I was recently given an opportunity to submit an article for a regional denominational newsletter. This is my first draft… I admit that I’m being very cautious about what I say. Anyway, I’d love some feedback on this! Here it is:

“We are your sons and daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters. We sit in pews in [my denomination] congregations everywhere – yes, even in [this part of Canada]. We serve on boards, we sing in choirs, we teach the children. We walk beside you at camp meeting, we worship with you at Songfest.

Like you, we long to know and worship and serve the Lord Most High. Like you, we came to him, “just as I am, without one plea…” Like you, we found no condemnation when we first came to Jesus. Like you, we were admonished to “go, and sin no more.” Like you, we daily seek the transformation that only the Father offers.

Some of us have learned to receive and walk in that transformation. Some of us grow weary of seeking it. We wait. We wait to be given the key that will unlock our minds, so they can be renewed. We wait for the moment when Jesus wakes up and begins to calm this storm. We wait for the church to stop judging us, as if our dilemma was the result of choices we made. We wait for the day when the conflict of desires within us ceases. We wait for the day we see for ourselves the image of a holy God in us.

We walk this road in fear. We are afraid that if we are honest about our feelings we will be judged unworthy. The miracle is that some of us have been honest and have been welcomed back into fellowship. We are afraid that we will be asked to be quiet about our struggle. The miracle is that some of us have found places where we do not have to be silent, and are yet loved. We are afraid of the shame that our stories will bring to our parents, our children. The miracle is that some of us have found that in speaking the truth, painful as this sometimes seems, the burden of shame seems eventually to be lifted, to be borne only by One on a cross.

We feel the blame. We share the blame for the redefinition of marriage in Canada. In some places the war in Iraq is blamed on us. We are blamed for untold incidents of child sexual abuse. We are blamed for the spread of hideous diseases, supposedly the fruit of the sin of those like us.

We do not want you to indulge us. We do not seek you to comfort us (although that would be nice). We are willing to take responsibility for our actions. We have been eager for God to begin his transforming work in us, we have moved to be co-labourers with Him in this work, and we longingly await its completion.

We yearn for a place where we can be painfully honest about ourselves, without fear. We long to experience in the church the Jesus whom the woman caught in adultery experienced. Jesus, who found no one to judge her. Jesus, who spoke the words, “neither do I condemn you” before he gave her the admonishment to “leave your life of sin.”

We are same-gender attracted (SGA) men and women. Some of us call ourselves gay or lesbian or queer. Some of us are transgendered. We live and work and worship among you. While we long for and wait for transformation, we are experiencing the unconditional love of Christ and the mercy of the Father and the counsel of the Spirit. We wait for the church to embrace us and love us in our journeys towards wholeness and truth.

When we say, ‘I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,’ we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the Church seldom asks us for forgiveness. ~ Henri Nouwen