That Piece About Love And The LGBT Community

Remember that Christian pastor that spoke of his unconditional love for his children, one which would not change even if they came out of the closet to him? Well, I was recently perusing his Twitter timeline, and I happened on a link that took me to a post on this blog, the one you’ll read below. He titled it ‘Distorted Love: The Toll Of Our Christian Theology On The LGBT Community.’ When I read that piece, I thought immediately about one person, a good friend of mine, Sensei. Sensei is very passionate about love amongst humanity, no matter the race, religion, culture or belief.

And it would seem Pastor John Pavlovitz agrees with him. Read below.

*

sadgirlLove doesn’t always look like love.

When I published this blog post [Note: The blog post about his love for his children] two weeks ago, I was prepared for some people to applaud it, and for others to condemn it. That’s what happens whenever you put an opinion out there.

I was fully prepared for the waves of both support and hostility that accompany any vantage point on anything, especially a controversial topic like Sexuality.

What I was not prepared for in any way, were the literally hundreds and hundreds of people who have reached out to me personally, to thank me for bringing some healing and hope to their families. Parents, children, siblings, and adults have confided in me (some for the first time anywhere), telling of the pain, and bullying, and shunning they’re received from churches, pastors, and church members; from professed followers of Jesus.

Scores of people from all over the world have shared with me their devastating stories of exclusion and isolation, of unanswered prayers to change, of destructive conversion therapies, of repeated suicide attempts, and of being actively and passively driven from faith, by people of faith.

Church, this is the reality of our theology on homosexuality.

This is the cost of our religion to the LGBT community. More accurately, it’s the cost of our religion to LGBT human beings. This is the painful collateral damage that comes when we see principles and ignore people; when we refuse to give them the dignity they deserve.

Apparently Love does hurt; really, really badly.

The most common defense I’ve heard over the past 14 days from Christians who believe that being gay is both chosen and sinful, has been some variation of the supposedly well-meaning, “Well, we’re just loving people by being honest with them, by giving them ‘the Truth’. Telling people the truth is loving them.”

Really?

The truth?

Are you sure you want the truth?

(I so want to quote Jack Nicholson right now).

I have a crammed, bursting inbox of “truth” for you if you’re interested in reading, Church.

It’s full of vile profanity, and utter contempt, and crude jokes, and physical violence, and white-hot fear. It’s packed with school hallway harassment, and city street beat-downs, and church shunning, and workplace hazing, and brutal self-harm, and all sorts of perpetual, personal terrorism.

And none of it looks a thing like Love to me.

It certainly doesn’t look like love to the sweet, 12-year old middle school girl in your church who’s been repeatedly told she’s an abomination; that God already despises her.

It doesn’t look like love to the devastated parents who have watched their son hang himself because he was assured by his Christian schoolmates that he’s better dead than gay.

It doesn’t look like love to the devoted, faithful Christian school teacher who has lost her life-long career for no other reason than her Relationship Status.

It doesn’t look like love to the 60-year old Christian man who has prayed his whole life to be “fixed”, and who God has refused to, yet is still an outcast in his family of faith.

It doesn’t look like love to the gay couple having their heads smashed-in by professed “Christian” strangers while walking down the street.

It doesn’t look like love to the family of a transgender high school Junior, who can’t find a church family that will welcome them or include them or acknowledge them.

And I’m totally comfortable believing that it doesn’t look like love to Jesus either.

The real problem with so much Christian theology toward the LGBT community is that it seemingly works fine from a distance, for someone firing off Scripture passages or religious phrases; it just often falls apart for them when trying to translate it to actual human lives and within authentic, caring relationships.

When you have the guts and the decency and the compassion to crawl out from behind computer keyboards and plasma screens; from radio show phone calls and bullhorn shouting, you end up standing face-to-face with beautiful, wounded, scarred people with real stories, and you realize something’s wrong here.

Something’s badly broken.

This is not what Christ’s love looks like.

Jesus’ love, even if it came with hard words, somehow always seemed and felt like love. People were seen. They were heard. They were touched. They were left with more dignity than when they started. I’m not sure LGBT people can say the same about their encounters with most Christians.

Can they say it about you?

So many believers want to make this all about sin; about the theology of homosexuality that they’re claiming to be defending, but it really isn’t. Regardless of where you stand theologically as a Christian, this is about treating all people, like they are made by God and in the image of God.

Jesus’ command to love God and love others as we would desire to be loved – that is theology too. In fact, He said it was the greatest portion of it; our most pressing personal moral responsibility. You wanna argue that? Argue with Jesus.

Church, the blood and the bruises of the LGBT community are on your hands and mine as believers, as long we allow any Christian to dehumanize them in the name of loving them.

However we want to frame it or justify it, the net result of our religion to so many gay people is that entire families are being torn apart, sent to the shadows, and horribly mistreated in the name of Jesus. Real flesh-and-blood people are going through uninvited, individual Hell every day at the hands of people who claim Christ. The Church’s treatment of the LGBT community people has been downright sinful, and it’s killing our testimony to the world.

We’re making it virtually impossible for gay people to exist in our churches, and then feeling justified in damning them for walking away from God when they leave. The truth is, so often, they aren’t turning away from God, they’re just removing themselves from harm’s way.

We are losing credibility to those outside the organized Christianity, not because we’re “condoning sin”, but because when the rubber meets the road, we really don’t know how to “love the sinner” in any way that remotely resembles Jesus, and our “God is love” platitudes ring hollow.

Church, this is our legacy that we are building in these days to the LGBT community and those who love them, and I assure you, it’s not legacy of love.

I don’t know what the answer is for you, and I can’t tell you how your theology gets expressed in the trenches of real people’s lives. I only know that we as Christ’s Church can do better, regardless of our theological stance. We have to do better.

This is where our faith is proven to be made of Jesus-stuff, or not.

This is where the love of God we like to preach about, is either clearly seen or terribly distorted.

*

Enough said! Let him with ears hear and him with a heart love.

68 thoughts on “That Piece About Love And The LGBT Community

  1. I can die now. This dude said it all!!!!!!! Something is TERRIBLY WRONG with “Christianity”. It is my prayer that more and more people will come to this understanding of what love truly is. Love is all we need!!!

  2. Oh my heart *clutches chest*. I’m hurt you also did not think of me, i like to think i also preach and practice this theology. Why then would you not think of me when reading this wonderful piece?
    *wailing* Oh the pains of a broken heart

  3. I remember that when the last piece about this pastor aired, some folks here said he’s probably just saying things he wouldn’t do. I hope this convinces you guys that the man is for real. I don’t know who he is but when someone is this earnest in his opinion, what he said about being a parent to gay children is certainly his true nature.

  4. Going through the listings of the supposed harm the church has done to its gay members,the first feeling I had was to send back a rebuttal calling them lies against the church but on a second thought,I restrained myself. Maybe the writer is privy to things I’m not aware of. Maybe the writer had a first hand experience or knows someone or someone who knows someone who had. If these allegations are not imaginations or made up,please can members of this forum including the writer of this article relay to us their experiences at the hands of the church. I belong to the Anglican communion. I have been actively involved in the church since when I was 12.I still remember atleast 3 openly gay age mates of mine. We were all in the AYF and no one has ever treated them with disdain to the best of my knowledge. They were my close friends. The worst I can remember was a warning from another friend not to associate with them but I disregarded it and nobody has ever treated me with disdain for associating with them.i have been to dioceses all over the country and the worst I have come across was the call for people to desist from the sin of homosexuality.

      • Thank you Colossus! ! Muah!! Ask your friends to make their sexuality open and you’ll see the fangs of hatred bared!

      • Read my comments well before reacting. I said that my friends were already known as gays but that’s not even the issue. My request was that people who have had a brush with the church directly should relate it. Taking it further,anyone who knows someone that knows someone who the church has withdrawn it’s love from on account of his sexuality should relate his experience. We are here in search of the truth not propaganda

      • You can bless as much as you like but please transmit to us real life experience of anybody the church has denied love owing to his sexuality

      • Guy please go and rest. I have made the decision not to ever argue with you over this church vs LGBT issue. That’s exactly why I’ve been ignoring your contentious comments. You know the true basis of the argument, at least I want to believe you do, but you’re too ‘pious’ to entertain it. So leave me to my commendations of others who are making a point that I see.

      • I can’t accept a lie even though it favors me. I thought we have a common goal which is to search for the truth. All I have asked for is that people relay their experiences in the hands of the church. If we can tell kito stories and even condemn someone for murder here simply because he said he killed,why is it difficult to tell how the church has driven some of us to suicide attempts?

    • Gad you never cease to amaze me. You just read an article by a man who tells you he has heard several stories of people who have suffered rejection by the church and you want to hear details. So you think he is lying? Falsifying information to create an impression? You maybe you are just in denial. You are refusing to believe a truth that is so obvious just because it sends an arrow to the heart of beliefs. If you REALLY wanna know about the rejection and suffering people have suffered, please do some research. Ever heard of google?

      • I have done the research long ago. Thats why I find the article strange. Let me also refer us to http://www.gaystarnews.com where I have been on subscription for about 3yrs now. Most of the crimes against gays by the society and even the church all took place on western soil (Europe and America). Need I remind us that the west is officially regarded on KD as safe havens where gays can run to seek assylum from our homophobic Nigeria. I’m only seeking answers. Thankfully, Pinky has promised a way out.I wait patiently.If it comes and truthfully too, I shall confront my church with it at DIVCON which holds from 3rd to 7th Nov

  5. Rather than mounting high horses from where we dish out imaginary allegations against the church for their stand,we should develop different mechanisms to reach out to the church and reason together. Some church,s bible studies are interactive.we can use such forum.The stand of the church is based on the information she has. I think we can only be justified in our attacks on the church if we on our part has put our side of the argument on the table.Anything short of this is unfair.So unfair.

    • 1)It seems to me that you think that Truth is an institution. But it isn’t. Infact institutions are the way through which truth gets gagged, supressed and perverted. His words are Spirit and they are life. Your cathedrals are just whitewashed tombs with rotting flesh within.
      2) You cannot personally guarantee the integrity of the entire christendom. History books are bursting at their seams with accounts of the HORRORS the christian church has done in God’s name including the “HOLY ANGLICAN”. Again, I refer you to google.

      • Let’s not deviate from the point of discuss.The case in point is the Nigerian church,s treatment of gays to the horrible extent that some has attended suicide. Talking about the Church and the sins of its members, dear sir, though you may know more than me but I’m aware that some people in the church has committed one crime or other in the past,like embezzlement, adultery,cultism etc and it will continue but that’s not what we are looking at here.

  6. ” The truth is,
    so often, they aren’t turning away from God,
    they’re just removing themselves from harm’s
    way.”

    Amen!

  7. While I agree with all he has said (God bless u pastor) I believe this should be a call to all the people blinded by the ‘religion’ bullshit.. If I recall vividly, the bill was passed in Nigeria bcos according to them no religion in the country approves Homosexuality.. Christians and all other religious people need to LEARN. Meanwhile, christianity is sham these days…

    • Nna,your memory has failed you. The anti-gay bill was not passed because no religion approves of it. You need to go through the archives. One excuse I heard the committee members give to human right,s organisations was that there are no gays in Nigeria and that the practice is un-African. Religion wasn’t mentioned.Atleast to my hearing

      • Oh my God in heaven!!!!! Surely you can’t be real, no human being can ever be this dense, it just can’t be possible, i absolutely refuse to accept you’re speaking with fact and a tad bit of common sense.
        Cmon man, give me something to work with, i want to accept you, i really do but you’re making this so hard.

      • I expected you to present facts. I monitored the committee hearing on television and I said what I saw. If you had said you read this in the papers or something like that,I would have started feeling that I didn’t hear rightly but your response actually made me feel like” no wonder,I’m right” *waves hands in praise to God that you rejected me*

  8. gad, it is either you have a terribly short memory, or you deliberately chose to ignore the fact that your church chose to split with the church of England rather than recognize every gay Anglican’s right to enter into a gay marriage.

    Your heterosexual priests get married to the opposite sex, yet you guys, especially the African ones thought its abominable for your gay priests to get married to people of the same sex. Purleeeese!
    Refresh your memory!
    Remind yourself of that ranting (and ugly) Primate of yours, Peter J Akinola.
    Be informed that as a gay man in his mid 20s then, I was terrorized and mentally tortured by that man!
    I’m minded to sue him right now.

    Lol.

    • His Grace Peter Jasper Akinola remains the best Primate I have ever known in our communion. We are getting somewhere.Please relate your experience. For your information,ordination of gay priests was one of the reasons the church severed ties with the parent body,the church of England but not the only reason. Again,I challenge you,has anyone come forward to make his facts known to the church? Why will you call a man names because he didn’t know how you feel when you haven’t made it known to him? That’s my point.

      • The issue here is not about who has come forward with a complaint or who hasn’t.
        The big question here is: did the Anglican Church in Nigeria create the platform upon which people could air their grievances?
        You know what the answer is, when the same church is up in arms against gay marriages and is in support of a government that does same.
        How can one complain when no one is paying attention?

      • ” we thank God that we don’t have gays amongs us” Those were the words of my priest in the 90s. one irony of this whole gay wahala is that most of the people in the church are not aware or don’t believe that there are Nigerians who are homosexuals

      • while your church was busy thanking her god (yes god, mind the small “g”) that there are no gay people in Nigeria, she published this in her official website:

        ” The Primate of all Nigeria has said “Our
        argument is that, if homosexuals see
        themselves as deviants who have gone astray,
        the Christian spirit would plead for patience
        and prayers to make room for their
        repentance. When scripture says something is
        wrong and some people say that it is right,
        such people make God a liar. We argue that it
        is a blatant lie against Almighty God that
        homosexuality is their God-given urge and
        inclination. For us, it is better seen as an
        acquired aberration.”.

        What do we call that? Ranting about non existent people? You saw the “acquired aberration” crap there, right?

        okay you said it was in the 90s. So you Anglicans suddenly started having gay people among you?
        I’m not interested in the opinion of ordinary people in that church.
        I’m interested in the official church position.
        How does that Church treat gay people NOW ?
        The church treats them to a cup of tea after every Sunday service eh?
        Humph! Lol.

      • Was that quote directed to a Nigerian audience? Pls don’t get me wrong. The church is ant-gay. No doubt. You referred me to a link this morning and I must confess that I saw things that are new to me. The scripture quoted in the book of acts was coincidentally the first bible chapter the church introduced me to at age 12 but this morning it came with a different insight. I toyed with the idea of getting copies of that Priests write-up and sharing same in the church but changed my mind. My argument is that we educate the church on this before we condemn.

      • I must thank you again for that link. However, I didn’t see anything different from the things I have been saying. The church was addressing it’s western counterparts and it draws it’s arguments from the scriptures it quoted both in the old and new testaments. The church taught me that to understand a particular scripture, you have to put the history of the people that existed then into consideration plus the mind of God. It mentioned the practices of the pagan neighbours of the Israelis then in its website but failed to see a link between the nature of God and homosexuality as practiced by these pagans. I think this is where we have to take it from. The church of Nigeria is stubborn I admit but by no means foolish. If it’s convinced otherwise,it will easily change its stand and even apologize. Did you notice the pledge of the church to continue to extend pastoral care to gays? Hmmm

      • oh wait, you have a problem with my calling Akinola names, but you are somehow ok with Akinola calling gay people unprintable names? Really?

      • I’m not calling people to take foolish steps. We should look for an avenue to reach out to the church and systematically bring these things to the table. May I inform you that sometime within the month, I called the attention of my church elders during a meeting to how far they are driving the younger ones away through their attitudes. I didn’t mention KD but I used the summary of the worries I get from people here as a case in point,to my surprise not one person disagreed with me. We should start something in our little corners

      • I have sat under His grace,s preachings severally even when he preaches against gayism. I never for once heard him call names.His problems seems to be with his western colleagues and western culture. As I said earlier he doesn’t seem to know that we have gays amongs us because he and others kept thanking God that we don’t have gays here. I’m not holding brief for him but all I’m saying is before we condemn let’s educate

  9. I want to agree with this pastor and of course I do! God truly is love and yes that’s how I got up know him. His spirit accepted me even when HE knew I was gay and if that’s not love i wonder what is! So I guess sometimes in our love for God we could misconstrue his words but never his heart! His words truly say woman to man but it also says sin isn’t the act…it’s the nature which he has taken away from every man in CHRIST! so if you believe in his redemptive work on THE CROSS then you are free from guilt or shame…..now why that is so hard to get by the populace ……still beats me till date. Maybe it’s still us that isn’t getting the true message of love across and for that truly I repent….but that God is anything but LOVE…..i can bleed to fight that!

  10. I really am not one to make comments about religion and being gay.
    Lemme just say I often wonder how heterosexual people feel they were born that way and are normal, i feel like i was born gay but that can’t be normal too. I am very involved in church (you will be surprised how many gay people are), have been for a very long time and as much as i try to change, we hear that being gay is a sin all the time, but i am back where i started in not too long a time. But i can tell you that all the Pastors i have met except one, did not express themselves about gay people with hate, it was always a call to surrender it to God. I guess it is their duty to call everyone who they feel is not doing the right thing in the sight of God, even though they don’t see through his eyes, to him.
    Btw everyone should listen to the song ‘same love’ by macklemore. I almost cried the first time i listened to it. How can a straight person be so deep. I thought maybe Frank Ocean would do a song like that.

  11. Ok, I’m never a late bird here.. But was too busy yesterday..didn’t see this post..
    I can see some character development in @King
    And then @Gad is like a malignant ALS .. He needs to be removed from here.. I know cyber bullying is not always good, but it ain’t all bad either.. Seriously this dude talks like his head was grilled in cheap oven sometimes.. Talks like he has a walnut sized brain. And I’m even surprised you guys still engage him. He’s obviously someone who’s so bored with his life and has no attention from anywhere so he comes here and spews all his sh*t to gain peoples attention.
    Ignoring him will be the best way to deal with his sh*t.
    Today he’s north and tomorrow he’s south… Talk of bipolar tendencies…damn!!!

  12. My point is that you keep talking like the church, ANY church for that matter is above reproach. Is that really true? Nigeria is one of the most homophobic countries in the world. Don’t you know? I’d be shocked if you say you don’t! So homophobic that we have made it a law. And again, Nigeria was at one time the most religious country in the world and at another time SECOND most religious. Please the conclusion is OBVIOUS. And have you ever considered that the reason why we hear of injustices christian gay suffer in western countries is because the clime is tolerant enough for them to COME OUT? In Nigeria, the gay community is almost entirely underground and INVISIBLE! Where will you persecute those you can’t see? And all the people who commit kito probably are devoted christians. Do you think that Nigerian Christians are more civilized or less anger prone or understand the gospel of love better than those in the western churches? I wonder! You say the Nigerian Church is innocent of all the homophobia charges. Now tell me why! Are we really better than other christians around the world? Consider that apart from being the one of the most religious countries in the world, we are simultaneously one of the most corrupt. Oh yes! You “churchianity” failed to make you less corrupt. And indeed it cannot because it is lifeless.

      • @ s-sensei, I would have gladly offered clarifications on the posers you just raised but it came a bit late. I realized a bit late that KD is not so different like Nairaland where people freely use strong and abusive languages on others just because they can’t accommodate opposing views. I’m so sorry that I can’t address you or anybody on this or any other issues on this platform again. Thanks for your understanding.

      • Oh boo-hoo. Poor gad, coming to the ‘shocking’ realization that the gay playground is as mean as any other playground. Guy, at the end of the day, we’re all humans, irrespective of sexuality. I don’t understand this rosy outlook you claim to have of gay guys.

      • And by the way, i really commend your maturity in not responding in the same manner some commenters address you. Yes, i noticed. I may not agree with your views but you are one mature dude. Keep it up!

      • @ s_sensei,I never said you are abusive. I’m begining to wonder if people really read comments here before replying. All I’m saying is that having watched silently and seeing the occasional name calling and use of gutter language against people simply because their opinions differ, I have taken a decision to stop participating on discussions here so as not to give room to a situation where I will be forced to descend to the shameful level of resorting to exchange of unpleasant words with people who I don’t even know and may never want to know. I do not want to give gain sayers the opportunity to start making insinuations. Some of my friends who feel that their could be more to this rudeness are already asking me questions and making suggestions on what could possibly be the reason for the unreasonable attacks from Pinky and the one his act has encouraged. It was as this point that I decided that there is the need to make some re-definements. I must confess that I have met intelligent,cultured and objective Nigerians here who I’m proud of no doubt.

  13. Wow!!!! I have really underestimated the power of the brain washing called religion. Suddenly the church is the victim. Wow….dumbfounded!

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