6/9/19 – LGBTQ+ Pride: Leaving Behind Spiritual Abuse.

Posted on : Jun 6th, 2019 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

A few months ago, our friends in the United Methodist Church were grieving yet another anti-gay, homophobic decision from the Methodist Church’s national policy-making body.  There was not a new thought or threat uttered.  It was the same old same old, patriarchal, heterosexist stuff.  Friends were sending me play by play descriptions of the Methodist’s “Special Session of the General Conference.”

I lived through this kind of spiritual abuse for 34 years in the Presbyterian Church.  The Conservatives from the Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Baptist and Evangelical Churches all used the same rightwing religious think tanks.  Consequently, every issue about LGBT inclusion, ordination and marriage was the exact same argument with the exact same scriptural quotations to back up their position. 

So, it was not like I hadn’t heard this stuff before, but just reading the arguments and actions about the Methodist gathering had my stomach in knots.  It wasn’t long before I realized my reaction to these horrible homophobic statements and policies was triggered by the spiritual abuse I received for 34 years in the Presbyterian Church. 

Spiritual abuse, like sexual abuse, is something you never “get over.”  You can learn to live with it, but it is so destructive to the essence of your personhood that many things can trigger it, not the least of which is yet another bunch of homophobic, heterosexists Christians who use their privilege and power to decide the spiritual worth of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender fluid individuals.  It took a long time for me to recognize and name that what the Presbyterian Church was doing to me and my LGBTQ+ friends was in fact spiritual abuse. 

From January, 2011 to May 2012, our church spent an intensive year-and-a-half in spiritual discernment about whether God was calling us to leave the Presbyterian Church and come into the United Church of Christ.  We explored, discussed and debated just about every aspect of the UCC that we could think of before we took the final vote of the congregation.  Of all the things we discussed and debated, the one thing none of us imagined, was the liberating, freeing effect on our spirituality that coming into a loving, accepting and welcoming community of faith would have on us.

In my opinion, we must clearly name the spiritual abuse that homophobic churches and denominations commit in condemning LGBTQ+ people.  It is unconscionable and must stop. And for those of us who have experienced homophobic spiritual abuse, like the Israelite’s in this Sunday’s scripture, we must learn to leave it behind.  That’s something healthy to focus on this Sunday as we celebrate LBGTQ+ Pride.

Blessings to you as you celebrate your spiritual freedom to be the beloved person whom God created you to be!


Exodus 14:  21-30

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. God drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch God in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. God clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for God is fighting for them against Egypt.”

Then God said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, God tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

Thus God saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that God did against the Egyptians. So the people feared God and believed in God and in God’s servant Moses.




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