First let me start by saying I don’t even know what all of those letters mean! Your world is foreign to me. I have friends and loved ones who are part of that world, of your world, and I love them. But I don’t get it, being LGBT, I mean. And I don’t want to bring it up and ask them any questions. It’s uncomfortable to ask someone about their sexual attractions, and seems very rude. Plus I’m afraid if I do ask, my beliefs in what the Bible says will come up and will cause hurt feelings and damaged relationships. And I don’t want that.

Dear Christian

I understand you. Somewhat. I actually grew up in your world. I have friends and family who are still part of your world. But ever since I discovered I was gay when I was in junior high, I haven’t felt welcome in your world. It doesn’t take much looking around to know you think all LGBT people are going to hell. Many Christian LGBT people stopped going to church when they figured out their sexuality. They believed if they spoke up and talked about their feelings, everyone would try to change them. And that pushed many away from Christians, from church, from God. 

I love you, as I do all people. But above all else, I love my God. And while I’ve looked a couple of different times, everything I see in my Bible says that homosexuality is wrong. I don’t know how to avoid that. I have to love God more than anyone or anything else, and that dictates how I handle this situation. Regardless of what my logic or my heart might say. That may seem crazy, especially if you don’t have a background in religion, but my life is based on faith in things I can’t see, but know are there. Many think that’s naive, but we all believe in the unseen, don’t we? In gravity, in the ultimate reaches of space. Even in the truth of history.

Christians are supposed to love everyone, but that isn’t what I see. I see judgement and a lack of desire to have relationships with gay people. I see posts on social media about how sinful we are, and how we are all condemned. I don’t understand how you can say you are loving Christians, and yet not show actual love to so many people. That is sometimes the worst thing we deal with, did you know that? When you say you love everyone, but then can’t love me, it makes me believe I’m not lovable. And if people who claim to love everyone can’t love me, how can God? Yes, I believe in God, even still. Lots of LGBT people do. But no one who claims to know Him will talk to me about anything else but how I need to change.

I also believe that God inspired my Bible, so everything in it is accurate. Oh, I know it’s been through centuries, and traversed through many languages to get to my English NIV, but the faith I have in God lets me believe He has made sure His words survive human hands. But it’s this very deep believe that causes our rift, you and I. You see, if I believe in God, and I believe the Bible is His words here on earth, and I believe in its perfection, then I don’t get to pick which parts I like and which ones I don’t. I have to believe it all. And what those worn crinkly pages tell me is homosexuality is a sin. And if it’s a sin, I don’t (I can’t) believe God created people to be LGBT, because that would be condemning them from birth, and I also think we have free will to decided whether or not to sin.

I know my B-I-B-L-E. I believe in it, too, actually. Again, I’m sure that surprises you. I know you don’t believe it’s possible to be LGBT and a Christian. But I want you to know … IT IS. So many of my queer and trans friends believe in God and the bible and it’s premises; we just don’t have very many places to worship God and to commune with other Christians. The bible is inspired by God, yes but I don’t believe it was dictated by God. Big difference. I came to that conclusion by reading the same passages in different translations and finding a lot of inconsistencies. I see it as the telephone game we played as kids — the one in which you whisper in the person next to you’s ear, then they whisper the same thing to the person next to them, and so on, until finally the person at the end says aloud what the message they heard was. It was never the same as when it started, and the longer the line of people, the more distorted the message. I see the bible that way, to some extent. My faith tells me God wouldn’t let His message become so distorted that it was no longer true. So maybe the parts that are inconsistent translation to translation really aren’t salvation issues but more cultural issues?

No, I’m not blind. I see kids that even from a young age seem to be gay. And I don’t have the answers, I just know it can’t be that they were born gay. I do think everyone is more tempted by some things than others, so maybe LGBT people are just more pre-disposed to be tempted by same-sex attraction? That makes sense to me. Fortunately, the scriptures also say God won’t let us be tempted beyond what we can bear, so I know even if your same sex attraction temptation is as strong as an addiction, if your faith is strong enough and you try hard enough, God will see you through. I truly can’t imagine how hard it must be to have that strong of a pull that you constantly must resist, and my heart hurts for you.

You see me as living my life succumbing to a strong sexual temptation. But what you aren’t hearing me say, is my homosexuality isn’t just a sexual thing for me. Just like your relationships aren’t all about sex either. I’m drawn to my gender in every way — personality, emotions, mannerisms, everything. Always have been. You know how my best friends have pretty much always been people of the opposite gender? That wasn’t because I was already checking them out at age 5, but because I related to them. This isn’t a sexual temptation, but a way of being. It’s so frustrating when you think you know me and what I’m feeling and going through more than I do. And when you tell me if I have strong enough faith, God will change me, then He doesn’t it just makes me feel like a failure. Like I’m not good enough. 

Truthfully, in the quiet secret place in my soul, I wish very much that I could let this one go, and go jump on board with letting the LGBT community live their lives as they see fit. But it just goes against everything I’ve been taught, everything I know as a Christian. And I just can’t do it. I would be turning my back on my Bible, my faith, my God. And I won’t do that. No matter what. I’m sorry for that, as I know I make your life difficult. I know I often get caught up in the topic, and forget the people. It’s not on purpose, but you guys are on the fringes of my world, and it’s easy to lose sight of your faces and names.

I can see the world view of homosexuality has shifted — when same-sex marriages became legalized, I saw that as a victory for Satan. I don’t say that because I think you are evil, but because to me it’s legalizing sin. I have to fight that. Boldly. It’s not against you, as people, but against your actions. I love you as a person, I just hate your sin. But if I have to be honest, at times I lose sight of what I’m really fighting against and I do get attacking. I’m sorry. I just want you by my side in heaven one day.

I know the LGBT community speaks up loudly against Christians. And I understand why. As a fellow Christian, I know you aren’t trying to judge and hurt. And I should speak up in your defense more. I’m sorry for that. It’s easy to forget to stand in your shoes sometimes. I hear the hypocrisy in my own words when I am condemning you because you are condemning me. I see the irony of proudly sporting a “coexist” bumper sticker while really only believing that applies to people who agree with me. But when you work towards not letting me marry the one I love, the one I want to commit my life to and speak vows in front of God with, it’s easy to get caught up on the topic and forget “Christians” aren’t just an entity, but are people. It’s not on purpose, but you have become the primary attacking force against my world, my life, and it’s easy to lose sight of your faces and names.

Do you know that when you spout “love the sinner, hate the sin” it makes me cringe? Do you hear how condescending that sounds? How it makes you look like you think you are better than me? That you don’t have sin? Sure I have sin in my life, so do you. We all do. I just don’t think one of my sins is my homosexuality. Can we just agree to love people and hate sin?

I don’t know how to close the gap between our two worlds: Christianity and LGBT. It seems to be growing and growing. But it scares me to see so many Christian leaders even publicly stating that they now affirm monogamous same-sex marriages. How can that be? Everything I see in my Bible about marriage is male/female, about homosexuality is condemning. All I know that can explain it is Satan is winning. And that just means I have to fight that much harder.

I’m joyful that some well-known Christians are digging more deeply into their bibles, and are putting the passages into context. The context of who wrote what, to whom, when and why and what was going on the world at that time. Those things are how I can be an LGBT Christian. I am not ignoring parts of my bible — I’m enriching them with a deeper cultural study that puts the whole bible, including the passages the deal directly with LGBT, into the appropriate filter. Instead of trying to read 2,000-year-old scripture through a modern lens, I’m working constantly to read it through a 2,000-year-old lens, then apply it to my world today. That’s a very different way to read the bible, but I’d think you’d agree there is nothing sinful or neglectful about that direction of study. 

I’ve heard the stories of fellow Christians who have to make hard choices when loved ones are buried in the LGBT lifestyle and refuse to stop. They have had to speak out against you publicly, have had to not attend your weddings, have even had to make you move out of their homes. How horrible to have to make those choices! That’s tough love — a love that places your salvation above their desire to be with you.

When you cut LGBT people out of your life, it doesn’t make them to want to change. That makes them want to turn away from whatever caused you to make that choice in the first place. That always includes you, the one shutting them out, and often includes the bible. I actually think a lot of times, when a Christian makes their LGBT teen move out of their home, it’s not as much as a way to make them change, but more a way to push away their own shame and embarrassment. And I doubt it takes me to tell you how that knowledge affects a person.

Ultimately I guess as a Christian, my message to you is this: work hard to solidify your relationship with God, and He will deliver you from this lifestyle. If you never agree with that, then at least know that God loves you, where you are, no matter what. I love you, too, even though I don’t always seem like it, and I am making the choices I make with what knowledge I have and where I am spiritually at any given time.

Ultimately I guess as a gay Christian, my message to you is this: being LGBT is not a lifestyle choice, but how God created me. And if you never agree with that, please know and accept that my beliefs, while different from yours, are scripturally based. I love you as a fellow Christian, even though I don’t always seem like it, and I am making the choices I make with what knowledge I have and where I am spiritually at any given time. 

Love, Christian