I want to Know my FutureThe church was built in the early fifties and used to be owned by the Methodist. They had out grown the church in the eighties and sold it to the newly established congregation that ministered to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) people. The United Church of Christ tried to keep a low profile in the Kansas City, Missouri community. Still, over the past twenty years the building continued to be vandalized and the neighborhood people fought to close the church. Many times spray cans labeled the outside brick walls with messages of hate for homosexuals. Windows were broken, the doors battered with heavy objects and even once someone tried to set the church on fire. The people of the congregation took this is stride understanding that acceptance for their lifestyle was constantly undermined by most churches and society.
The truth was they were a gentle, loving community of men and women who only wanted a place to worship God. They loved God and they gave Him glory for helping them when it seemed that their family, friends and former churches had no room for them in their hearts. There were so many sad stories of heartache and abandonment by their families, that together they formed new families within the community of LGTBQ people.
I knew what it was like to be persecuted and denied justice in the courts. I was in a relationship with a woman for the past seventeen years. I had learned from the persecution we went through to trust no one who claimed to be a Christian from a main stream church. Especially churches that read the bible and took the scriptures literally. They held to the laws that were written during a time when the Laws of Moses were strictly obeyed. A time when the only way a Jewish person could please God was through animal sacrifice for sin. It amazes me today how any person who claims to believe in Jesus thinks that holding onto the Old Testament way of life is a benefit to anyone. The truth is the Laws condemned not just homosexuals, but they condemned divorce; they condoned child execution if they were not obedient to their parents; they refused people with any kind of deformities access to church, and even interracial marriage was punishable by death. There were over 613 laws that were so impossible to follow that the Jews documented how their country failed to follow them for hundreds of years. Unfortunately many ministers who claim to be followers of Jesus think that keeping them is beneficial to families today. Even though during Jesus ministry, he said nothing condemning homosexuals. In fact Jesus spent most of his time condemning the Pharisees and the Sadducees for how they used the Laws for their own personal gain. It was not about sin to them instead it was condemnation that brought in sin offerings that were used to build lavish luxury homes for the rich teachers of the law. Jesus on the other hand kept it simple. To believe in Him is to give up the burden of the law for the freedom of following Him.
Matthew 11: 28-30: “‘Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.’”
The Laws of Moses were a burden that people could not follow in their everyday lives. Instead the Laws led to persecution and excommunication from the Jewish synagogue. People were unable to obey and so God provided another answer for sin. Jesus became the ultimate sin sacrifice. Now people everywhere could be saved by believing in Jesus Christ. They no longer had the burden of the law to follow; now they were under grace. Grace required nothing but belief in Jesus Christ as their Savior. This made the heavy yoke of the law light when they let Jesus save them from their sins.
Over the years from the persecution we went through, we were afraid to attend an openly gay church. Part of it had to do with the fact we owned an upholstery and design business and many of our customers were conservative Christians. We were also parents, but now our children were adults. Walking in faith we entered the church believing that Jesus would protect us from any consequences that attending a gay church could bring to our present life.
I glanced around the church. It was now 2003 and it seemed that the conservative church may have abandoned the LGBTQ people, but Jesus Christ had not. The church was so full of people that the back doors to the overflow room were thrown open to let more people in to worship. There were even some heterosexual families who came to show their support for their families and friends of the LGBTQ people.
At the front of the sanctuary stood two women and two men who led the congregation in worship. They were the latest songs of Praise to God, modern hymns that were displayed upon a screen at the front of the sanctuary for all the people to sing-a-long. The pastor was a former Catholic priest. There were four more ordained ministers in the church all with different religious affiliations. All had come together with the same purpose of ministering to the rejected community of the LGTBQ people. Every person had a sad story of being kicked out of their own churches when their sexual orientation was discovered.
It is hard to believe in the United States of America that anyone would be singled out to be discriminated against today. Yet liberty and freedom to attend the churches of their choice has been denied LGTBQ people for many years. Why are a peaceful people being persecuted for who they love? It really doesn’t make any sense for this to happen. The mainstream conservative churches are doing exactly what the Pharisees and the Sadducees were being condemned for during the time of Jesus. Jesus made the way to living a godly life easy, yet the conservative church continues to make it hard for people to be who God made them to be.
Matthew 22:34-40: “When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they came together, and one of them, a teacher of the Law, tried to trap him with a question. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’
Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” ‘This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like it: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself: The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments.’”
Jesus brought teachings that did not condemn people. Rather they were teachings that instructed all churches to love. To love God and your neighbor is the most important part of being a follower of Christ. It is time for the conservative church to lay aside the rules of the Old Testament for the freedom of grace. When Jesus Christ is number one then loving our neighbor is possible. Throw open the doors to all churches and allow people from all lifestyles the freedom to walk in and worship. Jesus did not persecute people who were different instead He promoted love. If this is the case then shouldn’t there be room at all churches from all the different denominations for me? Is there a place at your church for me?
Linda C Dipman author of I WANT TO KNOW MY FUTURE http://lovinghandsministry.com presents I WANT TO KNOW MY FUTURE It will put you on the edge of your seat as you read each vivid detail. You will feel terror and experience love like nothing you have ever read before. Find out what happens when God fights for you! 5.0 out of 5 stars a powerful and very much recommended read. Midwest Book Review: I Want to Know My Future With nothing left, not even family, God may be the only thing left. “I Want to Know My Future” is a Christian memoir from Linda Dipman who ponders her rough journey when she was thrown in jail and forgotten by her church and family. When all seemed lost she relates how God was still there for her and she hopes her story will help other readers remember this important fact. “I Want to Know My Future” is a powerful and very much recommended read. The Christian Author Radio Show http://www.wnbnetworkwest.com/WnbAuthorsShow-LDipman.html