4 August 2019 |
Dear Aunt Sevvy,
I am 23 years old, Adventist, and I’m finally admitting to myself that I’m a lesbian. I want to come out but I don’t think my local church would accept me. I’m even more afraid to tell my parents: they have always held a hard line about homosexuality and even if they don’t reject me I know that this will hurt them deeply, especially since they believe homosexuality is a choice. What now?
Signed, Likes Girls
You are in one of the most complicated and difficult situations that a Christian person can find herself in. The Christian church has an angry, unfounded, prejudice against homosexual people, and rather than growing beyond it, the battles lines are hardening.
Let’s be clear about two things.
- Homosexuality is something that you are, not something that you choose. Even if you aren’t in a romantic relationship, your preference for the gender of the person you would have a relationship with is often quite clear to you.
- The Bible does not condemn committed homosexual relationships, because it never contemplates such a thing. I was impressed by this statement from pastor and psychologist Dr. Smuts van Rooyen: “If you go beyond proof-texting, you’ll see that what the Bible authors opposed is homosexuality as a means of idol worship. … Every reference to homosexuality in the Bible has to do with pagan worship, not to loving, monogamous, and faithful persons who seek to live out the implications of the gospel as a faithful heterosexual couple would.”
Yet knowing this isn’t necessarily going to make your situation easier. Coming out to your parents will be difficult, but you won’t be happy if you try to hide who you are. You need to be surrounded by some friends in this transition, and here I can give you some help.
First, check out Kinship International, an independent group whose mission is to reach out to and support gay Adventists and their families. Aunty knows some of the Kinship leaders personally: they are kind, wise, and dedicated Christians. Don’t be afraid to use Kinship’s “contact us” page to find a supportive friend, who likely knows just what you’re going through. They even have a resource called “family and friends” that can put your parents in touch with other parents of LGBT+ Adventists.
Second, there is a growing number of Adventist congregations that accept their gay and lesbian participants. Glendale (CA) City Church, for example, even alludes to its ministry of inclusion in its statement of faith. The North American Division of the Adventist Church has gone so far as to recognize orientation, and urges congregations to accept members with a homosexual orientation. This falls short of accepting people in gay relationships, but it’s far more merciful than Adventists once were. Sadly, not every congregation accepts this statement.
Finally, a warning: if you seek help from a pastor, church, or group who you already know is opposed to homosexuality, you have to be prepared to be discouraged and even bullied. Some push gay people to go against their built-in programming to marry an opposite sex partner—which never ends well. Similarly, the so-called “change” ministries, it has been shown repeatedly, are a scam—avoid them like a disease.
You need to trust that the way God made you is good, even if others don’t approve. And while haters will hate, many of us, your fellow Adventists, love you and accept you.
Love, Aunt Sevvy
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—always without anything to identify you. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.