I grew up Independent Baptist. Then I actually became a Christian and left the Church altogether for a time. I went to a Southern Baptist college but attended Presbyterian churches for services. Then I joined a nondenominational church where I eventually worked. I subbed at a Methodist church every now and then and worked at a Southern Baptist church.
Now, I work at and attend a Disciples of Christ church.
I’ve had discussions of faith with my friends who ascribe to Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Latter Day Saints, Pentecostal, Christian Scientist, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Assemblies of God, Church of Christ, and Messianic Jewish faith backgrounds.
I guess what I want to say is this: I’ve heard, seen, followed, and studied a lot of different approaches to faith. As such, I have considered how each one approaches sexuality.
Here at YOB, we have a wide range of faith practices represented by our authors and readership. Please don’t read this post as my placing any one above the other; that is not my intent. Honestly, I’m only attending a Disciples of Christ church because that’s where I work; it’s kinda out of convenience.
That’s because I realized a long time ago that denominations are not my thing. At some point, it appears each denomination cares more about their tradition than following what God says. And that bothers me.
If faced between following what someone says to do and what God says to do, I think I should probably follow God.
Shortly after becoming a Christian, I decided no longer to care about the denomination of the church I attended. It’s worked out well so far.
What’s more, this new mindset has given me a bird’s eye view of the Church and sexuality.
You see, every denomination, no matter its other beliefs, is either affirming/”Side A” or non-affirming/”Side B.” It’s amazing how — despite hundreds and hundreds of denominations — we only have two real options for sexuality.
This has impacted me greatly. As I wrestled with what my sexuality meant in relation to my faith, I discovered that the Church had little to offer. Sure, they could point me to certain verses — but, honestly, I already knew those. They could offer interpretations — some more accurate than others.
But at the end of the day, they basically gave a thumbs up or thumbs down to gay sex.
This was frustrating. How could every church only have the same two options? And why would some choose Side A versus Side B?
Pondering all of this, I considered what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:10-13:
“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment…What I mean is that each one of you says, ‘I follow Paul,’ or ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Cephas,’ or ‘I follow Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”
It was the line where Paul says “united in the same mind and the same judgment” that caught me. Surely, Paul didn’t mean there are no differences between beliefs ever? Otherwise, we are royally screwed.
I think Paul conveys his true meaning a few verses later in 1:17, writing:
“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel.”
That’s where we are to be unified: fulfilling the Great Commission. Going out and spreading the Gospel, making disciples of all nations, and sharing the teachings of God.
This changed my focus. That’s why I now say denominations are secondary to me. It’s why stance on sexuality is not necessarily a core consideration for me in a church. I consider the church’s core beliefs about Jesus, God, the Gospel, and the Great Commission more important.
So, would I attend or work at an affirming/Side A church some day? I honestly don’t know.
Will my views change simply because of the church where I attend or serve? Most likely not.
My focus is on a bigger end goal. Whatever “name” I go by or whatever “title” I follow — well, that will ultimately be surrendered to God.
How do you see yourself among the many varied faith traditions and denominations, particularly in light of your sexuality? Do you attend or would you consider attending an affirming church?