I am only too aware of the painful experiences many TFT members have endured from fellow believers because of their sexuality. TFT has done much in its 40 years to decrease stigma in the church, but we would all agree that there is further to go. Here I share some positive experiences of being included by the church, hopefully to show what can be done when we aspire to inclusion.
How to keep your marital status in perspective
‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ Jane Austen wrote this famous first line of Pride and Prejudice in an era when it was common to marry into money. Single people today are more likely to be in possession a good amount of debt!
I’ve always been pretty open about my struggles with sexuality, so I was up front from the start when I arrived at my church 9 years ago. In those days, there were only a few of us and we met in the minister’s house, so it was very easy to get to know people and build positive relationships.
It is true that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). And in the very next verse we discover one of the major benefits of any form of suffering and struggling. God’s big plan for our lives is that we “be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).
Some people with same-sex attraction would like their sexual orientation to change. But is being 'straight' a godly goal? For the Christian, exchanging one set of sexual temptations for another set is not really progress towards living a life that gives glory to God. Rather, God calls every Christian to behave within the sexual boundaries set out in the Bible. And God does not promise to take away our struggles - in the Bible, Paul's experience was that God gave him the grace to endure his "thorn in the side" (2 Cor 12:8-9).