thinking about going back to church

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 10:33 AM GMT
    hey guys. i've taken a year off from attending church, but now i'm thinking about going back again. i used to be pretty involved, but decided to take a hiatus away from it when I came out of the closet...plus i was really burned out on it after years of attending and hiding my sexuality.

    Now that it's public knowledge (for the most part) and the dust has settled with my news, i want to go back. I typically attend Baptist or Presbyterian (PCA specifically)...i generally agree with their teaching/philosophy the most, minus their views on homosexuality. Most of my friends who know about me have the "love the sinner, hate the sin" mentality...in other words, they still love me, but think what i'm doing is a sin. However, i'm confident in who i am and refuse to let anyone dictate to me how i should live my life.

    Honestly, i'm much more focused on building back my relationship with God that i once had. i definitely miss it!! So, am i making a mistake going back to this? if you're involved with church, what would you recommend?

    Thanks
    Brad icon_razz.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 10:40 AM GMT
    Then do it, if you go to one church and it doesn't align with your personal ideals then find another that more closely aligns with you.

    I'm atheist, I personally don't believe in god, but it's great that you do and that you want to have that in your life so you should go after it and find a way to make it work.

    At the end of the day the things that will bring you peace and contentment is important, I find it through other means, you find it through yours, ignore anyone who attempts to block you from that goal.
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2605

    Jul 12, 2011 10:49 AM GMT
    Hi there,go_vols,
    Like you,I was brought up in a very religous community(both parents very pious protestants,especially my father),but my reluctant atheism and sexuality made it hard for me to stay there,despite the love.It`s good you can go to church and approach God again,but I think you need to be careful of the 'love the sinner,hate the sin' philosophy of the other church members.I found it wearing on my confidence,self esteem,etc.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 11:01 AM GMT
    Lincsbear saidHi there,go_vols,
    Like you,I was brought up in a very religous community(both parents very pious protestants,especially my father),but my reluctant atheism and sexuality made it hard for me to stay there,despite the love.It`s good you can go to church and approach God again,but I think you need to be careful of the 'love the sinner,hate the sin' philosophy of the other church members.I found it wearing on my confidence,self esteem,etc.


    yes, totally agree...it can be very wearing! my response to them is that we can't all agree on everything...and as long as i am growing in my relationship with God, who cares about the little things? if it gets too out of hand, i cut them off and just say 'let's agree to disagree' and move on. don't have time to argue.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 11:02 AM GMT
    Brad, congratulations for deciding to go back to church. Our continual spiritual growth is something that will take care of us when all physical and material things in our lives leaves us lacking and wanting more. I was raised Methodist, but as a young adult I became atheist because I thought God hated me. I came back when I was about 40. I do not regret it. Now that I'm in my 60's, my church and spiritual life are the main pillers in my life. I prefer to think of my Christianity as practical Christianity. In other words, its what I practice on a daily basis rather than just a ritual of attending church on Sunday. It's more than a philsophy or esoteric concept.

    I would recommend a church that is gay friendly such as Methodist, Presbyterian, or Episcopal. These churches are practicing true Christianity, because everyone is welcome. Please mail me if you want to talk further.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 11:48 AM GMT
    You must be desperate. If you feel the need, however, go ahead.

    Perhaps your spiritual fulfilment might be better served by volunteering for charity work, which often has a strong community base, but does not come with any of the judgemental BS that Judeo-Christian/Muslim religion carries.
  • masculumpedes

    Posts: 5549

    Jul 12, 2011 11:51 AM GMT
    Mil8 said

    Perhaps your spiritual fulfilment might be better served by volunteering for charity work, which often has a strong community base, but does not come with any of the judgemental BS that Judeo-Christian/Muslim religion carries.


    I agree with this and have been a volunteer at the local Rescue Mission for a number of years now. icon_biggrin.gif
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Jul 12, 2011 12:04 PM GMT
    brad, like you, i was a religious man for a long time. my babtist menonite father made sure of that, hahaha.

    as i came to terms with my "late blooming" gayness; i grew distant from the church that blasphemised my from-birth sexuality and preached that i would "burn in hell for all eternity" for just being what i could not change.

    i cannot support, emotionally and financially, a church that hates me for being who/what i am!

    until they change i shall reluctantly stay away.


    icon_sad.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 12:05 PM GMT
    Mil8 said:
    You must be desperate. If you feel the need, however, go ahead.

    A longing to connect with our source is not an act of desperation. Please remember that you might need to do the same at some point in your life. Peace.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jul 12, 2011 12:09 PM GMT
    I was born and baptized in an episcopal church and I continue to be a member. The fact that my denomination is very progressive and accepting has made my membership something I'm proud of. Being gay or attending church with my bf and partner is something very accepted.
    If you are going back.. consider an episcopal church, at least visit one.
    I hope you will find it a very positive experience.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 12:15 PM GMT
    HndsmKansan saidI was born and baptized in an episcopal church and I continue to be a member. The fact that my denomination is very progressive and accepting has made my membership something I'm proud of. Being gay or attending church with my bf and partner is something very accepted.
    If you are going back.. consider an episcopal church, at least visit one.
    I hope you will find it a very positive experience.


    Hey Kansan, I have attended a lot of Episcopal services in my life and I really like the service. Now I'm attending a Methodist church that offers an Anglican style service. (Methodist is an offshoot of the Anglican church) I hear many people say they don't like the ritual service, but it makes sense, to keep the teachings pure and undiluted. Peace be with you!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 12:26 PM GMT
    I grew up the same way, but started going to an accepting church. The black church can be very tough, condescending, and hypocritical. And I realized that I don't need their judgement, and hypocrisy.

    Plus, I had a pastor tell me that church can be anywhere. It doesn't have to be confined to that building or even with those people. After he said that, I realized that i could have church in my car, the park, anywhere.

    Part of me thinks, Brad, that when you do go back there will be some judgement. You say the dust has settled, but once people get in church they become a whole different person.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 12:38 PM GMT
    The PCUSA voted this year to allow ordination of gay/lesbian clergy. It went into effect this wknd. There are many, many mainline protestant congregations (including American Baptist and PCUSA congregations) where you would be made welcome. Check out believeoutloud.com for lists/details.

    For me, it would not be so easy to "agree to disagree" on whether my orientation meant I wasn't good enough to be there. I could not worship with people who put themselves in a place of judgment over me. YMMV.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 12:47 PM GMT
    Mil8 saidYou must be desperate. If you feel the need, however, go ahead.

    Perhaps your spiritual fulfilment might be better served by volunteering for charity work, which often has a strong community base, but does not come with any of the judgemental BS that Judeo-Christian/Muslim religion carries.



    He took the words right out of my mouth. Being raised as a Baptist, I really can't fathom why you would want to return to such a judgmental and fake group of people. The pseudo love exuded at a church service can be very deceiving and additive, but in the end it's a bunch of narrow minded, hateful people smiling at you on the outside, while dying to change you on the inside. While you're sitting on a church pew singing Amazing Grace, people are starving on the streets, lost animals are being run over by cars and sick people can't get to their doctors. My gut feeling is that you would feel better if you actually did something productive with that time rather than putting your hard earned money into the collection plate of people who refuse to accept you for who you are. And if you're truly spiritual, I'm sure you believe God doesn't live in that big house with the pointy roof.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Jul 12, 2011 12:51 PM GMT
    If your church is a supportive community to you, then attend if that is what you wish.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 12:53 PM GMT
    it´s like going back to a partner who regularly beats you and then tells you it´s only because they love you so much.

    Find a spirituality which is not fundamentally opposed to your existence - it promotes mental health.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 12:55 PM GMT
    Scruffpup said:
    He took the words right out of my mouth. Being raised as a Baptist, I really can't fathom why you would want to return to such a judgmental and fake group of people.

    I can understand why you would be turned off by religion. Most Baptists, especially Southern Baptists, are fundamentalists at its finest: highly judgemental, black and white in their views, and everyone else is just wrong.

    Brad, you might do well to select something else besides Baptist.
  • masculumpedes

    Posts: 5549

    Jul 12, 2011 12:58 PM GMT
    Scruffypup said. Being raised as a Baptist, I really can't fathom why you would want to return to such a judgmental and fake group of people. The pseudo love exuded at a church service can be very deceiving and additive, but in the end it's a bunch of narrow minded, hateful people smiling at you on the outside, while dying to change you on the inside. While you're sitting on a church pew singing Amazing Grace, people are starving on the streets, lost animals are being run over by cars and sick people can't get to their doctors. My gut feeling is that you would feel better if you actually did something productive with that time rather than putting your hard earned money into the collection plate of people who refuse to accept you for who you are. And if you're truly spiritual, I'm sure you believe God doesn't live in that big house that man built.


    Wow..I couldn't agree with you more...perhaps there are some good Baptist congregations around, however, I have never attended one. I just recently left my own Church in Las Vegas after being the pianist for the past 11 years. I became involved with different committees of the Church and was shocked when I attended the meetings and actually became aware of the "other" side of those people. Petty, controlling, and an absolute refusal to listen to another opinion if it differed from their own. Talk about a complete opposite of the face they presented to the other members.
    Ultimately, if you believe in God, then your walk is only between you and God and no one else matters. icon_wink.gif
  • BardBear

    Posts: 533

    Jul 12, 2011 1:14 PM GMT
    Remember, no one walks over you without your permission. Go to church. But when they begin their hate speech, don't walk away. If you love your church, become the voice of change within it.

    I recommend choosing churches that already have a GBL organization established. For example, I'm a Lutheran and I know of the Lutheran's Concerned organization has specific churches they recommend. Perhaps there's something similar within the confines of your faith? Perhaps try that route.

    It is hard to hate a group of people that is composed of your friends. Make friends. Have fun. Get some benefit out of going. So that when the hate-speech surfaces, and it will, you can say, "you're talking about me, right?"

    Sorry--I was almost a minister here. Let me know if there's more you'd like to know.

    Peace,
    Bardy
  • masculumpedes

    Posts: 5549

    Jul 12, 2011 1:19 PM GMT
    BardBear said If you love your church, become the voice of change within it.


    Until the time when you start to speak and are told " The Church has admonished you to hold your tongue" icon_cry.gif
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Jul 12, 2011 1:23 PM GMT
    for years and years my chruch's pastor was a darn fine man! his sermons combined biblical references, humor and current event references. he walcome for a visitation in (almost) every member's home.

    he was an unusually tolerant man whose biblical knowledge, wit, sense of humor and personal compassion helped him appeal to most age groups. he put over 30K a year on his church supplied chrysler newport (this was wayyyyy back in the dim 1970's) doing the "work of the Lord". i was Pleased and Proud to be baptised by this man right before high school graduation.

    why he left our congregation i never knew (although i have my own deep, dark suspicions). he was repleced by a uptight, narrow minded, intolerant, hard shell southern baptist "hellfire and brimstone" preacher. when this new pastor blasted top 40 music, drag racing, cheek-to-cheek dancing and daquaris (all in one sermon, no less!) i realized that i was a goner in that church.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 1:27 PM GMT
    rnch saidbrad, like you, i was a religious man for a long time. my babtist menonite father made sure of that, hahaha.

    as i came to terms with my "late blooming" gayness; i grew distant from the church that blasphemised my from-birth sexuality and preached that i would "burn in hell for all eternity" for just being what i could not change.

    i cannot support, emotionally and financially, a church that hates me for being who/what i am!

    until they change i shall reluctantly stay away.


    icon_sad.gif


    May I ask why do you let others dictate what is God, or religion to you? In my eyes the one who judges is further away from God than any other. Nobody can judge over others.

    Why do you let self-proclaimed people of God tell you the 'Word of God'? You don't have to go to church to believe. Church is not God's home. God does not have a home for he is not confined to one place. He lives inside of you and every cell of you.

    Brad go do whatever makes you feel good. Whoever judges you needs to read the Bible once more. You tell them that.
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Jul 12, 2011 1:31 PM GMT
    Lux_ said
    rnch saidbrad, like you, i was a religious man for a long time. my babtist menonite father made sure of that, hahaha.

    as i came to terms with my "late blooming" gayness; i grew distant from the church that blasphemised my from-birth sexuality and preached that i would "burn in hell for all eternity" for just being what i could not change.

    i cannot support, emotionally and financially, a church that hates me for being who/what i am!

    until they change i shall reluctantly stay away.


    icon_sad.gif


    May I ask why do you let others dictate what is God, or religion to you? In my eyes the one who judges is further away from God than any other. Nobody can judge over others.

    Why do you let self-proclaimed people of God tell you the 'Word of God'? You don't have to go to church to believe. Church is not God's home. God does not have a home for he is not confined to one place. He lives inside of you and every cell of you.

    Brad go do whatever makes you feel good. Whoever judges you needs to read the Bible once more. You tell them that.






    tolerance, lux!

    i still beleive in the allmighty.

    i just don't attend church regularly.

    will that make me "burn in hell for all eternity"?

    i think NOT.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 1:45 PM GMT
    rnch saidbrad, like you, i was a religious man for a long time. my babtist menonite father made sure of that, hahaha.

    as i came to terms with my "late blooming" gayness; i grew distant from the church that blasphemised my from-birth sexuality and preached that i would "burn in hell for all eternity" for just being what i could not change.

    i cannot support, emotionally and financially, a church that hates me for being who/what i am!

    until they change i shall reluctantly stay away.


    icon_sad.gif


    I agree with this and relate. There are lots of other ways to be close to God. My motto - "God please save me from your followers!"

    Going to church does not automatically make one closer to God. A true relationship with God happens in a place where you are 100% welcome, being who you were born to be, free from ridicule and persecution. Find that place.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 12, 2011 1:57 PM GMT
    Earlier that famous tenet, 'love the sinner, hate the sin' came up. I found it's often very selectively applied. I never saw or heard of a church refusing to sell overweight people baked goods at fundraisers.

    While tongue-in-cheek (it's the Onion) the article makes a very good point.

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/all-seven-deadly-sins-committed-at-church-bake-sal,167/