Before you decide this blog isn’t for you because you don’t have a LGBTQ child or grandchild, please consider this. I’m confident there are people in your church who do, and perhaps your pastor needs to be sent this blog.
My church, Calvary Church in Grand Rapids recently began a weekly gathering we call Loving Your LGBTQ Children Well. 58 people showed up at the first informational meeting! We’re using a curriculum provided by The Center for Faith, Sexuality and Gender called Parenting LGBTQ Kids. (https://www.centerforfaith.com/).
About 1/3 of the attendees were grandparents and another 1/3 attend church elsewhere. 100% of the attendees felt shame even having LGBTQ people in their family and most had never talked to anyone except close family and their pastor about this challenge. No one except us leaders used their last names on their name tag, nor did many speak to anyone else that first night, such was the embarrassment they felt. Three meetings later, most were standing around after the meeting sharing their stories and going out to coffee afterward, just glad to be learning how to love their kids without having to compromise on the church’s historical understanding of marriage, sexuality and gender.
Here is Calvary’s position on these topics:
Position is what we believe and posture is how we treat others. Calvary Church holds to a traditional biblical ethic regarding marriage, sexuality and gender (our position). With equal importance, we believe God calls us to offer His presence, love, care and protection to LGBTQ+ people (our posture).
According to God’s design and intent, sex difference (male and female) is an intrinsic part of what marriage is. While same-sex marriage is legal in this country, it does not represent the historic Christian, biblical view of marriage.
All sex outside of marriage between a biological male and female is a sin.
The fall has corrupted God’s original intent for human sexuality in all persons; therefore, all people straight, or non-straight, experience corruption in their sexuality.
Simply experiencing an attraction to the same sex (or being “gay”) is not in itself a morally culpable sin. While all humans, gay or straight can fall into sin by sexual behaviors and lust, we do not believe simply having unwanted attractions will be judged negatively by Christ.
Biological sex is an essential part of human identity. God’s intent was and is that there are only two sexes, male and female. Because of the effects of the Fall, and through no fault of their own, some people experience dissonance between their biological sex and their internal self-understanding as male, female, both, or neither; this dissonance can be confusing and difficult.
All forms of abuse, slander, dehumanization, or oppression toward fellow humans is an affront against God’s sacred image, which has been stamped on all people.
Here are just a few reasons I’m encouraging you to urge your church to begin a similar group:
There are parents and grandparents in your church who are silent, scared and have no idea how to respond to their LGBTQ children, even adult children well. Out of compassion for them, please offer them a safe place to get instruction and understanding.
We know this to be true; Many young people in the church are fine with same-sex relationships, even marriage. And many are making our treatment of LGBTQ people the litmus test of whether they even want to be part of any church. We’ve already gotten feedback from young people who read about this group in our church bulletin that they are encouraged “the church is finally trying to love instead of hating LGBTQ people.”
There are LGBTQ kids in your church, who have already come to the conclusion that your church isn’t safe for them. You have an opportunity to change that.
If you or your pastor want more information about how to start a Loving Your LGBTQ Child Well group in your church, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.