Julie and Amanda

Julie Rodgers is a writer and speaker who deeply loves God and other people. For several years, she publicly blogged her journey through faith and sexuality, trying to discern God’s best for her life. Julie spent ten years in the ex-gay movement and a few more in the celibate gay movement before coming to peace with an affirming position. Soon after she met the love of her life, Amanda Hite. Amanda shares Julie’s passion for making a positive difference in the world. She is the founder and CEO of Be the Change Revolutions. Her advocacy has helped raise thousands of dollars for causes like No Kid Hungry. They were married September 1, 2018 at the Washington National Cathedral, their home church.

Believer: A Documentary

The new documentary, Believer, is an excellent exploration of a straight man who loves God trying to discern how to respond to LGBTQ people. While it focuses on Mormon rock star, Dan Reynolds of the band Imagine Dragons, the film addresses many of the same concerns found in conservative evangelical communities. This is a heartfelt, well-crafted film that is worth watching. From a Billboard article:

“’Dan’s idea to help raise awareness for this issue was to put on a concert in Orem, Utah, a very conservative, and very Mormon community’ . . . [His] explorations don’t come without a cost. He risks fans’ alienation, as well as conflicts with family and friends. ‘It’s a terrible challenge to go into this intersection of LGBTQ individuals and communities of faith, which requires sensitivity on both sides and a lot of nuance, and that is not an easy spot to be when you’re someone like Dan.'”

 

 

LGBTQ Hutterites and Amish

The Hutterites and Amish are distinct Christian groups that live in close knit communities. Outsiders often recognize them by their unique styles of dress and customs. They have patricentric cultures with traditional male and female roles. Same-sex relationships are forbidden.

A common perception among those who oppose LGBT people is that such identities are rooted in lewd adult preferences and choices. It’s the result of turning away from God and being influenced by the world. But, the innateness of sexual and gender identity is particularly evident when we look at sheltered communities like the Hutterites and Amish where LGBT kids often know there is something different about themselves before they even have the words to define it.

LGBTAmish is a website that collects stories from Amish who identify as LGBT. Here is one excerpt from a man named James:

“I grew up Amish in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We were Old Order Amish. My mother had married into the Amish community and adopted it as her own. She is on Portuguese descent as her parents came from Portugal to Philadelphia in the 1950s. I knew I was different from a very early age. My parents never talked about homosexuality and it was never mentioned in any of the services we attended. I literally had no idea what it was. When I started to notice that I was attracted to men, I went to my mother who I knew wasn’t Amish by blood and had grown up in the English world . . . I knew she loved me and I wanted to know what I was so I told her and she told me she loved me and gave me a book. That’s when I knew she was doubting the Amish faith and way of life. This happened when I was 13. Through the book she gave me I found out what I was.”

Below is a video that features Hutterite Kelly Hofer, who had a similar experience as James. Kelly runs a private Facebook group for other LGBT Hutterites.

The Problem of Gay Conversion Therapy

Most gay people raised in Christian homes struggle to come to terms with their sexuality. They pray and pray that God will make them straight. They attend support groups and get therapy. But, very few people experience change in sexual orientation. In this video Chris and his parents discuss his failed attempt to become straight and the problem of holding up conversion therapy as a solution.