3 Lessons Straight Christians Must Learn

If you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) you’ve probably received an email like this one. Image

I’ve received emails like this one since I’ve come out. I’ve received them from old friends, strangers and in this case from past fellow church members. People who are reaching out to me in hopes for me to “see the light” and come out of this “lifestyle”—for me to deny my identity. 

There was a time when I would have been really hurt by an email like the one from Connie. People don’t realize that we aren’t talking about an abstract theological concept. When you talk about homosexuality—or really same-sex sex—you’re talking about a piece of me. I didn’t choose this anymore than you choose to be straight. This is my road to walk and you can critique from the sidelines on how I should live all you like, it still is my shoes making the journey. 

Above anything, I just wish Connie could know the Jesus I know. The one that delivers us from fear, breaks the bondage of ignorance, the one that loves and affirms all people; regardless of their sexual orientation. 

I’m not hurt by Connie’s email because I know she means well. She has reached out to me time and time again, she truly cares and wants the best for me. However, Connie is confusing her best with God’s best. Connie has done what countless others have done and continue to do; they have made God nothing more than a mere reflection of themselves. 

Faith is a journey, it’s a personal journey. When you stop traveling in your faith, you stop growing and you stop learning. I believe the Divine is knocking on the church’s door and asking, “Will you love my LGBT children as I love them? As I affirm them? Will you choose to know them as I know them?” 

To all the Connies out there, here are three important lessons to learn… 

– First, When you tell me my life would be better as x,y,z; you’re minimizing my relationship with Christ. I have a different interpretation of a couple verses in the Bible. I have reconciled my faith and sexual orientation. There has to be respect for my personal journey with God. 

– Next, ask yourself have you actually done your research on what the bible says or doesn’t say in regards to homosexuality as we understand it today? My friend Eliel Cruz says, “You’ve read six Bible verses, listened to a 45-minute sermon and have deemed yourself well-versed on the multifaceted subject of homosexuality. How quickly you have become an expert on the lives of thousands. An expert on my life.” (Watch Eliel’s moving video with his spoken word, “Where Were You?” HERE) There are many, many interpretations out there from different theological perspectives. A great book is “Bible, Gender, Sexuality” by James Brownson. Wrestle with your beliefs, I have. 

– Lastly, just get to know me. Come into genuine fellowship with me. I’d love to have a mutually respectful dialogue about this subject. It is only through genuine fellowship that we can both truly see each other, learn from each other and grow in our faith together. 

Remember, this is a journey and it’s not over. 

Be love, 
Azariah Southworth
(co-authored by Eliel Cruz)

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2 comments

  1. Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ. (Man if feels weird to type that, but for some reason it seems fitting.)
    I totally agree that genuine fellowship is important when talking about the subject of homosexuality or any subject at all. I also agree that telling someone else that their life would be better if they did this or that can be trivializing to the other person’s relationship with Christ, especially if it comes from the humanistic perspective of “happiness=purpose” that almost everyone seems to have. I personally believe that whether or not one’s life could be better is a subjective concept which does not depend solely upon one’s happiness.
    And I also agree that God wants the Church to love the LGBT community just as He does. That’s what he wants in every situation.
    I disagree that denying one’s identity is fully a bad thing, though. In Luke Jesus tells us that “If anyone would come after [Him], he must first deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow [Him].” Luke 9:23. Sometimes growing in our faith means letting go of what we want to hold onto the most, even if it’s a piece of ourselves.
    Much Love in Christ!

  2. oh wow – i love this. i’m a straight married christian woman, but my husband and i left the church (as we know it) because of this and a few other things.

    this is so well said !!

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