If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Pastor/Parent


Sometimes I wonder if I’ll have gay children.

I’m not sure if other parents think about this, but I do; quite often.

Maybe it’s because I have many gay people in my family and circle of friends. It’s in my genes and in my tribe.
Maybe it’s because, as a pastor of students, I’ve seen and heard the horror stories of gay Christian kids, from both inside and outside the closet, trying to be part of the Church.
Maybe it’s because, as a Christian, I interact with so many people who find homosexuality to be the most repulsive thing imaginable, and who make that abundantly clear at every conceivable opportunity.

For whatever reason, it’s something that I ponder frequently. As a pastor and a parent, I wanted to make some promises to you, and to my two kids right now…

1) If I have gay children, you’ll all know it.

My children won’t be our family’s best kept secret.

I won’t talk around them in conversations with others. I won’t speak in code or vague language. I won’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, and I won’t try to spare the feelings of those who may be older, or easily offended, or uncomfortable. Childhood is difficult enough, and most LGBT kids spend their entire existence being horribly, excruciatingly uncomfortable. I’m not going to put mine through any more unnecessary discomfort, just to make Thanksgiving dinner a little easier for a third cousin with misplaced anger issues.

If my children come out, we’ll be out as a family.

2) If I have gay children, I’ll pray for them.

I won’t pray for them to be made “normal”. I’ve lived long enough to know that if my children are gay, that quite likely is their normal.

I won’t pray that God will heal or change or fix them. I will pray for God to protect them; from the ignorance and hatred and violence that the world will throw at them, simply because of who they are. I’ll pray that He shields them from those who will despise them and wish them harm; who will curse them to Hell and put them through Hell, without ever knowing them at all. I’ll pray that they enjoy life; that they laugh, and dream, and feel, and forgive, and that they love God and all people.

Above all, I’ll pray to God that my children won’t allow the unGodly treatment they might receive from some of His misguided children, to keep them from pursuing Him.

3) If I have gay children, I’ll love them.

I don’t mean some token, distant, tolerant love that stays at a safe arm’s length. It will be an extravagant, open-hearted, unapologetic, lavish, embarrassing them in the school cafeteria, kissing them in public, kind of love.

I won’t love them despite their sexuality, and I won’t love them because of it. I will love them for the same reasons I already do; simply because they’re sweet, and funny, and caring, and smart, and kind, and stubborn, and flawed, and original, and beautiful… and mine.

If my kids are gay, they may doubt a million things about themselves and about this world, but they’ll never doubt for a second whether or not their Daddy is over-the-moon crazy about them.

4) If I have gay children, most likely; I have gay children.

If my kids are going to be gay, well they pretty much already are.

God has already created them and wired them, and placed the seed of who they are within them. Psalm 139 says that He, “stitched them together in their mother’s womb”. The incredibly intricate stuff that makes them uniquely them; once-in-History souls, has already been uploaded into their very cells.

Because of that, there isn’t a coming deadline on their sexuality that their mother and I are working feverishly toward. I don’t believe there’s some magical expiration date approaching, by which time she and I need to somehow do, or say, or pray just the right things to get them to “turn straight”, or forever lose them to the other side.

They are today, simply a younger version of who they will be; and today they’re pretty darn great.

Many of you may be offended by all of this, I fully realize. I know this may be especially true if you are a religious person with a particular theological stance. Perhaps you find the whole topic unsettling.

As you’ve been reading, you may have been rolling your eyes, clicking the roof of your mouth, or drafting familiar Scriptures to send to me. You may be praying for me to repent, or preparing to Unfriend me, or writing me off as a sinful, evil, Hell-bound heretic… but with as much gentleness and understanding as I can muster; I really couldn’t care less.

This isn’t about you. This is a whole lot bigger than you.

You’re not the one I waited on breathlessly for nine months.
You’re not the one I wept with joy for when you were born.
You’re not the one I bathed, and fed, and rocked to sleep through a hundred intimate, midnight snuggle sessions.

You’re not the one I taught to ride a bike, and whose scraped knee I kissed, and whose tiny, trembling hand I held, while getting stitches.
You’re not the one whose head I love to smell, and whose face lights-up when I come home at night, and whose laughter is like music to my weary soul.
You’re not the one who gives my days meaning and purpose, and who I adore more than I ever thought I could adore anything.

And you’re not the one who I’ll hopefully be with, when I take my last precious breaths on this planet; gratefully looking back on a lifetime of shared treasures, and resting in the knowledge that I loved you well.

If you’re a parent, I don’t know how you’ll respond if you find out your children are gay, but I pray you consider it.

One day, despite your perceptions of your kids or how you’ve parented, you may need to respond in real-time, to a frightened, frantic, hurting child; one whose sense of peace, and identity, and acceptance; whose heart and very life, may be placed in your hands in a way you never imagined… and you’ll need to respond.

If that day should ever come for me; if my children should ever come out to me, this is the Dad I hope I’ll be to them.



* Note: The word “gay” in this post, is used as an umbrella term, and refers to anyone who identifies themselves as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning) . Though I certainly realize and respect the distinctions and differences, it was simply the word that would quickly and easily communicate within the context of the piece. It was the clearest and best way to address non-hetereosexual individuals in the post, by using a common term that would resonate with the average reader. Hopefully my heart for the entire diverse LGBTQ community is still clear in the writing.

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4,297 thoughts on “If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Pastor/Parent

  1. Thank-you. As a woman who did not grow up in the church and after coming out as a lesbian experienced both verbal and physical hatred from individuals who called themselves Christians, I have come away with my own very biased beliefs about the religious community. So much in fact, that when I saw this story on my Facebook feed, I opened it with the idea that I would read it and find nothing but hate filled text to further support my own biases. Your post forced me to take pause and to check my own preconceived notions about religious individuals the same way that you encourage those of the Christian faith to examine their beliefs about homosexuality. While my initial interactions with followers of the Christian faith were negative, I cannot allow those experiences to taint my view of people or to judge them simply because of a label that they carry. Thank you for this opportunity to grow.

  2. Reading this made me really happy. It gave me hope about the new and to-be parents in this era of LGBT discussion. You’re a good person and a fantastic parent. One thing I love about this is that you promise to love your children truly, their identity and all. “Coming out as a family” is something so vital to supporting your child. You’re not saying you will love your child despite their sexuality, but you will love your child entirely. Your children are absolutely lucky to have you. I hope you keep spreading happiness John. Thank you.

    • I want to say your open letter “If you had a Gay Child”, moved me very much, so much so that I was tearing up as I read it. You see, I am Gay, have been for the past 59 years since I was born, and as I grew up, I knew I was different somehow, and my siblings knew, and my parents knew. I grew up feeling not a part of the family, and when I reached puberty and started to date another boy my age (15), and began to sexually explore our orientation, somehow my parents found out. Immediately, I don’t to this day, know what they did, but that boy would never speak to me again, not even acknowledge my existence, ignored me as we passed on the street. I felt really bad, I felt rejected, I felt abandoned by him, I felt a lot of things I still can’t put into words. Then to make matters worse, my parents were hell bent on making sure I never got sexually involved with another boy. They humiliated me every chance they got, shamed me whenever they could, referred to me a sick disgusting pervert, and sometimes referred to me as garbage.
      I guess you’re realizing by now that I didn’t grow up feeling that good about myself. My chance of developing confidence, and self assurance, and security in the world had been utterly destroyed. I am now 59 years old, have been in therapy for approximately 30 years, have never had a relationship, and am incapable of having sex with another man, I haven’t seen my family in years, and I have no friends. I am alone in the world. My life was destroyed by my parents before it really began, so when I read your article, I could only imagine what it would have been like to have parents like you and your wife. All I have to say is, you clearly understand what it means to be a parent, and how to prepare your children for their life ahead of them, and I commend you for that.

  3. I know what it is to love a transgender sibling. The tortuous self doubt and unhappiness he lived with; the anger and fear he’s displayed. Our whole family rallied around “her,” and yet she has attacked anything Christian, even spitting on God’s Word. Indeed, because of all the angry voices in our society, true love has an uphill climb.
    I know what it is to love the individual, to express acceptance and value relationship, but STILL esteem God’s commands. I can’t and won’t bend God’s Word so that my loved one feels vindicated. Love doesn’t mean I condone her behavior, only that I care about her and try to understand.

    Your use of Psalm 139 disturbs me. If God made people gay in their mothers’ wombs, then why are there such strong warnings against “unnatural” acts? No, there is a deceiver who is intent on destroying everyone and everything he can. We are in a constant battle which demands love and discernment.

    Where is love for spirit-filled Christians who are doing their best to show empathy and care to LGBT individuals? I’m not excusing the actions of cultural christians who spew hate and judgment because they don’t know Christ personally, and I’m tired of being lumped in with that group. May God help us defuse the angry outrage enveloping our nation.

    • Oh your poor sister. You are upset because she has “spit” on your religion and yet because of your religion you can’t even giver her the curtesy to refer to her in her proper pronoun. You have not rallied around her. Not even close. I beg you to examine what you think rallying is because you have missed it. To rally is to once and for all always and forever to refer to her in the proper pronoun and name without judgement or scorn. If you can’t than you are one cold hearted sibling. Sorry if that was cold but it had to be said.

      Now I will soften my tone and explain why you are so so wrong on your biblical interpretation and I will answer your question about “nature” because it is an excellent one and one filled with confusion. 1) No where in the bible, not one of the 6 passages in question, deals with Same sex love. Not one. Study them in context and you will see that.

      2) What is an unnatural act. Quite simply it is something contrary to your nature. But the thing is people have different natures. God makes different types of people. So if there is a sin against God it is acting contrary to the nature God gave you. If your nature is straight you should be straight. If your nature is gay your should be gay. If your nature is bi you should follow your heart. If you are transgender you should be who you are. God wants you to be the best person possible but be true to who you are. LGBT spend lots of time in therapy often because of years of being abused by society and family but also often for living lives filled with lies. When someone is a good person: honorable, trustworthy, truthful, caring, hard working, loyal, devoted and yet every day they live an inauthentic life because they hide their true nature it is horribly debilitating.

      To sum up, where every you are going to church is giving you a kindergarten version of the truth when it comes to same sex love in the bible. For goodness sake the bible has one of the first best gay love stories in it. Jesus never, not once, condemned same sex love or sex. So stop torturing your sister. Embrace her, apologize to her, love her and if she never ever steps foot in a church again understand it and know why. Likely Church has scarred her in ways you will never ever understand. Oh and go find a new one. You would probably a Christ centered church that actual acts in a Christ-like fashion.

  4. I can see and read the caring in your tone of your response.

    Where I lose it is where you state, “I know what it is to love the individual, to express acceptance and value relationship, but STILL esteem God’s commands. I can’t and won’t bend God’s Word so that my loved one feels vindicated. Love doesn’t mean I condone her behavior, only that I care about her and try to understand.”

    Don’t you think that your sister can feel that every time you look at her? It’s good that you are trying to understand. In fact, it’s admirable.

    But, maybe if you decided not to make so much of an effort out of it, she would actually feel the words you are trying to say rather than be forced to listen to them as some form of apology. This is your SISTER, and was your BROTHER. I won’t pretend to try to understand what you are going through. Why not just sit down with her and ask the questions you don’t have the answers to? You are so busy trying to justify it with God that you are missing the point of justifying it with your family member. When you can get past it with your family member, I’m sure your relationship with your Higher Power will improve, as well.

    Thanks for your effort, but, you also have a few more steps to take.

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  7. John, I have never commented on a blog, but when I read your promises to your precious offspring I cried, for a good while. When I came out to my parents, at 18, they told me, “If this is the choice you’re going to make we would rather that God just take you now”. After gaining the perspective that only many years and miles can offer, I see how my parent’s response was based on fear and not love. The pulpits that they have sat under have taught them that I have chosen to be gay and so I’m condemned. That is a powerful influence that baffles me to this day. How can the woman that gave birth to me wish me dead instead of gay? I have chosen to be gay, like I have chosen to have brown eyes and be 5’7″. I often want to ask people when they “chose” to be straight. It just doesn’t occur to them that this is how God made me. John, your offering of love to your kids was such a healing thing for me to hear and they are truly blessed to have a father that understands God’s love. Thank you.

  8. Hmmm…well let’s skip the whole ‘gays are persecuted largely because all the main religions despise them’ angle, and go straight to this:

    “God has already created them and wired them, and placed the seed of who they are within them”

    …which means nothing matters any more. If god has already created them, then he’s already created everything, and therefore everything is set already and there’s nothing we can do about it. Ergo, no free will. Is that really what you believe?


    • You have drawn a false conclusion. One’s God given sexuality does not negate freewill. That would be like saying that all heterosexuals have no freewill. That is just a silly conclusion.

      • Well it does a little. If god has decided something as important as sexuality, then what else has he decided for us? Whichever way you look at it, at the very leastsome of our free will has been taken because of that.

        And if he decided gay sexuality then stands to reason that other sexuality was decided too, heterosexuals included.

        Oh, and why would god deliberately create gay people and then make it so the church – his church – hates them? Has he made them solely to suffer and be persecuted? If not, then why does he hate them?

        This is why I disagree with religion – IT MAKES NO SENSE!

        Peter – do you believe god knows the future?

        • Ah, well now those are good questions. In fact they are excellent questions. And in fact they are the crux of why this Anti Gay Christian rhetoric is so ridiculous. Just as God creates some people male and female or some left handed or right handed he creates people with different sexualities. This does not impact freewill however. By the way are you aware that at one time the church believed people who were left handed were evil as well. These concepts of left handed people being evil or sinful or gays being evil or sinful is not of God it is of man. God does not have a Church. The church was made by man. Trust me there are many here who would vehemently fight me on that but that is rubbish. Man has his hands on every single aspect of understanding and interpretation of God. The Bible which all christian churches are based on is itself a work of man. People call it God’s word but it is not literally so. God did not dictate it or write it. It was many many men’s interpretation of God combined by men and translated by men and re-translated by men and interpreted by men. Somehow men have polluted the notion of a God who loves his creations who wants the best for all his creations. Its truly sad. It is amazing when you have politicians running around beating their chest yelling I am a CHRISTIAN and yet they are for discrimination and bigotry, they are for reducing benefits for the poor, they are for denying insurance to all, heck they don’t even want to feed the hungry. WHAT? It’s crazy how warped men make this idea of God and of Christ and his word. I might add I don’t think Christianity is the only way God revealed himself to man. I think many other religions are equally valid. I think it is rather egocentric to think God only revealed himself one way to one people. To me that would be the epitome of an unjust and unfair God. As far as does God know the future…. I do not think he does. I think those that claim he does have a flawed thinking because to me if God does then in my mind you would be right we don’t have freewill as everything would be predetermined. But that is a debate that can go on for hours at length.

  9. I sit here, working my way doggedly through the responses to this article.

    There are so many posts, even my brand new Mac cannot always cope with bringing up the page, and I have to reboot it. Seems everybody wants to get their tuppence-worth (2 cents?) in here, including me.

    It feels like I’ve been at it for hours, and the little block in the scroll bar seems to have gone down very little. So many responses.

    And I find myself wondering why I’m here. Being lifted up by a sensitive and insightful comment one moment (from all sides of the discussion), brought down with a bump by a simple regurgitation of dogma, sound bites and half-informed opinion the next.

    Why am I sticking at it?

    Well, you see, it’s because I am the man my mother always warned me about. But then, even though she was born in 1914, she knew the difference between homosexuality and paedophilia. Anyone who brings up that horny old chestnut, or slippery slopes, or bestiality being approved of next, or polygamy and polyandry being the inevitable consequence, really puts themselves in the same category as those who trot out “It’s Adam and Eve, not ….” as far as I’m concerned. People must have some understanding of what “being of majority” and “giving consent” mean. And just because they brought in a law for speed limits one day, didn’t mean they brought in another law the next day that all Fords were never allowed to move again.

    Well, why am I sticking at it? I think it’s three things.

    One: I think I’m finally trying to deal with my own engrained homophobia. I was brought up by a loving and Christian mother and father. But he, in particular, whilst being an untypically nurturing father, had the experience and opinions of his time, from the War and before. He held views that would now be seen as sexist, even misogynistic, as well as racist and homophobic. “I never came across any homosexual men in the RAF. They just disgust me.”

    It’s a pity that two out of his three sons turned out to be gay, both of them having listened intently to all his views on the subject as they grew up and began to learn who they were.

    And I grew up in a society, in a school and in a Church where the messages about me and those like me were uniformly negative. On TV- if gays or lesbians were represented at all- they were objects of fun, pathetic, sad or bad. So it’s no surprise that I am homophobic. I have been brought up to feel shame for what I am. It’s only now I’m in my 60s I’ve learnt the difference between guilt and shame, and that shame is such a corrosive burden to carry. But it’s not so easy to put down.

    Two: I’ve posted here before about people driven to jump off high places by the attitudes of others. It’s a long time ago now, but my gay brother was one of them. It probably wasn’t the sole reason, but the attitude of our Government at the time- his employer- and the people who worked with him, the double life he had to live, contributed to his mental illness, the termination of his employment and to the loss of everything that he had striven for and valued in his life.

    Maybe I’m finally trying to deal with the anger I feel that he did it, and the anger I feel at the myriad of people who contributed to his conviction that it was the only choice left to him. And the guilt that I might not have done enough to understand and help him.

    Three: I’m trying to work through how I feel about and deal with the knowledge that my eldest brother, my straight brother, my sole remaining sibling and family member, who shares an intimate knowledge of his two gay brothers’ histories and circumstances, still believes that the civil authorities should treat gay relationships as different and less worthy of respect than straight relationships- leaving aside for the moment the attitude of some members of the Church.

    It’s pretty academic- as I’ve yet to summon sufficient self-esteem to believe that someone would want to have a deep, authentic, intimate relationship with me, so I live in a yearning, lonely, celibate state- but he had to agree that every argument he tried to support his view failed. Yet he persisted in it, purely on the basis that “Civil same-sex marriage hasn’t happened before and I don’t like it”. If I said something similar about votes for women or recruiting black doctors, I would very probably be considered sexist or racist. How is he not “homo-negative”? (Just pandering for a moment to those who don’t like “homophobic”).

    Remember it’s pretty much a rule that anyone who says “I’m not (fill in the blank), but….”, is indeed (blank). As a therapist I worked with says, “Everything before the ‘but’ is bulls**t”.

    So I’m reading all of the postings for my own reasons- trying to puzzle all of this stuff out. But what about the broken-record question that Pastor Pavlovitz asks- what would I do if a child of mine told me they were gay?

    Well, another academic question. I regret so very much that I do not have a life with children of my own to care for. I’m not of a generation where that was possible. But I spent much of my life caring for the children of others- in my private life, as well as in my career in social work and as a volunteer working abroad – with disabled, abandoned, troubled or delinquent children and adolescents.

    For those who conflate homosexuality with paedophilia: I don’t know what life is like in the US, but if all the gay men and lesbians who work in the UK in our hospitals, schools, social work offices and similar caring professions, decided to leave overnight, all those services would grind to a shuddering halt, given their disproportionate representation in staff numbers. Maybe man is a biologically social, rather than a biologically individualistic, animal. Maybe the evolutionary reason for gay men and lesbians is the survival of the tribe, and not the individual bloodline. Maybe that’s why, so often, younger sons turn out to be gay. I believe that statistically it’s about 30% more likely with each male child.

    So I have some idea of what it is like to care, as well as some idea of what it feels like, if not to be excommunicated from, to be taught to feel shame and feel unsupported by, those whom I love and I hope love me. So I trust that, if my hypothetical child said they were gay:

    I would try to demonstrate, not just say, that I love them and am trying to understand

    I would try to keep an open mind. Am I holding on to my beliefs because of, or in spite of, the available evidence? A lot of received attitudes are based on so-called Natural Law. To what extent is this based on what we now know about nature?

    I would read up on things, especially if written by people who do not agree with my current world view. It’s much easier and more comforting to read the works of those who do agree with me, but maybe less important. I would seek information, from all shades of opinion- from within different Christian and other religious communities, from science or from wherever else I could find it. And I would try to read it using my head and heart, and not my stomach.

    I would try not to give them sound-bites of received wisdom that I had been spoon-fed in life or in Church- especially if I hadn’t received them critically myself

    I would try not to make them feel shame for who they are or guilt for how they might have hurt me by speaking up

    And I would make a supreme effort not to remind them of what (I might think) the consequences of being who they are or what living their potential “lifestyle” might be, in this world or the next. I’m pretty sure they have got that message loud and clear already, and do not need to have it reinforced further. The fact that they are talking to me about this at all is a sign of both their distress and their strength.

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  12. I’ve got to say something here, and I mean every word of it.

    Some of you people who claim to be “Christian” are some of the worst people I’ve ever met in my entire life. You use God’s name to sanctify your hatred. You used God’s name to be prejudice. You use God’s name for your own personal way of disguising your hatred of others.

    You are NO different than any other religion that uses their Higher Power as an excuse to kill others. You just aren’t “killing” people. Do you not realize religion is how war, countries, and even new churches are started?

    Damn, people….why don’t you grow the hell up and stop thumping on your bible thinking you are the one hanging on a cross somewhere? You think that because Jesus Christ was crucified, it was for YOUR sins? NO. It was NOT for YOUR sins. He died for ALL sins.

    YOUR definition of “sin” might be different from His. His definition of sin might be different than YOURS.

    ALL of you need to get off that cross. Our higher power already owned that wood.

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  15. Anyone who has been in an off and on relationship can tell how frustrating it is. Most especially when you love them so much like they know you so well to know that no matter the circumstance in which the break up is based on, you are always gonna make up and start from a fresh page with them. Almost like you can not do without them and your life revolves round them which is literally speaking true. My relationship with my boyfriend was one such off and on thing only that he was the one who constantly kept breaking my heart and each time i kept crawling back to him like i had no life aside from that i shared with him. We started dating backing in 2010 and from 2010 to late 2013 he played with my heart knowing i was always gonna come back to him. He knew he could break up with me to date other guys he feels like and at the end of the day come back asking for a second chance and believe me it was always a second chance to me. It was either he wants to date another guys or he’s telling me that he is not sure he can be in a relationship with apparently cos he needed to find out what he wants in life and discover who he is. Most people asked why didn’t i just move on and find someone who was more worthy of my love. Yes i should have done just that but i can give a thousand reason why i always go back to him at the end of this entire text it will fall back to this that “I LOVE HIM WITH MY LIFE”. I could not see my whole life without him in it so basically i was a fool in love. No matter how i convince myself to hate him and make him suffer for all he did to me it was impossible for me to accomplish. It was like he had something over him that always drew me back to him no matter what the condition might be. I was in pain. It hurt me down to my soul hat he was so indecisive about what he wanted for us all those time. For about 2 years and 8 months i was literally his bitch that he does what he like to and dispose. I really didn’t know if he did all he did on purpose or f it was as a result of his indecisive nature. What ever it was i didn’t like cos all i wanted was to spend the rest of my life with him. Blame me or don’t on the basis of stupidity what’s done is done i contacted a spell caster to help get him in the path i wanted for us. I did this early this year. I was not going to say anything until i was sure that what Akpe Osilama did was for real. I was not going to start misleading people to do what does not exist. I can tell you without now doubt that the spell worked for me and also i have seen a couple of comment Online about Akpe Osilama it is obvious that all he does is make people lives better in every way and bring people out from what ever hellhole they where in. I should tell you that he is one of the only few if not the only one true spell caster that can help you out in any condition. Not cos i saw a couple of comments Online like that of Nicholas Zachary but because all these comments were written by real life people who have gone and seen the authenticity of Akpe Osilama. I asked Akpe Osilama to put my boyfriend in the right path i wanted for the two of us, to help kill that indecisive nature he had in him to make him mine and mine only forever. You should all know he did just that for me and the spell he cast changed our lives in ways you can’t imagine and the best part is that he didn’t take i single pound from me. I only gave him something out of my discretion as a sign of gratefulness for what he did for me. However Akpe Osilama asked me to get some materials which we used for the spell casting process. I will be opened with you all at first, i thought he wanted to use the required materials as a medium to get money form me but it turned out that he made it clear to me that without those materials it will me impose to do any spell just like cooking without food stuff. Even then he told me to either get the materials to temple by myself or parcel it over to him or to send him the money to get the materials for me if i can’t find them. I had to send the money to him cos it was even more less expensive that way. You should also know he is trust worthy you can trust him with anything. Here is his personal contact got it Online when i contacted him thought i should also leave it here maybe for those who need to contact Akpe Osilama {chiefpriestakpeosilamaspellcast at yahoo dot com}

  16. Pingback: Re: If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Pastor/Parent | This Life of Mine

  17. Absolutely beautiful! As a Christian for over 40 years and the wife of an ordained minister, the concept of “love as God loves” was never more tested than when our son came out as gay. Here we sat in the Church we’d devoted our lives to, raised our children in, and served the people of…and there were absolutely NO resources for us as a family. Who could we possibly talk to inside the four walls of the church and be recipients of unconditional love – the kind of love with which God loves us? Nowhere inside. Where could we go to find answers and experience healing from the emotional whirlwind? Nowhere inside. Who inside would walk this road with us, coaching us, shoring us up, and encouraging us? Nobody inside. What we did find was curtly quoted scriptures, judgment, and hate-filled comments. I’m not saying people have bad intentions at all. I believe followers of Christ desire to do the right thing. Rather, it’s what we are taught from every pulpit. Sadly, what we are less frequently taught is to practice loving as God loves, and we aren’t given opportunities to apply it because we get complacent inside the church – appreciating and serving our brothers and sisters in Christ, but not opening ourselves to the “uncomfortableness” of diversity and difference. Oh, the possibilities we are missing out on! What a shame!

    The deepest desire of my heart is to learn to love as God loves, and to practice it every minute of every day. My gay son has taught me more about that than anything or anyone else. He is truly fearfully and wonderfully made and one of the greatest gifts from God.

    Pavlovitz’s letter is a love letter to his children; they will know acceptance and love, and are blessed to have him. It is also a proclamation of love to ALL – a welcoming of difference and diversity. That is EXACTLY the right thing the Christian community should be doing!

    Thank you for focusing on THAT kind of love – the kind that God so graciously shows us. May we NEVER forget what it is like to be the recipients of HIS love…

  18. Tonight I found this post for the first time in the midst of a very emotional time in my life and I just want to say thank you for writing it. I was raised in a very religious home where even public schooling was not allowed because the curriculum was too ungodly. I was given a religious name, I was sheltered and had very few friends outside of my siblings and the ones that I did have were from within the church that my father lead and they lived similar lives. My schooling was bible based, my entertainment was bible based, I was never exposed to homosexuality and I never experienced abuse yet I’ve known from the age of 5 that I liked the same sex rather than the opposite. I never had interest in boys and I didn’t understand it or question it because of my surroundings. It wasn’t until the age of 11 when I finally decided to hop on “ask Jeeves” to try and figure out what was going on with me and I was blown away. For the first time in my life I realized that I wasn’t alone and there were other people like me. I was also exposed to the religious articles on homosexuality which prompted me to keep it a secret. By the end of high school I decided that I was going to do the “right thing” and date a guy. Everyone loved him and we dated through college and were preparing for our lives together. After 5 years of dating and nearing engagement I realized how unhappy I was and told the truth. We broke up but remained friends and never explained why to anyone. Today I am 26 years old and I’ve been in a relationship with the love of my life for 3 years yet I haven’t been able to talk to my family about it. With the changes to marriage laws homosexuality has been a pretty big topic in our family discussions and they are all very negative and speak as if they are disgusted. I love my family and my faith has not wavered but I also love my girlfriend and I want her to be included in all areas of my life. I never really cared much about telling them and I’m open about my relationship with everyone outside of my family (work, friends….) but I want her to be my wife so it’s coming down to the wire where it’s not going to be hidden anymore. My heart is so heavy right now and It hurts to know that I may lose people that I love simply for being who I am. It’s so easy for people to come on here and state opinions when they haven’t taken the time to try to understand someone that’s different than them. I pray that I find understanding like this within my family even if only from a few over time. Being a lesbian was not a choice for me because I never knew it was an option.

    • All I can say is that I wish you the very, very best. I understand what you are up against as I came from that very background (and have many friends and family that are still there). I am not gay, and I do not have any gay family members I can think of; but I have many gay friends, and they all tell me that they knew their attractions long before they knew the name “gay”. I used to believe it was a “choice”; now, after knowing many gay people and seeing first-hand their struggles to “do the right things” (i.e. be heterosexual when they are not), I understand more fully the damage that we inflict on people by insisting they fit the mold we size them to, rather than accepting the mold they came out of.

      Somewhere above, someone quoted the scripture “Train a child up in the way he/she should go and when they are old they will not depart from it”. That person seemed to interpret that scripture as proof that you could essentially train “gayness” out of someone by raising them “right”.

      But that isn’t really what the scripture means when you go back to the original Hebrew. What it means is (my paraphrase): “Discover who your child is, and train them to be the best of that person they can be, and they will live their entire lives being their best”.

      Sometimes we aren’t lucky enough to have parents who know who we are, and then train us to be the best of that person. Sometimes we have to do that for ourselves… and it sounds to me like you have been that person for yourself. Appreciate how great a gift you have given yourself by understanding yourself so well… and going on to be the best of that person you can be.

      Religious prejudice can be hard to overcome. Hopefully your family will see your happiness, and your dignity, and come to grips with their beliefs… and learn to accept what they do not understand.

      Truly, I wish you the best.

  19. For those with narrow minds and even narrower hearts – the Bible also condones slavery and beating a wife and children. It says a father can sell his daughter into slavery (Exodus 21: 7-11). So those of you raging about it being sinful – start beating your wives, selling your daughters and then I’ll agree with all your cherry picking Bible verses.
    Love knows no color
    Love knows no religion
    Love knows no gender
    Love simple IS

  20. There doesn’t seem to be a ‘reply’ tab on the note I wanted to comment on, and I freely admit I’ve not read all the intervening replies – VERY thoroughly commented on post!, so someone may have covered this but to the gentleman who said that Mr. Pavlovitz’ kids will be damaged because he clearly can’t love them unconditionally, I’d like to say that while I doubt ANY human being truly can love unconditionally, even assuming we can, to disagree with someone need not alter your love for them. My Dad did not approve of all my boyfriends growing up, but that did not alter his love for me. And I love many people whose paths in life, or whose choices, I do not think are wise, or healthy, or Christ like. And yes, I realise that sexual orientation is a much larger issue than a job choice or a single dating relationship; my point is simply that Mr. Pavlovitz can love his children fully and be a true and supportive father to them, even if he does not hold all the same values that they do.

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  23. Hi Mine name is Roger Singleton

    I just want to let you know you are a piece of SHIT who does not know the meaning of following God

    following God means that even if you have to live on potatoes, you still obey Him and honor Him

    you are a disgrace to the entire Christian community

    and I am ashamed to be associated with a bastard brother like you

    if mine son is gay, i would love him, but he IS NOT ALLOWED to be MINE HOUSE with his boyfriend

    he is not allowed to talk about any gay stuff

    and he knows he better repent or else.


  24. Hi Mine name is Roger Singleton

    I just want to let you know you are a piece of SHIT who does not know the meaning of following God

    following God means that even if you have to live on potatoes, you still obey Him and honor Him

    you are a disgrace to the entire Christian community

    and I am ashamed to be associated with a bastard brother like you

    if mine son is gay, i would love him, but he IS NOT ALLOWED to be MINE HOUSE with his boyfriend

    he is not allowed to talk about any gay stuff

    and he knows he better repent or else.


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