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The True Goal of the Church's Apology?

Everyone has grown up differently with different beliefs and values along with their own opinions. There will always be people who disagree and have ideas of their own, however, will there ever be harmony in certain situations? During the process of the 2016 election, there have been many controversial debates on the LGBT community and especially since Donald Trump was Christian, who is an anti- LGBT. Christianity is one big community who’s had many different conflicts with the LGBT community. Conservative Christians are known to have a very strong belief that God made man and woman to be together and have made a habit of condemning people who do not believe in that. Churches especially have offended and even kicked out people who were gay or a part of the LGBT community because they just simply could not accept people like them. However, liberal Christians have made an effort to accept them into their churches and are trying to understand more about the community, further researching what the Bible and what God truly says about this issue. In many articles, more churches have been realizing the hurt they’ve caused and are trying to reconcile with the LGBT community. Andrea J. Terry wrote in “The Church Made Me Do It” about how the Marin Foundation attempted to build a bridge between the Christian and LGBT community. In “Asian Faith Leaders Voice Support for LGBT’s”, Angela Pang writes about how Asian churches have opened up on how the bible views homosexuality and how they should follow modern society. In another article “Coming Out: Religious institutions include LGBT community” where it explains how some churches have accepted gay couples and have their goal to have them draw closer to God and the church. Jeannine Lake describes her personal experience with the church’s hostility towards LGBT people and how she dealt with one of her friends being gay in “LGBT community, Christianity to be discussed at local conference.” Many churches are beginning to accept the LGBT community and reinterpret what the bible says, going against original conservative beliefs. This has raised many questions as to what Christians are supposed to do with the LGBT people, what the ultimate solution is as to whether they should accept them, or to continue shutting them out. Is there a possibility that all Christians can accept and welcome these individuals, but also teach them that it is not the right path to take through religious practices? In “The Church Made Me Do It” and “Asian Faith Leaders Voice Support for LGBTs”, Terry and Pang explain the misunderstandings between conservatives and liberals and that there has been attempts to apologize to the LGBT community and reconcile. There has been a strict boundary around Christian sexual identity that conservatives believe in and are not willing to negotiate. “This attempt to build bridges between the Christian and LGBT communities is no small feat because LGBT populations have historically been subject to intense critique by the conservative,”.(The Church Made Me Do It) However, as society evolves, liberal Christians are making an attempt to research more about the community to learn how the church should accept them. Most churches recognize their wrongdoing in showing hostility towards the LGBT community, but many conservatives will still stand their ground, saying that being a part of that community is wrong because the bible states homosexuality is not what God wants for people. Liberals are trying to reinterpret the Bible as to whether it directly talks about homosexuality. "Nowhere in the bible do you find the statement that homosexuality is a sin,” (“Asian Faith Leaders”) People are opening up to more options, as to show that being hostile should not be the solution to dealing with these opposing forces. "We're speaking here as church leaders because we recognize at times Christianity and Asian American churches have contributed to the rejection of LGBT people through harmful words, actions, and painful silence," said Rev. Deborah Lee of the Institute for Leadership Development and Study of Pacific and Asian North American Religion. (“Asian Faith Leaders”) Growing up in a conservative (Christian) family, I believe it is wrong to be a part of that community, but they should be welcomed into the church as they are without any judgement. My parents and many churches see it as sin, as it says in the bible. However, there are many gay people (or anyone part of the LGBT community) who are Christian, but should not be kicked out of churches or be treated any differently than anyone else. This a very contradicting topic that does not have a right or wrong answer, but the way to address this ongoing issue should be solved in some way. I believe churches have made the first step in apologizing for their bitterness and welcoming that community to the church. However, this step could lead to wrong conclusions, such as accepting the LGBT community wholeheartedly making it “okay” to be gay, lesbian, transgender, etc. The church’s goal should be to teach the LGBT community that God loves everyone, and that because we are human, we make mistakes. He accepts us, however we cannot live our lives thinking that our mistakes should not be fixed. Conservatives and liberals are both looking at this situation as a black and white solution to have people live by accepting LGBT people or to shut them out forever, but they do not realize how many perspectives to consider. In “I AM SORRY” and “LGBT community, Christianity to be discussed at local conference.”, Alan Chambers and Jeannine Lake both share a personal experience that has influenced the way they view LGBT people. Chambers realizes the depth of pain there are in scars through a car accident and how that parallels the church to LGBT. Chambers explains how even though the church may apologize, scars still remain and he knows how hurt the LGBT people could be to the extent where they have turned away from God and have shown hatred towards the church. He just wants reconciliation between the church and LGBT because that is what God would want. “You have never been my enemy. I am very sorry that I have been yours. I hope the changes in my own life, as well as the ones we announce tonight regarding Exodus International, will bring resolution, and show that I am serious in both my regret and my offer of friendship.” (“I AM SORRY”) Lake who had a similar background as I, has grown up being a Christian as her father is a pastor resulting in her hatred towards LGBT. “Feeling unsure about what she had been raised to believe and what was right, she soon left the church as well. Lake said she was both angry and confused after losing her friend.” (“LGBT community, Christianity”) However, when her gay friend was kicked out of the church, she left the church as her view on how the church has changed drastically. As she questioned her beliefs, she has found her way back to the church and also believes in reconciliation, harmony between the two communities. “While Lake said she still believes God created men and women for procreation, she won't tell anyone they are going to hell simply because of their sexual orientation nor mistreat them in anyway.” (“LGBT community, Christianity”) This becomes confusing for people like me, who is not easily shaken by ideas that are so different from what we grew up learning. Conservatives have a very narrow minded way of thinking because they believe the Bible is very clear and structured in the way it describes homosexuality as a sin. However, something conservatives should learn is that the Bible is open to be interpreted and that they should consider opening up to different options rather than hate. This should also be confusing for the LGBT community as well, wondering what the church’s true motive is and whether they will truly accept them or not. As Chambers had said, scars remain and the LGBT community might feel too vulnerable to go back to the church. It’s hard to go back when the people there who is considered their “family” did not treat them like family before. So, even with the apology, who is to say there will be any trust left within the two communities? This controversy is something that is still evolving and will reach an ultimate solution. There is a continuous growth that will take place in both communities as they both place their true goal in where their faith lies. The church and LGBT community have been against each other for a very long time, however times have changed and people are starting to look at things differently. But, will looking at things from their perspective give the wrong idea? Opening up the church to this community is only the first step in reconciliation. As more research is done on what the Bible truly says about homosexuality and what modern society is beginning to do, the Christian community will do what they believe is right whether they are leaning more towards conservatives or liberals or maybe a little bit of both. Works Cited Terry, Andrea J. "The Church Made Me Do It: Identity and Apology in Marin Foundation Video Confessionals." Sage Journals. Texas A&M University, College Station, Department of Communication. http://jci.sagepub.com/content/39/4/298.full.pdf+html Pang, Angela. "Asian Faith Leaders Voice Support for LGBTs." Asianweek, Jun, 2007. http://queens.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.... "Coming Out: Religious institutions include LGBTQ community." UWIRE Text, 3 Sept. 2013, p. 1. Academic OneFile, http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=cuny_centraloff&v=2.1&id=G... "I AM SORRY." States News Service, 19 June 2013. Academic OneFile, http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=cuny_centraloff&v=2.1&id=G... "LGBT community, Christianity to be discussed at local conference." UWIRE Text, 12 Feb. 2016, http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=cuny_centraloff&v=2.1&id=G...

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