You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
We are an open and affirming, multi-racial and multi-cultural, assessable to all, peace and justice oriented body of faith. We go into the community and God's disciples. Grounded by the teachings of Jesus the Christ, we uplift Christ's goodness, create spiritual community, and care for God's people and God's world. Dynamic hope, incredible compassion, extravagant hospitality, and radical love are our core values.
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Valuable Ways to Redefine LGBT Spirituality
Given the anti-LGBT stance of many major religions, it’s easy to see why so many members of the LGBT community feel unwelcome in churches across a variety of faiths. According to a recent survey, most LGBT people view at least one major religion as “unfriendly” towards LGBT people. The survey found that 80 percent view the Mormon Church, Catholicism, and Islam as the most biased against the LGBT community. This survey also found that the LGBT community tends to be less religious than the broader populace, and that 30 percent of LGBT people have felt unwelcome at religious establishments.
30% of LGBT people have felt unwelcome at religious establishments. #LGBTspirituality Click To Tweet
For some members of the LGBT community, however, religion is viewed as a source of solace, comfort, and community. This can lead to significant tension within LGBT believers, since they may have long-held religious beliefs that conflict with their gender or sexual identities.
LGBT Spirituality Against Exclusion
Many members of the LGBT community raised within a religious tradition eventually find that their sexual or gender identity is incompatible with the teachings or doctrines of their faith. Recent events, like the Mormon Church’s new policy on gay and lesbian members, worsen this divide by further driving a wedge between LGBT believers and their faith:
- Catholicism – The Catholic Church is currently trying to balance its traditional beliefs, which decry homosexuality as “intrinsically immoral” and oppose same-sex marriage, with a call from Pope Francis toward inclusion and understanding. Curiously, despite the church’s official stance, many of the United States’ Catholic community supports equal LGBT rights.
- Islam – The Islamic view of gender and sexual identity is much more complicated that many people are aware of: while the religion tends to be anti-gay, transgender people are welcomed at mosques around the world, and Islamic scholars declared gender reassignment as acceptable under religious law in 1988.
- Judaism – Judaism also has a complex relationship with LGBT believers. While Reform Judaism pushed for LGBT equality as early as 1977, the more conservative branches of the religion have only begun more recently to soften their stance on welcoming LGBT members and performing same-sex wedding ceremonies.
In other religions, including branches of Protestantism and Hinduism, stances on LGBT issues can vary between sects and even from temple to temple. For example, while the official stance of the Methodist faith bans same-sex unions, several pastors have defied doctrine in order to make their churches more welcoming and inclusive.
Long-held religious beliefs often conflict with gender or sexual identities. #LGBTspirituality Click To Tweet
LGBT Spirituality and Faith
Since so many religions are experiencing a transitional period in their treatment of LGBT believers, the path to rediscovering spirituality as an LGBT person may lie outside of expected venues. Being “religiously unaffiliated” doesn’t necessarily mean LGBT people can’t have faith or believe in the divine. More and more members of the LGBT community are finding alternate ways to express belief and find solace:
- Mind & Body – Practices like yoga and meditation don’t have to be explicitly spiritual, but they can certainly help center the mind and aid in overcoming crises. A growing number of organizations and groups practicing mindfulness and wellness are attracting LGBT practitioners who wish to use these techniques to achieve spiritual balance.
- Spirituality – Religion is often built on outside authority, whether it’s sacred texts, sermons, or the judgment of a deity. One approach that can be helpful for LGBT people is to reconsider spirituality as something internal and inherent, which can help give a sense of purpose that’s free from dogma.
- Faith – For members of the LGBT community who still want to practice a religion, there are plenty of accepting and affirming churches out there. It’s difficult to leave one faith and move towards another, and you’ll still have some residual feelings from your previous religious instruction, but it can be rewarding, especially if you’re joining a faith that welcomes and supports you.
LGBT Spirituality and Community
It’s not easy to regain your sense of spirituality or to leave a belief system you’ve known all your life, even if you know that religion is opposed to your gender or sexual orientation. But finding a faith that accepts you based on your spirituality instead of opposing you because of who you love can be a rewarding experience and give you a greater sense of community and happiness.
How do you balance spirituality and sexual identity? We’d love to hear from readers of any faith who have advice or questions on navigating the questions surrounding LGBT spirituality!