A pastor’s apology to the #LGBTQ community.

“Little country church” by Tim Wilson

To those in the LGBTQ community,

I suppose I should first offer an introduction. My name is Michael, and I’m a pastor.

Because of my role as a pastor I’ve witnessed, over the past few days, conversations responding to the recent Supreme Court decision that are anything but Christlike (read: Loving and compassionate).

You see, the reality of this situation is my fellow church-folk are struggling with this issue. Compounding this problem, as Christians we’ve often come from a place of legalism, and in many ways, even as I write, we’ve not broken free from this law-first theology. Because of this theological reality, we have almost no practice dealing with something as controversial and emotionally/physiologically complicated as sexual orientation.

Really, this is bigger than equal marriage. The Church has historically done an extremely poor job of dealing with sexuality in general.

And so, it’s from this place, and with this understanding, that I, an ordained pastor in the church, would like to offer a few apologies.

Please forgive us for succumbing to fear.

When it comes to same-sex marriage, for many of us, fear is ruling the day.

For too long, the church has been so intertwined with a particular political agenda that we’ve lost the ability to speak graciously and live lovingly into a difficult situation. We’ve stopped listening to Jesus’ commands to not live in fear and, instead, listen to the talking heads who evoke fear.  And because we rely more on these cable-news networks than Christ’s example, the result has been that we’ve turned you into talking points and into a faceless agenda. In this, we have rejected the truth that you, like me, are a human being, made in the image of God.

Please forgive us for not seeking out your story.

Because you’ve been treated as an agenda instead of a face, a name and a story, we have been unwilling to hear the journey that’s brought you to this point. Because we’ve not listened to your story, we’re unaware of the ways in which the pulpit has been used as a club and our Bible as a knife to wound instead of heal.

I’m sorry we’ve not treated your story with the care and gentleness it deserves. I’m sorry for the times when you’ve tried to share your experiences in our pews only to be shouted down with Bible verses and theology.

Please forgive us for ignoring your pain.

Because you have become an agenda, and because we don’t know your story, we don’t understand the pain you carry with you each day. The church doesn’t understand the thoughts of suicide and self-harm that many of you carry with you from the moment you wake until the moment you finally fall asleep.

Please forgive us for treating your pain as somehow different than ours.

Please forgive us for acting as though your pain will contaminate our social gatherings. Our callousness is anything but Christ-like, and you deserve far better than the church has provided.

You deserve community. You deserve love. You deserve attention. You deserve the right to be heard.

Forgive us for refusing your questions

In those times when you’ve actually spoken, forgive us for shutting your questions down. You see, for so many of us, we’ve operated on a black and white standard our entire lives. We have been unaware of the shades of grey that reflect the sexual spectrum.

We’ve never understood the complexity of human sexuality.

As a result, when you share your thoughts, opinions and ask your questions, we’re unsure of how to respond. Simply put, your questions scare us, and this should not be the case.

Please forgive us for those moments when you have taken the chance and put yourself “out there” and found only silence or resistance.

Please forgive us. You deserve better.

Please know the grace we’ve received is far better than the grace we’ve offered.

There is a beautiful quote by the Christ-follower, Dorothy Day that says,

“As to the Church, where else shall we go, except to the Bride of Christ, one flesh with Christ? Though she is a harlot at times, she is our Mother.”

How often we’ve failed. How often we’ve missed the mark. These past few days, we’ve acted far more like a harlot than the bride of Christ.

And so I beg for your forgiveness.

My friend, in spite of what the Church has conveyed, you are a person of incredible worth, and you are a person who matters to Jesus.

I recognize this damage will take some time to undo. I also understand that many of you may never come around our places of worship again, but know that should you find yourself with questions, doubts, fears or loneliness, you have a place in my church.

You have a place at my table.

My church welcomes you.

You are loved.

A repentant pastor.

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71 thoughts on “A pastor’s apology to the #LGBTQ community.

  1. As a gay Christian, this really hits home. People assume you can’t be a Christian and gay! I have been hurt by the church and family members who need to take a stand. When I was living a straight life, I was accepted, but when I came out, not so much. My other sins are ignored, so er can focus completely on who I love. Some things cannot be explained, but my sexuality is most definitely on that sexual spectrum you refereed to. We don’t know so much, and yet so often Christians act like they have it all figured out.
    May God continue to bless you and your ministry. We need pastors like you who preach the truth in love!
    Thank you!

    • Kari,

      Thanks so much for sharing your heart and experience. I’m so sorry for the wounds you received and my prayer is you will experience the peace and love of Christ. You are loved, friend.

      • Michael, great piece and I agree that we need to be welcoming to LGBT people. But the question I have for you is, are they welcome to be baptized into Christ and be leaders in your church in their current living situations? Or do you lead them to the truth. You talk about people’s stories and I love that statement but you also talk about a lot of pain. For many though, the continue to pursue the lifestyle and there isn’t pain in it but rather the pursuit of sexual pleasure. For some same sex attraction is a curse while others think is great and are not going to even be thinking about making a reversal. What say you about that? And for the record, the same question exists for other caught up in sin in their life. We need to be accepting of them but lead them to the truth. There are all sorts of addictions, etc, that could and should keep people out of leadership in the church. Alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, etc. We don’t talk about those things as much because we don’t talk about them being acceptable lifestyle choices but sin is sin and we need to address it accordingly; in love, in the Spirit but directly too.

      • This is actually for Jeff below.

        “Or do you lead them to the truth. ”

        The truth is that ‘homosexuality is sin’ is evil, it produces evil fruit, and those who teach it are false teachers, workers of iniquity. Your side, it is clear where you stand Jeff, murders, rapes, tortures people. Pastor Palmer pointed that out, and you ignored it. That reflects very poorly on you, it indicates apathy.

        “For many though, the continue to pursue the lifestyle ”

        There is no gay lifestyle, and your characterization of our lives, our relationships, our innate capacity for love and intimacy in that trivializing and degrading way is sin on your part. It demonstrates malice and contempt and deceit.

        “there isn’t pain in it ”

        You are being very dishonest about our lives, reducing the complexity of our lives to sex acts. When we drive around town and see signs that compel neighbors to deprive us our the right to marry, that causes pain. When your peers revile our capacity for love, calling it ‘abomination’ or ‘intrinsically disordered’, or telling us that God hates us, as your peer Fred Phelps did for so long, that causes pain. When we are fired from our jobs for being gay or lesbian, that causes pain. When we are burned to death in a violent hate crime, as happened at the Upstairs Lounge, that causes great pain not just to the individuals who died, but to everyone who loved them, and to everyone who shares the trait they were murdered for – being gay.

        “For some same sex attraction is a curse ”
        Because people like you, Jeff, make it a curse. And then someone else comes along and makes lots of money trying to fix that “curse” without any hope of success.

        “other caught up in sin in their life.”

        You and your peers are the ones caught up in sin, Jeff. The sin of pride, the sin of pretending to be God, the sin of slander, the sin of murder through inaction (per Martin Luther), the sin of injustice, and so much more.

        “There are all sorts of addictions,”

        Equating our loving relationships, our capacity for love and intimacy, with addiction, is slander, Jeff. As a slanderer, if you do not repent, you are barred from the Kingdom of Heaven.

        ” but sin is sin and we need to address it accordingly; in love, in the Spirit but directly too.”

        Which is why, and how, I am rebuking you for your sins against GLBTQ people.

      • So, Darr Sandberg, if a fellow believer in Christ acknowledges that God through scripture has called homosexual acts sin and you say it is sinful to do so, you are judging her/him as sinning, and hence virtually every Christian teacher for nearly 2000 years has sinned because they agreed with scripture. Now everyone does what is right in his/her own eyes since there can be no Judges in our world.

      • rwwilson147

        “So, Darr Sandberg, if a fellow believer in Christ acknowledges that God through scripture has called homosexual acts sin ”

        Kudos for the deceitful way you wormed that lie “God called homosexual acts sin” into your hyprocriy.

        “you are judging her/him as sinning,”

        Because, of course, you are judging me. And judging hundreds of millions of people by calling their innate capacity for love, sin – worthy of death and damnation. So disgusting.

        “hence virtually every Christian teacher for nearly 2000 years has sinned”
        Your exaggeration demonstrate deceit, which is sin. Bear in mind, rwwilson, all human sins. Even you.

        “because they agreed with scripture.”
        No, those who teach ‘homosexuality sin’ – which is not ‘virtually every Christian teacher for nearly 2000 years” , are not agreeing with Scripture. They are raping it, and endangering the lives of millions of people, generation after generation.

        ” Now everyone does what is right in his/her own eyes since there can be no Judges in our world.”

        Your false accusation reveals that you wish to be judge of others. Nice hypocrisy.

      • Just to interject…

        Sinner vs. Saint. Sin vs. Salvation…

        At the end of the day, is it any single person’s on this entire planet place to judge another’s sin or their salvation? Last time I read the bible, it was not. So while OPINIONS (and let’s make no mistake about this, that’s precisely what these are. Opinions and nothing more) may vary on what one might do and whether is considered a sin, in the final analysis WE are not to judge people. We are supposed to love, help, support and accept one another. THAT is OUR job. Deciding who is and isn’t deserving of eternal salvation, that’s god’s call.

        What a far better world for all of us to live in, if we got back to our job and let god do his. Because when it comes to mankind trying to do his, even the best of us would be VASTLY unqualified.

      • So Bentley Corbitt, is the idea that it is no person’s place to judge just another opinion? No, you got it from God through scripture presumably, so if that same source says that those who unrepentantly engage in specific sins is that not beyond being just one person’s opinion? Your statement seems self contradictory.

      • I’m not quite sure whether you’re just attempting to bait an argument, or if there is some vague and obscure point you’re attempting to make.

        The intent of my statement was to draw attention to the very determined, myopic focus of certain individuals when applied to their cherry picking of the bible. You can find passages within the bible to support virtually any point of view or position is you look hard enough, and use enough poetic license. My point being, that yes, one can choose passages from the bible to promote their agenda of hate and intolerance. It can also be used to promote love, acceptance, caring and tolerance. All depends on who’s picking the cherries.

        Personally, I see little use to anyone and particularly humanity as whole, to use something saying it’s blessed by god, as a tool to drive people apart, hurt, torture and kill one another.

        If I believed in god, it surely wouldn’t be in any god that engaged in such activity. The comment was not meant to start a theological conversation. However, I’m certainly not one to shy away from that topic either, so by all means, please contact me if you would care to engage. Let’s not little up the pastor’s page with off topic comments.

  2. You hit so many nails on the head in your apology. Your spirit and your thoughts came through very clearly, and I agree with them. It is brave of you as a pastor during this unique season of so much emotional response and reactivity surrounding this “agenda” comprised of – as you say – faces and names. I believe with all my heart that the church needs to put out a very obvious “Welcome Mat”. “Come all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give your rest” That invitation seems very clear to me. We all need to do so much more than we are doing to make that ALL a reality. May God help us!

    • Thanks, Ruth!

      “Come all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give your rest” That invitation seems very clear to me. We all need to do so much more than we are doing to make that ALL a reality. May God help us!”…May it be.

  3. Michael, as a fellow man of the cloth agree with you 100%! LOVE the sinner hate the sin… I’ve often preached the same message and follow it up with prayer for the Holy Spirit to intervene on their behalf to seek God’s living breathing Word for guidance and strength. Sin is sin and in God’s eyes all sin is an abomination unto Him. If you choose not to repent of of any sin knowingly, repeatedly and in fact embracing in Satan’s lies you “might” have issues with a true conversion. But here’s a question for you. An openly gay couple asks you to officiate their wedding as a Christian Pastor, what do you say?

  4. Your post reflects my heart for this past year. I have been worrying less about whether or not the Holy Spirit can and will move in people’s hearts and lives (he most certainly will – on HIS time) and being more concerned with showing unconditional love and acceptance towards my fellow broken human beings. I teach Bible to a group of about 30 elementary kids each Sunday. These past few weeks I’ve been feeling the impulse to impart to my students a sense of compassion and not judgement. I believe it is NOT our place, no matter how you interpret Paul’s writings, to segregate and to declare who will or will not inherit the Kingdom. The Holy Spirit can and will move in people’s hearts and lives, and even if broken people reject the righteous path, God has called us to be just, merciful and humble towards them, never, never to judge, ostracize or claim superiority over them. Thank you, Michael, for sharing your heart in such an eloquent way.

    • “The Holy Spirit can and will move in people’s hearts and lives, and even if broken people reject the righteous path, God has called us to be just, merciful and humble towards them, never, never to judge, ostracize or claim superiority over them.” // Beautiful. Thanks for this.

  5. To Jeff and Dan:

    This is not a reply on the moral or ethical validity of your statements/questions. It is merely an attempt to bring nuance and understanding to a distressed communication pattern. What you (Jeff/Dan) want to say and what people hear are not the same thing.

    Some of the offensive (mis)communication centers around:

    Homosexuality as addiction:

    Whenever Christians equate biological physical attraction with alcoholism or drug addiction, this is perceived as ignorant (not debating this, just making the observation).

    Them:

    Who is them? There is a long history of Christians ignoring the pain and frustration of people, so being called “them” is one more in a long list of degrading and segregating practices (see also putting in jail, forced medical experimentation, refusing care for the dying).

    Any discussion of people as modern day Samaritans will be perceived as offensive.

    Baptism:

    For Wesley, baptism was a gift. Something that he even thought should be done for children because if sin was ever present, why not also recognize the gift of the Spirit in our personal lives as well as the gift of the church to love and nurture. Baptism is a means of grace by which people are invited into the kingdom of God… not kept out. It is symbolic, and by choosing to withhold baptism, we again segregate people out of the body of Christ.

    Gay Marriage:

    This is particularly heavy for Nazarene pastors, since it also means the revocation of licensure in most places and also seems like a missiological question. The environment for ministry will only become more complex as the church needs to wrestle with sexuality in general, but including these newer conversations: divorce in the gay community, sexuality in the transgender community, sexual dysfunction among men/women raised on cheap and constant digital pornography.

    Operating on the basic assumption that ALL NAZARENE pastors agree with the church teachings on this subject (which is a huge assumption), the question becomes, “Do pastors have the authority to operate missionally in a post Christian culture?” If so, who decides how and why?

    Does the church trust their clergy to make that decision case by case, as we do with all marriages? Is there an operational trust in our pastors to obey the wisdom of God?

    Observers have noted that pastors have frequently broken with their traditions in order to bring light into every activity of humanity; eating meat sacrificed to idols (still a practice in many places and a situation I have been in), drinking wine (naz. specific), chaplaincy for non-Christian combatants, open communion, etc.

    Dan, If we make gay marriage a litmus test, what are we communicating and is it being received?

    Which brings me back to my original point about communication:

    I think these questions are valid, even if they are rehashing old arguments that the author seems to want to move beyond in this post. For you (Jeff), as an inquiring member of the church, we (me included) as clergy and leaders have the responsibility to clearly articulate a response. However (all), when any communication starts in a broken cycle of blame, hurt, frustration, fear, and misperception, it to easily allows conversationalists to be dismissive because the “other” will be ignorant, intolerant or mean-spirited.

    Starting conversations without understanding undercuts the gospel message.

    Lastly, this may not be the appropriate place (Jeff/Dan) to raise those questions. If people are reading this and finding comfort in the empathetic and impassioned apology of the author, I would implore you to ask yourself if this is that right place to say, “I see what your saying Michael, but come on… you know I am right.” It communicated, to me, that being right (dogmatic) is better than offering peace. It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 12 and 13. While often used at weddings, it’s proper application is to instruct the church on how to love each other. The church’s witness of God’s love is evidenced by our own.

  6. No offense JP but I was hoping to hear a response from the author in response to the questions. I did not mean to compare or state homosexuality to be an addiction but rather point out other sins that we see in the church that also need to be called out and brought to correction if people are to be in leadership roles. We should be accepting of all people and guide them to a life changing spiritual experience that enlightens them to the grace of Jesus and causes them to want to get their life in alignment with him. As a church body, we are directed to call out those who are openly in sin, especially leaders because their actions (when observed) could cause others to stray. If you are an alcoholic and you see your pastor drinking at a bar, that could be (in their eyes) a way of saying it is ok. That is sinful behavior. Not the fact that the pastor is drinking but rather giving cause for others to fall because of it. It is one thing to accept gay people in the church. It is a whole other thing to elevate them into positions of leadership which as we all know indicates exemplary living. The latter if tolerated will become a very slippery slope.

    That all being said, as I mentioned before that I love the heart of this post but it really sounds very apologetic when I think it should be sympathetic. Makes it sound like we should be ashamed for standing up for what we believe in and for what the Bible says is truth. The Word of God shall be compromised nor revised. That is from the Man upstairs, not me.

    • Jeff, if I can be quite honest, I would let you know that I agree with everything Jeffrey has written. And while the author didn’t write his words, I echo them. Every one of them.

      If I’m going to be truthful, I’m quite sad by the comments made here. I’m sad because the church has been the creator of a great deal of hurt amongst LGBTQ folk, and they seem to be completely unwilling to make amends for this hurt. To me, this is very un-christlike.

      In my post, I make no defense of the lifestyle and I also cast no stones. I do this because bridges must be built. You say you’re proclaiming truth, but we’ve gotten to a place where people in our culture are no longer willing to listen. We say it’s because it makes them uncomfortable. I disagree. They won’t because the messengers aren’t very much like the King.

      So, I’m going to refuse to answer the questions. Understand it’s not because I’m ashamed, but because to do so will undermine everything I’ve written, and I’ll just put myself back into this false dichotomy that the church seems unable to break out of.

      I appreciate your heart, and appreciate your concern. Just know that we’re approaching this differently.

    • Explain how gays need to be led on the right path? You talk about reversal? That’s extremely offensive to the LGBT community to assume that they were not born that way and they are some specimen that needs to be fixed. Didn’t God make every person on this Earth, and this is what Christians believe, then you’re saying His making of gays was a mistake. They’re happy with who they are, so what makes you think they need to be led down a different path? Your judging their lifestyle is NOT your place. Isn’t that Gods place? I guarantee you, you will not get anyone from the LGBT community to listen to your church and its teachings if you lead with that. If you had a child who came out, what would you do?

      • ENORMOUS applause for your words and post, Sarah! I couldn’t agree more. And I will add that many LGBT people .. specifically LGBT people who are Christians, have been reading these apologies and viewing them under the microscope of credibility and integrity for at least several years now and, in most cases, found them to be a new means of evangelization … not acceptance. God is God … all on His own, and if these sorts of apologies bring us to a place of sitting own and reasoning together .. that’s a potentially good thing. So far I haven’t seen it, and I have been pretty outspoken about the “Bridge Builder Brigade” and the one way bridges to no-where that have thus far been built.

    • Jeff,
      There are huge flaws in your responses.
      1) We hear ‘what the Bible says is truth’ from lots of different sources. The fact is, there is no singular, one way to interpret the Bible or even to agree on what it actually says. If there were only one way to interpret what the Bible says then there would be only a small handful of Christian denominations, rather than the ever-increasing factions that have been splitting theological approaches and interpretation ever since the church was formed. There are also thousands of instances in the Bible where one statement contradicts or nullifies another. How does one choose which statement to pay attention to and which statement to ignore? In addition to this there are hundreds, if not thousands, of verses that are simply ignored by today’s Christian. Case in point: women covering their head in church. Maybe your congregation is one that insists that women cover their heads (as Paul exhorts in 1 Corinthians 11) Or maybe your congregation is one that says ‘her hair is covering her head, so that’s okay.’ Or maybe your congregation is one that says, ‘That verse was for another time.’ Regardless of how your congregation sees this, why should this verse be treated differently than verses that seem to deal with sexual orientation? Another case in point is divorce. There are conflicting views in the New Testament as to the permissibility of divorce, and these conflict with what the Old Testament says. This is all well and good – there is simply no way anyone can follow every single edict in the Bible. But why should divorce get a free pass when LGBT people do not? Another point: how many Christians today follow Jesus’ commandment that they sell everything and follow him? How many Christians instead are driving luxury cars and living in palatial homes? Of course, there are verses that seem to support either side of the issue. But my point is: why give these verses the green light when verses that seem to be about LGBT people are held to much more narrow, legalistic standard?
      2) You claim that gay people are merely in pursuit of ‘sexual pleasure.’ You miss the hugest point about what marriage equality (and, indeed, being LGBT) is about: relationships. There is a common misperception about gay people that being gay is about having sex. This is ridiculous. Is being heterosexual about having sex? At some points, yes. But how many heterosexual marriages/partnerships do you know where the people are doing nothing but pursuing sexual pleasure? It is the same thing with gay relationships. Yes, there is a sexual element. But it is a tiny fraction of what the full relationship is actually about. Just as in any heterosexual relaionsthip, a gay partnership is about being with the person you love. This is what the ruling on marriage equality understands.
      3) In your first reply you say ‘…others think [being gay] great and are not going to even be thinking about making a reversal.’ Oh, dear. Are you one of these people who think being gay is about making a choice? That gay people are nothing more than straight people who have somehow made ‘bad choices?’ This uninformed opinion has been trotted out by the far right and opponents of same-sex marriage (as well as opponents of LGBT people in general) as if they have some sort of inner magical knowledge that all gay people somewhere, at some point, made a choice to be gay. This is 100% untrue. The only choice gay people have about their orientation is whether to be honest and authentic about themselves, or to lie. This comment of yours also seems to imply that being a Christian will allow some sort of ‘reversal.’ What, pray tell, are you implying here? That if one were to pray enough that God will ‘heal’ a gay person of being gay? That is also a ridiculous asssertion. The ‘ex-gay’ ministries have failed miserably because they have held this as one of their core beliefs: that God will turn a gay person straight if they will only believe and pray hard enough. This is a very damaging, unhealthy idea to promote. Hundreds of thousands of LGBT people have tried desperartely through many means to not be gay, prayer and ‘ex-gay’ ministries being one of those means. I stand here before you to say that if anyone in this world should have been ‘healed’ of being gay it would have been me. I spent years in a ‘Bilbe-believing, Jesus-centered’ church, praying daily – sometimes hourly, fasting, pleading, having hands laid on me, having ‘demons’ driven from me – all to be ‘healed’ of being gay. I am every bit as gay as I was when that whole nonsense began. It slowly occurred to me that my prayer should not be ‘God, let me not be gay’ but ‘God, let me understand the best way to be who I am.’

      The original post, if I am to understand the author, is offering what seems to be the heart of what Jesus called ‘The Greatest Commandment’ in Matthew 22: “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'”

      • elbseattle. You have misquoted me and completely missed my intention. I disagree with much of what you have stated but do agree with some. In either case, I am not going to get into a pissing match with you. We don’t agree. That’s fine. Carry on.

      • Jeff, with all do respect, you’re the one persistently arguing every comment on this blog. It seems as though you’re the one unable to carry on.

        Please, stop.

      • Loving God means obeying him above all other interests, inclinations, orientations, and it means not arguing around what he has commanded. If we aren’t willing to do that on matters that have been clear since the beginning of Jesus ministry, in which he affirmed and followed but restructured the Torah teachings, we shouldn’t claim to be his disciples. 2000 years of clarity on human sexual relations shouldn’t be ignored or rejected because people in the church have been unlovingly abusive or insensitive to those who diverge from its teaching. I think the pain I feel because of my identification with Jesus in experiencing so many people willingly rejecting the teaching of scripture regarding sexual relations is no less powerful nor poignant than those who have suffered because of their deviation from biblical norms for sexual relations. The argument that God created them to engage in sexual relations that scripture doesn’t allow is a shallow, God denying one. Our “nature” doesn’t determine what behaviors are acceptable; God does. Thy will be done, of God, not mine.

      • Elbseattle,
        Thank you, thank you, thank you! You posted what I would like to say but don’t have the ability to express myself as well as you.

    • “I did not mean to compare or state homosexuality to be an addiction”

      That is exactly what you did, it is the deliberate purpose of the phrase you wrote. And it shows that you lack moral sense, it made you a slanderer. It shows that you cannot tell right from wrong.

      “Makes it sound like we should be ashamed for standing up for what we believe in”

      You should be, for what you believe in, on this matter, is an evil belief that destroys human lives.

      ” for what the Bible says is truth. ”

      You are not standing up for what the Bible says is truth. You are standing up for your need to feel superior over other people.

  7. Thanks for the reply Michael. Not sure what you have done that you have to make amends for but that is your business. I have gay friends and gay married couples in my family. I love on them and accept them just like everyone else. I have no amends to make. I would love for them to attend my church and find Christ there and hopefully through me and how I behave and how I treat them. Were they to engage and to a point of wanting to become leaders, without changing their lifestyle, I would have issue. Jesus loves the sinners but he still hates the sin. We should not sugar coat that nor make amends for it. It is the truth.

    • ” I love on them and accept them just like everyone else.”

      Don’t fool yourself, because you are not fooling us. You call our innate capacity for love and intimacy sin, equate it to addiction, you slander us. That is not love, that is hate.

      “I have no amends to make. ”

      Yes, you do.
      1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

      You’ve promoted an evil belief that destroys human lives, and as Paul points out in Romans 2, God will repay you for what you have done. Luther argues in the large catechism that if you know someone is in danger, and you fail to act, you’ve broken ‘thou shalt not kill’. You are on the internet, so you have no excuse for not knowing about the violence produced directly and indirectly by ‘homosexuality is sin’, you know that your belief endangers our lives – yet you do nothing to stop that violence. Instead, you promote it by defending that evil belief.

      The truth is that by Christ’s test in Matthew 7:15-23, you are a false teacher, the sin in this issue is yours.

  8. Thanks pastor Mike for being a cut above the rest and leading towards Christ by example instead of mere words. Some of the un-Christlike comments here would have sent me into a spiral of Un-Christlike response. I deeply admire your Christ centered heart in your response! Cheers friend!!!

  9. I am a gay man, and an atheist. Still your words are kind and really touched me.
    You have my forgiveness, and I thank you for preaching true love and true religion, pastor.

  10. These debates always seem so simple to me. I am NOT a pastor, but I was raised in the church and raised reading the Bible. Speak the truth in love. Speak the truth in love. Speak the truth in love. No one on this earth gets to decide who gets into heaven and who does not. We simply speak the truth in love. The Bible, as many of you know, is seen as an acronym for ‘basic instructions before leaving Earth’. I go to a non denominational church because I don’t like all of the ‘extra’ that comes with religion. If it’s in the Bible, I tried to follow that. And, I try to do that by speaking the truth in love. CHRIST said, that he came to save the sinners. Sin is sin. So, I cannot be on the fence about what CHRIST calls the truth. I must be on HIS side and speak the truth in love. Should that be against what America thinks, or what America considers right, then so be it. As long as I speak the truth in love, then I’ll take that. John the Baptist, and many other disciples were not always nice in their deliverance of truth. Yet, I do not recall instances of JESUS having an issue with their manner of teaching or preaching. I am not John the Baptist, nor do I practice his style or approach, but we all must recognize that the truth is the truth, and JESUS will not have it any other way. GOD will not be mocked. Speak the truth in love, and let HIM who knows all things, sees all things and knows the heart of man, make the decision as to who is right for HIS kingdom.

    • Exactly Derrick! I say that scripture daily “Speak the truth in love and let us grow up into all things which is Christ, the head” And I also note it does not say: “Speak to judgment” We are not called to: call out. That is God’s. We are called to love. We do not discern very well what is “law” and what is “grace” bc most churches DO NOT know and understand enough to tell them apart. It’s simple and it’s complicated and most Christians will not go the long haul to understand and study differences, so most of us remain in law. You say if the bible says it I try to follow it… (shivers in my seat) good luck with leviticus laws… good luck with moses law, stone ya if you don’t follow… good luck with more than one wife… (If you follow leviticus you have the right to steal another’s wife and keep them in your dungeon.) We don’t know how to read our bibles, we don’t know how to discern between what is the law of yesterday, and what is grace today. Thank you Michael for making it simple and truthful towards how we love on each other, not on how we judge each other. I have enough garbage in my own backyard, I can never understand why there’s so much pointing going on out there… one has only to point to themselves for a lifetime of God’s chisel. Speak the truth in Love, here’s one: GOD LOVES YOU and God desires all to know and understand him. Truth.

      • “Garbage in my backyard.” That hits uncomfortably close to home.

        Thank you for taking the time to write here. May we find a more loving and gracious way forward together.

      • In correct. We are called to call out sin of those IN th church. Need to read your bible. It is very clear.

  11. Pingback: calling all the messengers | Risking Love. Writing Brave.

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  13. As a lesbian in a vibrant, healthy same-sex marriage, I grew up in a Southern Baptist pastor’s home, lived out my “faith” devotedly, yet all the while hiding and repressing my sexuality until finally coming out at age 39. Being authentic simply wasn’t allowed.

    Coming out, when your entire family and social circle was evangelical Christian, well…..let’s just say it was a very eye-opening experience. I got a real, hard look at the quality, or more accurately, the lack there of, of Christian “love”.

    My wife and I are among those who have left the faith entirely….and from our experiences with attempting to dialogue with Christians, to share our stories and struggles, the Church showed us profoundly and clearly just how unwanted we really are. We will never darken the door of any Christian ever again.

    But I want to tell you, pastor, that your apology is the most honest, most humble, most accountable one I’ve ever heard. I hope it goes viral and that other pastors will be inspired or have the courage to open their hearts, their minds and their ears as you have done.

    Thank you for showing us that there’s still a glimmer of humanity left in the Christian Church.

    • Oh, and one more thing….THANK YOU for not using any form of “love the sinner, hate the sin”. Those words have caused more damage than Christians will ever know.

      • Linda, I’m so glad this post meant something to you! As a pastor, I am so sorry the church has hurt you in a way that you no longer want to be within her walls, but my prayer will be that God finds you where you are and that he imparts his love and peace to you.

        In regards to this post, I’ve made so many mistakes in my life, but am learning that grace given to me is grace that must be given away. In this realization, I am doing my best to listen, learn and find a Christ-like and loving way forward. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

  14. Your kind words are appreciated but, as other comments here demonstrate, they are certainly not representative of Christians or Christianity. To those who insist LGBT people must fundamentally change to be accepted, understand how we hear your words; we hear them as equivalent to you telling a black person they must become white to be accepted by God and welcome in church. (And please do not attempt to argue that point – the point is that is how we hear what you are saying. If you attempt to argue it, then you are simply demonstrating an unwillingness to treat us or our experiences with respect. You have a choice, either listen to us and learn to communicate more effectively or continue to devalue us and our contributions to humanity.)

    As a gay man, former evangelical and now atheist I closely evaluated how Christians treat “the other” and if that treatment follows the example set by Jesus in the Bible. As the pastor illustrates through his examples in the apology, the verdict was Christians do not. They operate out of fear, prejudice, judgment, a lack of understanding, a lack of compassion, and so on. Yes, there are a few who break out of that and are able to treat others as Jesus did, the pastor here might now be an example, but they are the exception. I found atheists are much more Christ-like in their treatment of me than Christians have ever been. Too many times I have been driven from churches or the homes of Christians for being gay, despite my being celibate, I have been lied about, treated with utter rudeness, shunned and ostracised by people who love to sing hymns entitled “Just As I Am”, which apparently only applies to heterosexuals. Only after Christians who are divorced and remarried are told to stop living that sinful lifestyle if they wish to participate in church will I listen to comments, illustrated in some of the comments here, about my having to stop being gay if I wish to be accepted without my thinking the speakers are complete and utter hypocrites. The big difference, of course, is that I cannot stop being gay, well not until I stop breathing, while those who have divorced and remarried can fix that little problem.

    You judge a tree by the fruit it bears. I came to recognise the Christian tree bears very bad fruit. People do not learn to treat others as Jesus did because of Christianity but rather in spite of it. Admonitions to love, judge not, show humility and mercy, and treat people fairly are cast aside in favour of judgment, prejudice, discrimination, open hostility and persecution. Christians have to be dragged kicking and screaming by the rest of society when questions of treating gays with basic decency arise. They are more than happy to sacrifice us on their altar of morality than to recognise that we too are supposedly made in the image of their God. One thing Evangelicals taught me is there is no Holy Spirit. For if there was Christians would become more like Jesus, not less like him, with prolonged exposure to the religion.

    Thanks for the apology. The intent was noble and certainly welcome. It is just a shame your fellow Christians cannot accept that I was knit together in my mother’s womb and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. The comments here demonstrate that while you personally might welcome us into your church, church Is not a safe or welcoming place.

  15. Jeff, Jeff, Jeff…….I am going to be blunt as….. I just have to read what you have written as responses here and say that you are the reason why LGBTIQ individuals have left the church, have felt like they have no place, feel persecuted and alone. When you continue to treat us like we are “incomplete”, “unfunctional”, “broken” individuals who are in need of repair, then you simply degrade us. The funniest point that I found about all your responses was the fact that you keep saying to just love us and lead us back to the truth. The fact is unless we accept YOUR truth as you see and interpret scripture then you will continually place us on the outside and judge us. It is not YOUR role to be my judge, it is God’s…. and it is not YOUR role to bring me to truth….. it is the Holy Spirit’s. YOUR role is to be a reflection of Christ, so that I am drawn into relationship with Him. I agree… feel free to love on me as much as you want, but when I don’t match up to everything you believe is required for leadership…. ha… what then. You just keep loving me and continue to treat me as a broken person in need of repair? And what happens if God does choose to speak through me….. does that mean that you automatically turn a blind eye because I don’t match your standards of leadership? Simply put I don’t see you “loving the sinner” (however, I can clearly see you hating the sin) because all you really have is an ulterior motive to bring us to church and get us to change. And it really is that ulterior motive that is sooooooooo see through to the LGBTIQ community. I only have to look back on the bible’s qualifications of what love is ( patient, kind, etc etc) to see that your actions do not match those qualifications….. and considering one of the greatest commandments we were given was to love others as ourselves.. I would say to go back and really examine what your definition of love is and how it applies to your statement of “love the sinner”, cause I really would not want you to love me when it comes with so many conditions. It is a waste of your time and mine.

    So obviously I am a gay male writing this, and yes I do consider myself to be a christian (a follower of Christ). I just want to say that I have an awesome relationship with my creator and no amount of bashing me over the head and trying to make me change will ever stop that. I am a worship leader within my church.. We are a church that week by week continue to see God’s grace and love, His healing upon our lives and you know what….. we are seeing miracle after miracle occurring. We have seen two members of our church bought back to life after being pronounced dead by the doctors, we have seen physical bodily healing, but most of all we see people being bought back into relationship with God. You see God is happy to meet us / me, where, we / I am…. He is not there saying….”I will not speak to you until you stop being gay.” How ridiculous is it that if God is happy not to put limitations on when He will speak to me and work through me…. that individual such as yourself Jeff will.

    To all my LGBTIQ brothers and sisters out there I encourage you to keeping seeking the maker. I know there are others out there that would attempt to box us into their realities, but know this…. God loves You and you are called just the same as anyone else. He longs to have a relationship with you and to be a part of His family. His love is unfailing and will reach you just where you are, no conditions required. I know we have been shut out in the past, but don’t let it harden your heart. Don’t let us turn into the very same people that have rejected us. We are a mighty part of God’s family, we are called to be in relationship with our maker. God is still on the throne and while He is, there is no other name that my heart will bow down to, no matter how much I am told otherwise.

    Michael… sorry to have hijacked your post a little….. God bless you for what you have said. Be blessed as a bridge builder and may God provide many more openings for you to speak into the lives of those he so dearly desires and loves.

    • Matt

      Michael has asked that I stop posting on this thread and I want to respect that. This may sound odd to you, but I agree with everything you said. I am just another broken person trying to figure it out and I have a lot to learn. If you are willing to have a conversation offline of this thread I would welcome that. You can reach me at jlbutilmail@comcast.net. If so, great and I promise not to bash, that was never my intention. If not, may God bless you and your ministry.

      • Your messages to me, Jeff, paint a far less flattering picture of yourself. Your derogatory characterizations of our lives reveal your heart. And it is dishonest to claim that ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ “applies to all sin”, when your side only uses to sugar-coat and justify their brutal and vicious verbal, physical, mental and spiritual attacks on GLBTQ people.

        People are murdered because of the belief you defended here. Don’t forget that. It proves that ‘homosexuality is sin’ is an evil belief, one that does not come from God.

  16. Michael,
    I am an openly gay (partnered) man, who was ordained on the same district in which you find yourself currently serving. Rev. Diehl was the presiding General of that particular assembly many years ago.

    I am encouraged by your open letter, but I will also say that there have been many wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing that have offered up similar rhetoric, seemingly communicating to my LGBT community one thing, when what lies just beneath is the same-ol-same-ol dressed up in nothing but a prettier verbiage.

    Question (one that perhaps might still scare you and your congregation): are you affirming, questioning, or just simply attempting to be more “tolerant” in your approach to gay folk?

    Rick

    • Rick, what a small world! Nazarenes are everywhere.

      I hope you won’t find this answer as a dodge, because I assure you (were you to know me), you’d know that I am not afraid to share my opinion- consequences and all. That said, I’m doing my best to remain un-affiliated in this conversation. I am doing so because I am trying to help build a bridge…and the quickest way for a conversation to end is for someone to think they’re different theologically/politically than the “other”…especially on something as divided as this.

      That said, I assure you that this post is not a “gotcha” post. I have no ulterior motives. I am not a wolf in sheep’s clothes. The love I speak is real, and the risk I take on by posting it is real as well. I wrote this because I care deeply about my friends and family who are LGBTQ, and care for the those I don’t know, as well. Honestly, this post is not my attempt to do anything other than make a small first step in admitting the mistakes and faults of the church. I believe that I must own the ways in which I have hurt others before I even think about moving forward.

      Ultimately, I believe in earned trust. I also know the church has not earned this trust. And so, in whatever capacity this post can begin to show the remorse many in the church feel (and trust me, many do), I will pray it can be part of God’s reconciliation in our world.

  17. thank you
    https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1342329-it-s-important-to-remember-that-having-a-conversation-about-us
    “It’s important to remember that having a conversation about us (LGBT) without us will usually be a recycling or preconceived ideas and misconceptions.
    Can you imagine a group of male church leaders discussing the role of women in the church without females present. We would call that misogyny. Or church leadership discussing indigenous issues without ever consulting with indigenous people themselves to get insight into what their life experience is really all about. We would call that white supremacy/racism/elitism. The church has done a great deal of talking about us but rarely has spoken with us. So when church leaders discuss LGBT people, relationships and the community without speaking with or spending time getting to know LGBT people it does beg the question why. What is there to fear? Why the exclusion? Is this another evidence of homophobia?
    It’s time for the church to invite LGBT people into the conversation. For some this is a conversation about their thoughts and beliefs but for us it is about who we are. You can ask questions. What was it like to sit in church and hear the word abomination to describe your orientation. What was it like to get to the point of coming out knowing you might be rejected by those you’ve loved and a church you’ve served.? How did you find resolution of your Christian beliefs and your sexuality? In listening you will learn.
    That’s why it’s so important to remember. No conversation about us, without us.”

  18. Pastor,

    An atheist, but a strong believer in humanity, I applaud your words, your sentiment, and YOUR christian values and sense of fellowship

    Nothing has been worse over these past few years, watching supposed christians posturing themselves behind a book, the cherry picking passages from that book to support a position of intolerance, bigotry, racism & hate.

    Thank you for being one of the lone voices in the religious community willing to walk into the 21st Century, as opposed to having to be drug, kicking and screaming.

  19. As a Christian mother of a gay son I thank you for your apology and I accept your apology. It gives me a lot of comfort when I read something like this because so many times I feel like my son and my family are at often misunderstood and many times wrongly judged. When I read your words I immediately felt grateful for the way you understood what Christian families like mine go through.

    All of my immediate family are followers of Christ. We were before my oldest son came out and we have remained so. However, we no longer go to church because shortly after my son came out we realized it was not a safe place for us to navigate this journey with love and grace. It was not a safe place for us to ask real questions and to examine what we believed and why and how it all fit together. Fortunately, we found that God is doing as much work outside of the local church as inside the local church and as sincere seekers we found what we needed apart from the local church.

    I have a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of lgbt kids. The purpose of the group is for moms of lgbt kids to learn to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their lgbt kids. I started the group in June 2014 and we now have over 500 members. We share a lot of support and info in the group. If anyone is interested in joining the group they can email me at lizdyer55@gmail.com and put “Mom’s Facebook Group” as the subject.

    Here’s a link for a little more about the group

    https://serendipitydodah.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/serendipitydodah-for-moms/

  20. Thank you, Pastor Palmer, for your kind words. I thank you most for giving an apology and stopping there. One of the most destructive things I have experienced as an LGBT Christian has been fellow Christians saying, “I’m sorry, but…” and continuing to spread the same toxic rhetoric that has pushed LGBT Christians like me out of the church for so long. I appreciate so much that you have been willing to recognize where many Christians, including yourself, have missed the mark with LGBT brothers and sisters, and that you do not try to offer excuses with a “Jesus wants more for you” or a “Love the sinner, hate the sin” mentality.

    I suspect that you have some issues with homosexuality or at least with same-sex marriage, and I understand that. Honestly, there was I time where I probably would have agreed with you. I want to say thank you for NOT bringing those issues into your apology. Thank you for building bridges first. Thank you for recognizing your own sin before trying to name someone else’s. Thank you for taking the time to recognize that LGBT Christians are people, not an issue. Thank you for demonstrating, “I love you” without adding any qualifiers. It’s only after these bridges are built and a community is fostered that we can have disagreements in a healthy way.

    Thank you again for your words of healing, and even though we’ve never met, I forgive you. I hope folks like you and folks like me are able to understand each other better and in so doing better exemplify Christ.

    • Zoe, thank you so much for your forgiveness. It means more than you will ever know.

      This post was never about anything other than my hope to admit/reconcile the wrongs in which I (and others) have committed in the name of Jesus. The church has so much work to do, and if we aren’t willing to be honest and repentant about our sins, then we aren’t the agents of healing we claim to be.

      Again, thank you…and may you be filled with peace today

  21. Michael, Did you not receive my email asking about this apology? Not to be confrontational but seeking clarity, I asked if this apology is intended as a means of evangelism, or a means of expression your affirmation of the LGBT community and welcome into the full life of the church? So many have apologized at Pride Events and online .. when in fact the apology was really a means of evangelizing the gay community .. not an expression of acceptance and full affirmation into the life of the church. I admit that it makes some of us considerably suspicious, and so I am only seeking clarity from you. I can name you more than a few ministers and ministries that have “apologized” for someone’s ill treatment of the LGBT community … yet, in fact, it wasn’t an apology that extended to saying “we were wrong in our beliefs that being gay is a sin and we are repenting for it.” It has been more of a “;love the sinner, hate the sin” sort of thing. I realize that the comments on this thread have laid bare exactly .what many believe .. both pro and con. Please answer me candidly? I seriously won’t be disappointed either way.

    • Hey Will, I’m sorry for the delayed response. I’ve been pretty behind the 8 ball with this post…I’ve been getting quite a bit of feedback, and am doing my best to keep up.

      This post isn’t a means to an end. It’s the end. I was taught, early in life, when I do something to harm someone, it’s on me to apologize. Period. I was taught that i should never apologize to GET an apology in response. That’s manipulative. This post is written from the heart of a pastor who knows the church has deeply hurt people who are LGBTQ. The church has, and continues to use, poor practices. They’ve isolated, and they’ve used scripture to perform terrible things on others (reparative therapy being one of many, many things). The church needs to own this and repent of it. I don’t believe this conversation will move forward unless we do that. This apology is my only goal. Nothing else.

      This post is absolutely not my attempt to evangelize LGBTQ folks. To say this post is about that is to say the church and the LGBTQ community are mutually exclusive. This isn’t even remotely true. I have many gay and lesbian friends (some in relationships, others not) who have robust and beautiful spiritual lives (many others have commented here). And that Christ-likeness is evident to anyone who knows them.

      So, to it all sum up. No ulterior motive than an apology. And no evangelism intended. 🙂

      • Thanks for your response, Michael. Although I left the Evangelical church in 2001, there are so many LGBTQ people who seek a place at the table in the evangelical church where they grew up and where they still have a cultural/spiriual identity. The sad truth about most apologies such as you have offered is that the apology usually means that the gay person is welcome to “sit in the pews, hear the news and pay their dues” …. but never be affirmed as far as their ministerial gifts .. or really made a true part of the community. Many/most of those apologies have been self serving ways of making the one apologizing feel better about themselves .. while still holding the LGBT person at arms length.. at the door until .. until they “repent” and turn from their “sin”. Truth is that most of us have come to recognize those apologies for what they are, and find them meaningless attempts at evangelism or attempts at salving the conscience of the one apolizing. My hope and trust is that one of these days … soon …. as the song says “A change is gonna come”. Peace, and thanks again for responding.

  22. rwwilson147
    “Loving God means obeying him above all other interests, inclinations, orientations, and it means not arguing around what he has commanded.”

    And yet, you are disobedient, arguing here that you are entitled to denigrate and dehumanize other people, and slandering me.

    “2000 years of clarity on human sexual relations”

    Your fantasy is deceitfully inaccurate.

    “shouldn’t be ignored or rejected because people in the church have been unlovingly abusive or insensitive to those who diverge from its teaching.”

    Actually, according to Jesus is must be rejected. Evil fruit is proof of an evil tree, a false teaching. Thus we discarded slavery, and now we must discard ‘homosexuality is sin’, it bears evil fruit.

    ” I think the pain I feel because of my identification with Jesus in experiencing so many people willingly rejecting the teaching of scripture regarding sexual relations is no less powerful nor poignant than those who have suffered because of their deviation from biblical norms for sexual relations.”

    There’s the conceit and self-centered, the arrogant pride at the heart of anti-gay theology. So, rwwilson, your ‘pain’ is equal to that of someone who was burned alive when a gay bar was torched by homophobes? Really? Your pain is the same as that of someone driven to suicide because people like you call him “abomination” and equate his capacity for love with someone raping animals or children? That cannot be, you are still alive. No, your pain because other people don’t obey you is nothing like what you and your peers inflict on GLBTQ people, and, to the degree that it exists at all, your pain is self-inflicted, the pain of your ego not getting its way. The pain of a spoiled brat being told he/she cannot persecute other people.

    ” The argument that God created them to engage in sexual relations that scripture doesn’t allow is a shallow, ”

    The flaw is your conceited and false premise ‘sexual relations that Scripture doesn’t allow’.

    “Thy will be done, of God, not mine.”

    Yet here you are, demanding that GLBTQ people must obey your will, not God’s, because your feelings are hurt.

  23. Pingback: Labels and the Truth they hide | Reconnection 2 Christ

  24. Thank you so much for writing this in public, but most of all for reflecting the true nature a follower of Christ should emulate. People who proclaim a specific faith forget it isn’t their job to force change/repentance/acceptance. We are called to love God and our neighbors–all of them.

  25. Dear Pastor Palmer,
    First of all thank you for your words and the sentiment behind them. I truly believe that your apology is heartfelt and this blog is a genuine attempt to reach out to our (LGBTQ) community.

    I want to respond to only a part of your message, which I feel will speak more broadly to help some understand who we are more clearly and why your blog is important.

    You said: “Because you’ve been treated as an agenda instead of a face, a name and a story, we have been unwilling to hear the journey that’s brought you to this point.”

    May I offer to you my story, and what brought me to this point? In short:

    I was born.

    Please don’t read sarcasm into my response, I’m not trying to be. It really was that simple for me. At 6 years old, I realized I was gay. I have always had 2 loving parents in the home. My father is a pastor, my mother is a minister, my brother is a pastor, my oldest brother is a minister of music, and my sister is a minister. Needless to say, church runs deep in my family. I was never touched inappropriately, and I’ve always had positive male influences in my life. You see, there is really no logical reason for me to be gay. I just am.

    This is why it hurts to read/hear the back and forth debates about “my life” by people who know nothing about it. Pastor, thank you for being the only one to ask. As I read through the comments, and see all of these bible experts toss around scriptures and drag out these tired old tropes like “love the sinner and not the sin” it makes me sick to my stomach. Listen, I’ve been me all my life, believe it or not. I’ve been gay as long as I can remember. So, sinner and sin are one and the same for me. You can’t separate me from me. So how can you love part of me and hate the other?

    What’s ironic is that Jesus said, “And if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw ALL men unto me”, but yet, it was Christians who drove me away. No, literally, I was told to leave the church. The pastor said he noticed that there were gay people starting to come to the church and that we were not welcome. I was called a faggot by the pastor from behind the pulpit. I was exposed to vitriolic hate speech in the form of sermons. There was a time when I heard my assistant pastor threaten to run over a gay man walking in front of his car. He said he’d be doing God a favor by taking his life . And yet, Pastor, it was these experiences that drove me away from the church and somehow closer to God. Let me say it again. Christians have inadvertently brought me closer to Christ by turning me off to church, no offense..

    Understand, I am not an anomaly. I have rarely ever met another gay person who has not always been gay. There was no journey for many of us. There was no moment of decision. There was no choice. There was nothing that brought us to this point. We were just born.

    I think as you move forward and attempt to bridge the gap for those LGBTQ who are still interested in going to church, it’s important to keep in mind that there really is no story to tell for many of us. We are who we are. Not by some series of unfortunate events, but by birth. Understand that this is the gap. This is the thing that separates us from the church. The thought That many people have; that there is something the matter with gay people is what separates us from you..

    Listen, I’ve read Leviticus, Romans, etc. It says what it says. I will not debate the Bible with anyone because that is an argument I cannot win. I pray those who thump it live by every word in it, because the Bible says a lot of things that many choose to ignore. I’ll just leave it at that. However, wisdom tells me that his grace is sufficient for me. It also tells me that his grace comes from him. Not from man. I love you pastor, but not even from you. You cannot grant me grace. Nor is your compassion or acceptance required. I believe that all that is required from you is that you love me as I love you and that you love God above all. This was his greatest, most profound commandment.

    Listen, I pray God’s wisdom be with you as you move forward. May his light shine brightly upon you. Love, Daryl.

  26. The first time I read your blog I was moved to tears. I am the kind of man who can’t cry! But I never expected to read compassionate words from a Nazarene pastor regarding the damage it has done to its own regarding same sex bonding and attractions. In many cases this rejection drove us to the gay community for acceptance because it wasn’t to be found in the Church that we grew up in.
    I honor your courage to go where others would not. I understand that you believe that the Church is a hospital for sinners not a museum for those who think themselves Saints. We all miss the mark!
    Thank you Michael. You are in search of the abandoned sheep.

  27. Pingback: A pastor’s prayer for the Church in 2016 | Michael Palmer

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