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Should I go back to my church?

Discussion in 'Coming Out Advice' started by mellissa, Jun 16, 2020.

  1. Tightrope

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    This is all so true. It is a serious form of abuse and it's manipulative and judgmental on the part of those pushing it.
     
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  2. Unsure77

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    Here’s one other fun fact for you to think about. If you continue to go to that church and tithe to that church and support their ministries, you are actively supporting an organization that spreads and intends to keep spreading hate against essentially everyone here. If it’s like southern baptist churches, they may even politically fight against the rights of everyone here on everything from healthcare to people’s marriages to their employment to trying to send queer youth forcibly to conversion therapy. Do you really want to keep supporting that? Are these things you want to help fund and recruit more people to support? Cause that’s something else I’ve had to come to terms with personally from my time in evangelical churches.
     
    #22 Unsure77, Jun 20, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
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  3. Rin311

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    As a gay person who's been raised in a homophobic Christian church, I think you should not have to go to a place that is toxic for you, makes you feel bad about yourself, and espouses anti-LGBT views. You don't deserve this kind of treatment, and I wouldn't want to see you put your mental health and well being on the line just to make your parents happy.
    I second the advice of seeking a more accepting, friendly church - even if it is only online.

    So, now comes the hard part: telling your parents, and maybe also the pastor and friends from church, that you won't be going anymore. If you don't feel ready to come out to those people, don't. You don't have to. You can say that you feel a different church would be a better fit for you, that you are looking into different ways of worship, or just make up a reason.
    The most important thing is not put yourself in an environment that would damage your mental health and self esteem and cause you pain.
    Take care.
     
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  4. mellissa

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    So I went back. It is hard letting go of friends. I don't know what my next move will be. I don't know if I should go again next week.
     
  5. Unsure77

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    You can be friends with people and have them in your life without going to their church.

    However, it’s your life and your mental health to do with as you wish. Best of luck.
     
  6. resu

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    Yeah, I would say look for another church that's more affirming. I was raised Catholic and in a conservative state, but I never realized until going to grad school in another conservative state that the university-associated parish was quite liberal and at least mentioning gay people as worthy of care. While I still never felt comfortable to be out, it felt less stressful, and later I learned there were several other gay guys, including the former youth leader.
     
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  7. Rin311

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    It's a process. I understand how hard it is to just leave when you grew up with this community and they are your friends and family. The attachement can be very strong. I hope that with time, you'll find the strength to set boundaries to your interactions with these people - set standards as to what kind of treatment you are and are not willing to accept from them. (Which does not necessarily mean cutting off your relationships with them). Take care.
     
  8. KevCO

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    It's hard to make a change socially, but I have never looked back from leaving reactionary conservative environments or standing up to people like that. Sometimes you can transition out so seamlessly nobody will really notice even if it seems like they've been up in your business for life. Sometimes a gradual transition is easier, other times a clean break. Religion can be the best or the worst thing in the world IMO. But being around negative religion is poison, it kills the sense of possibility, it's so easy to absorb that resentment and fear and think of the rest of the world as so insignificant and empty when it's such a place of beauty and possibility. I've always wanted a different social sphere to transition into, another church or something really tight knit. I'm now relatively unaffiliated and only after years has it come to feel OK, now I also enjoy feeling unrestrained but being shaped by "something" will always matter. Madonna could never have been such a great performer if she didn't understand the taboos she was breaking. I think you will ultimately want to leave homophobes to travel that well worn rut without you, but you can still have room in your heart for them.
     
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  9. Unsure77

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    Watching people I used to go to church with react to the recent Supreme Court lgbt ruling (and in some cases, talking to some of them who I thought were my friends)... these are people who genuinely just hate lgbt people for existing. Period. They don’t believe we should be allowed to exist. I’m a lesbian. I help put the “L” in “LGBT”. The reality is that I was a lesbian the entire time they knew me. They just didn’t know it. So, painful truth I’m starting to realize is that they’ve always hated me. They just didn’t know it. They only treated me well then because they didn’t know. It’s painful, but it’s what I’m starting to believe to be true given what I’m seeing. I invested all this energy in people who wouldn’t have thought I deserved to exist if they had known the full truth. And they’re not ashamed to feel that way. There is no love there. There never was. That hurts.
     
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  10. mellissa

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    I'm so sorry to hear that. I've had similar moments with friends and family. I know how bad that hurts. How did you cope?
     
  11. mellissa

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    I don't think I can leave my church.
    a) I'm very religious. I believe in taking the bible (new testament) as a whole and almost literally.
    b) I feel that leaving is not only an abandonment of my friends, but of God as well.
     
  12. mellissa

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    It is difficult to do that because I can't come out to them. For so long I have pretended to agree with the homophobic things they say. It would be strange and out of character for me to start disagreeing all of a sudden. It is complicated.
     
  13. Unsure77

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    In some cases, I talk to friends who are supportive. I talk to queer people who have been through it. I talk to my therapist. And in a couple of cases, I’ve recently started quietly coming out to some of these people that I used to be close to. Partly just so they know they do, in fact, have queer people in their lives and history. May or may not be the best answer, but it’s what I’m doing. Reading queer literature is helping me in a weird way too. I read “The Color Purple” and “Undivided Heart” (by Vicky Beeching) and am reading “Boy Erased” now and for me it’s helped seeing other people live the confusion and hurt and hear their thought process in a weird way.
     
    #32 Unsure77, Jul 1, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  14. meisHere

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    So here's me and my own thoughts.
    I am gay and partly out to some of my families and few close friends. I am a fully pledged Christian for so long now and it is not because of my parents or some tradition but because I chose to believe in God. Now it is true that there will be times regarding homosexuality is being a sin is brought out into preachings. And yes it is painful but I listen anyway though I know for a fact it does not change who I am that came to be in this planet. For who those who truly were able to connect with the Lord will know, being a Christian is and will NEVER be about religion. It is about having that personal relationship with God and by knowing that I came to have confidence in myself, not because of who I am, but because of Who my God is, the Being Who will always love me amidst all things and will never question and make a misery out of me because He knew me before I was even born.

    Just like everyone else, we have our own struggles, but I will always be thankful to God not because I am gay but because He loves me as I am. Proof? my family, my friends, a roof over my head, eating at least 3x a day, some clothes to wear, I may not be rich but I know I am more than blessed.

    FYI, I am not out to my church because I think being gay really does not concern anyone there and should be no one's concern since I go for a reason to know more of God, not more of the people and their thoughts regarding the LGBTQ. (*´▽`*)
     
  15. mellissa

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    First, welcome to EC.
    Second, I'm so happy to meet another devout Christian here. There are just a handful of them here. It is nice to meet somebody who has that special relationship with God. How do you reconcile your faith and sexual orientation? I feel that by accepting my homosexuality I'm betraying God. However, as I try to change my sexuality or live in celibacy, I find this path incredibly depressing. I follow God with all my heart and refuse to compromise with my faith.
    Do you feel that you need to change your sexuality to please God? Have you tried? Do you think that you can be have same-sex relationship and still be Christian?
     
  16. EmilyWrite

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    Hi Melissa
    I can relate to your experiance with church as a devot Christian who loves Jesus. I'm not a lesbian, but I think lesbians and biromantic asexual women share heavy common ground in two things we tend to be torn down for: being romantically attracted to women and not sexually attracted to men. Also, that there is no full proof escape from expectation and pressure in the kinds of dating/marriage relationships we want and/or pursue.
    I went back to church and my job at the school it owns this fall. I understand your struggles so well in that I love my life there and have formed may friendships there, yet know they would not approve of my orientations in addition to having to listen to hurtful things regarding their attitude towards not straight people every here and there. It is sad to hear and know such things.
    I also have the pressure of having my current money income I'm using to pay for college and services, so that alone is enough to keep me in the closet for a while. I would dare say I would never come out if I didn't want to write and publish things that include girl on girl romance or poems on my own girl crush experiences. I also don't want to, even with a man, date one who does not respect my feelings on sex or my own queerness. It's definitely not an attitude I want my future children to have pushed on them if I ever get married or raise a family.
    If you are independent of your family and have enough money to live life on your own with your dreams secure, I would say goodbye and move on coming out in a situation where I must like with getting a partner. I know that this will not be my life forever, which makes me sad because I love it despite some dreams being held back as a result. If you are also not there yet and while you are still in the church going and closeted time period, where you live at home and need to not be bullied directly, enjoy the good parts of life even there and realize always that you are still the same person loved by God regardless of your orientation.
    Overall, take your time and pray about it, but leave if and when you need to.
     
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  17. mellissa

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    Thank you. I haven't been to my church in a while.
     
  18. Tightrope

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    I like the way you worded this. The sad thing is that many places of worship are reactionary conservative environments. They have plenty of members who fit in well and will gladly play along. They'll do just fine without those who have decided they have had enough of the negativity and have moved on to another place of worship or to hang out on their own.
     
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  19. Unsure77

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    There are several podcasts. Kevin Garcia has one called "A Tiny Revolution". His youtube channel is also pretty good. Kevin's a gay man who just finished up a seminary degree. There's one called Queerology by Matthias Roberts that's really good. Basically, I'm finding if you start listening to one, it'll help you to find a bunch of good ones from their guests. And, again, so many books. "God and the Gay Christian", "Unclobbered", "Torn" by Justin Lee. Justin Lee's youtube channel is fantastic and he grew up Southern Baptist. "Unashamed: A Coming out Guide for LGBT Christians" by Amber Cantorna (who's dad is an exec for Focus on the Family). Just some ideas.
     
    #38 Unsure77, Aug 15, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2020