Visiting the Church that Fired Me
Eleven years ago I was fired by my church for believing that being gay is not a sin. I went back to that church the other day to see what I'd feel in my heart.
If you’ve read my first book then you know the story well: in 2011, when President Obama signed the repeal for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (the military ban against open LGBTQ service members) I posted six words on my Facebook page:
I’m glad this day finally came.
What I intended to be merely a gesture of support for the ending of a discriminatory practice, those in my church community took as my admission that I’d abandoned the traditional theology that believes LGBTQ people are abominations destined for hell.
Well, I mean, they were right of course. I had changed my theology. But I hadn’t intended to necessarily broadcast it as such.
I do sometimes wonder, though, if my subconscious mind—which had been straining under the weight of a year-plus of ministry in which my internal convictions and my external reality were at odds with one another—acted of its own volition to try and get my body/heart/soul more aligned. In other words, I may have self-sabotaged as a way to stop slowly dying inside.
Regardless… I posted what I posted, it led to an emergency board meeting, and I was asked to give an account for my beliefs regarding marriage and regarding gay people. When I told them that I no longer believe the Bible (nor God) condemn LGBTQ people, and when I said I was in favor of same sex marriage, they unceremoniously handed me my termination papers four days later.
As I said, that’s all well documented in UnClobber.
My point for today, though, is that this past weekend I was in Arizona for “The Re-SHIFT Tour,” and as I was driving down the 202 East freeway I saw the exit sign for Gilbert Rd. The exist I took for five years of my life. “I’m gonna take this exit,” I thought to myself, “nd I’m gonna go drive by my old church.” Which I did. And then, without really thinking about it, I turned on my blinker, got in the turning lane, and pulled in to the parking lot.
Well, I guess I’m doing this.
I wasn’t sure, exactly. I think I just wanted to know what—if anything—it would feel like.
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