When our adult child told us they had same-sex attraction, we were shocked. The usual questions flooded us: what would this mean for their life? Would they be safe? Would they ever have children? We truly had no idea what lay ahead.
But here’s the realization that smacked us: we were now the “others.” Whether we shared this information or not (we thought we would not), the church was no longer our home. In our twenty-plus years at some great, “grace-based” churches, we had not seen one out gay person, nor one family standing in support of their gay family member.
So here we were with our beloved gay child on one hand, and the church teaching conditional acceptance on the other. We dearly love our Jesus who retrieved us from more perils than we can articulate. We also knew we would give our child only the unconditional, all-embracing love Jesus showed to the very farthest outcast—like us. If the church would make us believe that unconditional love was somehow a compromise of our faith, it was that teaching that needed to be examined. Not Jesus, and certainly not our parental love.
The church veneer had begun to crack prior to our child’s revelation. Pastor worship, sin management, attention to rules, even the disproportionate application of rules—all this had eroded our faith, not in the Jesus who’d dramatically saved us years before, but in a church system becoming increasingly irrelevant to a world seeking life. Although much good work was being done, most of our experience was of the church’s overriding focus on behavior modification; we’d already experienced this (during some marital challenges) when our church was startlingly unequipped to offer anything usable in our time of crisis.
Over the three years following our child’s revelation, we met many Christian parents of gay kids, and realized we were not the only ones to see that the emperor had no clothes. I believe God is shaking the church until what’s left is the unshakable: God. I believe he is shifting the attention from behavior modification to the profound, transformative, life in Christ. That is where our hope lies.
Our primary job is to love God and love others, and let God take care of everything else. We can have more peace than we ever knew possible, and joy beyond our wildest dreams, as our children flourish in God’s inexhaustible love for them. I hope you will join me on this quest.
We are proud to support NALT: Christians Proclaiming Their Belief in Full LGBT Equality. You can click on the image to watch Susan’s NALT (Not All Like That) video.