If you didn't know I attend a private, liberal arts, women's college for four years and I graduated in May 2013. During these four years I was surrounded by the LBGTQ community. This is something I never expected upon entering a women's college. If you've been reading my blog for a while you know I attended a private, Christian school from K-12. I was surrounded by people that had the same opinions and morals as myself. However, when I stepped onto my college campus that all changed.
LBGTQ? What is that? Oh there's a drag show happening in my school cafeteria right now? What is that? Gay pride? Everything was so new to me.
Those four years were rough but still a learning experience. As a Christian in a very liberal environment I felt like an outsider. Not finding many people to relate too. It was as though even those who called themselves Christians supported gay rights and happily attended every LBGTQ celebration on and off campus. I however, was the Christian who did not support the LBGTQ community or celebrations on my campus.
The student body on my campus was under 1,000. So it was a small environment. Everyone knew my position and stance when it came to everything LBGTQ. However, with that many assumed I hated them if they were LBGTQ.
You see on my campus it was just assumed if you were Christian who was vocal about your faith you clearly hated everyone who was apart of the LBGTQ community. At least this is how I felt. My freshman year one student was writing scriptures in chalk on the concrete around campus and they were immediately told to erase them. Why? It was just general scriptures nothing talking about homosexuality or anything just random scriptures. Why was she forced to get rid of them. People wrote in chalk all the time on my campus and it never seemed to be a problem. I've had flyers that I posted around campus for my Christian events that once again had nothing to do with homosexuality torn down and balled up and thrown onto the floors. Probably the most hurtful experience was during my senior year when I started a Christian campus organization and we had to go before the SGA to become an official student organization and receive funding. We were told that we could be a student organization but we would not receive funding. Yet, the LBGTQ organization has funding. The Muslim organization had funding. Why weren't we deserving of funding? My "oh we are so liberal we accept everyone" college accepted everyone. Everyone but me because I was a Christian and chose to have more conservative views. It was like reverse discrimination. My senior year I even met with one of the Deans of my college to try and explain how I felt like an outsider as a Christian attending this very liberal college. I shared my experience at my college in hopes that this college campus would become more inclusive of Christians.
I made efforts to try and dispel the myth that Christians hate gays. I tried to explain that I'm a Christian and I do not support the LBGTQ community because of my faith but I will still treat you very nicely and love you just as Jesus calls me to. I will share Jesus with you but not in an effort to change you because that's his job not mine. However, it was as if they didn't want to hear that. You see to them it was if you love me, Christian, as you say you do then you will support me and accept my right to love who I choose. That's where the divide appeared.
As a Christian I made efforts to try to bridge the gap between the LBGTQ community and handful of Christians on my campus. I carefully tried to do this while making sure I wasn't watering down or adding to the gospel[John 3:16].
My college experience was very frustrating. However, you have to remember as a Christian that the LBGTQ community has been severely hurt by so called Christians in the past. Therefore, you saying "hey I'm a Christian and even though I disagree with you on this I still love you and respect you as a human being created in God's image[Genesis 1:27]" may not be something they are ready to accept because maybe they don't know how. This because it's shocking and new to them. They may get it they may not. But remember love is patient[1 Corinthians 13:4-7].
While I may not have been understood by everyone who identified as a part of the LBGTQ community I was able to reach one that I know of. I remember one friend I had. She was a lesbian and my senior year we were in two student organizations together. That is how I got to know her. A few times we talked about religion but not often. I remember one day I got a text from her asking me if I was going to church tomorrow. I said, yes and that Sunday we went to church together. When church was over we headed back to campus and before getting out of the car I told her about how regardless of what she has been told in the past God loves you no matter what. To myself I was thinking she probably doesn't even care. But later at a Christian event where I attempted to bridge the gap between the LBGTQ community and the Christian community she shared her story of basically the affect religion had on her life. In addition to that she shared with tears streaming down her face of how those words I told her that day in the car had impacted her in a positive way. Then the tears came streaming down my face. All this time I thought sharing Jesus with the liberals on my college campus was having no effect whatsoever but oh how I was wrong. One or some were listening and if she never shared that story I would have never known the impact.
I share this story to encourage any college students or anyone in who finds themselves being Christian but completely surrounded by those who have different beliefs as you to not jump ship. Do not run away because of lack of comfort. God has you there for a reason. At the end of the day you as a Christian have to understand that if you're hated for your beliefs remember they hated Jesus first[John 15:18]. Stay true to you. Stay firm in your beliefs. Do not conform to the standards of this world[Romans 12:12] to be liked and not offend anyone. Keep being a light for Him. Keep speaking the truth in love as He leads you[Ephesians 4:15]. Keep loving others. Keep sharing the gospel[Matthew 28:16-20]. You never know who you are affecting.
LBGTQ community we may disagree but you are loved. God sent his son to die for you and me. He loves us all equally and there's nothing you can do to loose His love for you. His love wins.