The Church's response to homosexuality is often ambivalent. On the one hand, we talk about it all the time - pick up a Christian newsletter or magazine, and it is likely to reference current trends on the issue. On the other hand, we don't talk about it at all. The contradiction exposes our tendency to discuss the topic as an abstraction. We are comfortable talking about homosexuality as a moral or political concern, but uneasy talking to gays and lesbians. Thus, Christians will rally to fight gay marriage, but are slow to attend a conference on how to minister to homosexuals. Gay people are perceived, not as individuals with thoughts and feelings, but as a nameless, faceless group that marches in parades and has an "agenda."
The stereotype of gays as an anonymous subgroup outside the church made it difficult for me to come to terms with my own same-sex attractions. I never imagined I would end up gay. I was the good Christian girl who sang in the church choir, went on mission trips, and served as a leader in my youth group. I went to Bible college with dreams of being a missionary. Discovering my same-sex attractions, after falling in love with my best friend, shattered my world and challenged everything I believed about God and Christianity.
The Church left me ill-prepared to grapple with my sexuality. I could not forget the harsh words I had heard Christians speak against homosexuals. Surely, God had abandoned me. My inner turmoil led to deep depression and suicidal thoughts. In my journal I wrote, "I don't want to live out the rest of my days like this. I don't even want to live another year like this. There is a raging battle going on inside me, and I can't take it anymore. I want to kill myself. I feel so weary, so weary." I spent the next eight to ten years trying to make sense of my sexual orientation in light of Christian faith. During that time other Christians had little to offer me; the Church saw homosexuality as an ideology to fight against, not as a sister sitting in the pew in need of help.