If you've followed my blog, or you're around me often, you know that over the past couple of years, I've been publicly supportive of LGBTQ+ issues. I've blogged about several books I've read on the subject, I have "Safe Space" signs in my office, ally pins on my book bag, and I wore a rainbow tie to church during pride month.
In the past 2 months, I have had a few people question me on this.
"Are you gay?" (They didn't ask this directly, but this was the gist)
"Is one of your kids gay?"
"How do you align your church's beliefs with your support of LGBTQ+ issues?"
"I'm surprised to see you wearing that." (I guess that's not really a question).
So... Here's the deal.
My motivation for leaning into the LGBTQ+ stuff is fourfold:
(1) I'm not a fan of things I don't understand. When I was a missionary (a thousand years ago), I hated not having all the answers. So, I would throw myself into study to prevent that. The same motivation partially drives my compulsion to read and study around this issue. Of all the issues the church is dealing with right now, I think this is the most complicated. Which compels me to want to understand it. I want to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you." (1 Peter 3:15). I haven't cracked this one yet, but I'm going to keep working at it.
(2) I want to expose my kids to the "sticky" issues around the church. I don't want my kids ever to say we shied away from the hard things in our house. I often hear critics of the church complain that no one ever told them ____. My kid's will walk whichever path they choose, but I won't give them that ammunition. I want our home to be a place where questions can be asked and no topic is out of bounds.
(3) In my current calling, one of my biggest worries is that people will not feel welcome at church. That they won't feel like part of the family. That they'll walk out of our Sunday services and feel they don't belong. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for an LGBTQ+ member of our church to feel entirely at home. They're told they belong but that something fundamental about themselves doesn't quite align. I know I can't solve that problem for them, but I can hopefully show them that no matter what their Bishop loves them.
(4) I want to be more a part of the solution and less a part of the problem. I know a family who decided to leave the church. One set of their parents said they didn't know how to treat them now that they had left. 😳 I don't mean to oversimplify what is likely a difficult situation for these people, but love is always the answer. So, despite my lack of understanding, I will lean into love.