Chris, a disillusioned Christian
Hello, my name is Chris and I would classify myself as a very disillusion (ex)Christian. The last 25 years of my adult life were spent in Christian ministry as an associate pastor of a large non-denominational church. For the better part of that time I had difficulty reconciling the church’s position on homosexuality with my inclusive disposition. I am not gay, but over the course of my 50-plus years I have had a number of gay friends of whom I have many fond memories. I never felt comfortable when discussions with my church associates turned to an issue involving homosexuality. I was unwilling to join the discussion and too afraid to voice an alternative perspective.
One of my biggest challenges was my inability to reconcile my mind with my heart over the issue. In my mind, I was unable to form a biblical argument that made room for the homosexual lifestyle in the church. But in my heart, the exclusion of gays from the body of Christ didn’t seem consistent with my conception of the nature of God.
About three years ago I discovered Soulforce and read some material and even posted a couple of questions on this forum. What I learned through that experience helped me to form a biblical argument to resolve the conflict in my mind. Today, I think I could make a pretty reasonable argument that there is room for the homosexual in God’s kingdom. However, I am not naďve enough to think I could convince someone from my old church community of the reasonableness of this argument, but it satisfies me.
Unrelated to this conflict resolution process were the circumstances that led to me leaving the church where I had met Christ and served for the past 25 years. Without telling the whole story, funding for the ministry I was responsible for ran out and the way things ended could have been handled better. Leave it to say, I was emotionally hurt in the process. While this event may be unrelated to my issue with the church’s position on homosexuality, I think the two issues are related to my current disillusionment with Christianity. I will go so far as to say that the two issues are responsible for virtually quenching my faith in the biblical God I had embraced for those 25 years.
You may be wondering why I am posting on the Soulforce forum if I am not gay. I have been thinking about doing this for a long time now and have come up with a hypothesis as to why. When I hear stories of gays “coming out” or see gays and lesbians portrayed on TV and movies enjoying life while being open about their sexual orientation I find myself feeling a little envious. It seems like I have been living a lie for most of my Christian life, perhaps similar to being “in the closet.” Posting on this forum is like taking baby steps to “coming out” for me, not regarding sexual orientation but more regarding being honest and open about who I am. And let’s be honest, I don’t think I even know who I am at the moment.
The story kind of ends here because I don’t know what “coming out” would look like for me. I am married to a Christian woman whom I met at church. She is aware that I have lost my faith, but not aware of the conflict resolution process I went though over the Christian homosexual issue. I have not been open with her about that issue, but she is supportive in my struggle over faith and the church. I am currently employed at a faith-based University and love my new job. No one there knows I have lost my faith. Everyone at work likes me and I am “fitting in” very well, but I really don’t feel a sense of belonging because no one really knows me.
I guess some of my biggest issues have to do with not feeling connected to anyone or not having a sense of belonging; not feeling like I can be completely open about things, and not knowing what I would say even if I felt safe enough to say it. This is the reason for posting on this forum. I just want to talk through these thoughts with people who will not judge me; hoping that I may feel a sense of connection through the experience.