Sometimes, when I run into old friends whose path I haven't crossed in a long time, I see the look of horror, and/or bewilderment on their faces when I tell them that I'm a member of a church.
If you're gay, you've been hurt by a church. That's the simple truth.
So why would I choose to invest myself in an institution that generically, has not been a good friend to the GLBT community? I need to be in the company of people who are pursuing a relationship with God, as they understand God. That's another simple truth. It doesn't mean it's always easy though.
I'm blessed to have found a church that wants me just as I am. It's denomination is the United Church of Christ. I live in a very rural area and there aren't too many choices, so I'm not saying that the UCC is the only denomination that I would feel at home in, but it's the one I found, and I love it. Not only does my church welcome me, they even hope that I'll return, even after I express my beliefs, which aren't always the same as theirs. I'm encouraged to participate at every level in the church. I'm accepted as a child of God. That's what keeps me coming back.
I don't believe that any individual or organization has all the answers about what God is or wants for us. As it's been said by many people before me, 'If you could understand God, then just how powerful a God would that be?' So, I don't expect a church to hand me the answers to my questions on a silver platter. If they tried, I'd be out the door in a heartbeat.
So my question is this, why do the vast majority of religious institutions feel that they have to portray themselves as the definitive authority on God. Seems to me as though they're just shooting themselves in foot five minutes before the service starts.