Yesterday we began an ongoing conversation about a delicate subject: how does a traditional church like Peace show Jesus' love in real and practical ways to the LGBT kids who grow up in our congregationi? 84% of the LGBT community grows up attending church, and the average age at which a young person realizes that they are gay is 13. What does that mean? It means this happens a lot, and not just at Peace. Gay kids growing up in traditional churches is the norm. Sadly, most of them grow up scared to talk with either their parents or their church, which means they are left without our love and support as they wrestle with the biggest thing going on in their live. We need to do better. They deserve better. How would Jesus have us show them his love?
Something to Ponder: Have you ever asked your gay family or friends about their experience with church? Please do. Ask them if they grew up going to church and what that was like. Ask them if they go to church now and what that's like. If they no longer go to church, ask them why, and ask them what it would take to bring them back. Try not to get defensive; it will only confirm their worst fears. Just listen. Take what you hear as data points. Spend time processing and pondering what they tell you.
Something to Pray About: Ask Jesus to show you how to be the kind of person a kid sorting through their sexuality would know is a safe, loving person to talk to. Ask Jesus to get you ready for this. Don't assume that you are. It's tricky stuffy, especially for those of us with a traditional view of marriage and sexuality.
Something to Put into Action: My Sunday morning Bible class in February and March of next year will be about how traditional churches can change their approach, shift their posture, and relate in a more loving way to the LGBT kids growing up in our families. I'm using a resource called Guiding Families: For Every Pastor and Parent and All Who Care. "All who care" means you don't need to be a pastor or a parent, you just need to care. This class requires purchase of the resource I mentioned above, so call the church office and let us know your coming (630-627-1101) -- that way we can order your book (cost is $20).