Updated: Jun 6, 2021
Journey to affirmation…
Adult consent. That is the bottom line as to why my position has changed. Prior to 1892, the word homosexual was not used in the English language. “The word, and with it the concept of lifelong primary sexual orientation toward members of one's own gender, was unacknowledged and probably unknown in the biblical world” (Biblestudytools.com). During Biblical times, adult men would often force themselves on servant men/boys which is a definition of the Greek word “malakos” found in Matthew, Luke, and 1 Corinthians. Paul, an old testament scholar, chose to use malakos. This word addresses an out of balance power dynamic, not an adult consensual relationship.
Wait a minute… the 21st century definition and understanding of a word translated “homosexual” did not exist when the Bible was written. Interesting. But that is not where my journey started.
I want to start by saying it feels weird to say, “I affirm someone else’s lifestyle, choices, or existence”. Who am I to affirm or reject another person? Ick, that just feels gross. However, I am a follower of Christ and I have been grilled by the question, “do you affirm the LGBTQ+ community?” on more than one occasion. It is like this litmus test question to gauge if I am really “following Christ” and scripture or not.
The first time I was asked this question was in a Facebook private message from a friend. She messaged me after I posted a Jen Hatmaker article I liked. (Jen affirms the LGBTQ+ community and is a Christian.) My friend asked if I knew about Jen’s views on LGBTQ+ and did I agree with her. I honestly had no idea what she was referring to. I looked up Jen’s views and saw that she was being roasted for saying gay sex was holy. After my many years sitting in evangelical church, I saw the problem. I replied to my friend, “no I do not believe gay sex is holy.” It hurts my heart typing that out now. I am so deeply sorry to anyone that my ignorant views hurt, then and now.
What started the change? It became personal.
My teenage son’s friend sent me a private message. She was worried about him; he was depressed and possibly suicidal. Every alarm in my soul went off… what???!!!? My husband and I sat down with him. Short version, my son came out as bi-sexual to us. Being raised in a conservative Christian household, he had extreme anxiety about telling us, he would have rather died than be rejected by his parents who he loved deeply. I was not sure how to process this information. What I did know, deep in my being, was that my genuine love for my son did not change and neither did God’s love for him. However, I prayed, "please God change him". I was not sure if he was just young, confused, or what… but life is tough for people in the LGBTQ+ community and being on the autism spectrum already brought challenges into his world. I did not want his life to get harder.
This happened over five years ago.
Since this is supposed to be a blog and not a novel… I will cut to the chase. My prayers were answered. Once my son became confident that his parents were not going to kick him to the curb, he started sharing more of his life, friends, and views with us. He is a very thoughtful, caring, and passionate young man. God has changed him. He is not afraid of rejection by his Christian parents and openly living as a gay individual. Praise.
Also, God changed me. It was not that I was actively hostile towards the LGBTQ+ community. I understood Jesus loves them just like everyone else. I had no day-to-day ties to their community or understanding of how scripture is used to hurt them.
The more time I spent with my son and his friends, the more desperately I fell in love with all of them. I struggled reconciling the clobber verses with what I was experiencing in my love for these people. A very dear friend suggested I read, “This I Know”, by Jim Dant. It helped walk me across the line drawn by people in the church, not scripture. It is a short, to the point, book and I encourage anyone curious to read it. It speaks for itself.
I continue to believe that scripture is completely reliable. It is man’s interpretation of the Bible that is often found lacking, sometimes downright destructive. When scripture is used as a weapon to persecute, oppress, and torment a people group, it is being used wrong. That is not the heart of the Lord. God is love.
We are also taught in the Bible that God creates us in our mother's womb. Yet, the Bible doesn't address people born with both sets of genitalia or no genitalia. People who don't fit neatly into gender roles pressed on people by people.
I have paused right here in my writing of this blog for quite some time. My mind has raced over the MANY arguments I have read on the internet where church folk have ROASTED people who hold the position I now do. My message to those who might wish to go there with me. Please refrain. Save your keystrokes. Write me off as whatever you need to get through your day.
If I am in error, I choose to error on the side of love, inclusion, affirmation. Jesus and I will walk it out together. Thanks for your time.
Much love and hugs, Brook
“Treat everybody like Jesus died for them because He did.”- Derwin Gray