If you vigorously disagree with anything written in my blogs, do not be surprised . Each of us is naturally rooted in our own history of experiences with LGBTQ believer. Take comfort that there are millions of others who are locked into a “total war against the homosexual minority” [302,000 Google hits]. But a sustained war can be debilitating, and there is a sane wisdom in the admonition of Jesus to “love your enemies.” So, while you are thinking of the kind of refutation that you’d like to prepare, give a thought also to the kinds of experiences that you might want to gain for yourself by visiting a support group and finding out first-hand what gays and lesbians really think about themselves and what kind of support they need.
Pope Francis wrote in Evangelii Gaudium: “Whenever we encounter another person in love, we learn something new about God” (§272). The pope further reminds us that “A Church which goes forth is a Church whose doors are open. Going out to others in order to reach the fringes of humanity does not mean rushing out aimlessly into the world. Often it is better simply to slow down, to put aside our eagerness in order to see and listen to others.” (§46). This is ideally the best attitude to bring to a support group that you are visiting.
Preparing yourself for visiting a support group
Consider doing an online search using the search phrases “lesbian support group” or “gay support group” or “teen support group.” Pick out a “group” that fits into your comfort zone.
When I did my online search using Google, I adding the word “*Cincinnati” so as to insure that my initial hits were local. I received 728 hits for lesbian groups and 6200 hits for gay support groups in Cincinnati.
I chose to introduce myself as “a straight interested in better understanding the lives of gays and lesbians.” You might want to do something like this for yourself so as to avoid setting up false pretenses.
After your second meeting, I invite you to write a reflection on your experience and send it to me at Milavec@Jesus4Lesbians.com with the words “second encounter” in the subject line. I will be glad to hear from you, to learn from your experiences, and to give you a reply. Alternately, I invite anyone who visits a support group to post below their experiences.
Bring a friend to the first meeting, if the thought of being the sole interloper makes you uneasy. My hunch is that you will be amazed. I myself received a warm welcome, and I didn’t have to pretend that I had any homosexual leanings to earn that welcome.
If you want to find someone who lives close to you to join up with you and go to a support group, type your first name, age, sex, and zip code [e.g., Aaron 80 m 45211] as the header to your post. In the body of the post, briefly describe what support group you’d like to visit, where it is located, and why this particular group seems most appealing to you.
For parents and guardians
If you are a parent and are very much troubled by the experience of Gloria and Tony that I narrated earlier, then you most definitely will want to find yourself a “Parent Support Group” such as the one advertised above.
For those parents and guardians who are in conflict with a youth who has what you identify as a “dangerous” or “immoral” life style, please know that God wants to return you and your beloved child to a place of peace and love.
Remember that priests and pastors are sometimes very poorly equipped to be of help in this matter. I myself have spent 25 years training future priests, and I know firsthand that some seminaries are very ill-at-ease when discussing homosexuality. Confide in your priest or pastor if you must, but don’t make the mistake of implementing any of the advice you receive before having tested it out within your Parent Support Group first. Your child is too precious to risk doing unintentional harm to him/her by making repeated mistakes. In the end, you will find little consolation in the fact that the pope is infallible if you get trapped into being excessively rigid or excessively lax when it comes time for loving your child with the same unconditional love that you have received from your heavenly Father. God is love, and God loves your child no matter what sexual orientation they have received from their Father in Heaven.