This is the story of both respect for traditional conservative Christian views about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues and inclusion of LGBT people told by one member of a Christian community in Denver.
In my Catholic upbringing, I attended Catholic gradeschool, high school and college. However, after seeing the discrimination my gay stepbrother and transgender cousin faced, I stopped going to church by my mid 20s. I experienced a great amount of guilt, which is not surprising, when I exited the church. Part of this guilt came from knowing how much my faith community supported my family and me when we lost our mother to cancer when I was in high school. I craved that sense of community that carried my family through tough times, but I couldn’t understand the church’s stance on LGBTQ. How can we call ourselves Christians, yet exclude a part of the population? Who are we, as humans, to deny anyone the body or blood of Christ?
In my late 20s, I discovered a non-denominational church called Denver Community Church. I started attending services, and I loved the sense of community. But as of recently, I hadn’t been to church. After reading an email from DCC about the annual Denver Gay Pride Parade in June, I was left, again, questioning organized religion. I don’t remember what exactly the email said. DCC, along with other churches in the community, were joining forces to “stand guard” during the parade, in the wake of the Orlando shooting. But it ended with something along the lines of “even though we might not agree with the lifestyle of the LGBTQ community, the parade is not the time to express that.” “We” in this instance could have meant all of DCC or some of its members. Or maybe it sounded nothing like this, and I was just looking for an excuse to stop going to church.
One recent Sunday, I woke up feeling compelled to go. At the start of the service, we watched a video from the elders of DCC, where they explained they spent the past couple years discussing the LGBTQ community. They concluded that as a faith community, they are calling for full inclusion for LGBTQ brothers and sisters and choosing unity over uniformity. I know that some members of the community are opposed to this decision, but I feel DCC made the right decision to include more of God’s children. What impressed me the most, is that DCC held meetings the next five Wednesday evenings to open up the dialog for any members who wanted to better understand the LGBTQ community and DCC’s decision. In these discussions, they invited members of the LGBTQ community to speak and they studied different Bible passages. Rather than polarizing on the issue (especially since it is personal to so many), this community continues to discuss and find a both/and response.
For an extended version of this article visit the author's blog.