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.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Next Time a Llama

You may have noticed that I've made several posts today. recently I've been able to put aside the rat race and as such the brain constipation has cleared. Ok, bad visual analogy.

Also I've been two weekends apart from Eugene and am trying to occupy my time with more solitary pursuits.

Last night I joined a half dozen gay friends for dinner. Next to me sat a retired minister and next across from him sat a psychoanalyst. The subject of religion came up and the two found common ground in the current way the Bible is being misinterpreted.

My minister friend is rarely at a loss for words, but I saw him speechless for the first time when the psychoanalyst declared his belief in reincarnation. I started to give my own prediction of what the afterlife might be like. But I stopped when I could see that despite his ability to reconcile his sexuality, he still had pretty standard ideas about the hereafter.

Meanwhile on the other side of me is a friend who doesn't believe in Christ's redemption. Instead of finding others' beliefs as an assault on my own (unless they present them as such), I find listening to different ideas refreshing and enriching.

Wrath of God

The way some people describe God - vengeful, vindictive, spiteful, punitive - it makes God sound like Zeus with his lightning bolts or Poseidon with storms and floods smiting the people they disagreed with.

It seems that people who subscribe to this version of God could worship any entity. All the ancient gods punished those that did evil. It's also like God saying 'do what I say not what I do.' You humans are not allowed to kill, but I can and am more than willing to do so. You humans are supposed to forgive those who cross you, but I, God, will energetically destroy those who cross me.

To march into town and destroy every man, woman, child and animal seems to me more like Hebrews justifying their actions than a holy instruction.

What makes God worth worshipping is his willingness to forgive us, to not let the pettiness of our lives get in the way of our relationship.

I recently heard someone say that Christianity is slly because the victim has to forgive those that hurt them. This person's opinion was that righteous vindication was the proper response to being made a victim. He felt that forgiveness was like giving permission to the aggressor.

What they fail to realize is that forgiveness removes from us the mantle of victimhood. We are more empowered thru forgiveness than we ever will be through anger and retribution.

Revenge is a perpetuation of victimhood. We can never move on until the score is somehow settled. Forgiveness gives us power over victimhood.

Which is one of the reasons God forgives. It eliminates the need to put so much destructive energy into retribution and allows growth to occur. Christ himself described God as the party host. He invites all to come and celebrate. He mourns for those who do not come, but parties with those that do. Not being at the party is tragic enough. Nowhere in the story did the host ride through the streets of town killing those that didn't show up.

God's wrath? Seems to me we are projecting our wrath upon God.

No Room in the Inn

It’s interesting how ideas will churn in my head until one day a concept pops out. It is one of those ideas that I share now. First some of the ingredients that went into the recipe.

Last year there was much fuss over stores saying “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas. Their attempt to be inclusive and inoffensive was greeting with scorn by those who apparently believe that commercialism is only proper if it invokes Christ. The phrase from years before about putting Christ back in Christmas was more an attempt to reflect on the real meaning of the holidays instead of requiring Christ’s seal of approval on the materialism society has created.

Walmart has become the everyman’s golden calf. We worship before low prices. We will sell our souls to the Chinese to save a few bucks. We sacrifice safety and standards for greed. But I digress.

The second ingredient that went into my mental stew was an article I read on a progressive Christian web site. It talked about if we really want to elect leaders with religious values we should stop focusing on whether they go to church or how do they stand on my pet value and instead focus on hw many things they do that the Bible recommends.

What are their plans for healing the sick, feeding the hungry, providing justice to the oppressed, clothing the naked… Which ones are blessed as peacemakers, soft hearted, generous and forgiving. These are the things that make a truly values based leader.

These two ideas collided and tasted great together and out popped my ideas.

Put the Christ back in Christianity.

So many Christians seem to dismiss the words and actions of Christ in favor of pontificating over the writings of Paul or even select passages from Leviticus. The preach a hate-filled vengeful God who is a polar opposite to the person God was when he walked the earth in the form of Jesus.

For me, the words and actions of Christ are pretty much all that matters in the Bible. Everything else is supporting interpretations. If you’re going to quote scripture, try limiting it to Christ’s message.

How beautiful Christianity would be if all Christians practiced Christs demonstrations of tolerance, inclusiveness, forgiveness, the challenging of our traditional convictions, compassion and most of all love for all.

Let’s put Christ back in Christianity.

Single in a World of Couples

I have to confess I am not attending church services these days. I have searched and have not found a place I feel welcome that is near by. I live in a conservative midwestern city and even the liberal denominations seem not to have a place at the table where I am made welcome.

It's not wholly because I'm gay, though that is a good portion. But there is also the fact that I'm in church alone. I'm not lonely in my life. I have a boyfriend and many friends. But I am made to feel alone because I choose to pursue my faith in ways my partner and friends cannot or will not join.

Lately I've been more aware that our world is biased toward traditional families. Anyone who thinks the traditional family is in danger hasn't been to a town festival, school event or church service and looked around. Our institutions marginalize those that are non-traditional. And some try to add legal weight to that maginalization. Being in the midst of it all just leaves a hollow pit in my stomach.

At times it is really frustrating that my guy is 250 miles away. Because there are things we can tackle together, there is alienation we can weather together that is tiring to endure alone. And one of those things is sitting in a pew trying to worship God when a good portion of the service is worshipping the families.Single in

Unique Relationship

If there were no Bible, what would you believe? For most of us, probably the exact same thing we already believe. The danger here is that when we quote scripture, we tend to ignore the ones that challenge us and embrace the ones that we believe reinforces our existing beliefs.

We open up our Bibles in order to say “I told you so” instead of letting God speak to us, challenge us, prod us out of our comfort zone. Many people seem to think that what God tells them is meant for universal consumption. We are called to witness not lecture.

God has a plan for my life. I don’t presume that his plan applies to anyone but myself. I’m glad to share how God relates to me even when some decry that I am either following my own delusions or those of Satan.

I do have work to do. It’s work that God has patiently asked me to do, but which I, through cowardice and shame could not face for most of my life. Now I welcome the work he asks me to do. It is not easy and I face derision and ridicule as you can see in some of the comments left here.

But God gives me the strength to keep coming back here and witnessing regardless of how many people mock the relationship I have with God.

A friend of mine told me that Thoreau, when asked if he had gotten right with God replied, “I wasn’t aware we had quarreled.”

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hardness of Heart

The Bible speaks of the hard-heartedness of people. That is the one thing I thing every person can personally be involved with. It is epidemic in our society and in our churches. People hurting other people becuase of their own biases or indifferences and dearth of empathy.

I assume people are hard-hearted in their attempt to maintain a purity, whether in the processes we use to live our lives or in the dogmas used to manage faith. These people are often termed as mean-spirited and some can be very angry and vindictive.

I was saddened by the recent passing of Lucciano Pavarotti. Not only a great singer, he seemed from what I could see, to be a genuinely happy man. Reading about his funeral, I saw what a beautiful service had been given him full of music and the love of those around him.

Then I read this...

That Pavarotti — a divorced man who had a child out of wedlock — was given public viewing and a funeral in the cathedral spurred some debate here. A Modena parish priest, the Rev. Giorgio Bellei, told Corriere della Sera that the move amounted to "profanation of the temple." Other critics noted that last year the church refused to grant a religious funeral to a paralyzed man who had a doctor disconnect his respirator.

The hard-heartedness of the church in these situations amazes me. Churches are not monuments to righteousness. They are places for ordinary struggling people to find God. They should always be a refuge, warm and welcoming. Instead, so many have become closed communities where those deemed less than perfect in behavior or attitude are shut out.

Mean-spirited actions are what drive people from a church. One heartless act will counter hundreds of welcoming ones.

As I see it, we have a choice to be bitter, selfish and angry or magnanimous and welcoming.