Rev. Paul M. Turner, Founding and Senior Pastor, Gentle Spirit Christian Church

“If I Tell My Church They Will Say I’m A Sinner”

I’ve been questioning my sexuality. I think I’m bisexual but I’m not sure. But I’m scared if I tell my friends they will not like me anymore and if I tell my church they will say I’m a sinner. Do you have anything to help?

Dear Gen Renaud,

It seems your concerns appear to involve a lot of fear of the unknown. You fear that if you pursue the life of your sexual orientation will you end up being rejected by your friends and your church will judge you as a person worthy of hell.

I have come to recognize that your fears and concerns are rooted in the way you were taught to view God. So in essence, the only way that you will be able to get past those fears is to change the way you view God. So let’s see if we can help with that.

A book written by Bruce Bawer called “Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity” helps us to understand the real source of our fears when it comes to sexuality. The source of this fear is the difference between an attitude of love and an attitude of law. On page 5 of this book Mr. Bawer states:

Simply stated, conservative Christianity focuses primarily on law, doctrine, and authority; liberal Christianity focuses on love, spiritual experience and… the priesthood of all believers. If conservative Christians emphasize the Great Commission — the resurrected Christ’s injunction, at the end of the Gospel according to Matthew, “go to all the nations and make them my disciples” — liberal Christians place more emphasis on the Great Commandment, which in Luke’s Gospel reads as follows: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

What these few words means is we have a choice as to whether we see God as a strict authoritarian who demands that all come to God in a specify way or we see God as a loving Creator who desires that all would come to God and would treat each other accordingly.

You seem to be focused on the point of view that is based on the law and authority figures who have decided they speak on behalf of God.

Yes, you can make a choice as to how you shall view God and who you will choose to believe.

However, I must tell you that to believe God would create something with free will and then ultimately destroy that creation because it didn’t follow the law is rubbish.

Why did Jesus when asked, state that the Greatest Commandment was to love God and to love your Neighbor? He never said in order to be okay with God and not go to hell you must obey the law of the church (synagogue), rather he spent all of his ministry telling folks to love God and giving them example after example of how they could show and could live that love. The women caught in adultery, the raising of Lazarus, the blind person healed, the Roman Centurion slave healed, the women with the issue of blood healed.

Read Jesus’ words:

When you have done this to the least of my brothers or sisters you have done this to me. (Matthew 25:40)

Be not be judges of others, and you will not be judged. For as you have been judging, so you will be judged, and with your measure will it be measured to you. And why do you take note of the grain of dust in your brother’s eye, but take no note of the bit of wood which is in your eye? (Matthew 7:1-3)

Then Jesus said to the people and to his disciples: “The scribes and the Pharisees have the authority of Moses; All things, then, which they give you orders to do, these do and keep: but do not take their works as your example, for they say and do not. They make hard laws and put great weights on men’s backs; but they themselves will not put a finger to them.” (Matthew 23:1-4)

But a curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! because you are shutting the kingdom of heaven against men: for you do not go in yourselves, and those who are going in, you keep back. A curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! for you go about land and sea to get one disciple and, having him, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. A curse is on you, blind guides, who say, Whoever takes an oath by the Temple, it is nothing; but whoever takes an oath by the gold of the Temple, he is responsible. You foolish ones and blind: which is greater, the gold, or the Temple which makes the gold holy? (Matthew 23:13-17)

Yes, my child of God you can chose to live in fear by the law, authority and or judgements of those around you or you can choose to live by the words of Jesus and his examples.

If your church decides to call you a sinner then know there are other churches you can belong to which teach about a loving God. I challenge you to read the words of Jesus and see that all fear has been cast out and in its place given that of perfect love.

God Bless,
Pastor Paul

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.