For someone who friends say never shuts up I find it difficult to talk about myself at times. And yet it seems everyone and their brother has a blog these days, and I have something to talk about, so why not?
I started this blog because there is a need for it. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet, especially about the Salvation Army and its responses to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community. If you were to search the web right now on information regarding the Salvation Army and gays, a lot of what you will find are attacks on The Salvation Army as a whole for being homophobic. This is not the case.
I was born to officer parents and dedicated (given back to God), as is the custom in the Salvation Army, as an infant. Through the years I have held various titles and ministry positions: Junior Soldier, Senior Soldier, Corps Cadet, Sunday School Teacher, Nursery Leader, Kettle Collector and Member of the Junior Band. I had to give up that last part early on as, my brother so lovingly put it, my tuba playing was only sufficient for bringing ships into port. Throughout this time my faith in God grew and I became proud of the good work I was associated with through being part of this church. Since ‘coming out’ this has not changed.
Regardless of what some LGBT activists have said, the Salvation Army stands ready to serve anyone who needs help. If you are transgender you CAN be admitted into a Salvation Army shelter. If you’re a lesbian you CAN receive your children’s free Christmas gifts or a food hamper. And if you’re gay you CAN attend a Salvation Army church. How welcome you feel will depend entirely on the person you speak with and how willing they are to demonstrate the love and compassion our Saviour Jesus Christ Himself emitted.
Like most complex issues, we need to know what we’re talking about. When I say a church is ‘welcoming’ what I mean to say is that LGBT individuals are free to come and worship at a church; however being a minister, part of ministry or getting married in the denomination is limited to those who either are heterosexual or LGBT and willing to commit to lifelong celibacy.
A church that is ‘affirming’ allows LGBTs to minister, serve and get married in their denomination. The Salvation Army is welcoming, but not affirming as can be seen through it’s positional statement:
This causes some problems as there are people such as myself who wish to continue in ministry but also have hopes of getting married one day, one of many issue that will be addressed in later posts.
Ultimately, there are three purposes to this blog. One is to educate people on issues they are ignorant about so they can make informed choices. Another is to allow dialogue between the Salvationist and Gay communities in order to bridge the gap that is sadly common in the Christian church. And last, but by no means least important, this blog serves as a light to LGBT
Salvationists that they are not alone. There is nothing quite as soul-crushing than having this part of you that you believe no one else understands. Believe me, I’ve been there. In gathering my thoughts for this very first post A bible verse has sprung to mind.
Jeremiah 29: 11-14 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
I hope God will be able to bless you as we gather to go through this journey together.