I chose this picture because it encapsulates one aspect of loving churches, that is loving fellowship and meals together.
In our culture, it seems to me that most people think that churches are full of judgmental and hypocritical people. On the one hand, I want to admit that that is sometimes the case. Christians are growing in holiness and becoming more like Christ, but we still sin. We are not perfect. On the other hand, I think churches get far too bad of a rap. Most Americans who criticize the church have never been in one, or have had very little contact with churches and Christians. They form their criticisms of the church based on what their friends tell them, what television shows say about Christians, or what they see on the news with radical churches who proclaim their hatred of homosexuals. But I think if people would actually go to church and meet Christians they would find very loving and caring and forgiving people.
A connected problem is that in our modern culture love is viewed as affirmation of behavior, rather than loving action. So if Christians serve crossdressers and homosexuals and speak kindly to them, and sacrifice for them, it is not seen as loving, if at the same time these Christians have a belief that crossdressing and homosexual sex are sinful actions. I think this is very unfortunate. Churches are full of great people who have experienced the love of Christ and are ready to reach out with that same love to other people. They just don’t want people to remain where they are, but to experience the transformation that we can experience when we come to know Christ, to “go and sin no more.”
I love the Church, the whole body of Christ, and also I love local churches. Maybe that is why I became a pastor. I have experienced such wonderful fellowship and love and friendship in churches, as well as good teaching, accountability, and people serving me and being incredibly generous to me. The local church is one of the only places I’ve ever felt I belong. I wish that those of you who are struggling with crossdressing and want to stop, would not fear going to church, but would have courage and try to go to a church to find friendship and help, and even to see your local pastor to get counseling as you work on healing from crossdressing addiction.
Churches should be a safe place in which someone could potentially share their struggles, at least with the pastor, if not with the whole church, to find help, guidance, compassion, and care. In my experience, every Christian I have told about my crossdressing struggle has been compassionate and understanding and willing to listen and learn. They did not approve of crossdressing being okay but I didn’t want them to do so anyway. I’ve told friends, family, my wife, counselors, a professor, and a pastor, and I can’t criticize how they treated me in any fashion. In fact, if I was forced to make a criticism, I’d say that some of them didn’t realize how big of a sin and addiction crossdressing is. Some of them should have put some pressure on me to take the addiction seriously instead of taking it so lightly. Maybe they were too understanding and forgiving at times, but I suppose that is much better than being too harsh and judgmental.
Give the Church a chance. God has chosen to work through the lives of churches and Christians to give out his good news of love, forgiveness, and compassion. Most churches are not like the “God hates fags” church. Get to know some Christians and churches before you judge Christians too harshly. And if you are struggling, perhaps consider talking to a pastor or a Christian friend. They may just come alongside you and give you the support you’ve been craving.