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Traditional Christian Parents Reveal Changed Views on LGBT

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Coming Out

Like many other people close to the Father Heart of God, some years ago I ‘came out’ as a strong affirmer of LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning) people and their relationships. I’m writing this mini-series in order to help people whose children are part of the LGBTQ+ community, and to give you what I believe is a Christian perspective on the subject.

When the child of an Evangelical Christian ‘comes out’ as an LGBTQ+ person, all kinds of things could happen, from total acceptance right up to total rejection, and all shades in between. Personally, I don’t understand how a parent can ever reject their child, but tragically there are those who do. And the result of this rejection, for the LGBTQ+ child, can result in ruined lives – I won’t go into detail here but sometimes we are talking homelessness, suicide, severe emotional trauma – you get the idea. And that’s just with the parents – the person coming out has other social links too that could also bring suffering: church; school; friends; colleagues. It’s not easy by any means.

But today we’re looking at parents. In this short video from Facebook page ‘Christians Talk’, various Christian parents describe how they came to terms with their child’s sexuality, from the point of view of people who formerly had believed that LGBTQ+ was ‘wrong’. Also in this video are Rob and Susan Cottrell, whose work I have featured before in my blog, and will feature again over the course of this mini-series.

There we go. Meditate on that and hear what the Spirit is saying to you!

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Did Your Child Just Come Out to You?

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Coming Out

In this, the second part of my mini-series on ‘coming out’ for young people of Christian parents, I want to share with you the wisdom of Susan Cottrell, of ‘Freedhearts‘.

In this piece, Susan gives sound advice to Christian parents whose child has just ‘come out’.

You think it might never happen to you? Well, how would you know? Because if your child is an LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning) person, they might not feel able to tell you, because they know your views on the subject!

I would recommend all Christian parents read this article – not only ‘just in case’ your child does ‘come out’, but also to give you a better understanding of how Christian parents of LGBTQ+ young people can continue to affirm and support their child once they ‘come out’ despite what they think ‘the Bible says’.

Click the graphic below to go to the article:

This is a real issue affecting real people, and we need to examine this, as a Church, in a Chrstlike manner.

I know a Godly couple whose daughter recently ‘came out’ and which caused much soul-searching in their congregation…and those people in that church have essentially been forced – by their circumstances – to learn how to continue in their acceptance of that precious young life. And, so far, they have done very well…they knew that child from a baby and nothing has changed, except that now they know something that God has known about all along.

So, I recommend you read the article – it will stand you in good stead should you need it!

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Are You About to Come Out to Your Christian Parents?

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Coming Out

In my mini-series on ‘coming out’ for LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning) people, especially young people with Christian parents, I have so far looked at the matter from the point of view of the parents of the LGBTQ+ person.

Today, I want to share another piece by Susan Cottrell of ‘Freedhearts‘. Susan is a strong, loving and totally Christian advocate of LGBTQ+ people and especially of those who are young people still living with their Christian parents. In this piece, Susan shares practical advice and points out relevant considerations for young people who may well have to ‘come out’ some time in the near future. Click the graphic below to go to the article.

If you are a LGBTQ+ person who is considering ‘coming out’, then I would definitely suggest you read that article – it’s brilliant. Susan has a huge amount of experience in helping and standing alongside people in danger of rejection, either by parents or churches, for either ‘being gay’ or for affirming those who are. Personally, I don’t give two hoots what people think of me as an affirmer, but then I am not in a position where such people’s opinions make the slightest bit of difference to me. But I understand that for some people, the stakes are much higher, and this is why I have done this mini-series.

Be blessed. Grace and peace to you.

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Conforming to the Pattern of This World

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Coming Out

Today, I conclude my mini-series with an appeal to those believers who remain unconvinced about what the Church’s attitude should be about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/questioning (LGBTQ) people, and those of other ‘different’ sexualities (so, LGBTQ+).

It is a fact of life that society in general is slowly becoming more ‘tolerant’ of LGBTQ+ people. Not too long ago, it was actually illegal, in the UK, to be homosexual. Nowadays, of course, same-sex couples have the right to form ‘civil partnerships’ and also to be married, just like heterosexual couples. It is gradually being recognised that the emotional, financial and practical needs of these couples also need to be met by allowing them to have a legally-recognised relationship. So, things like inherited pension rights, sharing of tax benefits; in short, all the rights that a heterosexual married couple would have.

This is not because there’s a ‘gay agenda’. Sure, some people have been extremely vociferous in their campaigning for equal rights for LGBTQ+ people. But most LGBTQ+ people don’t have such an agenda. They just want to live their lives with their loved one – who might just happen to be of the same gender – in the same way as other couples do, and to enjoy the same rights that others in equally-committed relationships have.

Many Christians see these changes in society as being ‘The World’ encroaching upon society in a negative way. This is quite understandable if one’s attitude towards LGBTQ+ issues is a negative one. The ‘gay agenda’ is thought of as a threat to the idea of a more ‘godly’ society (which many Christians believe is God’s will) and they therefore find the idea of gay marriage/civil partnerships to be offensive, and, increasingly, ‘worldly’.

And so, they might well quote Romans 12:2 – about not conforming to the ‘pattern of this world’ – that pattern being seen as LGBTQ+ affirming –  because they consider that affirming Christians are ‘conforming to the pattern of the world’; that we are gradually becoming more ‘worldly’ by accepting ‘worldly’ things like same-sex marriage and so on. They will likely quote James 4:4 – “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God”.

Well, these arguments need to be addressed, if indeed it is true that the ‘world’ is dragging sexual morality ‘downhill’ with its affirmation of LGBTQ+ people.

However, I don’t actually believe that this is the ‘world’s’ way at all.

I would instead point out that, notwithstanding the excellent progress which has been made, legally speaking, in the area of LGBTQ+ rights, still ‘the world’s’ pattern is generally to reject LGBTQ+ people. They are persecuted and vilified in public, in the workplace, in schools, and of course in churches. You ask the ‘man in the street’, and particularly those over the age of about 40 or so, and this will be the opinion: ‘They’re queer, those folks…’ If you’re lucky, you might get a grudging, ‘…but so long as they keep theirselves to theirselves… ‘  LGBTQ people are ostracised in the playground; excluded from certain public places; personae non gratae in certain pubs; they are still seen as ‘odd’ or ‘wrong’, and – let’s not kid ourselves – they are still assaulted by homophobic thugs on a daily basis. This is aptly illustrated in the United States, where the homophobic attitudes of President Trump have been taken by some in society as a licence to allow renewed persecution of LGBTQ+ people. This is actually really happening in the real world, to real people. In addition, the self-harming and suicide rates are far higher amongst LGBTQ+ people than those in people of more ‘conventional’ sexuality. Despite current legislation legitimising same-sex relationships, and despite the undoubtedly increased tolerance (especially in British society), still the general consensus in society is that these people are somehow ‘wrong’ or ‘different’, and of course no amount of legislation can change that feeling.

Therefore, I think it’s safe to say that actually ‘the world’ too hates, or at least in some way discriminates against, LGBTQ+ people. It’s a complete misconception that Christians and other religious people are the only people who have a special problem with people of ‘different’ sexualities. The way of the World is not one of acceptance, but of rejection.

Now, Jesus hung out with the social outcasts of His day – prostitutes, tax collectors, political zealots, non-Jews. Those deemed unworthy or unclean not only by the religious extablishment but also by society in general as well. Tax collectors, for instance, were as universally hated as parking enforcement officers are today 😉 He set us the example to follow; not so much as a set of Rules, but to show us that the natural consequence of knowing Him and becoming like Him in His Grace and mercy results in us treating others with the same gentleness and kindness that He has treated us. He went out of His way to go ‘against the grain’ of society’s opinions, in order to include the ostracised (see for example Mark 2:16).

No, the ‘pattern of this world’ is that of separation, segregation, judgementalism, hatred, us-and-them, ostracism and violence, and the other things in the list in Galatians 5:19-21. The huge strides forward made recently for LGBTQ+ rights are nothing short of wonderful and are a result of precious (and, yes, sometimes militant) people standing up for their rights and for fairness. This renaissance in gay rights is advancing the Kingdom of God because it results in goodness and love and peace. And Christians have no right to hinder this because ‘he who is not against us is for us’ (Lk 9:50). This is Christ’s Kingdom at work and indeed advancing, even though it has not usually so been advanced by Christians (although some Christians have bravely identified themselves with the LGBTQ+ rights ‘movement’)

Now, many people quoting the Romans 12:2 verse about not being ‘…conformed to the pattern of this world’, also miss out the second part of the verse, which is ‘…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind’. This is not correct Biblical  hermeneutics (interpretation), because the verse is actually a doublet expressed as Hebrew poetry. It’s what’s known as an antithetic parallelism. One part of the verse cannot be interpreted correctly without the other. And so the injunction ‘Don’t do this…’ is only complete when we read the ‘…but do this instead’. So, we don’t just not conform to the world, but we need to have our minds renewed as well, in order to indeed not ‘conform to the pattern of this world’. This transformation; this renewal of the mind, is how that non-conformance is enacted in practical terms.

Bearing all this in mind, then, I would therefore propose this idea: that this transforming of the believer’s mind into something other than the ‘pattern of this world’ is actually, in this instance, to move away from the pattern of hatred and persecution that the world inflicts on LGBTQ+ people, and instead to be ‘transformed by the renewing of your minds’ – to change our minds; to ‘Repent’ (for that is what the Greek word translated as ‘Repent’ means – metanoia – to change one’s mind) and simply treat LGBTQ+ people with love and kindness such as ‘the World’ does not do. In other words, the Christians, like myself, who are complete affirmers, are actually pioneers setting the example of what Christian affirmation of the outcasts of society looks like.

Conversely, the rejection and other mistreatment of LGBTQ+ people by Christians is actually conforming to the pattern of this world. Now there’s a sobering thought…

And, as a final point, that kind of love must not come across as judging them or otherwise condemning them. We must treat them as Jesus would treat them. We must treat them fairly; treat them kindly. And, we mustn’t think of them as ‘them‘! These are fellow humans we are talking about here; there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’, the same as there is neither Jew nor Greek; slave nor free (Gal 3:28). Let God’s Spirit bring you to metanoia – to repentance. Let Him change your mind!

I would request that, as a believer, you go before God with this concept, and just ask Him to speak to you about it. Come with an open mind – either way – and just ask Him what He would have you do. Don’t take my word for it. Ask Jesus what He thinks!


If you have enjoyed this article and mini-series, or maybe simply for a little more background on my journey to becoming a full affirmer, you might also be interested in reading some of my other articles on LGBTQ+ issues, which are linked to below. Remember that I too was once very firmly anti-gay. I was in the same position as many Christians still are with regard to ‘alternative’ sexualities. But God changed my mind – He brought me to metanoia; to Repentance, on these issues. And He can do the same for you.

Firstly, the link to the other three articles in this mini-series, entitled ‘Coming Out’

How I began my journey towards full affirmation

One of my earlier articles on ‘How the Church should Treat Gay People

The story of my first encounter with ‘different’ sexuality as a Fundamentalist Christian

Finally, this link will take you to all my articles on LGBTQ+ and sexuality issues, including those mentioned above.

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Affirmation and Freedom

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Coming Out

In this article by Rob Cottrell, he describes how it was the choice between maintaining his relationship with his Lesbian daughter, and following his existing faith beliefs to the letter that brought him into huge freedom in his faith. Truly, for each of us, God uses different means to bring us into that freedom.

This might sound like a bit of a no-brainer to most parents, but sadly, there are those who would rather follow ‘men’s’ interpretation of a book (Mt 15:9) than do something that is perceived by those ‘men’ as being ‘sinful‘. And of course pandering to the demands of those people always leads to more slavery to rules and regulations; they are never satisfied.

So, here’s Rob’s article. Enjoy!


A Father’s Plea to Christian Dads of LGBTQ Children

Eight years ago, my daughter came out. I love her. Nothing will ever change that. Nothing. I stand with her. I defend her. I believe in her. I protect her.

And my life’s work is now to advocate for her and for all those in the LGBTQI community.

Maybe you have a gay son, or a lesbian daughter, or a bisexual, transgender or queer child. And maybe this is not what you hoped for—what you dreamed of. But regardless of the labels placed on our kids by others, they are still our children and their dreams are still very much alive!

If you are willing to take an often difficult and sometimes scary journey with me, it will impact your heart and your life in ways more wonderful than you can imagine. It will lead you into a deeper love for your child, your family and for God.

Having a gay child is an absolute blessing!

I never had a conflict between my unconditional love for my child, and my faith… until my daughter came out.

What?!?

The source of that conflict could not be my love for my child. That love is pure, holy, God-given, true, right and everything good in this world. So the source of the conflict had to be somewhere in my faith beliefs.

That is the key moment.

That realization is the decision point, and probably one of the most important decisions of my life and my child’s life. How I as a parent react and respond to that will impact both of our lives forever.

Some parents abandon their child for their faith. Indefensible. Some parents abandon their faith for their child. Either decision is gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, soul-shattering—and either will have horrible, tragic consequences.

There is a better way. But to make it, you have to be willing to take a journey.

If the source of the conflict can only be somewhere in your faith, then you have to open the box you are in and honestly examine your beliefs. And when you do that, God will reveal truth to you about God’s heart and unconditional love, not only for your child, but for you too.

When you take that journey and step outside of the box of behavior-focused Christianity, it can be scary—but the freedom, peace and truth you discover along the journey is exquisite, life-giving, and deeply satisfying to your heart and soul.

I plead with you to hear my heart.

My relationship with my daughter has never been better, my relationship with God has never been deeper.

To get there, I had to step away from religion, fundamentalism, legalism, anything that is part of behavior-focused, expectation-driven Christianity. As I stepped away from that, I realized I was stepping into the very life Jesus taught and showed us.

I learned that unconditional love, affirmation and acceptance of my LGBTQI child is actually consistent with a faith that follows Jesus.

I am fully affirming of LGBTQI people BECAUSE of scripture, because of Jesus, because of my faith, not in spite of it!

Your precious child holds your heart like no other. And you hold their heart in your hands like no one ever will.

What you do, how you react, the words you say, will have a greater impact—for good or bad—than you know.

I am just a dad, there is nothing special about me. All I did was refuse to abandon my child, and I refused to abandon my faith. I decided to begin a journey—a blessed beautiful journey.

One step at a time.

Will you join me?

– Rob Cottrell

p.s. If you are a Dad and need someone to talk with, please email me at robertcottrell@aol.com. You are loved and you are not alone.


If you’d like to see the original article, just click the graphic below to go to it.


Yeah, I know that my series on ‘Coming Out’ was supposed to have concluded with the previous piece in the series, ‘Conforming to the Pattern of This World‘. But I wanted to make this present article part of the series because of its relevance. And in fact I might just put all my future posts about LGBTQ+ issues into this series in order to keep them all together 🙂 [Edit: Doing that!]

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American Pastors Rethink Homosexuality

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Coming Out

Previously, I have posted a video about American Christian parents who had rethought their stance on homosexuality and LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning and others) sexualities. And today I am posting a video by American pastors who also have learned God’s heart for LGBTQ+ people.

Why am I posting things by Americans, when I am British? Well, there are a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the persecution of LGBTQ+ people in the United States appears to have become somewhat ‘legalised’ – not that many Christians would care whether it’s legal or not anyway – since Mr. Trump’s Presidency has declared what appear, to the outsider, to be several pogroms against minorities. Anyone who is ‘different’ is made to suffer, it seems. I’d have no chance with my Asperger’s Syndrome! 😉

Secondly, it is usual in British Evangelical churches to parrot/mirror, in a somewhat dilute and more tacit way, the things that American churches take the lead on. And so, the ‘yeast’ of some American churches’ anti-LGBTQ+ attitude comes over here stealthily and infiltrates itself almost unnoticed into out attitudes, particularly among those who are unable/unwilling to think for themselves.

But this can have its advantages too. If some American pastors/church leaders and parents are taking the lead on changing their attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people, and changing the way they respond to the peer pressure of condemnatory naysayers, then this will begin to happen over here too.

Maybe one day you will be able to say ‘I saw it here first!’ (here on my blog!)

Anyway, here’s the video. It’s only 3 1/2 minutes long and is well worth watching:

I reckon in twenty years’ time, LGBTQ+ people will be accepted into churches, relationships and ministries in the same way as are heterosexual people. There will of course be bastions of self-righteous people who are still anti-LGBTQ+, but most people will ignore them just like they ignore ranting Christians already. Change takes time in religious circles, and religious people can be some of the most intractable and intolerant people on the planet. That’s not going to change. But as the Spirit works on people’s hearts, those who have ears to hear, people like me, will gradually come around to His way of thinking and include all of God’s children in their perception of God’s family.

And, make no mistake: I still believe very strongly that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (and other) folks are key to God’s plans in this time. I believe there will be amazing miracles, healings, reconciliations and social changes brought about by Christian LGBTQ+ people. Like other persecuted minorities, these people have a special place in God’s Heart, and it will become apparent soon enough.

I personally am looking forward to seeing that coming to fruition.

Grace and Peace to you.

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