Sunday, May 22, 2011 , by Diane Xuereb, Zwolle, The Netherlands
I have just come back from a wonderful weekend in Berlin, spent with LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) Christians from all over Europe, feeling renewed and full of God's love.
It was a weekend conference held every year around Ascension tide in a different country and organised by the European Forum for LGBT Christian Groups. I am one of the forum's co-presidents.
The European Forum has over 40 member groups, including Drachma, Malta.
Unfortunately, when I return ed home, the first thing I saw was your report of May 8 entitled 'Pastor has no regrets over gay 'conversions'.'
I reacted with disappointment, anger, disbelief and sadness. I had just experienced so much peace and love with my friends and I was very far away from this train of thought.
I can understand that people have their own beliefs. However, when the Bible is used to support one's convictions (in this case against us), it is being used as a weapon.
I can also use and quote the Bible to substantiate my beliefs; however, I would not like to get into that kind of theological argument because, in doing so, I too would be using the Bible incorrectly. I believe in another kind of reading of Scriptures, a theology that liberates the human person and does not oppress her/him, a theology that is life-giving.
I believe and understand that there may be some LGBT people who might be questioning their sexuality in relation to their faith and may have even left the Church and God because of all the questions and uncertainties. Some may be struggling and are afraid to show themselves for fear of being rejected.
I too had several questions, I too was lonely, for many years I struggled with my sexuality. I tried to change, I tried to change myself into a person that I am not and that I clearly cannot and never will be. Why? I wanted to be loved by God.
After many therapy sessions (to try and change myself) and after many years of struggling, I now find myself in a wonderful place of certainty. I know I am not alone, God is with me, and moreover God loves me. I do not feel like a liar and I certainly do not feel like a sinner.
I feel I can be myself knowing that God loves me not in spite of my sexual orientation but also through it. I sincerely believe my sexual orientation is a gift of God, an aspect of my creation that is normal and good.
One of the last songs that we sang during the conference was We are not alone. The lyrics were very simple but very powerful, giving us a wonderful feeling of God's presence among us and a belief that I cannot possibly describe with words.
[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]