Mega-church pastor Andy Stanley of Georgia and founder of North Point Ministries went viral on the internet recently, because, as ChristianPost.com noted, he had “[declared that local congregations should be the] safest place on the planet for students to talk about anything, including same-sex attraction.”

It was shared multiple times on my Facebook wall, by gay people, and seemed to get traction throughout the country.

To my knowledge, I was the first student to come out of the closet in the youth program at Andy Stanley’s church, North Point Community Church, in Alpharetta, Georgia. And it was one of the most unforgettable moments of my entire life. And now I am going to write about it.

(Editor’s Note: Andy Stanley is the son Charles Stanley, noted anti-gay pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta and founder of In Touch Ministries. Charles Stanley made headlines in 1991 by hiring security guards on horseback to keep Atlanta Pride marchers from coming onto his church’s property on Peachtree Street. Atlanta LGBT organization SOJOURN (Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity) recently led a successful campaign to keep Charles Stanley from accepting the prestigious Tree of Life Award from the Jewish National Fund).

* * *

I was 17 (about 13 years ago). I had previously seen a sermon in which Stanley had derided parents who disinherited their children for being gay, and the youth group center had video games and a volleyball court in the back and the other trappings of a place that seems interested in your wellbeing.

So when I first told someone at church, I didn’t think much of it.

She was flirting with me. Which was a nice change, since she was beautiful and popular and I had hit puberty late in high school and so there was a part of me that kind of reveled in it a bit, and she said something along the lines of me, one day, making a great husband. That’s how nice Christian girls flirt, by the way, they say things like you being good husband-material, because that’s the frame within which it’s not sinful to imagine the best things worth imagining.

“Oh, well, I don’t actually plan to get married, not to a woman anyway, I’m gay.”

“Oh. Ok.”

I didn’t think of this as lobbing some shot across the bow, not a full frontal assault, just an idle statement of fact, and we finished watching the sermon, finished whispering to each other, I’m guessing while she considered someone else worth asking to prom.

A week passed, of nothing. I was and had been out at school, where life went on as normal, better, actually; coming out had made me something of a hero at school. People occasionally congratulated me for coming out, or telling me that they were excited about this thing or that thing in the gay rights universe.

I returned to next week’s evening youth group service; I walked through the doors, and if there was ever a point in time where real life matched the melodrama of movies, it was to see hundreds of people stop; turn; and stare, at me, in a unison seemingly only capable of a sci-fi hive mind. I even looked behind me to check and see if there was something ominous just behind that I didn’t see

After the five second count, spent by me doing what I do, staring back, everyone turned, eyes replaced by backs. I could speak to no one. And so for the next half hour, I just stood there, while everyone did their best to pretend that I did not exist.

I spent the sermon disoriented—whatever it was, I remember nothing of it. I waited until the post-sermon small group session, where you’re divided up by sex, into groups of 10 or so, and I asked of the fellow boys in my group, “what is going on?”

“The girl you told, she literally told every single person possible. And the other small group leaders,” (these are the college-age leaders of 10 teenager groups) “they told their kids not to speak to you.”

I was ready for confusion from other teenagers, but when I learned that this was orchestrated by adults, my feelings of compassion gave way to rage.

I stuck it out, because I was stubborn. I was determined to confront the associate pastor in charge of the youth program, to ask in what Christian universe was it acceptable for adults leading kids to actively turn a kid into a pariah.

And because everything is easier with friends, I recruited Mindy and Jessica to do it with me, and I met Mindy at her house to talk about what we would say, and I remember seeing piles and piles and piles of clothes everywhere. Mindy’s mom was collecting clothes for donation to a community in Appalachia.

“It’s one of the poorest places in the country, and it’s actually very close. What are you and Mindy working on?”

And I told her, and she said,

“… if you don’t mind, I would like to join you.”

So we all went to see the wizard, the associate pastor. I had only seen him in the context of being an enforcer of rules on church beach trips, but now, he was emotional, defensive. But oddly… scared.

He held up two posters I had put up at school for the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, one of which bared my classic crass sense of humor, stating boldly, “if your mother doesn’t love you, we will.” You see, I wasn’t just any gay person, I was dangerous, a corrupting force. Thus, this wasn’t ostracism, it was a quarantine. I wasn’t just gay, I was a gay-rights supporter. Not just gay, but unashamed.

* * *
Andy Stanley is a charismatic; his sermons have a sense of humor, a sense of story-telling, an ability to package and parse something complicated into something small, palpable, easy to process.andy-stanley-1

Back when I went to the church (and I’m guessing it’s still like this), you alternated between two gigantic auditoriums, every other week. In one auditorium was the real Andy Stanley, the other was a broadcast on a projector from the other auditorium. Both auditoriums had a live band, so at least you weren’t seeing a projected band recorded in the other auditorium.

Andy Stanley leads a “non-denominational” church; such an adjective means nothing to anyone unacquainted with the history and impact of Southern Baptist Christianity. To be non-denominational can mean many things, but the Cliff’s Notes is that it is allowing Baptist churches to cheat death, to escape the politics of the Southern Baptist Convention, and stoke a sense of rebellion. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote,

“In a fallen universe, all of us are alienated, in some way, from who we were designed to be. That alienation manifests itself in different ways in different people. … This narrative is rooted in the ancient heresy of Gnosticism, with the idea that the ‘real’ self is separate from who one is as an embodied, material being. Body parts are dispensable… since the self is radically disconnected from the body, the psychic from the material. [Combined with contemporary expressive individualism, this gives rise to] “the idea that I must be true to whomever I perceive my ‘real me’ to be on the inside in order to be ‘authentic.'”

Moore wrote this about being transgender, but it tells you everything you need to know about their view of individualism—it’s not just assumed to be a bad thing, it is literally a bad thing.

In other words, for Baptist pastors who want to have live bands and video games in the youth group room, and the other trappings necessary to prevent the church from being dead to young people, the only way not to be branded a heretic by the Southern Baptist Convention is not to be a member of it.

Hence Andy Stanley, son of one of the most famous southern Baptist preachers, is “non-denominational.”

* * *

The Baptist underpinnings are all still there, but everything is given a glossy shine. If you’re an adult in a third world country who never heard the word “Jesus” in their life and you die to dirty water at 25, your eternal fate isn’t quite a fiery pit of damnation, but rather, an eternity spent away from God, something you might call, “Hell-lite”.

Half the fire, all the eternity. So much better, right?

Sex before marriage is verboten. But this gets a shiny gloss too. Sex isn’t an evil act, wrapped in barbed wire, like your daddy’s Southern Baptist pastor would tell you, but rather a glorious reward from God, after you find someone to marry. The dangers of having sex before then weren’t pitched as something innately dangerous—rather, they would take away from the great sex you could have later, which is much more satisfying for both parties if you wait.

Inside North Point Community Church.

Inside North Point Community Church.

Andy Stanley’s ability to saran wrap the old Baptist doctrines is magical. To say that his sermons ignore the elephant in the room would not give Andy Stanley enough credit. He ice-skates around them. The heavier the question, the more balloons need only be attached for it to float away. To say that the apex of your faith condemns someone to eternal damnation is not something to be taken lightly, for some, such a God would be a monster unworthy of worship. Members of Stanley’s church troubled by this must leave the rock on that ant-mound undisturbed, or become pariahs for asking.

Where other faith traditions seek to drive to the heart of a matter, Stanley sidesteps in favor of keeping the church appear modern and approachable. This makes North Point Community Church run counter to faith traditions that drive a stake toward the deepest of questions—to do so there would be to upend the ant mound.

The Christianity there is unavoidably shallow. Believing that Jesus is your savior resolves your eternal fate, but the faith itself is weak to the task of answering serious questions, because the sine qua non of keeping the church modern and approachable is never to ask, or when asked, offer baby-pablum responses, which I will later examine.

* * *

This watered down faith causes real world disaster, aside from my own ostracism. The church teachings, already 99 percent smashed like British cocaine the moment they leave Stanley’s mouth, only get cut further and further more by those beneath him, especially the youth group leaders, to the point of absurdity. Case in point: I remember girls at North Point Community Church would have anal sex because this maintained their virginity. Some definition of virginity, amirite?

It also raised no risk of getting pregnant. It seemed like every day I went to North Point, I was told that I would be loved no matter what. And yet, even before I was ostracized myself, I knew in my gut that to show up there pregnant (for example) would have provoked a response unimaginably cruel.

After I wrote of my own experience on Facebook, people replied; I received a story of a child-care worker getting dismissed from her position after many years, as soon as it was discovered she was gay. Others found themselves quietly and abruptly disregarded as someone worthy of friendship once they came out.

And yet, on the other side of the country, in Orange County, California, Stanley tells other church leaders that churches should be the safest place on earth to discuss same-sex attraction. Would you feel safe around people who don’t think you’re fit to take care of children? Or fit to be a close friend?

Do you think the teenage girls having anal sex were getting a straight message from the (all male) pastors giving stories in sermons like talking about a man “smiling like a Cheshire cat” after losing his virginity on his wedding day? (That was a story and a line I wish I could, but will never, forget.) Of course not. They were trying to bridge Stanley’s bullshit with the real world. And you can’t build a bridge to nowhere.

* * *

I said earlier that Stanley answers deep questions with equivocating, side-stepping, baby pablum.

There’s an unknowingly cruel lack of empathy in Stanley’s words. He said, after recommending that churches lay off the whole gay thing when dealing with gay youth, “If all the Christians for just one year… would quit looking at porn… would quit smoking weed, would quit having premarital sex, would quit committing adultery, would pay their taxes and every church just foster one kid; in one year our nation would feel different.”

That’s a lovely, and incredibly popular, equivocation. To say that homosexuality is a sin on equal plane with other banal sins, (that you hypocritical sinners commit every day because we all know you’ve looked at porn!), is a foxhole for the fence-straddling peddlers of a hollow faith. And if you think that’s the kind of statement to come from a hyper-conservative Baptist, it is—but at least we share a respect for sincerely held conviction, popularity be damned, and as they may say about me, a broken clock is right twice a day.

For a young gay teenage Christian, coming out at in a Baptist environment presents a very serious question, of the “What to do with the rest of your life” category. The question of “whether you are allowed to love” is more important than weed, or porn, or sending $20 a month to [insert Other country here]. If life was an ’80s TV sitcom, in Stanley’s universe of avoiding porn/weed, it’s as though coming out as gay would receive the same treatment of Jessie Spano on “Saved by the Bell” getting hooked on caffeine pills. You know, the kind of thing that may even need TWO episodes to resolve!

This is the level of training youth group leaders have in regard to sexuality. The disaster that results is as predictable as the pile of parts on the floor two hours after reading an Ikea furniture manual.

Equivocation, defined: “The use of ambiguous language to conceal the truth or to avoid committing oneself.” Stanley even refers to gay youth as simply students confronted with “same sex attraction.” Stanley appeared at a conference to provide leadership to other church leaders on a difficult question, and his words are so empty, it’s not even clear whether he believes gay exists.

Stanley’s faith sits safely bookended by bands, it is recorded and broadcast, and even if his pageantry were built on top of matchsticks and playing cards, there is no one on his stage to poke at it with difficult questions. When the music stops, Stanley isn’t there anymore.

* * *

Stanley has distanced himself from his father, who is infamous for being one of those pastors at a gay pride parade with signs and a megaphone condemning the sinners to hell.

But if I could go back in time to 17, I would have preferred that, because at least you know how his father feels. At least you know what the reaction is going to be. Robert Green wrote that the great thing about enemies is that they are the only people you can trust—because they’re the only ones you can count on who aren’t pretending to like you.

Andy Stanley has said explicitly that homosexuality is a sin. I don’t think he’d ever admit to what’s really involved in avoiding such a sin—committing yourself to a life of celibacy, in mind and body. It’s a pretty heavy thing to ask of your parishioners, but Stanley is too much of a sycophant to state that expectation out loud. It’s not as important as weed and porn and fostering children, except, of course, for the gay person.

So when you go to North Point, you won’t get the full steamrollering of angry glares if you defy the norm, just a slow and steady ostracism. Ostracism-lite. All of the ostracism, half the explicit bible-thumping. If love was sugar, this is packets of Equal. If you ask for the real thing, they’ll look at you like you’re crazy.

Quote from Dante: “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” Not just hell, but the hottest places.

* * *

I understand the appeal to gay people who read rainbows out of Stanley’s words, who seek assurances from his call for safe spaces. The desperation to be loved is a deep well, and it’s hard to avoid wanting to be loved by those who reject you. People want to treat him as a bridge, a modern pastor bringing Baptist Christianity out of the dark ages (of 10 years ago, or now). But Stanley’s Christianity allows for terrible things. To say that it is lipstick on a pig does not capture the harm of giving a shiny new paint job to a belief that condemns the living to a life of self-hatred and ostracism, and the dead to eternal damnation.

* * *

I never finished my story, about coming out of the closet. I stuck it out, until I graduated. I wore a rainbow necklace to church. It was my way of saying, “You can’t get rid of me, fuckers!” But I think at the end of the day, I wasn’t sure how I felt. Every day I went there, I showed everyone what happened to out gay people, or anyone who forced faith to reality. It seemed every appearance I made just made everyone more scared of what could happen to them.

* * *

When Andy Stanley, therefore, goes on tour to teach pastors of other churches about church leadership, and makes a both superficially and factually absurd statement about churches being a safe space for gay youth, I can’t shrug off the responsibility of sharing what happened to me when I came out at his church as a gay youth.

I’m sure he would agree that everything that happened was terrible, but his diluted, charisma-based phony Christianity prevailed then as it clearly does now, and treating homosexuality like porn or weed tells me he hasn’t learned much in the last 13 years, except maybe that you can, through sleight of hand, pretend that answering the questions of a gay youth is to talk, literally, only about other people, as though that seriously resolves the terror and confusion for the gay person unsure of whether they can be themselves for the rest of their life.

For those Christian leaders out there considering the appeal of his leadership style, consider this your sign from God that your doubts about selling yourself out are not figments of your imagination. For the gay people out there, I tell you that you deserve real love. Real love is not pretending that you are a rebel and modern Christian for saying that it’s wrong to disinherit your gay kid. That’s just common decency, not a hard line of rebellion. It’s as though Andy Stanley thinks you should like him because he’s a Baptist minister and doesn’t immediately alienate most people as a gigantic asshole.
Except one thing: If someone says that you deserve love regardless of whether you’re gay, they are already an asshole.

The Andy Stanleys of the world (and many gay people) don’t quite get that. People don’t get a cookie for treating you with dignity. They get cookies for standing up against those who don’t, even when it makes them unpopular. Andy Stanley deserves no cookie. Give your cookies to someone else.

Alex Rowland is an Atlanta attorney. Visit his website by clicking here.

19 Responses

  1. Marcus

    Hey Mr. Rowland,

    Your article was recommended to me after reading the original on Facebook. I’m sorry for the way you’ve been treated by people who call themselves Christian. I’m sorry for the shameful ways in which the Church as a whole has danced around/ignored/condemned homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender, etc. It is easy for heterosexual people, like myself, to run from this issue specifically because we don’t have to deal with it internally.

    I can’t speak for Andy Stanely or any other Christian, but I can speak for myself. Everyone deserves love. Jesus commands love. You should love and be loved by someone, man or woman, I don’t care. I do not and will not believe God created you to suffer for your personal preferences when it comes to sexuality. I do not and will not believe that you chose to be attracted to someone of the same sex. I do not believe a loving God would place a desire in your heart and then condemn you for it.

    I apologize for the nonsense that gets spouted off from so many uneducated, uncompassionate, and severely confused “Christians”. I’m sorry for how I probably would have also turned my back on you when I was at Inside Out at Browns Bridge not so long ago. We’re all human and imperfect, and change takes too long. Hearts are often hard. Kids are often cruel. I pray we all get better at love.

    Warmest Regards,
    Marcus

    Reply
  2. Ht

    remembering a “the next step” film quote at NPCC “fellowship with insiders, influence with outsiders”, I walked away.

    Reply
  3. EJ

    Hi Alex,

    This is soooo disheartening hearing the way you were treated. The way you were ostracized and they way they rejected you. I definitely feel for you and the pain that was caused.

    I’m a member and I’d like to share my perspective from going to Andy’s church for the past 4 years.

    I’m gay, 29 years old, and heavily involved at one of the campuses. This year is when I decided to come out to everyone at church. Here’s why. You’ve broken down so many of the things that Andy skips around and sexual orientation is definitely one of them. There was a night this year when Andy specifically discussed it (which is extremely rare) and here were my takeaways:

    – He says what matters most is God’s love for us and how we love others. He wants that to be the main point. He doesn’t want anything to draw any attention from that.

    – For the past few years, he has been continuously meeting with gay members of his congregation to learn how his church along with other churches has hurt or helped them. One of those things that he has learned was that there were many people hurt from when they came out to others in church (including his ministries) during their younger years.

    – Over the past couple of years, he has taken what he’s learned from his gay members and put a huge focus on training his youth leaders on acceptance and doing the opposite of what has happened to you.

    Those were just some of the highlights, but he has received major kudos from his gay attendees about the new visible all inclusive acceptance based on love, not on rules. He said that he wants to make his church to be the example of Christ’s love and he wants other churches to get on the same page. That’s why you’re hearing this in the media now, he wants other churches and their leaders to take note.
    There are several things that are now in place help with inclusion for all. But there is still a lot more to work on.

    But here’s my point. I decided to come out to everyone at my church after I heard that. But I had the opposite response as you, I definitely felt more embraced. The apparent difference is that I am an adult coming out to other adults.

    I now believe that Andy’s church is on the right path after hearing so many stories like yours. I do believe that your mistreatment from “Christians” during your brave moment 13 years ago will not go in vain. Your experience and even this article here, is going to make some positive changes.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  4. SLP

    Dear Alex,

    I’m sorry you had such a bad coming out experience at North Point Community Church (NPCC), but you’re simply wrong about Andy Stanley (Andy), NPCC, and Christianity as Jesus taught. As a gay Christian who has attended NPCC since I was a kid, my opinion regarding Andy and NPCC cannot be more contrary to your perspective. I hold Andy in the utmost highest regard; he’s an intellectual rockstar in my book. Sympathetic as I may be to your past difficulties, as a fellow attorney, I feel obligated to respond to some of your arguments.

    First, Andy is not trying to repackage or modernize Southern Baptist Christianity. His objective, in my opinion, seems to be the revitalization of original Christianity as the politicization of religion over hundreds of years undoubtedly distorted Jesus’ central command to love. A return to what Jesus actually taught is clearly needed in our time where Christianity is constantly used as justification to hate rather than love. As C.S. Lewis noted, “Really great moral teachers never do introduce new moralities: it is quacks and cranks who do that.”

    Second, you stated the Christianity Andy teaches at NPCC is “unavoidably shallow,” possesses an “unknowingly cruel lack of empathy,” and “allows for terrible things.” In being ostracized at the age of 17, some 13 years ago for being gay, I can understand how you may have developed that perspective. My experiences, however, have led me to find your characterization not only personally offensive, but untruthful.

    Faced with the sudden suicide of a loved one, it was my faith and trust in Jesus that helped me overcome grief and despair. That faith was fostered by NPCC and Andy who led me into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Faced once again with the specter of death when a loved one was recently given a terminal diagnosis, it was Andy’s words that gave me comfort. To believe that God is not angry, absent, or apathetic in the midst of my adversity, but that He is at work with some purpose continues to give me hope. To learn how God’s grace is sufficient for me as His power is made perfect in my weakness gives me peace. Innumerable times I have said to myself, “I can’t, He (Jesus) can, He can through me,” and it has given me strength I did not know I possessed. Based on my experiences, Andy’s words are not shallow, cruel, or misguided. Rather, his messages and guidance has helped me find comfort and strength and made me a better man.

    Third, as to the conflict between homosexuality and Christianity, you’re right it’s not easy and those of us raised with Southern Baptist fire and brimstone are especially plagued by a deep inner turmoil. I do not think there are any easy answers in reconciling the two. However, rarely do hard questions have easy answers. Andy has spoken directly on the issue, at times, rather than avoid the “gay elephant” entirely as you seem to indicate. A few years back in one of his sermons, Andy explicitly stated the Bible should not be used to attack or harm gays or lesbians, anyone really, because we were all made in the image of God. Moreover, if Jesus’ royal command to love is the filter by which we, Christians, are to make all our decisions there is no room for hate on any grounds including sexual orientation. Jesus did not say love your neighbor except the gays. It was an absolute command as Jesus died for everyone regardless of their sexuality.

    So, then does it become love the sinner, and hate the sin? If so, is homosexuality a sin? Now I rarely miss a sermon by Andy and I cannot recall if Andy has ever stated homosexuality is sin. However, Andy has defined sin as follows: “Sin breaks God’s heart because God knows sin will eventually break you.” Thus, the question seems to turn on whether homosexuality breaks or harms a homosexual individual. I do not have the answer, but I will continue my walk with Him for I have seen death and had no one to turn to, but Him.

    Lastly, with all due respect, I hope my LGBT brothers and sisters do not take your advice, but go, hear Andy, and decide for themselves.

    http://northpoint.org/messages/brand-new/

    Reply
  5. Daniel

    SLP
    Because your experience with North Point differed from the author of this post, doesn’t make his experience invalid. To say his characterization is offensive and untrue speaks volumes about you, not the author.

    I found your comments condisending and rude and if you’re a reflection of North Point, I think they’re in trouble. I think if you call others liars (which is basically what you did in your comments) who have had different experiences than you, you won’t find many taking your advice.

    Reply
    • SLP

      Dear Daniel,

      I apologize if I came off as condescending in my rebuttal. By no means did I mean to portray Mr. Rowland as a liar or illegitimize his experiences. I’m just giving another perspective as a regular attendee of North Point who also happens to be a gay lawyer in his late 20’s similar to Mr. Rowland. It is possible for others to have different experiences without either one being a liar. As Mr. Rowland discussed his negative experience, I thought I’d share my positive experience to allow readers (if they even get down to the comments) to make a well-informed decision.

      Anyways, sorry again if I came off as a dick. That’s the lawyer in me, not Jesus.

      Reply
      • Daniel

        SLP
        I appreciate your response. Perspective is important and I tried to see validity in both of your experiences. You lost me though when it seemed you were calling his experience untrue. I think by hearing both sides without invalidating the other person’s story, then possibly change and healing can take place.
        I wish you and the author well on your journey.
        Daniel

  6. Katherine

    I’m a Southern Baptist Church survivor. I attended one from birth through early high school, and I was sold the same hate and ostracism for the gay community that you encountered (I’m a straight woman, but when your sister goes through a teen pregnancy, you get put in the same ‘don’t talk to the sinners’ crew).

    No matter how many people want to say otherwise, this is a real sickness in the Baptist Church–Hatred for homosexuality over all other sins (note: there’s really not any place in the good book that actually condemns it if you go back to the original languages and the meaning of the words), and any sexual sin right after that.

    All the platitudes, vague statements of acceptance, and back pats don’t change what is in a person’s heart, and from Baptist leadership, I’ve seen more greed, hatred, and double-speak than kindness.

    I’m so, so sorry for your experience. I have spent my later years working to find church homes that understand how to create community instead of cliques, and how to embrace all members of the church equally and without condemnation, to prove to myself that not all churches are like that one. They are out there.

    Reply
    • Wayne

      Katherine, stop with the nonsense! The Bible very clearly condemns the barbaric practice of homosexuality, and God has promised to judge all unrepentant homosexuals. Your response is typical gay rhetoric and nothing more.

      Reply
      • Daniel

        Wayne,
        Before you use words like barbaric, maybe you should actually know the meaning of the word.

        Homosexuality is not a practice, it is an orientation, just like heterosexuality. There are many of both orientations that are celibate, it doesn’t change their orientation and who they are.

        Definition of Barbaric: savagely cruel; exceedingly brutal

        If you want to talk about barbaric, I can cite many examples where gays and lesbians have been treated with barbaric behavior. Just one example this week was when Gambia’s president threatened to slit the throats of homosexuals. This is just one example of thousands that gays and lesbians have had to endure and many times at the hands and words of “Christians”.

        What you call “typical gay rhetoric” I believe you use dismissively because you don’t want to see the truth in what Katherine said. The only “gay rhetoric” that I know of is that of those wanting to be treated equally. Not greater than, not less than.

        Since you claim in your statement to know what the Bible clearly states, let me add this…
        Jesus said hang ALL law and prophets on these TWO commandments: love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.
        If all the church were obiedient to those two greatest commandments, people like the author would not be treated the way he was by the church and those who call themselves Christians.

  7. Brett

    Hi Alex
    I’m deeply sorry that was your experience. No one should be ostracized and shunned like you described. Please tell me, if you could go back and live that one day over, and have it go exactly as you desire, how would you have hoped the Church to respond? What, in your view, would have been the right / moral / christian way for the Church to have handled your situation?

    Thanks
    Brett

    Reply
  8. Laura

    I think we should all ask ourselves, are we the same person we were 10 yrs ago? 13yrs ago? Did we have the same beliefs then, before life experience enhanced our wisdom, understanding, compassion? Have we all not had periods of time in our life where when we look back, we wince, and think to ourselves, how could I have said that? Thought that? Acted that way? May none of us judge xo

    Reply
    • Me

      If you go along thru life believing that 2+2=3, because thats what you were taught in school, then one day some one shows you the error through a mathematical book,and that 2+2 actually equals 4, then wouldn’t you, to some degree, however slight, judge that way of thinking, judge that person that impregnated your mind with that error, (on that particular subject), however slight? Or maybe
      it’s a ploy by the LGBT to dum down the opinion process that we are all blessed with,
      so they can practice homosexuality without feeling guilty, hiding from the truth so
      they can go thru life without feeling any guilt? I thought only ostriches did that.
      ” AND THAT’S MY OPINION”

      Reply
  9. HT

    New International Version
    Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    It has nothing to do with what Andy, Charles or the man in the moon has to say.  It is what God said, there is no wiggle room, the Lord's Word is clear so you are foolish to try and make an excuse for something God says is wrong…further more:

    Mark 10: 6-8

    "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

    God created man and woman for a union of one flesh, no where in the bible is that more clearly stated, nor in the bible is it ever stated two men or two women.  Ouija board your justification however you want, the truth is in the Word of God, so party and have fun arguing your point.

     

     

     

    Reply
  10. EV

    First of all, I am blown away how well this article was written. I think you capture the truth far more clearly than most Christians understand it. In a fast changing, people-pleasing, watered-down Christian society, where stating that you believe homosexuality is a sin, is not only unpopular, but ostricizing, it can be intimidating to talk about it. We may believe differently, but thank you for inspiring me to "earn my cookie"

    Really enjoyed the article. 

    Reply
  11. Carol

    First, God is love! We should all practice Jesus’ example of love for each other. We may disagree in thought and in the way we live our life, but it does not mean we “hate”…it just means we do not agree.

    My concern for the LGBT community is the lie they believe. This lie is they were born this way. God is the creator…satan cannot create…but he can destroy. This is what he is doing. Satan is using the press, the celebrities, and any means he can to sell the lie to the LGBT individual.

    God tells us in several areas of the Bible that this lifestyle is wrong. In I Corinthians 6:9, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind”, God does not just say it is wrong, but the “unrighteous” will “not inherit the kingdom of God”.

    Also, God destroyed two cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, for their sexual sins. God does not change. He would not destroy two cities for sexual sin and then tell us later, “Oh never mind! Live your life the way you want with no consequences”.
    God allows us free choice and free will, but He cautions us of the consequences.

    I am sorry you felt as an outcast, but I was not a witness to this. But I have been bullied and I have felt like an outcast, so I can share that feeling with you.

    What I can do for you, Mr. Rowland, is pray for you. I pray that God will change your lifestyle. I pray that your eyes will be opened, and you along with many others, will not buy the lie satan is trying to sell.

    Prayerfully and for God’s glory!

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  12. Cody Buffington

    I don’t know if you’ll ever see this or anyone will. I’ve grown up at Northpoint the environments are amazing to grow up in. Id like to share my experience as a transgender person at NorthPoint. I’m sorry for what you went through there and I want to let you know how it’s changed. I transitioned before high school and left church for a year to deal with my mental health. When I came back I was placed in a male group (I’m female to male transgender). I was the first one to do that and there is one other kid that I know of who did it after me. It was new to everyone but they embraced me. They welcomed me. About 3 months ago I got baptized in front of the whole high school service. In my testimony I talked about being transgender and how I felt shame. I had so many people come up to me and tell me how proud and how touching my story was. Adults and kids. Every once and a while some idiot will look at me weird but they don’t really ever say anything. I’m well known in the church I’d say.All of the insideout (highschool) “team” knows me. I talk to them on a regular basis. Everyone is accepting and very kind to me. Sometimes I get questions asked but it’s always in a respectful way. I now work there as well as a contractor which I love, and yes my boss knows I transitioned. Honestly I was surprised at the amount of people that are completely welcoming and kind. I just hope you know that things have changed. Feel free to email me if you see this 🙂

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