Church deja vu: We’ll take your money, but you can’t serve.

Note: This post is a long, but required, background to groking the following entry. The follow-up of that post is that we ended up leaving for Denver before the church leaders made a decision one way or the other making it a moot point. Previously it was locked to a small group of people but today I’ve opened it up to everyone.

Benjamin and I have been attending Flatirons Community Church for over a year now. A month ago they announced that they would be starting a Deaf ministry and were asking for volunteers. I’ve really missed interpreting and thought I’d try to become involved again. After contacting them once a week for three weeks (once by email, once by a note at the information desk on Sunday morning, and once via a call to their offices) they finally emailed me last week asking, in a not-so-abrupt way, what my qualifications were and how I thought I could help. I replied with my background interpreting for Gateway Community Church.

About the same time the Flatirons kicked off their BRiX campaign which in short is their campaign to build a new building as they have outgrown their current location many times over and are told they would not be able to renew their lease on the current building when it expires in 2 years.

Flatirons, like Gateway, is very gay-welcoming — not in the affirming way, but in the same way they would welcome a perpetrator of domestic violence or an alcoholic: come and get help. For the most part this doesn’t bother me, I find value in the sermons and worship and can ignore their unspoken bigoted viewpoints on homosexuality.

In a sense this is all a big episode of deja vu. Gateway did a similar building campaign for similar reasons about two (three?) years before we left Austin. We contributed financially to building the new building only to feel like we were kicked out of the church after having done so because the leadership found out I was gay. I can’t bring myself to even think about giving Flatirons money towards building their new building. Every time I do I have bile rise up in the back of my throat and I become hostile and defensive.

The rational, logical, part of me realizes that I’m making a strong correlation between Flatirons and Gateway and that to date I don’t have any official information that would confirm that Flatirons has the same “no gay people in leadership” position that Gateway had. Furthermore if I continue to find value and meaning in the sermon and worship, isn’t that enough to helping financially?

The rare, but alive, irrational and emotional part of me, however, still has sway. It has become obvious to me over the past several weeks that Gateway’s actions over two years ago hurt me much worse than I had thought. Between that and the tight race on Proposition 8 in California (including all of the lies by the “Christians” who are intent on denying equal rights to fellow human beings) I’ve developed a rather high aversion to the religion of my youth. I’m still trying to work through it all. I’m afraid the pseudo-rambling nature of this post highlights my internal conflict.

It’s no surprise how the greatest determent to a gay person attending church is the bigots that inhabit most of them.