My faith journey has been complicated. As a child I was required to attend a Methodist church, and I did not enjoy going. I fought it even more after I experienced sexual abuse starting in the sixth grade. I became angry with God about why He would let this happen to me. When I was required to attend church with my family, I would not participate in singing or reading scripture from the Bible. Once I graduated high school and was attending college, I stopped attending church unless it was for an event that I was required to go to, such as a wedding or a funeral.
However, even when I was angry with God, I would pray to him. It took me many years to forgive God and myself for what had happened to me. Once I forgave myself, I was even more troubled and angry with hypocritical individuals who call themselves Christian but do not treat others as they would like to be treated themselves. I believe that we are all children of God, and that we should love one another for who we are, and not by any labels society puts on us.
It was when I met my wife that I first became familiar with the CRC. I was aware of the CRC before, but I didn’t really know that much about it until I met Robin. I learned a little bit more about it, and I saw how much she had loved attending church growing up and how committed she had been to it. One of my responses is that it seems very strict! I definitely got the impression that the CRC is quite rigid.
I do not have a connection with the CRC community anymore. Robin and I have spoken about attending church, but we have not found one that makes us both feel comfortable. I do often pray to God at work. I am a respiratory therapist, and as a healthcare worker, I see a lot of human pain: trauma, cancer, COPD, other chronic illnesses, and now COVID-19. I pray to God to help these patients find peace, I pray for the patients’ families, and I pray for my co-workers.
I would like the church to understand that LGTBQ people are often people of faith, and should not be rejected. I have experienced conflict within myself, and I know many others who have experienced the same, due to having our faith, families, and friends reject us for who we are. We need a safe space where we can go and worship without fear.
When I am with my wife and our pets, I experience joy. She makes me laugh, and helps me to forget my stress and worry. I do not care what we are doing, just as long as I am with her.