Destiny Herndon-DeLaRosa

Archive for February, 2014|Monthly archive page

Christianity 101

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2014 at 8:03 am

My friend Tori wrote this, and we should all read it. 

Dear Christians,

Have you ever stopped to consider that real-life human beings are living on the other side of the Internet, and are fully capable of reading everything you say?

This past week has been emotionally draining. Last Sunday, the Disney Channel premiered its first gay couple on the show ‘Good Luck Charlie.’ I didn’t get to see the episode, but I heard all about how you felt about it on Facebook. Well, not really about the episode. Because a lot of you didn’t watch it. But you still had a lot to say about gay people. A lot to say about me, and my brothers and sisters in the LGBT community. People you have never met, people you do not know, and people whose lives and experiences you do not understand. At least, that’s what I’m forced to gather from your comments. Because nothing you said about me sounded familiar at all.

You said I was depraved. That hurt. I wonder if you just didn’t realize I was around to see it, or if you genuinely believed this was the best choice of words you could use to address a deeply personal and oftentimes difficult struggle experienced by so many. You said I chose to be this way, as if I would want to be something I know my father detests, something that I fear could get me kicked out of my house and shunned by my family, something that caused me to be on the receiving end of hate speech and rejection when I was more open about it. You compared me to an adulteress. You grouped me in with radicals who desecrate churches and try to take away your freedoms. You said your children need to be protected from me, and said I have a goal to destroy those very children in general. You claimed you said this all in love. That it was necessary to say because you follow Christ. And that troubles me.

Because… what Christ do you know?

When I was 17, I experienced the beginning of what would become a radical conversion. Prior to this, spiritually speaking, I was all over the map – but could ultimately best be described as an atheist. I wanted to believe in God, but I had so much hurt in my life that I didn’t have a lot of time to think about religion. I was too busy self-medicating in all the worst ways. At the time of my conversion, I had been with the man who is still my boyfriend today for about half a year. Prior to him, my romantic experiences primarily involved other girls, with the occasional boy tossed in here and there. It was, in a way, a freeing experience for me to be able to explore the same sex attraction I had been inclined to since my childhood. But it didn’t come without its drawbacks. I didn’t understand your harsh words, or your opposition to my happiness. All I knew was you didn’t like what I was doing, and you were determined to make it apparent: from your Marriage = Man + Woman bumper stickers, to your constant pushing for the state to only recognize marriage between heterosexual couples. I didn’t really know how Jesus would have felt about me, but the message you sent was clear: if Jesus was real, I was something He was ideologically opposed to. End of story.

It was frustrating and heartbreaking. I had always been draw towards the spiritual. I always wanted to know a personal God, and I was incredibly interested in religion. And even more, I needed God. I needed healing, and redemption, and peace. I needed love. And bumper stickers and political movements and debates didn’t offer me that. They offered me distance. There was no invitation to come and meet Christ, there was only insistence that I go as far away as possible.

If it wasn’t for the handful of people in my life who met me where I was and loved me for who I was, I would not know God. Those people, they didn’t make my same-sex attraction a bigger issue than it was. They weren’t afraid to call my actions – all of them, not just the gay stuff – sinful. But the best part is they didn’t let any of those things define me, or how they saw me. When they saw me they saw a child of God. And they acted like it – they didn’t obsess about my sins, they just loved me. Sometimes that meant talking about my sin. Usually it meant helping me process the layers of heartache in my life. Not everything had to be about how awful I was. Because I wasn’t awful. And it was through them that I got to know the Risen Christ – not as an abstract philosophical construct, but as a real Person, as a Savior who came to know and love me. They reflected the real Christ – the God who not only calls us out of our darkness, but calls us into His marvelous light.

Calling darkness what it is offers no hope to anyone if it is not contrasted with the Light.

And they did that for me. Finally.

So ask yourself – are your words and actions towards and about the gay community inviting them to know Christ, or pushing them away as if they’re unwanted? Sure, as Christians, we may distinguish between same-sex attraction and acting on it, but most gay people living in the secular world won’t understand that. When you say things about gay this or gay that, it will be interpreted as you saying it about us. So choose your words carefully and in Christ. Stop obsessing over trivial things like politics and TV shows. And if you must obsess over those things, be absolutely certain to obsess even more about the healing power of Christ. That’s what we need to hear more than anything – that’s what everyone needs to hear more than anything.

We want to know God. Everyone wants to know God, whether we recognize Him at the end of our longing or not. Please don’t make Him look like a callous, apathetic, or uncaring being whose only interest in us is whether we live up to His standard of “acceptable” or not. Because none of us, no matter who we’re attracted to, do.

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