Transformational spaces that explore + cultivate wholehearted living


God is on our side guys!

Peter, a recent participant of The Quest Weekend Exploration Workshop, talks about his faith and love of God.

I’ve been wanting to share this story about my life and faith for some time, since my love of God is at the very foundation of who I am. My faith is so important to me in my everyday life, and in my understanding of who I am as a gay man, but I know for many gay men the notion of God, the church and religion generally evokes very negative feelings and in some cases can trigger very painful memories and experiences. It’s my hope that the following words could stir up some hope and possibility for the future.

After years of trying to conform to the straight life I’d chosen and to ignore and suppress the growing desires and feelings within me, the pressure became so overwhelming that I couldn’t lie any more or hide the real me. When I eventually left my wife and family 7 years ago I was an assistant pastor of a church, head of the youth ministry, chairman of a Christian charity and Governor of a CofE church school. Once I came out I had to resign from all of those roles as well as being totally rejected by my children. I was also the MD of a business I ran with my wife, and some time later had to resign from that too as well as leaving our beautiful home that we’d lovingly restored. From having what most people thought was a perfect life, I suddenly had absolutely nothing and was living in my sisters dark and dingy box room. Most of my friends were from the church and they all turned their backs on me. And if that wasn’t enough, it was made very clear to me that unless I repented of my sin I was no longer a Christian or a child of God. It was such a dark and utterly soul destroying time. The rejection of my beloved children was the most painful of all, and life just didn’t seem worth living any more. I had no strength left in me to fight back and my guilt was almost too heavy to bear. I could hardly look anyone in the eye I was so ashamed of myself and what I’d done.

So why am I sharing all of this, when this is intended to be a message of hope?

Well from that dark unbearable wretched place there was one constant voice of comfort that never left me. My heavenly father never once left my side. He just kept loving me and telling me that I was his precious son and that he would never leave me. I could feel his presence with me throughout everything, especially the most painful moments. No matter what the church or the so-called people of God might say, my experience couldn’t lie, my experience was one of a loving, gracious, compassionate father who transcended man’s fallible understanding of the unconditional love of God. With him by my side I gradually found the strength to heal and recover and start to move forward again. Through his constant validation he helped me to rebuild my self respect, my identity and my confidence.

It’s so wrong that God, the church, the bible and religion have all got mixed up together in our society, when in fact they are four separate entities and should be seen (and judged) as such. The church is a man made institution, the bible was written by men (albeit with divine inspiration) and religion is an earthly construct. God is not constrained by the limitations of man’s understanding and is not hampered by our self-righteousness, prejudice, fear and small-mindedness. He is our creator and we are created in his image – therefore I am an intentional, deliberate act of design and creation lovingly crafted by my heavenly father. He knew what he was doing, who am I or any one of us, to argue with God about why we are the way we are?

So the point here is that the Catholic church, along with the Anglicans and all the others, have indoctrinated their flocks to ensure the survival of their church above and beyond the health and strength and well being of the precious people they are there to encourage and care for. Our parents and countless others have been tainted by the teachings of the church which has had an untold effect on their lives. Our generation, and we as enlightened beings, can show compassion and love for them in the face of this, but for ourselves we can live in the freedom and power of knowing that God created us exactly the way we are (and exactly the way we are not) and that was for a purpose. We were never intended to conform or to be the same as everyone else, we each have a unique and important destiny to fulfil – simples!!!

None of this was intended as a preach, although it probably reads that way. But I am passionate about God and I’m not prepared to stand by while others misrepresent the extraordinary God I know, as they try to box him up as a sexist, a bigot, a racist or a homophobe. I am proud to stand up and say that I am a gay man who was created and designed by a loving compassionate God.

Please also understand that I have deep and sincere respect for all faiths and beliefs, and none of these words are intended to offend, undermine or reject any of them – but as a Christian I can only speak from my own heart and experience.

I’m not even sure where half of this came from, I certainly didn’t consciously set out to write most of it. I feel very exposed now and hesitant to publish these words, but I trust you to hear my heart and be gracious in your reading and interpretation of them.

PeterWith love, respect and trust,
Peter Collins

5 thoughts on “God is on our side guys!”

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Peter.

    Throughout my life I have struggled to get to grips with my own beliefs. When I was younger I identified myself as an atheist, but being uncomfortable with denouncing the existence of God, I chose instead to identify myself as agnostic. There was something about the unquestioning submission to religion that made me uncomfortable. There was no room for theological debate in Sunday School or during school assembly, just the ritualisation of prayer. Rather than bring me closer to God, old men in robes reciting ancient text and sermonising about sin served only to send me running and screaming from the church like the Damien child. It took me a long time to separate God from the bible, from religion and from the church. It took me a long time to accept God back into my heart. Those institutions did a lot of damage. There’s no doubt in my mind that the church has failed, because it failed me. The bible is just a book. Churches are just buildings of brick and stone. If all religion does is seek to control of what people think and divide them from others who do not think as they do, then it ceases to be of value, at least to me anyway.

    Now, I understand this: ones relationship with God is entirely personal. That gives me hope that one day I’ll know Him as well as you do.

    1. Thank you for sharing your own experiences Erol, its very encouraging for me to read your response. I hoped it might strike a chord with many others and you are the first to post a comment.

  2. Thank you for your honesty. My story is so similar to yours only I am still in the process of trying to adjust and crying out to God daily to know Him better and for His help in guiding me through this confusion. I have separated from my wife and my children are hurt and upset and feeling I have rejected them. I am still friends with my wife who thinks I will go to hell if I don’t repent because that’s what the Bible says. I have been active in a charismatic church, filled with the Holy Spirit, talking in tongues, preacher, Bible school dean, and I still run a Christian home school as it is my only source of income. The parents know I have separated from my wife, but not why, and I have no intention of telling them at this stage. Is that cowardly?

    1. Hi Jaro – I’m very humbled and moved by your story. I can very much empathise with the hurt and pain you’re experiencing right now, I hope you can take courage and keep close to God and trust yourself to act authentically and with integrity. Every time you do, the light at the end of the tunnel will get closer day by day.

      Make sure you text and/or call or contact your children every day (or as often as possible) so that they are reassured you’ve not left them or rejected them. This is all going to take a long time, but every day you hold to your faith and take steps toward wholeness you will gain strength.

      There is nothing in anything you’ve said to suggest you are a coward my friend – you’ve just taken a huge step and your courage is apparent for all to see. And by the way there is nothing in the bible that says you will go to hell for being gay, except when the words are deliberately manipulated or taken out of context.

      You always were, and you remain, a blessed and beloved child of God and your Father in heaven will never leave you or forsake you – that is in the bible!!! Use your judgement wisely about who you are open with. It’s always desirable to be completely authentic, but your laws, culture and community may not be ready or as accepting and tolerant as ours in the UK, so caution and wisdom may be necessary.

      Be blessed precious son of the Almighty God and walk in peace and love and forgiveness – especially toward yourself.

      – Peter

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share Article

You might also like...