And I should care…why??

Because, to be honest, it hurts.

Deeply.

So, why should I care so much?

Why should I care about the Church?
Why should I care about having a “conversation” with the Church?
Why should I care when the motivators for and feeders of healthy conversation are ignored and I find myself, instead, swimming in a sea of negativity?
Why should I care when the church kills the conversation?

Why should I care so much?

Why should I care about the church and the meaningful ministry it can have in the LGBTQ community?

Why should Trevor care??

Why should I care when it was at the hands of “good church people” that I was sexually abused?
Because, it was also at the hands of other good Church people that I was shown love and concern.

Why should I care when it was at the hands of “good church people” that I was placed in even more frightening vulnerable situations?
Because, it was at the hands of other good Church people that I was shown the proper attention and care.

Why should I care about the church lumping my gay sexual orientation in with pedophiles and rapists?
Because, it was at the hands of heterosexual men that I was abused, and the message needs to be shared that straight men may be just as risky as gay men.

Why should I care when it was at the hands of “good church people” that I was introduced to pornography, specifically gay porn?
Because, it was at the hands of other good Church people that I was shown what it meant to live a holy, circumspect life.

Why should I care when it was at the hands of “good church people” that I was bullied because I was a skinny and somewhat effeminate boy growing up?
Because, it was at the hands of other good Church people that I was shown full acceptance and value.

Why should I care when I try to offer some new vocabulary to the church, and in response they just tell me with great contempt that I’m being “politically correct?”

Why should I care when I am told by my specific faith family that I just need to move on because I don’t totally agree with their stance?

Why should I care so much about the Church?

Why??

Deep roots.

-Trevor

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Shouting Into The Wind: Words From The Hearts Of Christian Moms With LGBT Children

Dear Church:

Please read and listen to the anguish expressed.

Please.

Thank you!
Trevor

john pavlovitz

BD5561-001


Five months ago I sat down on a quiet Wednesday morning to write this blog post, sharing how I would respond if I found out that my children were gay. My hope was to try to humanize an issue that my fellow Christians have largely dehumanized, and to try to set the table for productive new conversations, using the commonality of love for family, as our starting place.

I couldn’t have imagined where those eleven hundred words would take me, both literally and figuratively since then. They brought me into the homes and iPhones of millions of people throughout the world in a matter of weeks; to CNN, and Atheist radio shows, and coffeeshop tables across from Southern Baptist pastors, and Gay Christian conferences, and living rooms of local families, and to all sorts of disparate, yet equally holy patches of ground.

This week those words took me to one of the most sacred spaces yet; a private online support group for…

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Conversation Feeders

Yesterday I wrote about Conversation Killers. Yes, it was a tough one to write. It was a little messy and very emotional. It was more reactive than proactive. I was venting. But I had to get it off my chest…I had been brooding on it for days.

Today, I want to turn more proactive and offer some simple steps that will get a healthy conversation going between the Church and the LGBTQ community.

Invite the story. Sit back, relax, stay quiet and just listen. Let the individual’s story come out of them and envelope you. Soak it in. Hear the struggle…the pain…the loss…the joy…the delight…the failure…the success. Hear it all. Ask open-ended questions that allow for more of the story to be revealed so that you can discover and learn more about your friend. Avoid leading questions or questions that assume a “correct” answer. Don’t be in a rush. Most likely, it’s a long one. The story of the discovery and acceptance of my sexual identity is a story that spans over 40 years. It’s impossible for that story to be told in one or even a few brief encounters. Let the process take just as long as it needs to take.

Don’t force a new story line. The person’s story is just that…their story. Don’t try to reinterpret it, don’t try to make it yours, and don’t try to make it a story about the sorry state of society or the “gay agenda” from Hollywood. And, don’t even try to make it a story about God at this point. It is only the story of the storyteller and it is that person’s to own and give away as they see fit. Be prepared for terminology that may make you uncomfortable or offend your senses. Let it be. Don’t try to clean up the story or make it sound more “presentable” for your world. Let it flow. If a christian gay man like me tells you that he’s gay, don’t insist that he say that he’s “same-sex attracted.” Doing so is offensive. There are some people in my circle of influence who have recently embraced a man who is ministering in this area. He is a strong communicator with a compelling story. However, there are some who are telling me that I need to express myself like he expresses himself by not using the word “gay,” but “same-sex attracted” instead; by not talking about “homosexuality,” but instead use the term “holy sexuality” in its place. Newsflash friends and family – he is gay! He is simply using terminology that is more agreeable to your tastes so that he can continue to minister in your congregations. Don’t try to make me translate my story to sound like his.

Think before you speak. It should go without saying that we should first consider our words and how they will be received by the listener. Knowing how to frame our words in such a way so that they are received with respect is a skill that too few in the church have acquired. I’m not saying avoid speaking truth into someone’s life; I’m saying be careful how you do that. The example I vented about yesterday is a perfect example of how not to communicate ideas.

Exist in humility. Don’t approach the conversation in such a way as to communicate that you have all the answers. Forget all the Bible passages that you have memorized to prove that homosexual sex is sinful. Be transparent with your storyteller that you are also on a journey and are still learning about what your own life and faith should look like. Communicate both verbally and non-verbally that you want to get to know them better. By doing so, you will show them that you are willing to link arms with them and be a sojourner with them. People aren’t looking for spectators who will watch for the wins and losses and keep track of each one; instead, they are looking for companionship. Humility is the fertile soil in which companionship grows.

Be safe. Keep the story to yourself. If you can’t do that, then don’t even start the conversation. Don’t condemn. If you can’t do that, then don’t even start the conversation. Don’t prescribe some “fix.” If you can’t do that, then don’t even start the conversation. Yes, I know I repeated that phrase “If you can’t do that, then don’t even start the conversation.” (You should get the point by now…) This is not a story to be flippantly observed, but one that is held near and dear by the storyteller. Recognize the high value the person places on it as they share. Assure your friend that you are safe…then prove it. Otherwise, just move on and let someone more capable have the conversation with them.

Everyone has their own idea of what will kill or feed a conversation with them. These are some key items for me.

Ready?

-Trevor

PS – I’d love to have a good conversation right here about this topic. I know you and others will have more and better ideas than myself. So, if you would share this in other formats, that would be awesome! Thanks!! 🙂

Conversation Killer

Following a series of chats an acquaintance of mine and I had over the last few weeks regarding my sexual orientation, he posted this little tidbit on Facebook the other day: “When sexuality moved from being a verb (what you DO) to a noun (who you ARE), it was a ‪#‎badmove‬, the aftershocks of which continue to decimate.”

It’s too bad he didn’t have the guts to just reach out and slap me across the face when he had the chance while we were sitting in Panera Bread talking the other day.

That’s the effect his statement had on me when I read it.

Of course, he was talking about every other sexual orientation except anything considered straight. But, I wonder, if he would embrace this same mentality for his own personal sexual orientation. It would go something like this – that he isn’t heterosexual, he just has heterosexual sex. I seriously doubt it.

Here’s the thing. He was one of the people I thought I could trust in beginning “the conversation” that I’ve written about lately. He’s a leader in the church. I really didn’t expect him to embrace all that I was telling him, but I thought he had enough intestinal fortitude to respect me. I anticipated that he would have a mind and heart to listen and hear me out. Turns out, that he must have been a million miles away while I was pouring my heart out to him.

I’m really sick of this. I’m sick of hearing this from the church. I’m sick of religious folk being so damn blissfully happy in their ignorance. I’m sick of the church considering LGBTQ people substandard…subhuman…(to use his word) “decimated.”

This, my friend – if you happen to read this blog post – is the reason you and the church cannot get a conversation started with the LGBTQ community.

Wake up!

-Trevor

The Back Side of “No”

She said “no.”

I get it. I understand.

I will honor that answer.

My wife and I have been having a conversation about what I have written about here and here and here. Not only that, but she reads my blog posts, so she is also fully aware of what I’ve shared here about all of my journey. Yesterday, in a brief exchange about my desire to pursue some kind of ministry specifically to the LBGTQ community, she replied “I am nowhere ready for anything like that now, and I don’t know when [I will be].” She knows that such a thing would necessitate me “outing” myself in the process. And, further, she understands that the family would be “outed” as well. That’s a tough pill to swallow.

I must admit that her answer took the wind out of my sails for a few hours. I work an evening shift job, and it was difficult for me to stay on task and finish the evening strong. It really was disheartening. It was my mistake to get my hopes up so high without doing due diligence in fully understanding her state of mind. My bad.

But, I’m OK with that response from her, and I will honor her wishes for these reasons:
I love her.
I respect her.
I know how threatening such a thing is for her.

But most importantly, I’m OK with that because my most precious calling in life is to be an honorable husband to her…something I will spend the rest of my life doing to make up for how terribly I’ve screwed up in the past.

So, I trust that those “conversations” that I’ve talked about the last few days actually happen.

I’ll be watching and praying…from the back side of “no.”

-Trevor