OPINION: Not defined by religion or sexuality
Writer’s Note: Due to the controversial and personal aspects of this article, I have chosen to go by Liz Starling.
I am a Christian. Jesus and I are pretty tight, but I am constantly learning and growing. I am young, driven, passionate and honest. I am a poet, a wannabe philosopher and a film junkie. I always do my makeup, and I never fall asleep during movies. I am an all-or-nothing gal.
Things aren’t black and white, they’re florescent yellow and deep purple.
I am a person. I have likes, interests and a heart eager to love just the same as you.
These are the things that define me.
I am also pansexual.
What is that? Simply and blatantly put, it means when it comes to who I am attracted to, I care about the person, not what’s in their pants. I like people for their personality, and, yes, their looks too, but gender doesn’t matter to me.
I am a Christian and pansexual.
The queer community is slammed by the majority of Christians.
“God hates fags.” “God said Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” “Gay marriage being passed makes this a sad day for our Christian nation.” You’ve heard it all before.
The “Christians” who make the headlines are the hateful, angry and misinformed who claim to serve the same Jesus I do.
The God I serve is not a hateful God. When Jesus was on Earth,– regardless of your view on his sanctity– he was the one talking to the prostitutes, eating with the most wretched people and comforting the sick and the needy that the Pharisees would condemn. These leaders and teachers of the law would advise him not to associate with those who didn’t fit what they believed the Law of Moses described for a faithful Christian. This is because they accepted the written Law of Moses as authoritative and rejected subsequent revelation. Sound familiar?
I have met so many loving, caring and accepting Christians since coming out, and I’ve faced a fair amount of prejudice, judgment and rejection from Christians.
My sexual preference is not a hindrance on my faith. I am a more genuine and faithful Christian now than I ever was in the closet. Remember, there is more than one way to be a faithful Christian.
Just because I believe in a God who is constantly misrepresented, does not mean these misrepresentations are my reality. I believe my God is a God of love first and foremost.
I’ve also seen a horrible amount of backlash from the queer community.
Things done to purposely disrespect, defile and humiliate the image of Christ have been increasing. Why does a group of oppressed peoples who have been through various amounts of horrible disrespect and mistreatment continue to react in the same way that they’ve been hurt the most?
I am the exception to the rule, but there are so many others here at Belmont and beyond.
Being on both sides of this ever-disputed argument can be emotionally taxing and mentally exhausting. However this is my reality, and I will continue to stay true to my faith as well as myself.
Not only are there people like me, but there are allies within churches across America.
Queer Christians are just like any other true Christian; they just happen to identify differently than the culture of heteronormativity.
I have been blessed to be able to find a church with educated and loving Christians who are devoted to changing the reputation of the church for the years to come. These are the people who show the true character of Christ.
I know there are others like me here, and I want you to know that it’s going to be OK. I understand.
You don’t have to choose between your sexuality and Christianity.
Speak up when your Christian friends are ignorant, and call your queer friends out when they mock the God you believe in, regardless of all this mess.
It’s going to happen, and it’s OK.
I don’t know if it gets better yet, but I’m still here. And I’m happy nonetheless.
Be kind. Be respectful. Even if you think my beliefs are a straying from faith, or a lacking in true salvation, just remember that when I get to see God face to face, and look at him with my whole life in my eyes, I will be able to say that above all, I loved him most of all, and I loved his children.
I hope you can say the same.
This article was written by Liz Starling.