You Haven’t Walked a Mile in My Shoes

walkbesidemeYou haven’t walked a mile in my shoes. You have not even walked a mile beside me. You only walked in front of me, looking back…knowing you were right…knowing I would fall.

Today I was engaging with a pastor who claimed that homosexuality is a sin, and that the Bible clearly says it’s so! Not only was it a sin, but he also put it in a line up next to child molestation, murder, and bestiality. Yet, he claimed it was judgmental of me when I told him that he had not walked a mile in my shoes, that he had not even walked a mile beside me, and that his rhetoric clearly shows that he had not been in close friendship with anyone from the LGBT community.

How can I make such a bold declaration? Was I the one being judgmental?

His background “noise” was drowning out his “message of love,”
and I could not hear “the good news” in it.

Here is why I am certain of my statement: I am convinced that if you truly get to know “real people” within the LGBT community in a deep level…if you take the time to laugh with us when we laugh, mourn with us when we mourn, break bread with us, pray and worship with us, and serve beside us…your rhetoric and heart will change. You will not just see us as a theological issue to debate and win, but you will see us as real people made in the “imago Dei”- the image of God.

A friend and bridge-builder between the LGBT community and the Church, Kathy Baldock of CanyonWalkerConnections, is an example of what it means to walk beside us; this wonderful woman has literally walked beside us. She started out as your typical, conservative Evangelical. Oh, she knew that being gay was a sin and we were in a “destructive lifestyle” by “choice” but she did not know any of us. Until, on a hike one day, she met a lesbian woman whom she started walking with on a regular basis. They soon became close friends, and eventually the woman came out to her. She was then brought into community with her hiking buddy and her friends. This was no longer just a mere theological “issue”; this was flesh and blood that she was doing community with. She then attended a Gay Christian Network conference ( that brought her to tears, as she witnessed the Spirit of God alive and at work in their worship service. It could no longer be denied; God was in the gay community as well! Needless to say, she is now a LGBT advocate and bridge-builder, extremely active in engaging the Evangelical community and the rest of the Church in educated and gracious dialogue.

There are some who walk beside us, and are still not quite settled on a gay-affirming, theological stance. I respect these people, while I do not fully agree with them. Their rhetoric is quite different from that of many others who disagree with our views. They are not so focused on just winning an argument. They are not out there pushing others to vote against our rights and freedoms. They are glad to have us as part of our community, but they cannot quite commit to an affirming theology. Preston Sprinkle is one such person. You may wish to check out his recent blog post for an example of his fair and thoughtful, nuanced view: “Homosexuality: Have I Changed My View?

I can understand why many of my LGBT brothers and sisters have left the faith, or are barely hanging on. They are burnt out and worn down by the Church, who is supposed to show the love of Christ to them, but often only shows ignorance and judgment. I love them dearly and am regretful for this. Yet, I am hopeful because my community is a strong and resilient people, who are seeing many of my Church friends come beside us.

So I am saying walk beside me; walk beside us. You may not be able to quite fit in our shoes, but do the best that you can to show you are genuinely interested in more than just a debate. Show us that you wish to include us as part of your family, even if we do not see eye-to-eye.

Walk beside me.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Corinthians 13: 1-13

[box type=”bio”]
Lofgren-Robert2ROBERT LOFGREN is a gay Christian who has wrestled with his faith and sexuality and has found peace. He strives to love Christ and to show his love for all people while advocating for LGBT rights and building bridges between the two communities to which he belongs and is passionate about — the LGBT community and the Church.

He lives in Orange County, CA with his boyfriend of seven years and two Boston Terriers.  Robert blogs at The Gay Post-Evangelical.