23. Barry’s Story: Exclusion and Acceptance in Church. As a young child, Barry loved church songs and sang with his mother. As a teen, he felt called to take a leadership role in church yet at the same time he began to realize he was gay and was told by church people he was “wrong, a god-hater, a rebel”. He felt scripture was used to “beat him over his head”. He tried to make himself “straight” but came to realize maybe God had other ideas. He was “closeted” at church and didn’t pursue ordination out of fear of being “outed” by others. So he fled to another church where he found acceptance for who he was. As a marginalized person, Barry now finds it easier to hear the stories of others who have been marginalized: blacks, women, and people who are “just a little bit different”.

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By mike