I had my meeting with the pastor Wednesday afternoon. It was quite the experience.
Going into it, I had high hopes that I was going to get positive feedback. He is a very uplifting and engaging person on stage, so I was expecting the same, friendly person behind closed doors. HA I was 100% wrong. I met him downstairs in the lobby of my dorm and we quickly walked up to the a lounge room, where we could talk.
I didn't beat around the bush at all once we sat down. He asked me what was bothering me and I told him that I was gay and I wanted some insight on it. The pastor told me to open my Bible. After doing so, he asked me read every verse that condemned homosexuality. I let out a deep 'oh fuck' breath and read them aloud.
Once I finished, he told me that "God made man to be with a woman and that’s the way it should be, period. Man was created to be the strong, powerful, brave, bold, courageous one, while the woman was created from man to nurture, comfort and provide for he and the family. Only a man and a woman are supposed to be together because they balance each other and its natural, whereas homosexual relationships are unnatural. Being homosexual itself isn't a sin, but the act of homosexuality and giving in to temptation is a sin".
So unless you 'become straight', or remain celibate, you sin? He told me that I was not born a homosexual; everyone is born straight in this world. He told me that the Devil put a 'tab' on me labeled 'Homosexuality' around 8th grade, when I was going through puberty and first recognized my attraction to guys. Any thought, emotion, feeling, desire that's gay related, is the Devil's doing.
He told me that within every person there is a throne. Most people place themselves on their throne when they need to place God on it. He said we need God to be on our throne so we can live our life through him. Because I am gay, I put myself on my throne, even though he had just told me it was Satan's doing. I told him that I do seek God and just because I'm gay, doesn't mean I can't live for God as well and put Him first. His exact re buttal was "if you work at it hard enough, I promise in six months you won’t be gay anymore."
Following that bold statement, he pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down the words ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ with a line between them. He explained to me that because I am gay, I don’t fit in either. Instead of circling ‘Male’ he circled the middle of the line. I was floored. He began to appear less and less Holy to me.
He made another picture. On one end of the paper, he had the words 'Love' and 'Mercy' circles together. On the other end of the paper, he circled the words 'Justice' and 'Judgment' together. He said that "in order to be well balanced, you must live in the middle of the circles". However, since I am not coming to Justice and Judgment with my sexuality, I am living next to the bubble of Love and Mercy.
At this point, I wasn't even about to waste my energy and defend myself after he had just told me I wasn't a male. Instead, I remained the bigger person and I simply told him that I am not a bad/evil person for being a homosexual. I told him that I am in face a man, that six months won't change anything, regardless how much I try to become straight and I was born this way.
He replied by saying "homosexuality is a sin and God will condemn you for it." He quickly attempted to loosen that harsh blow by making it seem like it's reversible though, that there's hope. He said that "it isn’t the Devil who sends people to Hell, it’s the person and their actions that ultimately decide their own fate. People have the choice to walk on the narrow path towards Heaven, or the many paths that lead to hell." He said homosexuality is a spiritual path towards hell and an existence of anguish and torture. He retouched upon 'the tabs' comment, how the Devil puts tabs on certain people. He explained that he might put ‘Alcoholic’ on one guys back, ‘Drug Addict’ on a girls back, ‘Prostitute’ on another girls back, etc.
When he said this to me, I was thinking to myself, well those people chose to take that drink, they chose to pop that pill, they chose to work the streets. Those are all poor decisions people made, my situation is entirely different. I didn’t choose to like guys. If only he put himself in my shoes for a second, which he didn’t.
I told him that I began seeking help with my sexuality at the counseling center. He snapped back and told me to stop going. He said that the Devil is so sneaky that his lies look so much like the truth. So in other words, the counseling center is just going to tell me that I need to start accepting and loving myself. He said that he wants to start counseling me to turn me straight. I proceeded to tell him that my parents go to San Francisco every year and attend a gay friendly church filled with gay people who know God. He said it’s fake and that the Devil wants them to think they know God. The arrogance and lack of God I felt from this man at that moment was overwhelming. I have never been in such an uncomfortable situation. I felt like I had been beaten to a pulp by his words.
After he left, I sprinted back to my room, shut my door, dropped to the floor and cried. It was a lot to take in. I just kept thinking 'what if he's right? what if I do go to hell?' After all the positive things I thought I was doing for myself, like seeking counseling, he reprimanded. The things he told me didn't feel very Godly.
This was one of the rare times when I had to make an emergency call to my siblings and we had a three way conversation about the incident.
Where do I stand after all this craziness? Well for one, I needed time to absorb everything that happened, before writing this post. That was the first and the last conversation I will be having with the pastor, nor will I ever get counseled by him. I went against his word and went to another counseling session
On a positive note, Lauren became my counselor!! (The same girl who did my screening!) When she told me this my face lit up!! I connect with her so well! I explained the whole ordeal to her and she advised me to do the same thing my siblings told me to do, which is to cut communication with him and to seek God in a more loving, accepting environment.
In the end, I'm glad I had that conversation with the pastor. I needed to hear a radical Christian’s thoughts on homosexuality. I even started reading the Bible for the first time in my life to find answers for my own.