*** I would ask you if you are not Catholic or even Christian to please answer this one question for me : What does you think the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality? Not as a discussion, I will not allow any comments that do not answer this question go through. I want ya’ll to let me know so that I can hear you, and maybe others will take time from talking and listen too. ***
For the longest time I have been writing about my past and I have been stuck on one thing, when exactly did I get so angry and when did I realize what had happened to me as a child? I didn’t really ever vocalize or understand that what happened to me was sexual abuse until I was in my late twenties and had three children. I have been in therapy for over a year now and I’ve been doing the hard work of looking at myself, my thoughts and my wounds so that I can confront everything and heal and become the person God created me to be. It’s not easy to do by any means but as I stood in the doorway of my abusers house and looked him in the face, I felt free from the pain of what he did to me for the first time in my entire life. The Grace of the freedom has kept flowing in my life since.
Some people may think that my voice on the issue of gay marriage doesn’t matter because I am not brave or courageous, but I would say that looking that man in the face and telling him that I forgave him was the most courageous thing that anyone could have ever expected me to do in my entire life. I am also not afraid to speak about sins, but not just about those committed by other people, I am willing to speak about my OWN sins and face them while speaking about them publicly. I won’t talk about other people’s sins without speaking about my own. I will speak about my views on how the Church as a whole, and the individuals that make Her up, speak about and to gay people. With social media, all communication is personal at times. I will speak not only because I am not scared to do so but because I have right to do so as a Baptized Catholic. The “clear” voices who like to let gay people know what sinners they are are not the only voices that matter or get to be heard. That’s not how this Church works, and it’s why I love being here, because Jesus is Lord, not anyone else.
In the past few years I have been in several long threads about homosexuality, which never turns out well because I have an issue with the idea that homosexual acts are the greatest sins of the world. That is an idea that I heard before I became Catholic and one that I still hear in some circles. ** I happen to think pride is but we don’t see anyone protesting that sin at all, ever, but it is the sin that actually was at the heart of the fall of Adam and Eve, not homosexual acts. Call me crazy, but I think maybe we should focus on pride a bit more sometimes.
People have said that we have to be clear about the Church’s teaching on sexual sin. I agree that we have to teach the truth about sins, sexual and otherwise. I just don’t agree that the Church being clear on sexual sin is the only thing needed from Church leaders or the laity, which is what I hear a lot from some circles, even if Leila didn’t say those words in her post.**
I was a hoe most of my life. I heard about sexual sin my entire life. I was raised in a southern Baptist Church, it was drilled into me that sexual sin was a sin and that it would lead to hell and you know what it did? It made me feel like being abused and raped at 5 was my fault, that I asked for it, that I was “dirty”‘and that I was trash. Nobody cleared up the fact that abuse is not “sexual sin” for me and when I went to the Pastor’s wife and told her what had happened to me and that I liked boys like “that” because it felt good, they baptized me for the third time and told me to ask Jesus into my heart, which I did and which didn’t “work” because I began having sex the following year at 14. So when I fight people on this issue, it’s personal to me. Being “clear” on this issue of one sin and not others isn’t merciful sometimes because we do not know what some people are going through. If there is any one person who writes about speaking the truth in love or just loving truthfully it is Heather King and I highly suggest her new book Stumble along with her blog posts on what it is to be mercy walking.
It was after that thread that I realized when I became angry. Right after the third “baptism” didn’t “work”. I have been angry ever since. That’s when I felt rejected by God and by Christians, and while people can blog about how some of us what to only use fuzzy language with people because we are “scared” to hurt people’s feelings, I lived a good part of my life feeling like God did not love me. It wasn’t about Christians wounding me, I was already wounded, it was about them choosing to keep things “clear” over helping me get to the Healer. They were stumbling blocks to my walk with Christ and maybe there have been some great saints who didn’t care about being stumbling blocks, but I can promise you that Jesus does care. I can promise you that my kids care because all of it greatly impacted their life. Not that I don’t have responsibility for my choices, because I do and I accept that, but man, if I had just known that God loved me anyway back then, things would be so different. God does work all things for the good of those who love Him, and He is working good out of what happened to me for sure. I just wish I had known. Like that I was more than my sins. When I finally found people who did that, my life changed. I met Jesus. And guess what? I realized that I was a sinner on my own and with God’s Grace confessed all those things with a contrite heart. Things that I never intended on being sorry for.
How we, as a Church, sound to the world matters. How we communicate the love of Christ to the world, matters. The words we use and how we use them matter. There is a reason the Vatican II made a point to talk about the importance of knowing how to transmit the faith to the modern world. (I would highly suggest that people know what the Gospel actually is in the first place before considering preaching it, but that’s just my humble opinion). When we don’t do that, we get people who do not understand in the least what the Church stands for and that it’s Love Himself.
It’s not always about making it clear to gay people that they are sinners. People living in sin who have never known love or have been wounded, whether or not they are gay, and are looking for relief in any place they can, do not need to be told that they aren’t good enough, they know. I knew. I still wake up every day with the voice that says “see, they don’t want you here” in my head. I fight it every day by hanging on to what I know: Jesus came for the lost, not the righteous.
Sometimes we would do well to listen to those who have been lost about what brought them into the Church or listen to what people think of us so we know where we are going wrong, instead of always talking in circles around the same talking points. Dialogue requires listening, not just talking.
** Those are to clarify that this post is written from my point of view from many conversations on this topic and not specifically from what ANY ONE BLOGGER has said to me or otherwise.
I am not sure exactly what this song has to do with this post, but it’s one that I listened to over and over during my conversion and I found myself listening to it this morning, so I threw it in there. If you feel like you have no place in God’s plan, that is a lie, you. You are loved and you are valuable, no matter what your sins are, God love you more than you think He does.