As I look back in my life, I recognize that I have changed my thinking in how I understand certain things. I have learned to be less judging of people who may live differently than I do. First Baptist Church has helped me accept others who believe differently. Maybe it’s because of the principle of the Priesthood of believers. We can worship together, seeking to love God, love our neighbor, yet have different understanding of what God is expecting of us.
Not until I became a guidance counselor in a high school setting was I confronted with hearing lives who shared confusion of their sexual identity. Listening to young people tell their stories of bewilderment, judgment, and rejection, I tried to seek understanding. When I learned that a fellow professional educator was gay, I recognized that my respect for him had not changed. Listening to a gay person pray and seek God’s guidance in his life, and tell of the love he shares in his homosexual marriage, I ask myself, “Who am I to judge?”
FBC has had a big impact on my life through the years. By attending the adult Sunday School class Living the Question, I have opened my mind to many new understandings of what I believe. Many of the views I grew up with have changed significantly. I have allowed myself to be free to question and learn.
Being a member of this task force on LGBTQ, I continue to learn by reading and listening and hearing some of the stories shared by some of our gay congregation members who have come and want to be accepted in a church with other Christians and worship together. What more do we want from each other than coming to church seeking to know and understand more of our walk with Jesus? When our church says, “Come As You Are”, I hope we open our arms and hearts to all who are seeking to live a better Christian life.