The Sad Plight Of Conservative Christians With LGBTQ Individuals…

Two people I know have now been accepted into membership of conservative Christian churches recently. While that in of itself doesn’t seem like it would be anything inspiring to write about, it’s the fact that both are also gay individuals, but are choosing to live out lives of celibacy.

It’s probably best I define what I mean by conservative Christians before I delve into this any further. Simply put, it’s anyone that believes the Bible is the absolute word and truth of God and 100% accurate. Personally, I stopped believing that the Bible was 100% accurate long ago when I started seeing the same persecution going on today that was going on with religious folk some 2000+ years ago during Jesus’s time.

Honestly, I’ve lost count of the number of LGBTQ individuals who have been persecuted by conservative Christians. The stories I’ve come across over the years are actually quite heart wrenching. Christians who have kicked their own children out of their homes for their sexuality. Christians that have guilted and condemned LGBTQ individuals so bad that it’s led to their suicide or them succumbing to drugs and alcohol to deal with it and choosing atheism or agnosticism as a result. It’s utterly tragic.

It’s tragic that countless Christians claim they know the truth and will of God when it comes to the 700,000,000+ LGBTQ individuals who are living on this planet and were born the way they were, individuals just like myself.

It’s tragic that countless Christians throw the few passages in the Bible as proof of how God really feels about LGTBQ individuals and saying the only solution is to either convert to heterosexuality or remain celibate, and if neither are adhered to that they’re not welcomed.

And it’s tragic that countless Christians don’t even realize how their judgmental actions towards LGTBQ individuals are only leading to a more unloving and unaccepting world, the very thing they claim they are trying to prevent.

Nevertheless, when I think of the two gay people I know who are now celibate members of their respective conservative churches, I wonder how quickly those same churches would change their tune towards them if either chose to stop being celibate and enter into a same-sex relationship with someone.

Frankly, all of this seems so not of God or Christ or filled with any type of Holy Spirit whatsoever. Isn’t Christians using the Bible as a tool towards condemning LGBTQ folk no different than how the Sadducees and Pharisees were acting two millennia ago, which Jesus spoke out so harshly against? What right does any human being have to claiming they know the absolute truth and will of God? Aren’t those who condemn LGBTQ individuals by using the Bible as their means doing just that, playing God?

It amazes me how countless Christians ignore plenty of Old Testament laws that definitely apply to them, yet still point out the ones that convict LGTBQ individuals. It also amazes me how countless Christians tend to ignore the Old Testament laws altogether and instead cite only those in the New Testament they feel apply to everyone else like LGBTQ individuals, all while ignoring the fact that plenty of other passages exist that don’t make sense anymore in this day and age.

Passages like the ones that say how women are supposed to look modest, never have short hair, be flashy, or wear jewelry.

Passages like the ones that say how women are not meant to be have a voice in church and should always remain silent.

Passages like the ones that still advocate for slavery and even talk about runaway slaves needing to be returned to their owners.

Passages like the ones that say to never be showy in prayer and worship and instead do that behind closed doors.

And passages like the ones that permanently condemn any woman who ever gets divorced.

So, while all those passages seem to constantly be forgotten about or easily tossed aside with the belief that times have changed, LGBTQ individuals continue to have Biblical passages thrown at them by countless Christians who have shunned, and even at times beaten and killed them, all in the name of God.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Christ say EVERYONE was welcomed at God’s table? And when did the word of Apostle Paul become the word of God? How do we really know that Paul wasn’t biased on his own spiritual journey? If conservative Christians say the only perfect person on this planet was Christ, then doesn’t that mean that Paul couldn’t be perfect and thus his word wouldn’t be perfect either?

That’s why I feel it’s an outright travesty when any Christian person or any Christian church denies an LGBTQ individual entrance into their life or place of worship. For me, it’s a downright disgrace to the true teachings and unconditional love of Christ.

While I would agree that my many adulterous and promiscuous actions of my past were sinful in nature, my loving my same-sex partner today and doing my best to remain devoted heart, mind, and soul to him is not and I absolutely believe that God and Christ would agree.

How can I say that? Well didn’t Christ himself say the two most important commandments were to love God with all one’s heart and soul and to love one’s neighbor as themselves? If that’s true then isn’t loving my partner unconditionally and asking God every single day to guide my relationship with my partner doing just that? On the contrary, isn’t condemning homosexuality, ostracizing countless LGBTQ individuals in the process, and citing out Bible passages as laws that support their actions not following these two most important commandments? And lastly, is telling LGBTQ individuals that their only choices in life to be fully accepted by God is to either convert to heterosexuality or become totally celibate really practicing either of those two commandments either?

Gracious God, I so live for the day when all of Your people are actually allowed to be their true selves on their individual walks with You, where the Spirit guides each of us individually, where our sexuality isn’t a criterion for acceptance and membership into Your kingdom, and where your son Christ’s true teachings of unconditional love finally become the reality for all of us on this planet, and not just some of us…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, a time to be reflective on a piece of gratitude from my life, which for today is for the weekly prison commitment I’m now doing for my recovery program from alcohol and drugs.

Not too long ago, when a friend mentioned that the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) prison committee in the area needed support, I felt a push from my Spirit that it was time to take on a new responsibility in my life. The AA prison committee is such that it has people who volunteer weekly in bringing recovery meetings to where people are incarcerated. Up to that point, I had only ever helped to coordinate two or three prison meetings many, many years ago, as I had typically felt too uncomfortable doing them. Yet, something gently nudged me to reconsider this as a new part of my 12th step work in helping others and just over four weeks ago that officially became a reality when I, and one of my sponsees, brought a meeting into the downtown Toledo jail on a Monday night. Ever since, we’ve been doing the same at the beginning of every week and I have found an incredible amount of gratitude in continuing to do so.

Probably the biggest reason for feeling grateful in this new part of my recovery is the simple fact that it seems to be helping others. So far, there have been a considerable number of inmates who have been really moved by what my sponsee and I have shared. Somehow, our simple sharing of our experience, strength, and hope has helped to provide them a spark on their road to recovery from their own addictions. Quite a few have even gone so far as to specifically tell us how much we’ve been inspiring them and that is motivation enough to keep going back week after week.

Another important reason for feeling grateful is that I was able to walk through my fears of being in a locked jail amongst inmates. I think it’s pretty amazing anytime I face a fear in my recovery and to choose to walk through it instead of avoiding it. So, to enter this jail every Monday night, to lock my belongings up, and to pass through not one, not two, not three, but four locked wards to get to where we take the meeting, took a huge amount of courage to overcome all my fear surrounding jails and prisons. God definitely provided me that and now after having been there for a number of weeks in a row, I find myself actually looking forward to it, rather than fearing it.

Lastly, one more reason for feeling grateful with this new prison commitment is for the sheer fact that I’ve never been incarcerated myself. Honestly, with the number of things I’ve done in my life, I should have been. During my active alcohol and drug addiction days, I most certainly did behaviors that were illegal and I’m not proud of that. Vandalism being one of the biggest and becoming a kleptomaniac being the other. Thankfully, both ended when I became sober, but sitting in this jail for an hour or so every week reminds me of how many haven’t escaped their addiction, where the result has been stints of incarceration. I’m so very thankful I’ve never had to spend any time behind bars and on some level, taking this meeting into a jail every week provides a great reminder of just how bad my alcohol and drug addiction could get if I should ever think about returning to it.

Nevertheless, in just a few short weeks, I’ve found that bringing a weekly AA prison meeting to men who are hungry for a better way of life to be extremely rewarding, mind, body, and soul, and I pray for continued guidance from my Higher Power to keep bringing a positive spiritual message to all of those there who I know most certainly are in the desperate need of it.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson