I grew up in a Christadelphian family, and in due course I was baptized and became a Christadelphian myself. I was about 17 at the time. A few years later, when I was in my early 20s, I realized I was gay. At the time I held “traditional” views about what the Bible said about same-sex relationships: I thought them to be totally wrong. Like a good Christadelphian I “searched the scriptures daily”, with the ill-formed idea that I might be able to convince other gay Christians that God wanted — required — them to be celibate.
One day, and I think I must have been in my mid 20s at this point, I realized that things were more nuanced that I had originally believed. I came to believe that the Bible wasn’t as condemnatory as I had first thought, and I eventually reached the opinion I now have: the Bible does not condemn same-sex relationships, and you can be Christian and gay.
In 2005 I left the Christadelphians, for reasons not directly connected to my sexual orientation. Eventually, about a year ago, I joined All Souls’ Church in Belfast, a church that welcomes everyone “irrespective of race, colour, creed, gender or sexual orientation”. I worship there every Sunday, with my husband Michael at my side.
Throughout this journey, there are two very important things that haven’t changed.
- My faith has remained strong. I haven’t had to reject God or Jesus, even though my beliefs about what they want have changed.
- I still treat the Bible with the same reverence now as I did when I was 17, even though my understanding of the Bible has matured and become deeper.
You can be Christian and gay without turning your back on God, or ignoring parts of the Bible.