It was Matt’s turn to say a few words about himself. This is what he said.
“I was raised in a theologically and socially conservative congregation in which I learned hymns, memorized Bible passages, went to Sunday School, and was involved in the youth group. Everyone seemed to like me, and I liked them. It was from them that I caught my love for Jesus.
“But when I realized I was gay, I knew I had to hide it from the people of my church. They had strong negative opinions about homosexuality. But I couldn’t hide it forever. I am who I am. And eventually it became public knowledge
“At first, the people in my church told me it was just a phase that I would outgrow. They told me some good Christian counseling would straighten me out. Because I respected them, I gave it a try. But it didn’t change me. And when they saw I wasn’t changing, many people withdrew from me, and others told me I was a despicable sinner. I had no choice but to drop out of church.”
Jensi said, “But today you’re actively involved at St. Barnabas. How did that happen?”
Matt replied, “That’s a story for my husband Clint to tell. He’s the one who made it happen.”
Heavenly Father, fill our faith communities with love and respect for one another. Amen.