How Can You Still Love The Church?

Beeching-1

Vicky Beeching is in trouble. She is a popular Christian singer and, after living in the closet for more than 20 years, she has come out as gay. She is now under attack by many of those who used to adore her, and who still sing her songs every Sunday morning.

She is hurt and scared, but she is living true to herself – and she is not going anywhere.

“It is heartbreaking,” she says, her eyes glimmering again. “The Church’s teaching was the reason that I lived in so much shame and isolation and pain for all those years. But rather than abandon it and say it’s broken, I want to be part of the change.”

This is Rob, Susan’s husband, writing today…

In the middle of her incredible journey and struggle, she talks about how much she still loves the church and the Bible – and how she is staying in the church with the hope of bringing about change, and standing up for gay Christians.

Me too.

I love the church – it is supposed to be a radically inclusive community of people who love and want to follow Jesus. Welcoming. Loving unconditionally – as we have been loved. It is not supposed to be “us and them.” It is not supposed to be a religion, an institution – that is what Jesus came to stand against. I love the idea of church, but I have rarely experienced it as I just described. I long for that kind of community.

I treasure the Bible.  I have such a high view of scripture that I do not read it all literally. That would be intellectually and spiritually dishonest. The inconsistencies and contradictions endear me to the Bible. It makes it relatable, human, authentic – giving me space to grow, vent, fail and be transformed. I try to follow Jesus in being willing to reject certain scripture and theologies and affirm other ones. (He did that a lot.)

I have to tell you that my views have caused many to label me as dangerous, deceived, radical, an apostate – even led by the devil. I am okay with that. I am in good company… they said the same about Jesus.

I am the father of a gay child. I am a passionate ally and advocate for LGBTQ. I love Jesus, I adore the Bible, I love the community of church.

And I am not going anywhere.

“What Jesus taught was a radical message of welcome and inclusion and love. I feel certain God loves me just the way I am, and I have a huge sense of calling to communicate that to young people. When I think of myself at 13, sobbing into that carpet, I just want to help anyone in that situation to not have to go through what I did, to show that instead, you can be yourself – a person of integrity.” – Vicky Beeching

( p.s. Vicky is one of the keynote speakers at the 2015 Gay Christian Network conference. We will be there too — Susan hopes to present one or two workshops, and I hope to do a workshop just for Dads. Click here for more information. )

7 thoughts on “How Can You Still Love The Church?

  1. I love this sentence … “I have to tell you that my views have caused many to label me as dangerous, deceived, radical, an apostate – even led by the devil. I am okay with that. I am in good company… they said the same about Jesus.” You know, I have found that people generally put a label on things they cannot explain … and it is easier to label someone than to dig deep for the truth … In the Christian world I believe bigotry, intolerance and hate are fruits rooted in lazy faith … Thank you for exercising your faith to a point where it is stronger each day and a purer reflection of Christ …

  2. Very good article Rob. I too am a father of a gay child and have seen the hateful side of church and Christians… I have not given up on either for enlightened change will come for we are on the edge of the beginning of this in history. May Vicky be blessed as she moves forward. This reminds me of the backlash that Amy Grant received from the church when she divorced her first husband!

  3. I, too, spent many years in pain and grief until I realized that God hadn’t answered my prayers to change me for a reason. Now, I’m not going anywhere either – except to Portland in January. This will be my first GCN Conference, but I’ll be looking for you and Susan and Vicky in Portland.

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