This is a really interesting topic of debate in my household, as my father is a former pastor. Since coming out to my parents a few years back, which inadvertently outed my older sister as well (she was visiting them when I sent an email), my entire family has been going through a shift.
Six months ago my mother told me that "not as many people accept gay people as you may think!". It was her version of a stern warning, as though hearing this would somehow 'bring me to my senses'.
She said this to a man, who as a child had a family friend, and lead pastor of his church preach to a crowd of hundreds saying that if gays were ever accepted by the church that would be the day he walked away from the church. I still remember that exact day, sitting in my pew, trying not to look nervous, hoping no one would notice how ashamed and dirty I felt. I was 11.
My parents visited me last weekend and my mother told me that at their Christian campground she's been fairly open that two of her children are gay. She told me that it seems that everyone there has at least one person in their family or someone close to them who is gay. She passed this along to my sister as well. It's funny sitting back and watching the gears turn in her head, seeing the changes happening slowly.
It seems to me as society shifts and as people are having more and more personal integrity, the world is waking up to the fact that there are plenty of homosexuals in all walks of life, especially in the church.
While there are plenty of gay-affirming churches out there, what's surprising is that even the more closed minded are finally waking up to some very simple truths. The campground pastor spoke about a bakery operator who turned away a gay couple when they asked for a wedding cake. When he heard about this, he told the woman she should have made their cake for free, and invited their friends to have their cake made there as well. He said that God called people to love, not to judge.
I think those in the church (or any other organization) who only want control, power, and ego will always find reasons to hate, but I think those who are searching for truth and love are finally waking up to reality. Now we've got the rest of the world to help on their journey.
If God exists, I think the recent influx of gay people born into the church is no accident.
I love the end of the linked article:
"One of the recent rallying cries for the LGBT movement has been "Love is love." One of the most common phrases in Christianity is "God is love." Everyone is pushing the Love agenda but not enough of us are practicing it. Love means listening more and yelling less. Love means pausing long enough to consider another perspective. Love means making an effort to get to know someone from a dissimilar background. Love means taking risks and stepping outside of what's comfortable. Love means being willing to face criticism for ceding an inch to the other side.
I'm a gay Christian from a conservative family fighting for a progressive cause. Compassion and understanding don't weaken my argument for equal rights; in fact, they strengthen it. Openness and respect for differences don't weaken my faith; in fact, they strengthen it. In the end, no matter which side we're on, love wins if we let it."
At the end of the day I'm very glad that I've seen both sides of the argument. I think it's given me personal strength and perspective, and a stronger sense of self. I hope we can all find compassion and love for one another, and that the resolution of this conflict only makes our societies stronger.