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GLOW Home  Carrol

"I Have a Dream" 

by Kate McLaughlin (aka Carrol Grady) 

Simply expressed, my dream is that we will learn to view our church as a hospital for sinners, rather than a club for saints. When Jesus said, "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners," he knew that all were sinners . . . but those who thought they were righteous did not recognize their need.

In terms of our sons and daughters who are homosexual, this is how my dream translates;

"First of all, we need to patiently and perseveringly continue to educate those who have no understanding of the complexity of homosexuality. When I recall my ignorance and prejudice before learning about our son, I cannot judge those who show the same ignorance and prejudice today because they have never had to face this situation in their own lives. We can only bring about change through a spirit of Christian love for all. . . .

My dream is that someday our church will have the courage and compassion to come forward and make a forthright, public, "official" statement such as the American Catholic bishops did recently (printed in the Nov-Dec 1997 newsletter), acknowledging that homosexual orientation is not a choice, that God does not love anyone less because they are homosexual, and, even while recognizing that homosexual behavior is not God's plan, urging parents (and all church members) to accept and love their gay children in a world where they face rejection on every hand. We cannot totally blame church members who express bigotry and hatred, when the church has "officially" remained silent regarding this issue. And this kind of public acknowledgment would help enable parents just learning of their child's homosexuality to respond in a more loving, redemptive way and eliminate some of the wounds that can occur in the early states of adjustment, through ignorance and wrong perceptions."

Although many of our sons and daughters have left the church, there are far more than most might think who quietly remain in the church. I believe that a large number follow a celibate lifestyle and keep their orientation a secret. How much brighter and happier their lives might be if they felt free to admit that they face a daily struggle with their sexual desires, if other church members would support them with love and prayer, would offer them the non-sexual intimacy of close friendship to fill their need of belonging to a group so they no longer feel isolated and alone. What a blessing they could be to the church if they were encouraged to use the considerable talents, with which most of them are gifted, in service to god! What a help this would be to them if they could express their sublimated sexual desires through creative enhancement of the worship we offer god. I believe there are many others who might perhaps be drawn and encouraged to make the kind of sacrifice celibacy demands if they perceived this kind of warm, caring atmosphere in our church.

My dream extends to the plight of young teenagers just beginning to recognize their difference. I think most of us have felt the regret of nut understanding what our child had to go through alone, the pain of realizing our ignorance of the teasing and harassment they suffered from their peers. How much it might help them (and their peers) to accept themselves if an understanding, non-judgmental attitude toward homosexuals could be taught in our schools. Imagine a teacher telling a class of 7th and 8th graders, "Because we live in a fallen world where Satan has tried in every way to undermine God's perfect plan for us, some people are apparently born with an attraction to others of the same sex, the way most of us are born with an attraction to the opposite sex. Some of you may discover that you have these homosexual attractions. it is not a sin to have these feelings over which we have not control. Those of us who do not have such feelings should not look down on those who do. Each one of us has some sinful tendency with which we must struggle, and we need to show love, support and encouragement to each other, instead of condemnation and prejudice. If any of you have questions about this I will be glad to talk to you about them." I think that, over time, this kind of openness and matter-of-fact acceptance would remove much of the frustration and negative self-image that plagues boys and girls as they are learning to deal with their homosexuality and would help heterosexual young people be more understanding.

And what of the many men and women, our sons and daughters, who have been so hurt by the rejection and prejudice they have encountered that they have left the church? What of those who, in the frustrating challenge of trying to understand themselves and God's plan, have come to believe in a different interpretation of the bible? Should not our church extend God's (and our) love and compassion to them also? Are they not in a much need of God's love and grace as any of us? If they want to be part of our church, should we turn them away? The bible tells us frankly that Jesus associated with sinners -- drunkards and gluttons, tax collectors and prostitutes. While we might not class our beloved children with such a company, there are surely those who would. If we are ever going to follow Jesus' example, we must learn to extend our love and acceptance to everyone who enters our church doors. if this goes against the grain of the way we have been taught to think, perhaps we need to challenge that kind of thinking. I am not advocating abolishing the high principles by which God calls us to live our lives, but I don't believe their attainment should be considered a prerequisite for "belonging to the club." Each of us has some area in which we struggle with temptation, in which our victories alternate with defeat. And no doubt each of us has some sin in our lives, visible to others, of which we are not yet aware. God does to ask us to judge the worthiness of our progress of others. But I believe he does call us to love others as he loves us. I believe an attitude of understanding, compassion, and respect for each individual as a beloved and valuable child of god will go a long way toward healing past wounds.

This, then is my dream -- a church where love, affirmation, acceptance and encouragement is extended by all, to all; a hospital where all recognize that they are sinners in need of healing by the Divine Physician."

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go ad learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Matthew 9:10-13

Anyone interested in receiving the newsletter (particularly for parents of gay/lesbian Adventists)
may email Carrol at < or send snail mail to:
Carrol Grady "Someone to Talk To...."
13008 234th Street SE Snohomish, WA 98296
(1 year subscription: $5)

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