How Should Christians Respond to the LGBTQIA+ Community?

As I’m sure you’ve heard some way or another, June is pride month. It’s a time for those with unique sexualities to be celebrated and acknowledged. In the world we live in, this can be a difficult time for Christians who are trying to spread the Word of God. Everyone knows what the Bible says about homosexuality and it seems nobody wants to hear about it. How, as Christians, can we spread God’s truth to the LGBTQIA+ community in an effective way?

Is it like this,

Slate.com

Or this?

cnn.com

When it comes to speaking on homosexuality, Christians have a thin line to walk. The way I see it, there are three main approaches you can take. You can have pure hate for gay people and/or acts, you can hate the sin but love the people, or you can apologize for your beliefs and indulge in sinful behavior.

When preaching about homosexuality, it’s important to remember to keep your love for people and your hate for sin separate.

Do you remember learning about cross-contamination in science class? It’s a bit like that. The definition is “the process by which bacteria or other microorganisms are unintentionally transferred from one substance or object to another, with harmful effect.” When talking about/to the LGBTQIA+ community, don’t let your hate for sin contaminate your words in a harmful way, because that doesn’t help anybody. This brings me to the hateful end of the line, where we see Stereotypical (in the world’s eyes) Christians.

Stereotypical (Hateful) Christians

Some Christians see homosexuals and are filled with rage at their blatant sin. These are the people you’ll see at pride parades waving angry signs and screaming that the attendees repent. This isn’t really effective, as it not only pushes the ones you are trying to reach away, but it gives Christians a bad image. Unfortunately, that image is the one the media uses a lot when it comes to Christians and the LGBTQIA+ community. A very recent example is Taylor Swift’s new music video, which features angry crowd bearing signs with messages such as “Adam + Eve NOT Adam + Steve” and “HOMASEKUALTY is SIN!”. With the clear Bible references, it’s safe to assume this bunch is supposed to be Christians. With their painful misspellings and run-down appearance, it’s clear the world thinks we are ignorant and old-fashioned “hillbillies” if we don’t agree with homosexuality.

Screenshot from Taylor Swift’s New Music Video “You Need To Calm Down”
Screenshot from Taylor Swift’s New Music Video “You Need To Calm Down”

It’s quite clear that hate is not the route to take. To avoid being hateful, other Christians have taken to condoning and loving the sin and person as one.

Indulgent Christians

In an effort to avoid the hate that ultimately pours on those who don’t agree with homosexuality, many Christians have adopted an apologetic attitude. I’ve heard people apologizing to members of the LGBTQIA+ community for things the Bible says about homosexuality, some going as far as finding ‘loopholes’ that give being gay the green light. This is a great time to practice the saying ‘love the sinner, not the sin’.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,”

2 Timothy 3:16

That goes for Leviticus 18:22, too. When someone apologizes for something, they are admitting a wrong. As a Christian, shouldn’t you abhor the idea of suggesting that the God of the Universe was wrong?

So we can’t hate it, we can’t love it… what are we to do?

Mirroring Jesus

What would Jesus do? Yes, it’s a bit cliché, but for good reason. Jesus surrounded himself with sinners because they need Light most of all. Immerse yourself in the world, but be careful to not become a part of it; be like oil in a glass of water.

quote image

In John 8:3-11, an adulterous woman is brought before Jesus. The people eagerly remind Him that the law states she should be stoned for her sins. Jesus, as I’m sure you know, declares that whoever among them is sinless may throw the first stone. This is just one of many Bible verses that show how we are to treat sinners, which is with a do not judge attitude.

Jesus lived a Godly lifestyle; He preached the truth even up until his death. In Matthew 19, when a rich man decides he doesn’t want to follow Him, Jesus doesn’t lash out. He doesn’t force him to come with him or to change his ways.

Jesus lived out the will of God. He planted billions of seeds, and yet He didn’t obsess over those he planted. He left them to grow (or not) in their own time and way. The saving of a soul is something between God and the individual.

When it comes to you and the LGBTQIA+ community, remember that Christians must always show the love of God to everyone. We should love our queer friends as children of God (because they are!) in public and pray for their sin in private. The LQBTQIA+ community knows what the Bible says (I’m sure they have it quoted to them millions of times), and Christians know that screaming Leviticus 18:22 from the rooftops isn’t going to turn everyone straight. As a follower of Jesus, you don’t need to spout scripture 24/7 to the unrepentant; simply live the life of the godly man or woman that you are. Let your light shine and watch the seeds you’ve planted grown in their own time.

To any member of the LQBTQIA+ community that may be reading this: I love you regardless of who you love. Just as I don’t expect you to change your life based on my views, I thank you for not expecting me to change mine.

ISLAND GIRLS BOOK TRAILER

Hey everyone! I’m happy to announce that I’ve released a book trailer for my newest release, Island Girls. If you want to get the gist of my book, check out the video below! It’s short, sweet, and to the point. Feel free to give it a share!

If Island Girls sounds like a story you or a loved one would be interested in, check out the FREE preview below!

Paper back copies are $8.95 (+S&H) and Kindle copies are $2.99 

Island Girls RELEASE

Island Girls

I am so excited to announce that my newest novelette Island Girls is now for sale on Amazon! I am proud to say that it is an entry in the Kindle Storyteller contest. A big part of doing well in the contest is based on you, my readers! I’d love for you to experience this lovely world I created.

Believe it or not, the entirety of Island Girls was thought of, written, and edited within the month of May. It is hands-down the easiest story I have written. By that, I mean it truly flowed out. I never really battled with writers’ block on this story. Leia simply had so much to say and so much she had to overcome that I simply couldn’t let her hold it in any longer.

You can learn more about this short and sweet read below:

Island Girls

“Leia lives with her family on an island in the middle of the Pacific. When her mother suspects she may be pregnant, the group must once again try to get the attention of the Mainlanders. Leia, however, is skeptical of these peoples’ supposed existence. How could there be anything out there other than her island and the great blue ocean? In an enlightening journey to uncover her past, Leia must face things long forgotten and ultimately embrace her truth. Island Girls will take you on an emotional adventure you won’t soon forget.”(133 pages)

Kindle Edition: $4.99 Paperback: $8.95 

Home-School Or Public School: Which Was Better?

May is graduation month, and this year, I’m going to be walking across that stage. I only spent 5 years in public school (eighth through twelfth grade), and I think I’ve had enough of it. I’m a homeschool kid at heart, having spent my time learning at home all the way through seventh grade. People often ask me which I prefer out of the two, and like with all important things, It’s a lot more complicated than yes or no.

Homeschooling gave me an amazing foundation. We got down and dirty, learning outside, bird watching, digging up worms, and adventuring. Instead of snow days, we got sun days, where we took off to enjoy the pleasant weather. We did things unconventionally, like doing math on the sidewalk with chalk or learning about colonial living by churning our own butter. It was so free. There was so much to learn, and we did it our way, without the pressure of standardized testing or being cramped in a classroom.

My siblings and me with a craft we made after learning about skeletal systems

Eighth grade was, as you might imagine, a drastic change. I had to be up and ready to go somewhere at an incredibly early time (by my standards, anyway). That and the fact that we had to do that for five days straight for nine months made it torture at first.

Eventually, of course, I adjusted. I started to find things in public school that I love, too. I liked the routine and having so many different classes, for one. To my surprise, I even liked (some) of the people. I learned a lot of things there that I couldn’t have at home. Junior year, I took an amazing forensic science class; it was incredible how much I learned there. My foreign language choice was American Sign Language. I could have never been able to sign it so well if it wasn’ for the instruction of my teacher, who herself is an amazing member of the Deaf Community. I couldn’t have done choir, drama club, or English Festival at home. I wouldn’t have experienced a high school dance or pep rally.

Now, in a few weeks, I can walk across a stage alongside my peers and say we did it.I am so glad I was home-schooled, but I am equally glad that I got an opportunity to attend a public high school. Both had a massive influence on me.

With high school almost behind me, I am looking my future square in the face. Writing is certainly in my future, that’s for sure. I’m planning on eventually publishing a full-length novel with a publisher. Currently, I am set to attend Regent University online in the fall. I’m very happy that I have such an amazing educational foundation to build my life on.

Whether your a home-school kid, a public school kid, or a mix of both, always remember that your future is only going to be as amazing as you make it. So make it pretty heckin’ amazing. 🙂

eBook + New Project Underway

Hi there! It’s been awhile. Since December, my bangs have grown out and I’ve turned 18. A lot of other things have happened, but I have more important and current things to announce!

Firstly, I’m excited to say that “protect her” is now available on Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited (at the bottom of this post, enjoy a small preview)!

If you want to read the story of Charlotte and her sister on your Kindle, click here. If you like it (or if you don’t), leave me a review!

Now, onto my second announcement! Awhile back, I started plotting and planning a new, full length novel. Well, a lot of progress has been made and I have outlined the whole story!

This is unusual for me, considering that in a lot of my writing (including protect her) I don’t plan ahead. My stories were found along the way. Michelangelo once said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”. In my past when I wrote, I would see hazy outlines of so many angels and write and write and write to release them from their marble prisons. Sometimes, like with my novelette, I free them and help them stand tall and regal. Most of the time, though, they come out with their noses too big or with the proportions off.

With this story, I decided that before I began hacking at the formless block of marble, I’ve had to get to know the marble and figure out exactly what it wants to be.

Currently I’m at “date the marble” stage. Before you know it, I’ll be the marble and we will have a novel in the works. Stay happy, watch SpongeBob, and download my eBook!

Peace! <3

Check out a small preview of protect her below:

The Evolution Of protect her

I can’t believe Christmas is a mere four days away! I’ve had a pretty awesome December so far, one which started with the publishing of protect her. Publishing a story has been a dream of mine since at least age 10. I used to write stories about vampires, about time travel, and I think I even had a few about mermaids. Of course, those types of stories have not carried with me. Now, I’m more of a realistic fiction writer. One thing I love to explore in my writing is different types of family/social problems affecting teens. In protect her, Charlotte is facing the horrors of living with domestic violence.

Me holding "protect her"
Me holding my first copy of “protect her”

This novelette actually began as a 7 page short story that had nothing to do with domestic violence. In my junior year of high school, I was taking a creative writing class. In it, I created a piece called Forget You (Please). It is essentially the beginning of the novelette wherein Charlotte is a runaway, and the sole reason for her leaving is because of her boyfriend dumping her. It was only when I continued it that I realized there was something else that made Charlotte run: her dad.

This addition of an antagonist that wasn’t her ex-boyfriend made the story take an entirely different direction. So much so that I needed a new name for it, because Forget You (Please) no longer made much sense. So, as soon as the novelette was done, I started brainstorming for a better name. And by ‘as soon as’, I mean that literally. I wrote the last sentence, celebrated, then started writing down new name ideas. I honestly can’t remember the other contenders, because within five minutes I had written “protect her” and fell in love.

Charlotte is always trying to keep her little sister safe, so she is trying to “protect her”. When you say protect her out loud it can sound like the word “protecter” which is what Charlotte is. Are you having the same “Omigosh!!” moment I did right now?!

One of my favorite things to do design covers for my stories while I’m writing them, to remind me of my end goal. Kinda like this:

So of course, protect her had a few of it’s own covers that I stared at while writing. The idea of me holding that book in my hand kept me going. Here are some of the variations I went through:

So now that I have finished my first story, I can guarantee you it won’t be my last. Now I know that I can do it.

BOOK GIVEAWAY

Enter now for a chance to win your own copy of "protect her" by Annie Harley!

Hi everyone! I want to kick off this website and the release of my very first novelette with a giveaway, so that is what I am gonna do!!  Please click the button below to begin your entries!

Enter Now!

Questions 3-9 are how you gain entries in the drawing. You can do as little as one or you can do all of them. The more you do, the more entries you have. More entries means a better chance at winning!

Please consider sharing! Ends Dec 20th 2018.

Blessings,

Annie Harley