Is there a difference? Should there be?
It seems so simple.
If you love unconditionally, you must therefore be accepting unconditionally. Yet just like those sushi artists that make those paper thin slices of fish, we Christians have found a way to make a VERY thin slice between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance. The key word being UNCONDITIONAL.
I’ve learned that it’s the people at the margins, those who are LGBT who many Christians will say they “love”, yet when it comes to total acceptance begin to waffle.
When I first started doing all that I now do, I was starting from zero. I didn’t know what to do or how to do what it is that I’m supposed to do. I wasn’t following someone thinking “I could do that” or was inspired by someone to jump into this. All I knew was that this was a calling that God wanted me to do, and He wasn’t expecting a “no” from me.
So here I am, seeking and ready to embrace a church that won’t care that I’m transgender, that I don’t have to tippy-toe around wondering who it’s safe to share my story with, and who is not safe. Who will say “Laurie, you’re loved—period” and who then will run to the pastors wondering why someone like me is allowed to serve at the church and why it’s not preached against from the platform. Oh, I WAS allowed to serve, but then I hit the glass ceiling when I wanted to start a home group for LGBT people at the church.
And there, at the very beginning of what I now do, was a video I found from a church in New York City, featuring a gay Christian who was comfortable in evangelical churches, but whom evangelical churches weren’t comfortable with him. They “loved” him, but the unconditional part was a problem for them. I identified with his story, but my calling to help people in the conservative evangelical church understand transgender Christians kept me there, and it was easy because there is so much I love about where He placed me (and clearly for a reason).
Little did I know that his story then (that I shared on this blog four years ago) would continue to resemble my life today.
You know what’s sad about all this? Is that it’s not EASIER to find a church that will welcome and accept you UNCONDITIONALLY. That word is a stumbling block for far too many churches where I live and where you live too.
So… to this day I can’t express my heart better than Andy did, so watch this short video of his story. I’m hoping to find a church like the one he did (FYI he’s recently moved to Atlanta, but has left an amazing legacy in N.Y. of a ministry to LGBT Christians).
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