There is an amazing group of Christian young adults in Oklahoma City. They were brought together by a common bond — the LGBT community. Some are 18, some are 25, some are 45. They were brought together by rejection.
I attended one of their open meetings last weekend, and was sharing Mom hugs for anyone who wanted one. They all did, as many of them don’t get hugs from their own moms. With one exception. One young lady stood stiff as I hugged her, then slipped away. Later in the meeting, she approached me and quietly said, “You made me cry.”
“Oh I’m so sorry.” I was dismayed. “Why did you cry?”
“Because I didn’t know people like you existed.”
People like me — Christians who offered hugs, not hurt. Moms who got over themselves enough to love their own kids, regardless of … just regardless. Seriously, this beautiful young lady was truly shocked that Christian adults in our community would offer love and support.
What’s wrong with that picture?
I’ve been blogging and publicly posting on social media for about six months now. I have seen a trend that I find very telling, and extremely sad. I can post pictures of my dog or comments about my diet and I will have 50 or so likes within a few hours. But if the word LGBT in anywhere in my post, I can only expect a dozen or so likes, AND 90% of those will be from my friends who aren’t part of my church brotherhood or community.
I get that on blogs in which I’m stating my theological beliefs on homosexuality, as I am not so blind as to realize my beliefs are definitely in the minority in the religious world. But what about when I’m just talking about sharing the love of God?
I have to be completely honest and say I avoided anything LGBT myself, only two years ago, prior to being thrust into the LGBT community when my son came out. But what I saw when I got here was shocking. The overall rate of suicide in the LGBT community is 10 times higher than in the general population, and an estimated 25% of LGBT youth who come out in religious circles are immediately turned away by their families.
Every time I attend some LGBT function, I hear stories of rejection that break your heart. Comments like, “I wish I knew what it felt for my mom to love me as I am, the way you love your son,” or “My parents haven’t kicked me out, they just refuse to talk about the gay stuff and that’s nearly as bad.”
God pushed me into this world, and I went, very reluctantly. But I have gained so much. You see, I didn’t just join the world of homosexuality, but the world of transgender and pansexual, gender fluid, asexual (yes, it’s like being back in college again). Sharing love with this group opened my heart up to all marginalized people — homeless, immigrants, mental health. It’s an ever-widening circle, but each new ring just brings me closer to God and puts my feet in the footprints of Jesus.
Free Mom Hugs is a group of Christian moms of LGBT kids who have decided to publicly love the LGBT community unconditionally. It’s not a political group, nor a religious one (although really isn’t that the heart of true religion?). Several Moms in the group are still struggling with faith issues in regards to the topic. But that doesn’t matter — we recognize a community that is shunned and hurting and in desperate need of love, and we are going to give it. Even when it ostracizes us from our own Christian communities.
Sharing unconditional love.
NOTE TO CHRISTIANS: just because you show love and support to the gay community, doesn’t mean you theologically agree with homosexuality! It just means you believe God’s love is for all. Isn’t that really what Christianity is all about? Sharing God’s love with all, but especially with the broken and down trodden?
The theme of the Christian LGBT group meeting last week was how to react in a loving way when Christians toss “scriptural grenades” in non-loving ways. Did you catch that? Here is a group of Christian young people who are constantly hurt by the church communities, yet they are praying for and working towards reaching out to bridge the gap with the very people who hurt them. THAT is God shining through.
When I’m carrying my Free Mom Hugs banner down 39th Street with fellow moms and dads, I’m pretty sure Jesus is not only in our midst, but helping us hold up our banner. You should be, too.