As a former pastor, I know the importance in recognizing that each relationship is unique and special.
“Traditionally” speaking, I was raised in a Christian home (mainly in southern California), got married and had kids early in life, served in the Air Force for a number of years, and followed in my father’s footsteps into serving in the ministry.
But here’s where it takes a turn.
While serving as a pastor in Northern California, I was asked to resign (a nice way to say I was fired) at the church I was serving at. I wrote a letter of resignation that was read to the congregation, even though my gut was saying different because I was not wanting the church to “split” over this.
It rocked my world. I remember even questioning my own faith, the bedrock of my existence.
Fast forward a few years, and I came to grips with my own sexuality later in life. This threw a wrench into the mix. How could I be gay and still have my faith based in a God greater than me?
For me, this process was summed up by several individuals — including one of my daughters — who described me as having “courage.”
I recognized this came at a price. In a “traditional” Christian setting, love, kindness and respect is taught — but with an asterisk. Not that long ago, I was involved in a church where they welcomed my attending, my volunteering (on a limited basis) and even my money. But when it came to anything with leadership, the answer was “no”, because of my sexuality. It was then that I knew that living my authentic self took the courage described by my daughter.
I was learning that I did not fit into the traditional, religious box. Maybe this is you. But one thing I know: God does not discriminate, not on the basis of skin color, gender or sexuality. How could humanity be made in his image and it not be for all?