Hola and a big smushy WELCOME to our LGBTQ event which is here for the month of May. We have reviews, Guest Posts, Top Ten List and lots and lots of prizes all with a LGBT theme. The posts will be indexed on the side and I do hope you hop through … I have been so lucky this year!
Today, I have the wonderful Shae Connor talking about how her religious beliefs have shaped her support for LGBTQ relationships. She is also giving away an eBook from her 2015 LGBTQ collection (Unfortunate Son, Butt Riders on the Range and Wayward Son) to one commenter.
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A few years ago, I wrote a blog post for the Hop Against Homophobia about my faith and how it’s shaped my support for same-sex relationships. It got a huge amount of response, and when I saw that Scorching Book Reviews was putting together an LGBT event, that post came to mind. I decided to do a bit of a different take on the same subject.
As I said then, I’m not trying to start a deep, philosophical discussion with this post. I’m just making a public statement about my personal beliefs.
I grew up in the Deep South in a conservative Christian family. We went to church every Sunday, including Sunday School, and usually Sunday evenings and Wednesday night dinners. I was in various children’s programs, then choir and even handbells when I got older.
It wasn’t until I was well into adulthood that I realized the lessons I absorbed from all my years of regular church-going were a lot different from what some people seem to have gotten out of the same kind of thing.
For starters, the biggest thing I learned from reading the Bible and listening to sermons and singing hymns was love. God is love, goes the chorus to one of the most popular children’s songs. Love God. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy.
Love everyone, all the time, without ceasing.
I have to be honest here. I can’t figure out how so many people seem to have missed all that stuff about love in the Bible. I mean, I haven’t personally sat down and counted, but it’s got to be mentioned more than almost anything else. The Bible is basically one big heart-shaped box. They even print Jesus’s words in red.
Seriously? How much hitting over the head do people need?
(I might not actually want the answer to that question.)
There’s a line I heard years ago that I pull out much too often when dealing with people who use the moniker Christian: “Stop being on my side. You’re making my side look stupid.” I see the things that people say and do and I wonder what planet they’re on. How could they read the same book I do and come to such complete different conclusions?
(That assumes, of course, that they’ve actually read the Bible and not just listened to someone else standing in a pulpit and regurgitating their own interpretations of it. And I say that from the perspective of someone whose mother once had a member of their church tell her, “We don’t care what the Bible says. We’re going to do it our way.”)
(We left that church shortly after that.)
And that story, right there? That’s the crux of the matter. I know why I got such a different meaning from church that so many people do. It’s because of my parents.
Yes, my parents are conservative Christians. They’re the reason I went to church all those years. My dad even went into the ministry late in life.
But the thing is, they get it.
Faith, that is. Christianity, for them specifically. They get how it’s supposed to work. It’s not about blindly following. In fact, blindly following is the exact opposite of how it works.
Faith, true faith, is about making a conscious decision to believe. You hear people talk about having “a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” Well, that’s supposed to be something between you and God. It doesn’t involve your preacher, or your family, or even your church. It’s one-on-one.
What my parents taught me was to make my own decision. They told me what they believed, took me to their church, surrounded me with examples of their own faith. But they didn’t force me to follow them.
(Okay, well. They did force me to go to church when I didn’t want to, but that was more about me being a teenager than anything else.)
Most of all, they loved me. All of me, even the parts they didn’t understand or agree with.
So when I grew up, I had their love behind me as I made my own decision about what to believe. And what I believe is that God—and, by extension, live—is all about love.
Love wins. Love conquers. Love—true love, in whatever form it takes—can never be wrong.
And that’s why I’m an LGBT ally.
Because what it all comes down to is love.
About the Author
Shae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she’s a lackadaisical government worker for a living and writes sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. She’s been making things up for as long as she can remember, but it took her a long time to figure out that maybe she should try writing them down. A member of the Romance Writers of America and the Rainbow Writers chapter, Shae was first published in 2010 and has a lineup of short stories, novellas, and novels published. Her third novel, Wayward Son, was released May 11 by Dreamspinner Press.
Shae is part Jersey, part Irish, and all Southern, which explains why she never shuts up. When she’s not chained to her laptop, she enjoys cooking, traveling, watching baseball, and reading voraciously. You can find her hanging out on Twitter most any time @shaeconnor, but for the more direct route, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at shaeconnorwrites.com.