There is no fear in love”, writes St John the Apostle (1 John 4: 16b-18) and continues: ”Perfect love casts out fear.” Christ is love, and as the Body of Christ the church should reflect that love as well. Yet I fear, I fear in the church who should be my asylum, my spiritual home, my family. I fear the reactions of people towards my homosexuality, fear so much that I don’t even dare to say who I am.

 

I have been working for the church for years, serving her in many different parishes. Where ever I’ve been, people have liked me and my work has been valued. However, I can’t help but think whether people – my colleagues and parishioners – would like me if they knew who I really am. Would my work and commitment to the church lose its value then? Is the love I have experienced in the church conditional love, realised only in the supposition that I am heterosexual like everyone else?

 

 

It seems to me that the church fears me, too, at least this is my impression due to many sermons I’ve heard and articles I’ve read, encouraging people to fight against ”the perverted teaching” and ”homosexual orientation”. Recently someone wrote that discussing about homosexuality in a tolerant atmosphere might mislead especially youth to make a ”wrong” decision. People want to silence the discussion on homosexuality. I think that smells like fear instead of love which should be the distinctive mark of those who belong to Christ.

 

 

I don’t know for how long I can continue a double life, in which on one side is my role as an employee of the church, living according to the teaching of our church; and on the other is me as a private person seeking a loving, respectful partnership. Perhaps I will have to give up one of them, and since loving another person means more to me than obedience to any kind of doctrine, I’d rather give up my work in the church. But is the life according to the teaching of the church actually in contradiction to a faithful, God-seeking love between two people of same sex?

 

 

The primary task of the teaching of the church is to lead people to live the message of the Gospel in their lives. Christ Himself taught us the two commandments on which hang all the law and the prophets: commandments to love God from whole of our heart, soul and mind, and our neighbour as ourselves (Mtt 22: 34-40). In these commandments Christ says nothing about homosexual people or their ability to realise these commandements, in fact He says nothing on this issue in any context. Perhaps I misunderstood it when I was thinking that homosexuality would be a dogmatic problem for the church.

 

 

Nevertheless it is sure that since I fear, I am not perfect in love. But would the church be a place where each of us may grow towards perfection as our own persons, different but equally weak, together yet strong, until fear is no longer?

 

Marina