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WATCH: Hear why this gay church organist decided to walk out when pastor gave sermon

WATCH: Hear why this gay church organist decided to walk out when pastor gave sermon

Jason Biel has worked as a church organist

It may seem obvious but it’s something we could all do with remembering from time to time: If someone says something which upsets or offends you, the simplest solution is to sometimes just walk away.

That’s what church organist Jason Biel opted to do when a pastor launched into a homophobic sermon from the pulpit.

He’s the latest LGBTI person to contribute to the I’m From Driftwood video archive of queer voices.

In his contribution, he explains he studied at a small, Adventist university in Lacombe, Alberta. As part of his studies as a musician, his organ professor allowed him to perform at the church at the university.

During his last year, in 2014, he was playing as usual, but the service wasn’t being taken by the usual pastor. Instead, it was the head chaplain of the university.

‘The service started like any other – I played the prelude and the hymns and sat down. And the pastor got up to give his sermon. I can’t remember the exact topic, but it was along the lines of the address in Matthew 5, where people are told to be a light unto the world. And so it sounded like it would be okay. That’s usually a good message for people to hear.

‘When he started in referencing Leviticus 18, which is quite homophobic for lack of a better word, or perceived as homophobic, then I wasn’t really sure what to do. I was faced with a choice to sit, as everyone else does, as per usual, and listen to this message be delivered, or I could do something.

‘So I literally got up and walked out the door. The pastor didn’t know I was gay. Most of the church did not know either. I was in the back for a couple of minutes while he was still doing his speech.’

He said a couple of friends – straight allies – came out to check he was OK and ask him what he was going to do. They encouraged him to return after the sermon to play, which he eventually decided to do.

‘I learned that we all have the capacity to get up’

‘I found out later on that a number of people in the service had noticed that I left. In particular, the head pastor noticed that someone got up at a fairly poignant time in the sermon. And so he decided to address that. It seems that, from what I’ve heard, the church community is becoming more open-minded, more accepting.

Biel says he learned an important lesson. He wants other youngster who find themselves subjected to sermons in church that make them feel unloved, to realize it’s alright to walk away.

‘I learned that it is OK to walk out of a situation when it seems to be going haywire. I learned that we all have the capacity to get up.

‘If you’re a kid who’s hearing these sermons, I’d say leave and find a community that accepts you. And find a community that encourages you and loves you. That’s what I did eventually.

See also

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