Saturday, 16 June 2018

Finding acceptance in an unexpected place



Not unlike Aydian Dowling who found himself crying in church, I found healing in an unexpected place yesterday.

After some persuasion from my partner Ian, I decided to go back once more to pay a visit to my previous megachurch that I left about two years ago.

It helped that a dear friend had also previously extended an invitation to me.

I was a bit nervous, having several bad experiences with Christian leaders in the past, once there, and another more recently, so it was with some trepidation that I listened to the sermon being preached.

The person at the pulpit happened to be Pastor Paul Scanlon, a guest preacher from Bradford, UK.

And as I sat there in the midst of hundreds, I found acceptance in an unexpected way.

He was talking about how as a church, we need to reach out to the people society had deemed unacceptable, those people had discarded. The leftovers. The unwanted.

So much so that when people mentioned us, they would say in a demeaning fashion, “Do you know what people go to that church?”

Naturally, I associated these people not with prostitutes, ex-convicts nor alcoholics, which were examples given on stage, but with people like us, like myself.

Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
Luke 15:4

He quoted the above verse, about the shepherd who’d go out to find the one lost sheep, saying that Jesus is more interested in the outsiders than in those who were already happily ensconced in church.

How true, isn’t it?

Friday, 18 May 2018

Finding healing in unexpected places


I attended my first ever Queer Book Club meeting on Thursday and it was just lovely. It was a relaxed, very chill kinda discussion with Mexican food to accompany the book we were reading, Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club.

It was multiracial and everyone was really friendly.

I didn't know anyone nor their orientation before attending the meeting but it was not necessary.

I had found my tribe.

This was the first time I was engaged in the midst of book lovers, discussing the characters and plots of the 7 short stories we'd read.

Near the end of the meeting, one of the guys asked, "Are all of you homosexual?" perhaps because he was, and we all looked expectantly at each other. I guessed then that we all were. And that revelation was very comforting.

It's the first time I'd found my own people. Not in a gay club, but in a book club. For that, I'm grateful.

They didn't know about my background and the difficult couple of months I'd had, but it wasn't necessary.

Looking forward to the next one already.

Thank you Lord for providing.

Amen.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Reflections on Mothers' Day


So my friend tried to invite me for service at my old church for this weekend's Mothers' Day service. I tried to use the irrelevance of Mothers' Day for myself as a foil but it didn't seem to work very well.

Ian always asked me why I don't say how I really feel inside.

It's difficult.

I've been used to concealing and not feeling (doesn't that remind you of a certain song?)

In any case, how could she know if I didn't tell her?

How could she know that 2 years ago precisely on Mothers' Day I thought I heard an affirming sermon about Naomi and Ruth but was proved to be horribly wrong with the homophobic sermons that followed?

How could she know that in a particular morning prayer, the deacon prayed for God to judge all those involved in Pink Dot and not to

How could she know that even in the safer environment in my old church that my cell group leader had preached in a sermon that we are to "love the sinner, not the sin" but that I am defined by the very sin she despised?

How could she know how I cringed inwardly at the auditorium of the megachurch where in the row in front of me 2 youths made a joke about a gay person and I just sat there, numb and unable to speak up?

I don't want to end up like my dead friend who killed herself partly because she couldn't accept her own orientation even as she hid it from the church family she grew up with.

And even though I do feel like church is like family, even children are brought out of abusive relationships. I feel like the relationship between myself and a traditional church is somewhat like that.

For the sake of my own mental health, I shall retreat to safer places like the Gay Christian Fellowship and the Queer Book & Movie Club for now.

Till next time.

Finding acceptance in an unexpected place

Not unlike Aydian Dowling who found himself crying in church , I found healing in an unexpected place yesterday. After some persuasi...