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Is this a bad idea? - April 10th 2017, 06:55 AM

I'm 17 this year and people always tell me I need to think of what I want to do next year since I'm graduating from high school in November. I attended a Christian school for three years, it was probably some of the hardest years of my life. Being a part of the LGBT community at a very religious school wasn't too easy. But my favorite moments were when the youth pastors would come and give inspirational talks to all of us high school students. And even though I'm an atheist, I always really loved how the church had this sense of community and unity. So I got the idea that I should work with high school students through the church, because I want to give the same sort of emotional support like the pastors and the chaplains. But the problem is, I don't want to tell them it's wrong to be gay or any part of the LGBT community. I saw how hard it was for teenagers (my friends) who were questioning and had Christian families or were Christians themselves and I want future students to feel like they have someone on their side. I don't want them to suffer through the same depression and anxiety. And I know not every person is going to question their gender or sexuality but I know that if I get a counseling job, it's going to come up eventually.

I know it's weird to be an atheist and wanting to work with Christians. I feel like I do have to explain it. The thing is, I really like learning about other world views and I'm open to converting to a religion if I ever felt sure enough. I don't have too much of a problem participating in church or things like group prayer. I also know how important their religion is to them and I respect that. If religion is something that helps them through life, I want to support them wholeheartedly. Most kids I know have grown up in a Christian community and it's like a second family to them, then they suddenly find themselves shunned by some as soon as they start questioning. Some didn't know if they wanted to leave Christianity or not and some are afraid that God will condemn them. So I don't want to force them to leave Christianity but I want to help them explore their options and let them know it's okay to be an atheist or agnostic if that's what they want, since a lot of my classmates have a warped view on what atheism is. Plus, my school teaches a lot of misconceptions about homosexuality, including made up health risks and Bible passages which "condemn" it. So I want to debunk all those myths and stuff like that.

And I just want there to be someone they can talk to, in general because it can be pretty lonely, even for teenagers who aren't LGBT. That's it, I think. I have thought about working at an LGBT organization too but I don't want to limit myself to one group specifically, I want to work with cisgender and heterosexual teens too because being a teenager is just confusing and awkward in general. I don't know if I'm making any sense, sorry. This is my reasoning anyway.

There is a Quaker/Friends school, about two states from where I live so I'd have to make a big move. Its school rules state that discriminating against someone for sexuality or gender is not tolerated and it's supposedly considered one of the more liberal denominations of Christianity. The staff don't even have to be Christians but you have to hold some of the Quaker values which I'm fine with. It'll take about three years to study, I think...

But I posted my idea online because I wasn't sure if it was possible- being an atheist working with a Christian organization and they said it wasn't possible, that I'd be driven insane. So I'm feeling really discouraged, now that I know it's possible, I don't know if it's a good idea at all. I have to move a long way for it, once I finish studying as a youth worker and once a job opens up.

Should I just forget it and find something else?
   
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Re: Is this a bad idea? - April 10th 2017, 02:25 PM

this sounds a wonderful thing to do for humanitarian reasons. it will very challenging and I suspect low paying position. you should follow your heart while young if financial and emotionally capable. you can try it for awhile nothing says you have to do forever. if you don't try i think you will feel guilty for the rest of your life for succumbing to pressures from family and friends not to do this.
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Re: Is this a bad idea? - April 10th 2017, 09:02 PM

I think you should still go for it if you want to, but have a back up plan in case things don't work out.

I admire you wanting to be someone who teenagers can reach out to, more so if it's to with religion and sexuality. I think choosing a place that is more liberal, like the Quakers, may be beneficial since it may be harder to 'debunk' the myths in a stricter school.

Alternatively, I think working for an LGBT organisation, or any other young persons organisation may be an other good option.


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Re: Is this a bad idea? - April 10th 2017, 11:33 PM

As an LGBT Christian I definitely think this is a great idea! Bringing together Christians, Atheists, and the LGBT community to help one another instead of being against each other sounds really great. As someone said before, you can also work in other organizations in case it doesn't work out. Best of luck to you!


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WE ARE ALL HERE.
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