer reconcile my Christian faith with the idea that same-sex relationships were sinful–the two just didn’t go together. I knew if I was going to be a faithful follower of Jesus, I had to become affirming of same-sex relationships. I knew it was the right thing to do.
So, I became affirming. I became affirming because of my faith, not in spite of it.
Today I support equal rights and the protection of LGBTQ people not “even though” I’m a Christian or “in spite of” of being a Christian, but BECAUSE I’m a Christian.