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In discussing faith and sexuality with hundreds of gay Christian teens and young adults, a similar theme keeps emerging that many of us miss. When we hear a young person self-identify as LGBT+, we assume they are pro-gay in their belief. Time after time, we assume wrong. 

Recently, another one of these conversations was underway within my earshot. I tuned in to listen carefully to what was being said. This beautiful young girl – a gay Christian teen – shared with another Christian teen about her gay identity. 

The conversation unfolded for several minutes. This young girl went on and on about what gay identity meant to her. Finally, the other Christian teen said: “So how did you come to believe that the Bible approves of gay relationships? The girl responded: “Oh God, I am still confused about that!”    

The need for God’s love, the value of acceptance and efforts to include can bless ALL gay teens regardless of their beliefs. Only don’t assume too casually that you know what they mean when they talk about their identity. We must slow down our presumptions and begin to ask more questions.

I watch many gay teens get moralized out of the church because of presumption. We need to strive to include ALL gay teenagers, yet we have a big problem when we are propelling teens away from the church because we think we know what they believe. 

Insights: tame presumption, nourish faith identity in gay teens where they are, and foster dialogue that nurtures a sense of acceptance, inclusion and understanding. Don’t presume: ask questions. 

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