By: Bailey Brawner
Knowing that we are in a place of individuality should be an exciting thing. It should be liberating and encouraging to live in a time where we can be who we are, a time where what we think and hold to be true has value and is honored by those around us.
For progressive Christians, like myself, the “church world” is getting a little less encouraging and a little more daunting, at least in my opinion. As I do my best to live out what God wants for me, I often find myself being the only one who thinks or feels a certain way. Do I really care what people think? No, but I do get confused as to why the messages I’m getting are so different than ones in different churches or denominations.
One of the huge topics that I refer to is that of sexuality. Living in Montana has certainly challenged me in my faith journey. The very fundamentalist Christians surround me and aren’t shy in telling me their beliefs. About once a month, the topic of gay marriage gets brought up in conversation to some extent.
Growing up in Alaska, things like race, gender roles, and sexual orientation never seemed to be an issue. At my church, our motto “open minds, open hearts, open doors” was prominent. We were encouraged and expected to love and accept whoever walks through the door. We even had an LGBT outreach team within our church. So, like I said, things of that nature were never brought up in a way that faced any sort of problem. I was comfortable in my beliefs.
At eighteen years old, I headed down to Montana, a place of hunting, camouflage, and Republicans. We weren’t in Anchorage anymore. Despite similar climate, my new home was a complete 180 from my old one. One of the first realities was when the phrases “gay”, “fag”, and “retarded”, words that were just not said back home, were thrown around. If one of these terms are thrown around in a conversation, I still, to this day, look for a reaction out of anyone else involved. It’s simply not a big deal.
Anyways, getting back on track, let’s talk about being Christian and supporting gay marriage. To say the least, it’s not common, especially where I’m living. Yeah, I do get criticized for it. The one verse in the Bible about marriage being between a man and a woman has been shoved down my throat so many times, I wouldn’t even be able to recall the exact number. My very different opinion on the matter is essentially unheard of, and causes some fairly real tension for some. It even has gone so far as me being told that I believed in a different God because of it.
Thinking about it now, maybe I do. Maybe I believe in a different God than that individual, because I know wholeheartedly that my God is a God of love, the Lord of love even. I know that my God would never turn away one of His children, and I know He would never close the door to what He has to offer to any of us.
Even though each of these conversations I have are uncomfortable at times, and surely tense, my hope is that they continue. My hope is that my passion for going deeper into God’s word, and my desire to grow closer to Him will allow me to help others to think. I know that through me, and through each of us, God can work miracles. God can change the world, and we can help make it into the place it was intended to be.
But first, we must Go.