Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reconciling Religion and our LGBT Identities

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There is much to be said for the sense of community a positive church can bring to gays and lesbians.

When it comes to he GLBT community there is no knottier subject to unravel than religion. It has plagued me for decades, and probably you, too. However, there are changes afoot, and the possibility of reconciliation with our spiritual side is becoming more common as time goes on.

Nevertheless, for some of the GLBT community in the Berkshires, finding GLBT welcoming congregations is difficult. Many find they have to return to the closet to practice their faith. But others have found a few churches where it is possible to be both Christian and LGBT. There are Berkshire churches that are GLBT affirming, and welcoming. Please note that this list may be incomplete, and will be updated from time to time.

Great Barrington
South Berkshire Friends Meeting (Quaker)
Church on the Hill (UCC)

First Baptist Church
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
South Congregational Church (UCC)
Unitarian Universalist Church

First Congregational (UCC)
First United Methodist Church
St. John's Episcopal Church

There is a website dedicated to gay Christian needs. There is an Integrity Episcopal Church group (413) 568-8477. I could not find anything for Dignity (Catholics) in the Berkshires, but there is a Boston chapter.

For those of other faiths, it is even more challenging. The Berkshire Jewish GLBT Group can be contacted at (413) 586-2627.

A fine book on the subject.

Exploring this Difficult Subject

No one who hasn't lived it can possibly totally understand the anguish of being born gay or lesbian and being raised in a damning evangelical or fundamentalist faith. To those who do not wish to merely abandon the church upon coming out, the struggle remains poignant, painful, and long. There is a great book by the Rev. Mel White for those who have lived through it and for those who want to understand the issue.

Try to find the book: "Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America" either at your local library (they may be able get it for you from another Berkshire library) or online.

The Rev. Mel White

The Reverend Mel White used to work for the Jerry Falwell's of this world, and knows how the fundamentalist churches use gay bashing to raise money. He also is a devout Christian who seeks to remove bigotry and hatred in this world through the organization, Soulforce using nonviolent means.

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