60% of Americans under the age of 30 who leave the church leave because of the church's anti-LGBTQ messages.


Churches who maintain their oppositional stance toward full affirmation and inclusion of gay people into their life and leadership are going to face very hard choices in the future. The data tells us that next generations will simply opt out of church altogether when they see themselves, their friends and family members targeted.

This is why it is so critical we take another look at the widely held beliefs in the more conservative wing of the Christian church and put those beliefs to the test.

We need to ask ourselves some hard questions:

  1. Was Jesus more about exclusion or inclusion?
  2. Do we know what the Bible actually says about this topic? What the Bible means?
  3. When was the last time we talked to someone from the LGBTQ community to learn about their life, their faith, their humanity?
  4. What is the harm of learning something new in this arena? What are we scared of?
  5. What kind of harm are non-affirming churches and people causing in the LGBTQ community? Are we ok with that harm?

I have had my own journey of becoming an ally. That journey began by spending time with queer friends, listening to them talk about their faith, their pain, and their hopes and dreams for the same kind of life I enjoy without giving it a second thought.

These friendships started my journey but learning and studying provided the fuel to continue. In the last few years, I have read so many books that dug into what the writers of the ancient Scriptures really meant in the six or so verses in the Bible (out of approximately 31,000 verses!) that appear to address same-sex relationships.

I learned that vague ideas about what the Bible says on this topic are inadequate at best and misguided at worst.

I learned the cost was too high for me to continue to put my head in the sand.

I learned the price paid by my LGBTQ friends was too high for me to think this is someone else's problem.

I learned the eventual price paid by the church will be too high if we don't make some necessary changes now.

Jesus always, always, always looked to the margins and went there first with the love, grace, mercy, justice and kindness of God.

Church, if we want to follow Jesus, we must go to the margins, too.

No more barriers, no more blockades, no more clobbering other human beings with the Bible.

Will you join me on this journey? Come hear Colby Martin, the author of the book Unclobber: Rethinking the Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality, this Sunday night, April 7 at 6:30 PM at the auditorium at Lang Hall on the UNI campus. The event is free to the public.

I hope to see you there!