I used to like going to church. My entire youth and early 20s was spent at church. I was there once, often twice a week, learning how to be a good Christian, playing broom hockey, taking gently worn shoes to kids in Mexico, singing “My God is an Awesome God” by the campfire and turning Bible verses into SNL-worthy skits.
For a solid year in middle school, I went solely to catch a glimpse of the pastor’s son, who was my age and hot in a way that only an eighth grader can be. Peach fuzz, the onset of acne, braces—you know the look.
I also have a gay brother and a gender-variant child. Needless to say, I’m conflicted. I’m not the first mother to feel this way; I know that.
I was discussing religion the other day with my mom. She told me that when she revealed in conversation to a few members of her Bible study that her son (i.e., my brother) is gay they shook their heads and said “Oh, I’m so sorry.”
She says that that is, more often than not, the response that she gets from her church-going friends. She will never get used to it. When it’s time to share prayer requests and praises, she feels like she can’t share anything good about my brother because her feeling is that the others in the prayer circle will be thinking, “Yeah, but he’s gay.”
She encourages me to not give up on God. I really do believe in God and Jesus and occasionally like going to church. It holds some sort of nostalgic power over me. It reminds me of my childhood and I remember it fondly; the days of good, clean fun.
But, then there’s that not-so-little matter of my religion not accepting members from the LGBT community. It’s a community that I live with and may be raising.
The other night, as I lay in bed thinking about religion, God and C.J, it came to me. If C.J. is going to hell, then I am too. I told my husband that he has to go to heaven with C.J.’s Brother. It’s like splitting up when one kid has a gymnastics lesson at the same time that the other one has soccer practice.