Stories Matter

Stories are important.

Stories bring understanding. They tear down ignorance. They build trust. 

Sometimes the truth can be hard to share. Why is it that we so often discount other people’s stories? Tell them that they are not important? Or even worse, tell them that they are flat out wrong.

My process of coming out was pretty painful. I had people tell me that I no longer belonged. That I couldn’t serve in the Church. That I was confused and hadn’t thought anything through (even though I took almost 30 years to think it through!). I felt I was being punished for just telling the truth. How ridiculous is that?

Me being gay hadn’t hurt anyone else. Yet everyone in my religious circle seemed threatened by my honesty. I couldn’t stay inside their Christian bubble, and in my journey, I’ve found that God many times outside this bubble, not in it.

Luckily for me, by the time I had decided to be honest with myself and others, I was secure in God’s love for me. Actually it was this security that pushed me to be honest. But many other people haven’t had the same experience as me, and when they decide to be honest that they don’t match up to the Church’s expectations, they are ostracized and thrown out from community. 

I believe the worst thing you can do is tell someone that their story doesn’t matter. You’re basically telling them that they don’t matter. That their life experiences aren’t real because they don’t match up to your understanding. 

News flash: You don’t have to fully understand someone’s story in order to accept them. And you don’t always need to tell them that you disagree. Just acknowledge that you heard them. It shows people they are known.

With so much misunderstanding in discord in our world today, it’s important that we listen to other people’s stories. When asked what you think about the Christian Church in the western world today, most times than not, people will tell you what the Church is against, instead of what the church is for. That’s so messed up, and I believe that is one of the main reasons why the Church is dwindling in many parts of Western society today. Young people don’t need to be told what is wrong with them, society does a good enough job of doing that already. What they need to know is that they are loved and accepted. 

Jesus came to let the world know that they are loved completely. That nothing can separate us from he love of God. However, the majority of the Church today seems to announce all the things that do separate us from God. 

This is backwards. It needs to change. 

This is the reason I decided to start this community. I believe now is the time more than ever that the Church needs to start having conversations with the LGBTQ community. And by conversations, I don’t mean just regurgitate the same recycled phrasing and statements that Church uses. The Church needs to listen to people’s stories and take in people’s experiences. The Church needs to ask questions that may be uncomfortable. The Church needs to meet people on the fringe outside of their bubble. That’s where Jesus hung out anyway. 

I believe by creating these spaces, and sharing peoples stories, that the hearts of Christians and be opened and transformed into accepting their LGBTQ brothers and sisters in Christ. Through this community I plan to share more of my story and the stories of other LGBTQ Christians. I am not a scholar, or an academic, but I don’t think you have to be in order to see what’s at stake here. This site exists because human beings are being rejected left and right. Brothers and sisters in the body of Christ are being cut off. It’s time for followers of Christ to take the scales of their eyes, and see that all people have a place at the table.

BlogJustin Hershey