By Greg Gough

I recently listened to a sermon on homosexuality that triggered the thought in me, “Why do I feel so negative about myself, my orientation or even who I am, after listening to this?”

My experience regarding sermons, messages and action in the church surrounding homosexuality has left me with lots of negative perspectives and feelings regarding what God thinks of me and what the church thinks of me. And that leads to negative perspectives and feelings on what God thinks of the gay community and what the church thinks of the gay community. It took me some time to realize this – time, and some experience in a church setting that does not negatively frame homosexuality. I’ve noticed that I feel more welcome and accepted because there is nothing negative that needs to be counteracted.

I don’t believe it is ever the intent of a church to negatively frame a group like the gay community or negatively frame being gay, but sometimes when there is no positive framing it is nearly impossible for LGBT persons to feel welcome and accepted in a church community. I believe that we can all positively frame sexuality and orientation and talk out of living in blessing and life, rather than living out of law, condemnation and death. Any theological perspective, whether anti-gay or gay affirming, can give reason for someone to feel negative or positive about God, the church or even themselves. We should keep this in mind when these conversations and opportunities come up.