This “Learning & Growing Together” series includes posts I have shared in my private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The group, Serendipitydodah for Moms, is a place where moms of LGBTQ kids share a lot of support, information and encouragement … it is a place where moms of LGBTQ kids are learning and growing together with the purpose of developing and maintaining healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids. For more information about the group email me at email@example.com
It can be hard for moms of LGBTQ kids and their kids to hang on to their Christian faith.
Being an LGBTQ Christian or an affirming Christian can be like walking through a minefield filled with condemnation, discrimination, marginalization and persecution.
In the midst of trying to hang on to their own faith, moms of LGBTQ kids often find themselves faced with their LGBTQ kids walking away from Christianity completely.
I always say that if we can at least believe in the way of love then we believe in what really matters, however, it is a sad state when people who love God are no longer able to passionately embrace the Christian faith.
A book that I often recommend to Christian moms of LGBTQ kids who are struggling to hang on to their faith is Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide For Gay and Lesbian Christians by Candace Chellew Hodge who is now leading Jubilee! Circle – an intentional, progressive, inclusive, community of faith in Columbia, SC..
The title of the book is a little misleading in my opinion because this “survival guide” has a much broader appeal than just LGBTQ Christians. The book can also serve as a valuable and helpful resource for allies of the LGBTQ community, supportive parents of LGBTQ kids, study groups, Open and Affirming churches (or those considering becoming Open and Affirming), and even those who are still discovering their views on sexuality and gender identity as it relates to their religious convictions.
Candace, who is a lesbian pastor, wrote this book as a gay Christian searching for how to live with integrity while contending with hateful opposition. The spiritual survival tips that conclude each chapter serve not only as summaries of the chapter but also as direct points of advice for coping with inevitable conflict.
This is not a book that spends a lot of time explaining relevant Bible passages and their interpretations – instead it is a sensible approach to handling the opposition and self-doubt that can undermine our sense of worth and belonging as a Christian.
Candace combines common sense, a commitment to psychological well-being, and a theology that is deeply grounded in the unconditional grace of God, to encourage her readers to place their trust in God’s love rather than in humanity’s brokenness.
Bulletproof Faith won’t replace books aimed at a biblical defense of LGBTQ issues. That isn’t the book’s goal. Yet, it does contain a good introduction to the biblical texts and provides enough information for those who want to give an answer and offer a starting point for dialog and/or to help inform those who question their support of LGBT rights from a perspective of faith.
Bulletproof Faith is about growing more fully and deeply in the power of God’s love and grace, and that means it really is a message for all Christians.
One thing I like to remind myself and others is that we might not agree with everything in a resource that is offered and that is ok. We can take what we consider to be helpful or what we are willing to ponder and leave the rest behind.
Some tips the book includes:
1. Developing a bulletproof faith is a process, long and nonlinear. It may involve taking one step forward and two steps back. There will always be chinks in your armor that will need repair. Stay vigilant.
2. Trust the inner voice that guides you. If you do, you’ll discover you know how to defend your faith already. Know that your inner voice is God revealed in your authentic self. Trust that voice above all others.
3. Respond to any and all attacks with gentleness and reverence. Resist the temptation to respond with the same viciousness with which you are attacked. Show love to everyone you meet.
4. Resist the temptation to let the opinion of others lead you to spiritual suicide. No attack, no matter how violent or severe, can kill your faith. Only you have the power to kill your faith.
5. Do not seek a bulletproof faith so that you can flaunt your strength or to try to defeat others in battle. Instead seek to become bulletproof so that you no longer feel the need to fight.
One of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Developing a bulletproof faith doesn’t mean we will never again have question or doubts. Instead, having a bulletproof faith means that those questions and doubts no longer ship-wreck our faith, but are welcomed as opportunities to deepen our understanding of our authentic selves.”
What has helped you when you felt like you were barely hanging on to your faith?
Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group created as an extension of the Serendipitydodah blog. The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. The group was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,200 members. The space was specifically created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids. In addition to providing a space for members to share info and support one another, a special guest is added each month for a few days. The guests include authors, pastors, LGBTQ people, bloggers and public speakers.
For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org