December 06, 2005

As reported in the Washington Blade, a church in the DC area has launched a controversial (at least in the GLBT community) television advertising campaign. This news item caught the attention of a member of my church family, Sharone Belt. She sent the following letter to associate pastor Lynn Carter of the church in question, Arlington Assembly of God in Arlington, Virginia. I was moved by her passionate and well-constructed protest to Ms. Carter, and Sharone gave me permission to publish her letter here.

My name is Sharone and I have been a Christian since I was about 6 years old. I have only been a spirit-filled Christian for about 6 years now, but I have seen more growth in my walk in that time than inthe almost 30 years previous! I am also a lesbian.

I read in theWashington Blade this weekend about your television ads. I haven't seen them yet, but the description led me to write to you regarding the ads.I have no doubt that your church feels that you are reaching out to the gay and lesbian community in love. Unfortunately, when that message conveys the idea that being set free from sin also means beingset free from the "homosexual lifestyle", it implys to gays and lesbians that they are less than and that their so-called sin is more heinous that others' sins.

Personally, I have come to terms with my sexuality and believe, from my own study of scripture and the Holy Spirit's leading, that I am totally accepted by God as a lesbian. I am in a covenant relationship with my partner of 12 years. She and I are deacon candidates at our church and actively work to show people in our community that God does have high standards for conduct, but that being gay or lesbian doesn't automatically mean that you are wrong or sinful. There are many gays and lesbians that do sinful acts, just like there are straight people who commit sinful acts, but that's not the same thing.

I think that many Christians have a fundamental misunderstanding when it comes to sexuality. They believe that people are either straight or are perverts. They don't allow for anything else. Well, what if it were the other way around? What if the majority of people were gay and thought you were wrong for being straight? How would you feel?

I love my partner just the same as a man loves his wife. We don't live so different from any straight couples that I know. We just happen to be two women. The Word says that there is neither jew nor greek, man or woman, slave or free in Christ. In my understanding of the Word through the filter of the Holy Spirit, I believe that God would say the same thing about being straight or gay. In the spiritual realm, it doesn't matter what my physical or emotional attractions are. What matters is what I do for the Lord. Wouldn't you agree?

At our church, that's how we feel. We just held our first "straight" wedding of a man and woman and were just as thrilled for them as the church was when my partner and I had our covenant ceremony here 3 years ago. It's about 2 people who love each other and are committed for life to be together and work for theKingdom together.

I know I'm getting long-winded, but I just wanted to express why youm ay get some negativity from the gay community. The bottom line isthat most of us feel that being gay is part of us like being straight is part of you. It's not changeable like a pair of socks. It's not something that needs to be changed to be able to be right with God.That's all I'm trying to get across.

Well, God bless you. I know your hearts are in the right place there at Arlington Assembly. Have a wonderful Christmas season. Remember Colossians 3:12.

Love, in Christ
Sharone Belt


  1. This is another bridge built with love, to instill an atmosphere of understanding. Thank you, Sharone. This is right on.

    This is what it's all about - acknowledging the other as the person they are, and their concerns, then sharing in a personal and non-confrontational way.

    Multiply that by a million, and this is how it will be done - the bride of Christ will be one.

  2. Excellent letter. Very thoughtful and compassionate.