My Story: Christian
My Story is a series of testimonials from a variety of people that have been impacted by DSBC. They have been asked to share their unfiltered perspective on faith, Jesus, church etc. These stories are shared with the goal of hearing from others and equipping our church family to work towards a Jesus-centered unity as diverse group of misfits.
Have you ever held conflicting beliefs?
As a matter of fact, I do all the time.
But the first time I remember my beliefs completely conflicting with one another was the day my previous pastor stood in front of his team and told us that members of the LGBTQIA+ community were not allowed to serve inside the church.
“The Bible says homosexuality is a sin.”
I distinctly recall being glued to my seat, staring up at him in wide-eyed disbelief. How could this be true?
How was it possible that Jesus, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and the embodiment of love itself, render me more worthy of love and acceptance simply because of my sexual orientation (or, as my former pastor put it, my lack of this specific “sin”)?
Let me back up a little bit.
I was not born a Christian or raised one. Technically that’s not exactly true because my name is Christian, but you get the gist. I found Jesus in college and was baptized some years later in 2009. It wasn’t until 2013 that I started doing more than just attending church, I found employment and fulfillment there.
One of the reasons I love Jesus and the message of the gospels is his message of redemption and unconditional love. As a person who struggles with shame and feelings of irredeemability, and living in a world shrouded in conditionality (tit for tat), the message of the gospels means that I am deeply known, seen and loved – for exactly who I am, as I am – by Jesus.
No strings attached.
To infinity and beyond.
So when I heard my former pastor say that there are people who are unequivocally beloved by Jesus but are not worthy of the same love and acceptance in the church, I felt like my world was imploding. Because if there were conditions on Jesus’ love, either I no longer qualified or my pastor was wrong. And let me tell you, I was more conditioned to believe that I was unqualified for the love of Jesus than I was to think my pastor was wrong.
But the more my brain noodled over this idea that there could be conditions on Jesus’ love for his people, the more my heart started to feel something new. Complete, unadulterated rage. In my sincere confusion and questioning of who I knew Jesus to be, the Holy Spirit convicted me with one single word: Bull$%&*.
There never has been and never will be any obstacle between you and the radical love of Jesus. And if there ever is, I guarantee you, it’s man-made. And that’s Bull$%&*.
It was this moment of complete clarity that allowed me to step out of what I thought I knew about the work my church was doing and into a harsh truth. If my church was putting conditions around Jesus’ love, then they were doing real, eternal harm to people seeking his life-saving truth. And I couldn’t be a part of it.
Nobody was going to take Jesus away from me, and I felt a newfound conviction to share his love – his real, perfect, unconditional love – with as many humans as I possibly could. Especially those who were turned away from or rejected by other churches and their “conditions.”
My journey back to the church has been a long one, to say the least.
I didn’t know if I’d ever find a church that believed everybody was worthy of the love of Jesus. It sounds wild to say since that’s the only Jesus I’ve ever known, but I’ve discovered many churches across the country that have put conditions on his love and it scares me.
I’m beyond thankful to share that I have found a church family at DSBC.
I knew right away DSBC was different because they were different.
The leaders of the church were having the difficult, nuanced conversations I had seen other churches shy away from. They were inviting and open, removing as many barriers as possible between me and the love of Jesus. They encouraged me to ask harder questions, push for more inclusivity. And when they didn’t have the answers or felt themselves kick back a “typical church” response, they apologized and told me they’d wrestle with it harder.
And they did.
And I’m better for it…
…we are better for it.
I want to remind you that there are no conditions on Jesus’ love for you. Not your immigration status or your race, your political party, sexual identity or orientation.
Everybody is welcome in the Kingdom of God.
And if you ever find yourself believing this may not be true for yourself or others, I hope you’ll visit us here. We want to know you and are ready to welcome you with open arms. Or, as we like to say at DSBC, wherever you’ve been, wherever you’re going, you are welcome here.