Standing in Solidarity with Christians who are Same-Sex Attracted

I remember years ago when a Christian friend confided in me that he struggled with same-sex attraction. He knew that his sexual orientation wasn’t going to magically disappear, but he was fully committed to living a celibate life as an expression of following Jesus.

I remember being completely in awe by his honest recognition of both himself and of the worth of following the Lord. This was a godly brother who was in every way a consistent disciple of Jesus, and this revelation about his same-sex attraction only made me look up to him more.

Over the years, I’ve known other Christians who are same-sex attracted and are committed to a traditional Christian sexual ethic (I believe this is what the term “Side B” refers to). In my encounters with nearly every one of these brothers and sisters, I have witnessed a deep commitment to the Lord that meant walking through celibacy, loneliness, and ostracization from others in both the church and the world. The lengths these Christians went in order to place themselves outside of temptation and safeguard their souls easily put me to shame.

When I see these brothers and sisters serving the Lord in leadership capacities within the church, it brings tears to my eyes because I have heard firsthand from my brother in Christ what that life looks and feels like, and the kinds of horrendous attacks from within the church they experience to delegitimate their calling and place them back into debilitating shame. I am more than convinced that these brothers and sisters are seventy times seven more prayerful and watchful over their own souls than the majority of Christian leaders who do not struggle with same-sex attraction.

That is why I am saddened, if not infuriated, by proposals within my own denomination to bar those who openly struggle with same-sex attraction from ordained ministry. The honesty and openness of these siblings in Christ should be what we encourage amongst the clergy, not what we punish and place shame upon.

I’m not ordained in my denomination, so I ultimately have no say or sway regarding how commissioners will vote regarding these proposals. But, what I can say as a member in my denomination is that I am disappointed, angered, and saddened by those pushing forth these proposals. But even more than that, I am vocally and publicly mourning for my brothers and sisters within my denomination who struggle with same-sex attraction — both those who have shared this publicly and those who struggle silently. The church is meant to be a home and refuge for you in Christ, and I’m sorry that there are people who are working as hard as they can to keep you at arm’s length from grace, community, service, and your calling in Christ. I will continue to pray fervently.

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