The church should be a place of love not fear for the LGBT community

I want to welcome guest blogger Bobbie Lang, author of her own biography, "Transgender Christian in Chains". Bobbie now lives on a lake in the fabulous Texas Hill Country with two lazy cats and Kate, a crazy dog who thinks she’s a kangaroo .  She is fully involved as an advocate for the transgender community and is actively engaged in building a bridge between the denominational church and the LBGT community.

For any child navigating through adolescents, life can be a challenge filled with new discoveries and revelations that sometimes lead to missteps and misdirection.  Fortunately in most cases there is usually a parent or mentor that can help guide them along as they explore the mysteries and rites of passage.  However, for a child struggling with gender confusion this journey can be extremely daunting and often there is no one to turn to or a place to go to find answers, or at least emotional support, for the internal conflict they are facing.

“What is my place with God and how does this affect God’s plan for my life?”  This was a question that I, and many others, face in addition to questions concerning sexuality, orientation and puberty.  Unfortunately for most in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, the places of worship are far too often not a place of sanctuary filled with loving guidance, but has the appearance of a hostile fortification where anyone who does not fit into the traditional doctrinal precepts are often shunned and worse- expelled.

All through my childhood and early adulthood I struggled with these questions but knew I would find no direction in the counsel of a church pastor or empathy from members of the church.  I felt alone and isolated and my questions and confusion only grew worse.  Then, after surviving two suicide attempts I finally surrendered and decided to transition.  As a woman it was my fervent desire and determination to be a Godly woman and in all things give God the Glory.

I found a new house of worship and was soon asked to lead in various outreach ministries of the church.  However, I was still uncertain if I was living up to God’s plan for my life.  As I became better known in the church as a Godly woman, someone who loved God with all her heart, I finally felt comfortable enough to confide in the pastoral staff about my past and asked for partnership in prayer for God to reveal to me His divine plan and call upon my life.

I was not asking for “answers” or “judgment” directly from them but to help me through prayer and discipleship.  However, judgment is what I received in that I was no longer allowed to be a part of outreach ministries, prayer teams and was excluded from Christian fellowship.  I was not allowed to share with others the spiritual gifts that God had given to me and trusted me with.  I was pushed into a corner and ignored.  I was not barred from the congregation but I was not allowed to be a part of God’s family.

After this I understood what Christ spoke about.  In the book of Matthew, Jesus solemnly warned those that followed him about the scribes and Pharisees that thought that they held the rightful place in Moses’ seat.  The Pharisees dictated to the people to observe the laws but “They tie up heavy loads, hard to bear, and place them on men’s shoulders but they themselves will not lift a finger to help bear them”.  Matthew 23:4

This happened three different times in three different churches in the course of four years.  Finally, I fled the church and for the next sixteen years I was forced to worship and seek God through private Bible Study and devotionals.  Had it not been for the spiritual roots that grew deep during my childhood, I would have walked away from God and been lost to sin.  The vision of the multitudes in the LGBT community that have not had the opportunity to know of God’s love at an early age haunted me and in the years since the exile from those churches, my compassion for them has intensified.

It is my intense desire for the church leadership to present a sanctuary to all individuals, regardless whether you belong to the LGBT community or anyone seeking God’s plan for their life.  It should be the goal of each and every church body to open it’s doors and hearts to everyone and disciple them in the everlasting and loving word of God and not tie them up in the perceived traditional dogma or traditional edicts.

Each place of worship should represent everything that Christ embodies.  It should teach God’s love while holding fast to the truths of the Word.As God opens doors and pathways for me to speak before pastors and congregations, He has given me the exciting opportunity to present a new and different image of the LGBT community to the church pastoral staff and church congregations.

The misrepresented and over exposed negative image that has prevailed in church teachings has done great harm to our community.  We need to be shown as good and  ordinary people, each of us trying to find our place with God, each of us with our own struggles and each of us looking to the Redeemer to point us in the direction we should go.  When it was asked of Jesus what the greatest commandment was He answered, the first is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and with all your mind. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Matthew 22:37-39.

This should be what anyone entering the door of any place of Worship should be met with and placed deep in their heart.

 

Please continue on to read part three Culture verses Christ by Emily McEwan-Fujita and my own post for today, Transgender Day of Visibility - Bridging the gap .

If you would like to follow me, you can find me on Facebook at Trans Girl at the Cross and at Twitter @Megganrenee

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    Meggan Sommerville

    Meggan Sommerville is a Christian transgender woman with a heart for educating others about the transgender community and her faith in her Savior, Jesus Christ. Her career life has taken her on a variety of adventures, from being a veterinary technician in the Western burbs of Chicago to being an EMT/Paramedic, EMS instructor, and a paid on call firefighter for Bolingbrook , Illinois. Since 1998, she has been the frame shop manager for a national craft retailer. You can contact Meggan via email at Transgirlatcross@aol.com or find her on Facebook at Trans Girl at the Cross

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