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Mainstream Christian/Fundamentalist


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#1
Ranwenharp

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Hi all,
first, grats to lesbotronics for opening this can of worms. :) There aren't too many safe places to discuss spirituality in connection with our lives. And, I can imagine, there may not be too many "mainstream" Christian lesbians. I certainly haven't met many in my time. In any case, if you ARE in a mainstream church, I just wanted to share this story:

For years I struggled with the conflict "How can I be gay AND a Christian?" I wrestled with feelings of rejection, fear, and anxiety if my church family *found out* After some time, I just got too tired and pissed to hide, and eventually started letting a few friends at church know. I was delighted to find that many didn't give a rat's a$$, once they got to know me. But I still struggled internally with my "progamming" that I must be going to hell for being gay.

A few months ago, a friend went to a gay rights conference and brought home a DVD called "For The Bible Tells Me So" which addresses this very question. It's a great resource for gays, as we try to explain our lives and struggles to those who are deeply ingrained with fundamentalist values. It is challenging to the basic "oh, you're gay, you're going to hell" philosophy. It uses family stories from many perpectives to personalize the gay life, and has been a powerful tool for gay rights advocates to gently educate others.

When I watched it, the pieces finally fell into place - it put the bible in correct historical and cultural context. It took a while to digest, and I did a LOT of my own soul searching and scripture studying. And when I finally understood, it was like a HUGE weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

If anyone else out there has struggled with this issue, it's definately worth a look. I'm pretty sure you can get it on Amazon. I'd be interested to know how others have dealt with this in mainstream churches too.

#2
elimatthew

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My name is Eli. I live in Tampa, FL. I might as well address you personally as we do seem to be a minority of 2.

Thanks for the DVD referral. I haven't seen that one. I grew up southern baptist, became a witch as a child (my Sunday School teacher was kicked out of the church on so called charges as such), practiced Wicca for 20 years, then discovered personal issues that couldn't be overcome by pagan practice. Went to MCC, UU churches for several years....but have now landed at the Episcopal Church of downtown Tampa. Congregations tend to have personalities, and I do love the ritual, tradition and social skills of Episcopalians.

Unfortunately I haven't found any lesbians in this community. I attended the Biblical Archeology Review annual conference last year because Biblical interpretation and context is important. There are still people who believe "quoting" the scripture is authoritative. I think of them as God's "mini me" on earth trying to drive me out. But I know God doesn't need a mini me, in fact to a living present God it's blasphemy.

Just finished reading Thomas L. Thompson on Biblical Myth. The Bible is a basket of Near Eastern literature, more akin to a library than a book. As such it contains the roots of civilization, and contains irony and humor as well as counterText that requires people to think. Thus the inconsistency and contradiction. Parallel and contradictory narrative prevents the Bible from being factual. Hence people who try to use scripture as a weapon can be defeated by Biblical Literacy.

I know it's the Way for me, but I need a forum to practice. Are you interested in such a quest?

Cordially,
Eli :)

#3
elimatthew

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Greetings Lesbians and (perhaps) Christians,

I have ordered the Bible Tells Me SO from Netflix and look forward to viewing it.

For the sake of those trolling this topic, I'd like to post some observations from time to time to generate discussion.

The most obvious question is why belong to a club that doesn't want us. The Church reinforces certain values that I'd like to be able to assume in those I share my life with. Likewise, not being a perfect person, these same people will have to nourish the Christ in me as I may in them. This is vague but quite specific when a friend does or believes something that might terminate relations or hurt/offend. Of course it's about living in community, but the Church has lasted since the dark ages and the tradition holds wisdom (borrowed or stolen as it may be). How long will the LGBT consensus last?

#4
lesbotronic

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Quote

The Church reinforces certain values that I'd like to be able to assume in those I share my life with. Likewise, not being a perfect person, these same people will have to nourish the Christ in me as I may in them. This is vague but quite specific when a friend does or believes something that might terminate relations or hurt/offend.

If you don't mind a bit of an aside, this is something that I've been struggling with lately. If you had any additional observations there, I certainly wouldn't mind reading them.

I don't want to get specific, because it could get too identifying and then I'd be breaking a confidence, but I'm struggling with what is or should be my reaction when someone I consider(ed?) a friend does something I feel they definitely should not have done, for moral reasons. Not something simply self-destructive, but something that affects others in a severe, negative way.

Part of the struggle is also that these things I think they should not have done do not affect me directly or personally . . . other than feeling upset about it. On the one hand, I feel like my reaction is pretty natural, almost unavoidable. On the other, it feels like it might be an overly judgmental overstep to feel angry with someone for doing something that has not caused me harm in any way.

I've told them how I feel and that I believe it would be best for everyone involved, even including them (there are 2 situations here) too, if they stopped doing the bad things. They agreed with me that the bad things are in fact, bad, but either don't think they're really bad, just a little bad (one), or feel powerless to stop (the other). I don't agree with the assessment of powerlessness. I think it's completely bogus, and have told them so.

The "badness" is also ongoing. It's not a one-time bad thing that someone feels bad about doing in the past and isn't doing anymore. I think forgiving them would be a whole lot easier if that were the situation, but unfortunately, it isn't. These situations have also caused me to realize that forgiveness is a heck of a lot easier for something that's past tense, not present and probably future tense.

What's the role of friendship in this sort of situation? I've definitely told them how I feel. I feel it was correct that I did that. But it didn't change anything.

As I'm entitled to be or not be friends with whomever I like, I don't feel I'm . . . I don't know exactly . . . obligated to continue the friendship, if I don't want to? But throwing away a friendship of multiple years feels wrong too. Continuing the friendship feeling the way I'm feeling AND dumping them over it both feel wrong.

How would you think about or make a decision about that? (You, meaning elimatthew and anyone else reading that wants to chime in.)

#5
elimatthew

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Every time you feel uncomfortable declare "So and so, you know I'm praying for you". Use every opportunity to get God around this person, and then let go.

I'm a very open person and often get involved with people with "issues". Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

I have de-friended someone after several years of friendship. But she was agnostic and I didn't have any of the Christian influences to work with. The issue was she chose to be cheap and manipulative with me, while channeling my generosity to male scam artists. I could have been less generous and lowered my expectations, but when I added up what I could trust her with emotionally....just wasn't worth it. She chose to be unavailable when I needed her. So no friend. That's an option (without Christ).

I find myself getting into a tizzy sometimes, the latest example being about murder. A friend whom I'm sharing theology with "LOVES" Joseph Campbell, so I've read his summaries. I discover Joseph Campbell doesn't know that murder is wrong. He describes an Eastern sacrifice scene where the high priest kills the young female victom and both have become the transcendent Oneness of the universe as the soul lays down the body.....TERRIFYING. This is why I'm not a witch anymore. I want the earth itself to cry out with blood guilt (as in Cain story). So I not only hate Joseph Campbell and the other relative-ists, I wonder how I can ever trust this friend anymore.

I'm in a tizzy over this academic issue, then I realize that to God it's not academic. I have to tell you this friend did time for manslaughter many years ago. But perhaps there is more to it than that, or he hasn't repented. I don't know and didn't want to know. Now I realize God is not going to let me get away with benign ignorance. God is moving in me and I don't know what will happen.

But I do know I'll never go up to his apartment again. And I am bound to remain engaged because ....well, God is moving in me and I'm curious as to what is going to happen.

#6
DustyLover

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Hello, fellow bloggers. I actually wrote a separate, thoughtful piece and typed it, to be prepared in case anyone ever asks me: How do you square being gay and christian?
Mainly, it just says that I accept myself as being lesbian, and I know God loves me as I am, since he made me himself. So to me, there's nothing to really reconcile, it's not either-or. It's both-and. I'm a lesbian with a strong faith. I do worship and go to mass. It's all one big ball of wax. I don't separate my life into boxes. This is what being a whole person means to me.
Mary J Blige has a song: "So take me, as I am, or have nothing at all."
Being gay is something that has given me much joy and happiness. Being straight doesn't nec. make you immune to life's heartbreak.
Joy and pain does happen to everyone.
The gay community is where I learned how to love, as an adult. The gay community is a kind of church. I learned that all gay men are my brothers. Anyone who's been in a gay dance club at 1 a.m. with the smoke rising, and the masses of people just moving together to the beat, knows what a spiritual experience that can be.
I have attended MCC before, and may do so again. I am a whole person, and being gay is only one part of my life. I've never asked God to forgive me for being gay. I've never asked him: Why did you make me this way? I can't change my eye color either.
I don't feel judged by God. Only by other christians. What's wrong with this picture?
I wish fewer gay people would hate themselves or commit suicide or drink and drug because they feel unloved by God. Coming out is a struggle, like a rebirthing. That's when people are the most vulnerable. It's when they need God the most.
Remember, the bible isn't the only holy book. There have been many teachers throughout history. No one knows it all.
God will always be greater than any of our problems. God is good. And we are good.

#7
Sheena

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I second the recommendation of "For The Bible Tells Me So." "Fish out of Water" is another good one.
I am a christian. I prayed for years for God to "cleanse me" or "cure me" or whatever. No dice. I guess He's okay with me being me, because I still feel His presence when I sing His praises. It hurts me sometimes to think that I can never come out to my church people. But it's because of them, their own predjudice, not God's. Or so that is what I've come to believe. And I can't call them bad people for that, because we all make mistakes. If I judge them for judging me, how would I be any better?

Edited by Sheena, 03 April 2012 - 11:05 PM.


#8
Atlantis

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I am not a Christian but my grandmother, who helped raise me, was a Baptist (not Southern) and she was taught strict rules on human sexuality and gender roles, it was kind of scary. I grew up feeling like if I found a woman attractive (I was a sinner), if I found a man attractive (I was a whore), and who knows what I was if I found someone that was transgendered or didn't fit a gender attractive (her generation didn't talk about gender identity issues). I also did not fit her Christian view of a female, I was more of a male inside and did not do girlie stuff (dressed most of the time like a boy, I played like a boy, and thought like a boy). I would call myself a pansexual and gender fluid (though I am more masculine I do recognized that I have a female side, she just isn’t around a lot). I do not think I would ever fit in a Baptist church, they would think I was weird and they would want to convert me into a proper straight female. I am happy the way I am. 8)

Edited by Atlantis, 27 September 2013 - 10:22 AM.






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