Originally Posted by suzer1013 She said to me this afternoon that she prays and prays, but sometimes her old Southern Baptist programming kicks back in and she thinks that God won't listen to her because she's a lesbian.
We've both been through therapy (years of it). We've both been to "affirming" churches. We've both been to the affirming websites like Whosoever and Soulforce. But still, sometimes, that programming just kicks in -- like it's hard wired. Sometimes I think no matter how much we hear the message that "God loves you" -- even over and over again -- because we are lesbians there will always be that question in the back of our head -- but does He/She [U
really[/U] love you? Or are you just believing that to make yourself feel better? Spiritual violence is insidious.
But I also think the right pastor might be able to help her (and me), but I don't know if we can find a pastor willing to help. I almost feel like we need Spiritual Therapy for gay people, to help "deprogram" all the negative messages we've received over the years.
Here is a hug for you.
And another for your partner.
And here are some more.
Now, to address some of the things you write above. My heart hurts reading your words, but these questions are not new, sadly. That is the great tragedy of the "spiritual violence" we are crying out against. I have had friends come to me with similar anxieties - got so routine that we named them: "The 3 a.m. Doubts," because we would wake sometimes around 3 or 4 in the morning feeling insecure about whether we were really loved by God. So, as I would put it, you and your partner are having the 3 a.m. doubts.
As to the programming, yes, it IS hard-wired. Any psychological habit learned in childhood is exceedingly difficult to unlearn precisely because that thought pattern becomes hard-wired into the brain. Neurochemically, the thought becomes our biology. Even if we grow up and observe otherwise, it is hard to erase the habitual thoughts, since they are not immaterial things, the thoughts are based on the physical reality of neurotransmitting chemicals. The belief is wired into the brain. Even if
adult logic can show evidence to the contrary.
What can ya do? I don't have any confident answers for you, but I will say try anything that seems like it might work. Try awediot's suggestion of following the thought to it's "logically" absurd end. And/or reach out for more affirmative people/reading material/whatever.
In critical spiritual matters such as these, and this is both spiritual and critical, I prefer to rely on my inward intuition and inner knowing, my own capacity to be receptive to God. Prayer, but also silent contemplation, making myself open to receive some of God's infinitude in my own little mind. Stop fighting and make myself vulnerable to the Lord's word as it reverberates right now. Give up wanting to justify a particular solution or outcome but be open to the real message. Then let *that* speak to me about the crisis issue. The other choice is to listen to other people. I don't like that, because that automatically means getting a human (limited) response that is being filtered through that person's personal filters of psychological training/emotional ordeals/ideological agenda. . ..
See, if I run to a gay activist, they might say, "Oh, of *course* it's okay to be gay, there is no conflict with homosexuality and spirituality," and I may embrace that for a while, but was it MY OWN answer? And if I run to an ex-gay ministry/therapist etc, they might say, "You are sexually broken, but with faith in Christ you can be healed and become straight. God loves you, but he made you heterosexual," and I may embrace that for a while, but was it MY OWN answer?
AS much as I want LGBTs to accept and embrace themselves without suffering, pain, and crisis, it is more important that the journey, the learning, and ultimately any answers you come to be YOUR OWN.
That said, there are many many reasons I can see, both logical and intuitive, why it's clear that God absolutely loves his lesbian babies, and no less than anyone else. For starters, the fact that God loves you enough to give you life and keeps offering you breath at every new moment. If God did not want you, you would not be here in the first place.
Speaking for myself, having been through my own journey of intellectual/philosophical questioning, and many meditations and "spiritual experiences," I *know* that God's love is absolute and unconditional. God doesn't even think about gayness or straightness. God sees only *you.* I know with my heart and I know with my head, and I know with all the cells of my body.
As Awediot says, we can come on here and type this a million times and it might not add up to much because the answer is not yours yet, but I'm going to type this anyway: Susan, God absolutely and unconditionally loves you. And your partner. And all his babies, and does not care if they identify themselves as gay or lesbian or bisexual or something else. God loves unconditionally. And He absolutely unconditionally loves *you.*
Feel free to PM me if you want to talk a little more.