Several years ago our church decided to become an Open and Affirming church. “Open and Affirming” means that it has publicly declared that “lesbian, gay, bisexual” (LGB) people (and then “T”, transgendered to represent those of all “sexual orientations”) are welcome in its full life and ministry (e.g. membership, leadership, employment etc.)
The decision was made to have gatherings at the church where GLBT guests could come and tell their stories and discussions could take place.
I thought the church should be O&A and decided to attend the various meetings. Each time I heard from the young people my heart was filled with either sadness or joy listening to their experiences and at the same time I had to take a deeper look at my own feelings and understandings.
There were many questions about what would it mean for our church. Some people had strong feelings; some were 100% ready to vote “YES”. I continued to think, ask questions and pray for my own understanding. After quite a long period of time the vote took place and it was a clear and affirmative decision to be O&A.
One evening our son asked if we could go out to dinner. We had a wonderful time. Afterward, the three of us sat on the couch having dessert and it became clear to me that the mood had shifted. He said he wanted to tell us “something”. I had no idea what he was going to say…had he lost his job, did he have cancer, was he in a bad place in his life? Out of the corner of my eye I saw perspiration on his face…..at that moment the words out of my mouth were, “there is nothing you can tell me, that I can’t hear and I will love just as much in five minutes as I do now”. I don’t know where those words came from; God must have known that they were needed at that time.
Dead silence and then his head moved down, his voice was ever so quiet…. “I am gay”.
“Oh, my dear son, you need to know you were born perfect”. We are all created in God’s image and that includes you.”