questions and answers: come out come out

Recently I answered the following question for a friend of a friend. The context: they were looking for someone to interview about generally the topic of homosexuality, and specifically within youth ministry and the evangelical church. I thought myself quite clever, but have spent more time thinking about it and would love your thoughts. There is, of course, much more to it, but maybe not?

Q: Say I have a youth group member who has “come out” and decided to tell me: what are some things I should do and should not do?

A: Love them. Like any other kid, love them. Help them love themselves, know they are loved, protect them from harm and danger. Give them resources to care for their bodies and souls. Tell them they are beautiful and loved by God. Give them opportunities to see what God is calling them to do with the gifts they have been given. In short, treat them like any other kid. Because the fact is, they are just another child of God. Whole, beautiful and loved.

I just don’t view being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender as being an “other” – any different than a kid who is left handed or has red hair and freckles. Its just another gift in my eyes. The sooner we can set aside our differences in Christ, we can focus on what binds us together in Christ; love. The kind that passes all understanding, comprehension or reason.

I am bisexual, my point of view is perhaps a bit different than my gay, lesbian and transgender friends. I believe and act on the belief that people are created in God’s image, not mine. They are whole and beautiful, male and female and in some cases have multiple genders. I believe humankind is meant to do God’s work in the way they have been gifted and called. Our role as the church is to walk along side of people and hold up the God mirror to them, to bless and celebrate what God has done in God’s people.

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6 thoughts on “questions and answers: come out come out

  1. Rachel you said all good things! The only other things i would suggest are have some follow up. Be an advocate for them (not just politically). Encourage them to find some positive communities. Not to say that the church isn’t a positive community, but don’t let them be the only LGBT person they know. Is there a community LGBT youth group in your area? Is there an MCC church locally that you could visit together? Encourage them to sign up for something like The Naming Project (thenamingproject.org) or Spiritual Pride Project (spiritualprideproject.org). I also try to connect my students to an LGBT mentor within the congregation (this is with permission from both sides of that party btw since thats a lot of outing…). And I usually have “super gay lunch dates” with my students just to listen to where they are and what they are doing. I have also gone with my students to tell their parents that they are LGBT (if they want me to), and I’ve had follow up meetings with those parents as well (whether they want me to or not). It’s our job as youth workers to not only give a tangible example of Gods love in the world, but it’s our job as leaders to stand up for what is right and to really mean that when we do by creating space and not just leaving our students out there because it’s awkward, or you don’t know if you’ll get fired, or do you even have permission to talk about this in the first place. Of course you do, God is your authority and it’s time to start acting like it (this is a semi un-related rant. so you can ignore that last sentence.)

  2. Moving my comment from Facebook to this space:
    Rachel’s answer is thoughtful. I would add:
    To do? Listen.
    Don’t do? Assume you’re being asked for an opinion or answers. Just because someone announces a journey doesn’t mean they’re asking you for directions.

  3. A. Love them but don’t lie to them. Tell them they cannot help how they feel but they do have a choice about their actions. God loves them unconditionally and can transform them if they trust Him. God created male and female as two district sexes and gender and Gods plan was for a man and woman to make a lifetime commitment and enjoy sexual relations within that bond. But sin has distorted all of sexuality which is why people have different sexual desires outside of Gods plan. We all struggle with unhealthy sexual desires and while we may make mistakes by acting on them at times we should trust God and not follow through or surreneder to any unhealthy, sin induced sexual desires and if they find themselves falling in love with someone of the opposite sex than they should pursue that relationship but a relationship with someone of the same sex is not Gods desire for their life and something hey should avoid. Stay active and accountable in a strong bible believing church community and don’t buy the lies of those that have abandoned the Scripture they do not like.

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