Pastor’s Support Of His Potentially Gay Children Makes Me Want To Return To Church
I was raised Christian. All the sacraments, nine years of plaid skirts and several hours each week dedicated to practice and performance in religious events. As a liberal adult, I’ve distanced myself from the Church. Far too often, when I read the words “gay”, “Christian” and “it’s in the Bible” together, whatever comes next makes me want to crawl into a hole and weep, right after I break something. But North Carolina pastor John Pavlovitz has given me a reason to wake up early on Sundays again.
Pavlovitz has been a pastor at North Wake House Church in North Carolina for 18 years. While his two children are too young to have expressed their sexual preferences yet, Pavlovitz made waves this month in a blog post titled If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Pastor/Parent.
In his post, which has since gained over two thousand comments and coverage by multiple media outlets, Pavlovitz writes about four promises he hopes to make good on in the event one or both of his children are gay.
He first promises that if either or both of his children are gay, he won’t hide it from anyone. Assuming his children are comfortable with having their sexuality made public knowledge, I’m on board with that.
He then writes that if he has gay children, he’ll pray for them. I’ll be honest, when I reached this part of the post I almost noped out of there, because I thought I had stumbled upon some “I will pray for your soul because you have lost the path” crap. But it turns out my high school English teacher was right, you really do need to read something all the way through before you form an opinion. Because when Pavlovitz promises to pray for his gay children, he means this:
I will pray for God to protect them; from the ignorance and hatred and violence that the world will throw at them, simply because of who they are. I’ll pray the He shields them from those who will despise them and wish them harm; who will curse them to Hell and put them through Hell, without ever knowing them at all. I’ll pray that they enjoy life; that they laugh, and dream, and feel, and forgive, and that they love God and humanity.
Who wouldn’t want this for their child? Excuse me for a second, I seem to have something in my eye….
For his third promise, Pavlovitz promises to love his kids unconditionally, not in spite of or because of their sexual orientation.
Finally, in a move that literally made me cheer out loud, he quotes the Bible in support of the idea that people are born the way they are. So often when I come across homophobic ramblings the Bible is used as “proof” to support hateful words. But in the ultimate “two can play at that game” move, Pavlovitz quotes Psalm 139 where it says God, “stitched them together in their mother’s womb” in support of his belief that people are born the way they are, that you shouldn’t try to change your children for simply being themselves. Drop the mic Pavlovitz, I think we’re done here.
I sometimes struggle when writing about my support for the LGBTQ community because I don’t want to mistakenly offend anyone by using the wrong terminology. As if Pavlovitz wasn’t classy enough already, he closes his blog post with a note saying he uses the word “gay” throughout the post for ease of writing and reading, but that he in no way means offense. Maybe my internet crush is showing, but that’s the mark of a true gentleman right there.
Only time will tell if Pavlovitz’s children are in fact gay, but there’s no question that they have a loving father no matter what. I hope the attention for this post continues to grow and that more church leaders will voice their support for gay people like this. Pastor Pavlovitz, the drive is a bit far for me, but if I lived closer, you would see me seated among your congregation this Sunday.