Last weekend, Jason Thomas posted a candid observation of a painful anniversary to his Facebook page: It was one year, to the day, since Watermark Community Church had sent him a letter revoking his membership in the congregation to which he had belonged for years because he is gay.
Thomas was a faithful member of the nondenominational church, which has more than 10,000 members across three Dallas-area campuses. He tried for years to conform to church requirements that he alter his essential nature, “repent” his sexual orientation, undergo a form of “conversion therapy” that research, as well as mainstream psychologists and counselors, have denounced as harmful and pointless.
“I spent years in your church battling against my homosexuality. I believed with all my heart that God would change me; I prayed for change almost daily,” Thomas wrote in an open letter to Watermark. “But when I wasn’t able to change, you turned your back on me.”
“Being gay and Christian seems to be not a thing to a lot of people but I disagree with that, you can be gay and Christian at the same time,” Thomas says.
But after Thomas came out to the megachurch and said he wanted to continue being a Watermark member as a gay man, the church sent him a letter.
It called his same sex relationship a “destructive pattern,” cited his “unwillingness to heed biblical counsel” and said that he was “No longer a member of our body at Watermark.” while saying that they “lovingly, but firmly, call you back to repentance.”
That was a year ago.
Thomas, who lives in Carrollton, has since attended two other churches that welcomed him warmly. He said he posted his open letter in the hope that “people will at least know what they are getting into” if they choose to join Watermark.
“I just don’t think that they are aware of the impact this is having on people’s lives,” he said. “I don’t want to go to war with the church, I don’t want to go to battle with them. I don’t want to say negative things about them. I just want them to recognize that they can do a better job at loving people.”