Why community matters


In her new book “Everything” author Mary DeMuth says “if you have been hurt by community, God uses community to heal you.”    I have found that to be true for myself in the last three and half years.   It has not been an easy or love at first sight relationship for me to engage in a local church or build relationships with Christians.

In my new faith I had little desire connect with the Christian community.  My young adult experiences with the Christians and the church had jaded my perception. My experience taught me that Christians in general shunned gays and lesbians because they were afraid of them or they believed them to be demon possessed.  Once I made the decision to follow Jesus my faith placed a wedge between me and my GLBT friends and I felt grave angst about churches and organized religion.

The first several months of my Christian experience were rather lonely basically it was me and Jesus and the Bible.  I had relocated to East Texas was living with my friend who had lead me to Jesus and her husband on a small farm in the middle of nowhere.   My only social outlet was attending faith based recovery groups who meant in local churches.  I found these groups to be welcoming and accepting and related to the pain and struggle of many of those who attended.

One Sunday morning I turned on the TV and the Pastor of one of those churches came on.  I sat there mesmerized by his message it as if the man had a bird’s eye view of my life.   Something within me was drawn to go to that church that morning.  I had no clue of the service times, but I knew I needed to go.  When I arrived I was shocked to find friendly people who seemed to want me there.   Once I was past the front doors one of the group leaders came up to me and insisted I come sit with her near the front of the church.  “No, I am good”, but she wasn’t taking no for an answer.  So there I was in a church on a Sunday morning sitting on the second row.  I was completely out of my element.

That morning was a turning point in my life; soon I was helping at their food pantry, doing little projects, or filling in when the receptionist was out on vacation.   I was drawn to these folks, they seemed to see past my orientation to the deeply wounded person I was.  They cared more about the condition of my soul than my sexual identity.

Shortly after I began volunteering at the church I found myself in the most unusual position; their regular secretary was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  The lead pastor approached me and asked me to fill in until she recovered.  In that moment I thought the man had lost his mind.  Why would a Christian church want an openly gay woman to come work for them?  I am sure my church was the only one with an openly gay receptionist in East Texas, who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor.  Talk about risk and irony.

That was almost three years ago, since God tenderly budged to engage in a Christian community.    As a result I have ventured on this journey to resolve my faith and sexuality; it has not been an easy path.  Most often it’s been awkward and uncomfortable.   Yet I have cultivated healthy meaningful relationships with both men and women; discovered Christians who are kind and caring people.  The local church has been a vital element to my healing and spiritual growth.  Relationship and growth are why community matters!

Look forward to your thoughts and comments,

Hope

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~ by hopespassage on September 14, 2012.

2 Responses to “Why community matters”

  1. Absolutely amazing Hope…Thank you for sharing your story.

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