Jessica Chilous is a follower of Jesus, wife, and joyful mother of five in Nashville, TN. She is a member of a local missional community committed to loving gay people in her city, and she recently attended Revoice 2019. Check out her reflections as a straight married Christian woman.
EQUIP has asked Side B gay Christian friends and family members to share their stories. Check out this story from Rebecca (name changed):
“I think maybe we should wait a while before you start leading in our Sunday School.” Even though I had braced for these words, I couldn’t stop the sinking feeling in my stomach and the prick of tears in my eyes. “I have a few questions for you,” continued Helen (name changed), the young adults minister at my church. Why? Because I am bisexual.
What’s our vision for churches? That they would pass EQUIP’s Gay Teen Test. Our Gay Teen Test asks whether what gay teens in your church hear and see sets them up to fail or flourish. Does a mix of silence and hypocrisy in your church lead teens to reject a traditional sexual ethic and, often, God altogether because of their confusion, shame, fear, loneliness, and hopelessness? Or does your church courageously lead compassionate conversations about God’s love and plan for all people, setting up gay teens to embrace the beauty and the burden of the gospel?
Will is a 17-year-old gay Christian, and Frank is a 60-year-old gay Christian. I’m not using their real names, but their stories are very real. Separately, the two emailed me back and forth over a weekend, and by the fourth email, I couldn't help feeling some deja vu. At times, it felt like I was talking to the same person, just 43 years apart. They both struggle mightily to obey Christ’s teachings and find joy as gay Christians, and neither of them feel like their church has anything meaningful to offer them.
Boy Erased highlights a theologically and psychologically destructive school of thought. The practice of gay conversion therapy has led millions of LGBT+ Christians to lose their faith and commit suicide. And these ideas and practices continue today, albeit in more subtle ways. The Church must repent of what we have done, and we must make sure it never happens again.