Tag Archives: Faith

To my former Church, to my former pastor

Dear Former Pastors of my Church,

I never thought I would write this letter to you.

But here I am, writing this with a loudly beating heart and tears in my eyes.

Dear Pastors: This isn’t going to be a ‘Thank You’ or a ‘Blessings upon you’ letter. This letter will probably be an angry one; at least it will be full of pain. Pain that you have caused, pain I have finally decided to call you out for.

You know me as well as I know you. I was born into the Church, I was raised in it. I went to Sunday children groups since I was a toddler. You know my mother and you know my father. My mother even worked for you as a secretary for a while. You know about my parents’ separation and apparently you tried to stop it, but that isn’t the issue. This isn’t why I am writing this letter with shaking hands.

Between the ages of 9 to almost 12, I was sexually abused by my father. I repressed the horrible experience for 3 good years, but when I was 15 and had my first boyfriend it all came up again. After the former youth pastor and by then pastor of a different church found out what was going on, he contacted Social Services for me and I was put into care. Eventually my mother found out. She decided to disclose what was going on the former pastor.

I don’t know how the conversation between the two went and what was said. But I do know one thing. Instead of protecting me, instead of doing the right and decent thing, Jens decided to do nothing. Instead of excluding my father from the church, instead of to at least try to prevent him from going to the same church as me, he did nothing. Instead sat tight.

And of course my father used our Sunday Service as part of his plan to reach out to me. To brainwash me, so I wouldn’t press charges against him. He even used the church to force me into forgiving him publicly and privately. But did the pastor do anything, anything at all to stop this? No, nothing happened.

Instead you let a man, who you knew was a child molester go to your church every Sunday, be around me and around other children every Sunday. You let a man, who you knew was manipulative, abusive and dangerous carry on his abuse and his manipulation. You, Jens, you and your family did nothing. Nothing to protect me, my siblings or anyone in the entire Ichthys church.

But you know what instead did, or better what you let others do to me? You let other church members, like our Youth Pastor and his team accuse me of not being a real Christian; for questioning the historical accuracy of the Bible. Apparently it is greater sin to question the literacy of the Bible in the church than to sexually abuse a helpless child. Apparently it was also a greater sin of me to have sex before getting married, or for me to smoke. For which I was heavily criticised and ostracised.

Don’t you think that this is hypocrisy? How is any of this biblical or even Christian? How dare you turn your back on me, the moment I might not agree on some of your teachings, but think it is okay to not protect me and let a child molester go to your church?

How dare you? You are not worthy of calling yourself Christians, you are not worthy of calling yourself a church. You have failed to protect me, you have failed to protect the church. You have driven me away from your church, because I didn’t fit your image of a Christian any longer, but maybe you are not fitting that image. Maybe you are the ones who have lost their ways. Maybe you are the ones who have lost their way in Christ. I am 26 now and I am still suffering, still recovering from the abuse, the manipulation I endured. And a part of me thinks, that this wouldn’t be the case if someone would have done something or at least tried.

A very angry former church member

A letter to some churches out there

Although this probably won’t be my last post concerning LGBT topics, it will be the last part of my series, concerning my personal experience and hardship with my sexual identity. I never had the chance to talk to someone from my former church, but feel that now might be the time. I therefore decided to write an open letter to them,  not only them but also other churches out there and are like them. I hope that some of these churches might take this letter as an opportunity to change.

To my church,

It feels weird writing this letter to you and all the members. I grew up amongst you all. I know a lot of you people personally and played with all your second generation when I was your child. I went to Sunday school and enjoyed every minute of it. All my friends during my childhood and teenager/ adolescent years where members of this church. You were my second family, the place I called ‘home’.

And I’m ashamed that I never told you in person why I don’t call you ‘home’ any longer; why I have left. Why I decided to make a complete 180 degree turn and become Catholic. I never gave you any reason, but I always believed you somehow knew any way why I left. And if you didn’t, then a lot of you just proved my opinion, my reason for leaving.

Because when I left, I not only lost a great church but also most of my friends. All of the sudden people stopped talking to me. And a lot of church members behaved unfriendly towards me. And that is why I left, my former church. I couldn’t participate and be witness to the church’s legality, self-righteousness, bigotry but most of all the church’s behaviour towards LGBT people and none church members.

From the outside, you seem to be the perfect charismatic church, but you struggle like so many other evangelical churches with the same problems. Sure you have a great worship with modern songs. And your Sunday service is very charismatic, modern and almost never boring. And all the leaders try to engage personally with the church members and everyone tries to have a personal and friendly relationship with each other. And all this is great and undoubtedly your strength. Many Catholic, Protestant/Anglican churches are not like that.

But all this isn’t going to save you from your faults. For years the memberships of your church have been declining and all you can think of preventing this, is by modernising your Sunday Service more. But people don’t leave because your service has become boring. They leave – and that is why I left because you have become a church practising legality over love. Your leaders and the powerful in the church have created an atmosphere where everyone is a fair game for wrong and hateful judgement by others, especially by the elite. Once someone seems to do something that goes against the bible, even against the old rules of the Old Testament, they have to face your judgement, some heavy group pressure and a bad image as a burden.

No one is save. A woman only needs to wear a shirt that shows too much cleavage and she already is in trouble. But it’s even worse how you handle the LGBT and Sex topic. You tell your teenagers and young adults that they will lose part of their soul when they have sex before marriage. When I confined in a church member that I had sex before marriage, she betrayed my trust, told everyone and I was punished. I was told to repent and that I was not walking with God any longer. I didn’t even dare to indicate that I’m bisexual.

Your church doesn’t even teach children that they are LGBT people out there and parents are advised to only talk about the topic when asked. I didn’t know anything about homosexuals until I was 12 because of this praxis. But what is even worse is how you condemn the LGBT community. When you preach about this topic, you always have the same message: Love the Sinner, hate the Sin. Do you know how this sounds to such a sinner? After a while I couldn’t hear it any more. After a while I felt not accepted any more and knew I have lost my second family; my second home. And although you tell to love the sinner, you don’t really keep to your own word. You openly and publicly endorse conversion/ ex-gay therapy and have advised some of your own members to complete such a therapy. This therapies are dangerous and every existing health organisation in this world warns and advice against them. Instead of treading people in your church that believe that they might be homosexual with the care they seek, you tell them that they need to be freed. You offer them to pray against their temptations and help them to get back on the right path. If someone doesn’t want to change, you accuse them of making the wrong choice and that they will have to pay for their decision one day.

I once believed all this crap and let this hatred control me and every part of my live. But then my eyes were opened and I couldn’t participate in this way of life no longer. It is not right that I as a respected member, who grew up amongst you, have to suppress what I am by nature. It is not right that you tell me that I made a choice, that I was able to choose which gender I feel attracted to. It is not right that people are uneducated and afraid and only know the one side of the story. Your suppression, your message is damaging to the people concerned and to yourself. You indirectly fuel homophobia and directly brainwash church members like my mother, who still believes in your message. Your behaviour, your legality leads to the declining membership that concerns you. LGBT people amongst you probably suffer from depression and self loathing. They either hide their orientation and pretend to be ‘normal’ or even enter conversion therapy to change. The ones who won’t change have no future in your church and have to leave it behind, like me. And like me this people are probably bitter about the experience they made.

Dear Church, I am bitter, enraged, sad and hurt. All this feelings stand in the way to be objective towards you, to forgive you. I battle with these feelings for years now. I know they are not right, I know I should forgive you. And maybe by writing all these things down, by letting my anger out I’m able to. I wish that this becomes reality. I’m sorry for being angry at you but I’m also sorry for the way you behaved and maybe still behave towards the LGBT community.

I admit that I’m weak and far from perfect, but that is why I’m a Christian. Because I know I need Jesus and his unconditional love. I know that without God I wouldn’t be here. But are you able to admit your faults? Are you able to look at your teachings and behaviour a bit closer? Are you able to see, that we are all made in God’s way, no matter if we are straight or gay? I left because I felt not save any more, because I couldn’t see God any longer. He loves me the way I am, this I know. He told me so personally. I don’t need to change for him, so why should I for you?

Dear church, I’m sorry for all of this and for never telling you the truth. I sometimes miss that great place that I called home and all the people I called friends and I so wish that these people could just try to understand.

Your former Church member

Hurt, Proclamation and Forgiveness

It’s not easy to be different, no matter why you are different. If you aren’t part of “society”, if you are not part of the big majority, then you as the so called minority can discover problems. Our modern day, present day society is constructed in such a way that it favours the majority (or the majority designs society to favour them) and only protect the minority if this minority fights for it equal rights. And even then we still face discrimination because society has a problem with your skin colour, the language you speak, your faith and so on. And because one might be homosexual instead of being heterosexual. No wonder that I’m not a huge fan of society.

Although I’m not sure if I ever was a victim of discrimination due to my bisexuality. Sure I got threatened and bullied because of that and faced many attacks. But this didn’t stop to stand to my sexual orientation, once I was able to accept it. As soon as I could stand to it, I always proclaimed my orientation and stopped lying about it. Very often I received negative response and lost many friends. Now I’m ready to forgive my attackers and the people who hurt me.

It’s not easy to be a Christian and to be open about your sexual orientation, not easy when you are bisexual like me. Sometimes one receives positive reactions but way too often negative ones. Although I was able to live with my sexual orientation despite my faith since 2006, I wasn’t brave enough to proclaim my orientation in my church. I told my non-Christian friends about me being bisexual first. Then, years later, I mean years later I told my parents that I just happened to be bisexual and would never fit into their views of the world. I received mixed reactions.

The one parent (the one I didn’t expect it from) accepted it right away and the other didn’t. Until today this parent thinks I commit a heavy sin by being who I am and won’t ever be able to accept me, tolerate me and love me fully. The overwhelming negative reaction of this p[aren’t hurt  me very much and is main reason for my present day depression (phases) and thoughts about suicide. How can it not to know that one of your parents thinks that you’re some kind of abomination and can never accept you as the person you are? But I don’t have the power anymore to fight, or to be angry or hurt. Although sometimes I’m still hurt. But hey, my parents just have to live with the fact that I might end up spending life with a woman, otherwise they won’t a part of my life anymore. Simple as. And still; I still try to forgive them and all the others.

I never talked openly about my orientation with anyone in my former church, but still some members seemed to know what was going on (how I don’t know). By now everyone should know through this blog. Sometimes one of my fellow church members tried to talk to me about the topic indirectly. The message was always clear: That I should change my ways. Somehow people all of the sudden treated me differently for no reason and I lost many friends. I’m not sure if that was because of my orientation, or because I was in open rebellion against my former church at that time. No one of course said anything to my face, but the church kept to its negative and hateful teachings about homosexuality.

Of course that made me feel like I couldn’t live openly as a bisexual in my church and so I left the place I called home with a broken heart. I lost more friends because of that and many people from that church rather not talk to me any longer. For a long time I travelled from church to church, from denomination to denomination. No church was comfortable with my orientation, neither the Pentecostal church of my ex-husband, nor the protestant church, he as well belonged to. Many hurtful things were said and I still didn’t give up. I knew that God was on my side.

I now belong to the Roman Catholic Church, a branch of Christian churches not very well known for a positive view regarding homosexuality. But it was in this supposedly ultra conservative environment that I received very positive reactions.  The leaders of the Catholic Church might still stick to their century old believes, but that doesn’t mean the local church does. Especially in the cities the local churches are very tolerant and accepting. So was mine in Frankfurt. Here in the countryside it’s a bit different of course (another reason might be the historical and cultural differences). It’s always the people who celebrate the holy communion and mass, a priest once told me. Not the music dictates the tone, the tone dictates the music. A view I can only agree on.

I as well hurt a lot of people in the past and that is why I know how important forgiveness is. There are still a lot of people out there I have to ask for forgiveness, since it only dawned on me recently that I actually hurt thus people. And I want to also try to forgive all the people who hurt me. Finally after years of hurt, pain and sulking I’m ready to forgive these people who hurt me because of my orientation. I know that I need God’s help in that matter, since I’m so afraid to actually let go and write down all this. I pray for the wisdom and strength I need in order to this. I also pray daily that I one day meet someone from the evangelical corner who I can talk openly to about my orientation and won’t receive hate but love and tolerance instead.

I don’t want to sulk in my negative experience any longer and want to deal with my orientation in a positive light. Will there be someone, one day who, will discriminate me because of my sexual orientation? Most probably yes. But I will try my best to meet this person in love and not in hate, at least I will try. God knows that I will need its divine support in that matter. It’s my time now to share God’s love which I experienced with everyone, including my enemies. I don’t want to proclaim hate and pain, but love and forgiveness. I promise this. Amen (It shall be).

 

Thoughts are fre… not always

 

Hello,

I’m Tashina. (I will sometimes post under my artistic name A.M.Young) and this is my first blog. Well actually it isn’t. I already tried to write a blog a few months back but was unhappy with the blog site and its offers and that’s why I relocated to WordPress. Well a bit of unneeded information here, but oh well.

I know that many bloggers introduce themselves first before they start to write proper texts that deal with the themes that interest them. I will do that, but in a more indirect way. You don’t really need to read more unimportant information. If there is topic I want to talk about and my life is affected by it directly, I will tell you so. As in today’s blog for example and now let me begin again with a more proper introduction.

So hello again, I’m Tashina, 23 years old and live in Great Britain, but am German. I’m bisexual and normally I would leave it there. But not today, today a normal coming out is not enough. Because today I want to start to tell you my story and how my sexuality has controlled my life; or to be precise; how I tried to control my sexual orientation. Unfortunately I can’t just say: “I’m bisexual and that is a good thing.” Too many people still have a problem that not everyone is heterosexual. Even in present days, after there has been a massive change for LGBT people, we still face problems. Although a huge part of society is quite tolerant towards us, at least I want to believe that. A lot of Christians seem to have a problem with us, or so it seems.

WARNING!!!!! I myself am a Christian and that is why I will talk about my faith on this blog. If someone has a problem with that, please look for another blog before you say something offensive her. I don’t stupid comments here. END OF WARNING!!!

But also people who are not Christians, Atheists as well seem to have a problem with a small minority. And yes LGBT people are a minority. According to the latest stats only 1-4% per cent of all people ON THIS PLANET are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual. I don’t believe any official numbers and personally believe that we make up more 5-7% of the whole world population. It might be true that a great part has less or no problems with homosexuality, but the picture is a bit different when it comes to bisexuality. People like me, teenagers or adults face not only hostile treatment from “normal” people, but some gays and lesbians treat us very hostile as well. One of my former lesbian friends really said to be once that I was bisexual because I couldn’t face the fact that I was a lesbian. Another gay friend of mine told me that I was needy and just couldn’t enough because of me being bisexual. As if.  I’m not a player, I believe in the good old long lasting monogamous relationship. I’m not bisexual because I am extremely needy and greedy or because I’m a secret lesbian. To be honest I have no clue why I am bisexual. I just know that I fall in love with a girl sometimes and sometimes I fall in love with a boy. But many people can’t or won’t understand my sexual orientation and are ignorant towards it. Even my parents are ignorant. My life is defined by this ignorance and by missing respect for my sexuality. For a long time I tried to control my bisexuality, tried to suppress it. For a long time I imprisoned my thoughts instead of letting them be free. I was too afraid to tell my story for far too long. But I have enough of this; I can’t play this stupid game any longer and will stand to what I am. And that is why I will write how my sexuality influenced my life.