Being a Gay Christian

Here are my struggles to reconcile my religion & sexual orientation. I used to think that being a Christian and being gay were mutually exclusive. God revealed to me that I am his child, created Just As I Am. God’s awesome gift comes with challenges, yet opportunities to share the good news to many who have rejected religion. Or who have suppressed their sexuality to keep their religion. I welcome this ministry and the unbelievable strength he gives me to do it.


I'm gay and while that does tell you which gender I want to fall in love with, it tells you nothing about my lifestyle. As you read you'll learn about that.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Thanks for the Encouragement

Thanks for all the encouraging comments everyone has been adding lately. While I welcome those that challenge my ideas, it's even more exciting to see that there are many of us on the same journey. I'm very glad that my words, my witness, have touched others and your comments give me strength.

We are all told we should pick up Christ's cross and carry it and we are also told that God's burden is easy. The two didn't make sense to me for a long time. The work I did much of my life as an ardent church member seemed to be an extreme burden at times. It was draining and exhausting.

Then a few years ago, shortly after coming out, a new friend told me that we need to make sure we are carrying the right cross - the burden God really wants us to carry instead of the ones we pick up ourselves or let others thrust upon us.

During my coming out process and my crisis of faith, I came to realize that most of the things I was caught up in at church were of my own doing and contrary to the work God wanted me to do. It was good work that needed doing, but I came to realize that there are others for that work. God had another mission for me, one that he had greatly and uniquely equiped me for.

So I dropped all those crosses that I had picked up and lifted the one that had always seemed the most daunting, most impossible of all - sharing my story as a gay man who was hanging on to his faith. But surprisingly, it's a mission I welcome and look forward to. It is work that God inspires me to do and he gives me great energy for it. I now understand the persecution for Christ's sake. I would much rather have people hate me for what I am than love me for what I am not.

This blog is one aspect of that ministry God has given me. There are many other aspects of this work, the most challenging is coming out at work over and over again. It's not easy at times. But being yelled at, chastized, despised and rejected are trivial when I know God is with me. Often there are frustrations, but with frustrations comes God's encouragement. I take comfort in being one drop of water eroding the mountains of bigotry and hard-heartedness.

One of the gifts God has given me this year is also another aspect of my ministry. After years of pleading and (not quite) patience, God brought a wonderful man into my life. And yet even this gift is filled with challenges, not the least of which is the 250 mile distance we must endure. There's also the bi-racial aspect of our relationship which has brought a new perspective into my life and new worries for my mother.

So, I'm saying to be careful of the crosses we pick up. If they are the ones God wants us to carry, he'll energize us and equip us and his burden really will be light. If it's not, you may have someone else's cross by mistake.

I'm no saint or theologian. I'm as flawed as anyone else. I have weaknesses and struggle with the sins in my life. I try to listen and obey, try not to worry about tomorrow and just have faith in my relationship with my creator.

So thanks for being there. Thanks for reading. Thanks for sending your encouragement.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tapestry Conference

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending Tapestry, a LGBT religious retreat for the gay affinity groups of the United Church of Christ, the Christian Church DOC, and the American Baptist Church. We met in Indianapolis, ironically at the same time as Exodus International (the ex-gay organization) was meeting 60 miles away in Marion, IN.

The theme was Live, Love, Laugh and Lead. There were some great speakers and some inspiring music. I met several very interesting people and was inspired by all the allies the LGBT community has in our churches.

So I wanted to share a few of the ideas that I took away.

Understanding Being a Minority

One woman in my small discussion group said she felt like a minority, not because she was straight, but because so many people at the conference were so well versed theologically. I told her that many of us are self-taught. When something dear to you tells you that you are not worthy, you dig into it and try to find resolution.

At fist I tried to find the loopholes in the scriptures. But then God showed me I had made some wrong assumptions. Like I wrote in my previous entry, I don’t study scriptures to validate what I am, I study it to maintain relevance of religion in my life.

But a bigger theme she mentioned was that so few of us are actually blessed with knowing what being a minority feels like. And until you experience the vulnerability, the marginalization, it is difficult to sympathize with other minorities. Being a majority is not a blessing from God or a sign of his love. It’s merely an accident of circumstances. But so many lift it up as something holy.

New Reformation

We are beginning to experience a new reformation of the church. The turmoil of churches today is happening not from outside influences, but from people growing up in the church who find they cannot accept the dogma handed down for generations.

As such there is a new rediscovery of the scriptures and what their place is in our lives. More and more people are not satisfied with the interpretations of scripture coming from their pulpits and are reading and studying themselves. Look at the interest in the Gnostic writings. I’ve been reading some books on these writings and when you take a critical look at the Bible, you have to admit it’s definitely tailored to influence patterns of belief.

In fact one book stated that if Alexandria had defeated Rome, we’d have a completely different version of Christianity.

I believe we are truly entering a new enlightened age, where religion is personal and a one-on-one relationship with God is more embraced than ever.

LGBT Influence

One speaker asserted that LGBT Christians are the core force in this new reformation. Or insistence in inclusion has many praying and studying in ways most of us have our whole lives. There are internal struggles that will always occur when the need to be more loving conflicts with our religious convictions.

And in my life, when I reach these impasses, I have to remember Christ’s greatest commandment – love. So when loving someone is contrary to conviction, love has to win out. Changing my religious convictions hasn’t shattered my faith. Quite the opposite in fact occurs as through these struggles our faith matures and grows stronger.

Our mere presence and desire to fully serve God as we are called will be a perpetual thorn in their sides until all bigotry is gone.

Get Sex Back Where it Belongs - in Church

Another struggle and probably the key one for many, though they won’t admit it, is that LGBT Christians means having to discuss sex in the church instead of keeping it in the gutter where it belongs.

The church has told us repeatedly “sex is dirty so save it for someone you love and marry.” But sexuality is a gift from God and needs to be discussed in the church. America’s puritanical upbringing has made the world a dangerous place by sticking our heads in the sand when it comes to giving our children honest answers about sex.


One of the things that hit me most were the stories of churches unable to embrace LGBT members. They would speak of being unwilling to marginalize that conservative old base (usually with ample money) by becoming affirming to LGBT people. This really offended me. We are willing to continue marginalizing gay people to keep from causing discomfort to the conservative minority.

There’s one key difference. If you reject the conservative stick-in-the-muds, they’ll change or find a new church home. They won’t reject their Christianity. But by continuing to marginalize gay people, they continue to tell us we are not worthy, that there is no hope and we should stay quiet or far away. They deprive gays of love and hope and the Good News. They cast gays out into the streets with nowhere to go.

So which is the greater ill – driving someone from a church who will go to another church or driving someone from God?

Act Up

Our parting speaker was a energetic gospel style speaker who continuously charged us to not sit passively by but to engage our faith and agitate those who would bind us to traditions and limit our service and acceptance.

I have seen it all too often. We argue from a secular approach. We allow the conservatives to hold the definitions of faith and love and acceptance. We need to stand up in the glory of our creation and with full knowledge and faith challenge those dogmas that have nothing to do with love and God and everything to do with control and power.

Don’t buy in to our perceived weakness. We have the power of God behind us – agitate!

My Response to Sarvesh aka Joshua

First, Joshua, I apologize for the time it took to write my reply. My priorities have been elsewhere lately on other personal and spiritual matters.

But as I read your response, all I saw was more tired rhetoric. Every time I talk to someone like yourself, the words are sadly the same. You seem more concerned with scripture than people's struggles, with people being part of a church than the church reaching out to the marginalized. I pour out my heart, my personal witness of my relationship with God and I get quoted scripture in return.

You wrote...

Dude, Marriage is covenant of God between Man and Women not between person of Same Sex ok.

No, not ok. Your words are hurting real people, real children, real families all in the name of preventing some apocalyptic societal meltdown. You foster hatred and bigotry which breeds violence. You deprive people of hope, you drive them from churches and fail to share with them the wonderful news of God's unconditional love. Your lack of compassion is tragic. You deny marriage to those who honor it in the name of preserving it for those who hold it in contempt.

I know several same sex marriages that God has blessed. It's just the small mindedness of men that refuses to recognize what God can do. You limit God. God can covenant with whom he will. Jesus showed church leaders of his day that God's covenant was not restricted to those the priests thought were acceptable.

And you might want to read the story of David and Jonathan with an open mind. David describes their love as more than that of women. They became "one spirit" and covenanted with each other and with God. Their relationship mirrors my current relationship much more than it does my traditional marriage.

But the bigger issue has nothing to do with religion. It's about legal protections you would deny people who desperately need them and using God to justify your actions. I can accept the limitations you and your church may have. But do not use it to harm other people.

As I wrote on my blog that after creating Man, God realize that Man needs a suitable partner than he saw every where, everyone of his creature but He did not find any.

Do you really believe God could be so clueless? Sounds like God was proposing bestiality until Adam rejected it. Dude, this is a mythical creation story (the meaning of the name Adam should be your first clue). It's a parable not science. If you read both creation stories in Genesis you can see they are different. Which one is the infallible one? To me the first creation story is miraculous in that ancient men saw God's work very close to the wonders of creation that science has revealed. Does science threaten God? Not one bit. It simply shows that God is much bigger than human minds can grasp.

Why not at that moment God created another man for his partner?
but not, Because he was looking for the stuitable partner for man then He created women which was suitable for the man.

The point of the story is to explain how people came to be, not an explanation of God's perfect family as you stretch it to be, same sex examples would have been irrelevant. But a woman is not a suitable companion for a gay man. A man is not a suitable companion for a lesbian. Even God sees this and I thank him every day for the wonderful loving man he has brought into my life as my suitable companion.

Than he said to both of them that go and fruitfull. How can a couple of same sex can be fruitful? Never? Never?

So procreation is the ONLY reason to marry? So you recommend annulments for barren couples? You would refuse to marry older couples? And how do you reconcile that both Paul and Jesus said it was better not to marry?

More, you seem to think this is the 11th commandment. It's a blessing not a demand. Being married is a covenant between two people to commit to each other, to share their lives and spirits, yet you would demean the covenant to a contract to produce babies. You turn marriage into base animal actions - reproduction.

Further, I suspect you don't know the Bible as well as you think. on your web site you state...

God only blessed sex within the committed marriage relationship of a man and a woman.

You've obviously ignored how God blessed Abraham's bastard son Ishmael.

You imply that I reinterpret scripture to find God's approval of homosexuality. Not exactly. I already know God approves of homosexuality. I search for the truth in the scripture so that Christianity remains relevant to me. If I buy your reasoning, I'll just reject the church. Your version of Christianity offers nothing to me. I must deny my love for the man in my life while I watch self-righteous Christians flaunt their love and tell me how to live my life.

More, I would reject the real work God has chosen for me to do. No, I will not do that. God sends me as one of his messengers to speak the words he gives to me. It does not improve my standing to debate with you. I only do it because God compels me to and will not let me rest until my work is done.

I say it is you that is interpreting the scriptures to suit your personal beliefs. You quote Leviticus to me yet you probably never use Leviticus for any other use. You take a letter of Paul to a specific group of people addressing a specific event and make it a universal condemnation. You probably still think Sodom was destroyed because of homosexuality regardless of what Isaiah & Jesus said.

How many gay friends do you have? I'm not talking about gay people you know, but how many truly consider you their friend? How many invite you to dinner and enjoy conversing with you? While I am a bit far from you to have you to dinner, I would invite you to converse. All I ask is that you put away your scriptural dogma and speak to me from your heart.

I found it amazing that you spent many more words talking about homosexuality than you did about grace. Is that truly where your priorities are? I think if you listen, God may be calling on you to stop persecuting his gay children. And if you think Jesus didn't talk about homosexuals then you'd better research what the word eunuch meant when Jesus used it. (It's even on Wikipedia if you can't find it other places.) And I don't doubt for one moment that Jesus was ignorant of its meaning when he spoke it. Adds a whole new possibility to Matthew 19:12 that Jesus may be telling us 2,000 years ago that gay people are born that way. It's a lot more logical than assuming he's talking about men born without testicles (a statistical non-event).

I am your neighbor, Joshua. I am hurting from the persecution of the church. Yet you pass by on the other side of the road. Leave the judgment to God and be my friend. Tell me why you really truly are uncomfortable with gays and I will dialog with you. Quit hiding behind the Bible and be honest with me as I have been with you.

I hope some day the church as a whole can become a force for social justice as Jesus saw it instead of always being the last bastion of bigotry and prejudice.

This is obviously a subject close to my heart and my relationship with God. I celebrate that you and I are men of God and recognize our unity in Christ even though we disagree on certain things. I do not mean this as an attack but as a challenge to you. God's work for me, spreading God's grace and love to gays, is formidable because of the persecution of the church. But I welcome this cross that I bear and his strength on my path.

I just ask you to remember, Joshua, that people are more important than scriptures.

Yours in Christ,