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, November 25, 2009

Why I Describe Myself as a Gay Christian

Dave left a comment asking why I characterized myself as a gay Christian. It's because for most of my life, nearly 40 years, I thought those two things, being gay and being a Christian were mutually exclusive. I know I'm hardly alone in that thought even with the strides society has made.

Growing up a preachers kid in the 70's, I was deeply ingrained with religion and society's stern disapproval of boys who like other boys. There were two drivers in my life - church and being gay. Both were all consuming, and there seemed no way to reconcile them.

I considered myself a Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde type person - the good Christian, married, elder, teacher and church leader in the light of day and a man who had 'improper' lusts for other men in the darkness of my soul. I thought that not only was God unhappy with what I then thought of as 'sinful' thoughts but even more unhappy that I had no desire to repent of them.

I know now I kinda had them reversed, but it took years of soul searching, prayer and faith crisis to reconcile those two halves of my personna and begin to accept myself as a wonderful gay person who managed to savage his Christian faith.

Once I came to terms with who I was, a gay man using deceit and lies to masquerade as someone else, I worked very hard and built up the tremendous courage to come out. I then saw a real need to reach out to other gay people who have suffered from what some call 'Bible abuse' like I had and rather than bothering to retain their faith, rejected it completely and turned away from anything having to do with God.

This blog is one way I try to do that, to show that it is possible, though not easy, to be both a gay man and have a close relationship with God. It is a witness I give to others struggling the way I did that I don't have to hide in the closet from God or the church. That I can be a proud gay man with healthy relationships and have the acceptance and blessings of a loving, nuturing God. And by identifying myself as a gay Chrisitian on this blog, it is a sign for others who are where I have been that I have weathered the storm.

By the way this is not my sole identity or single place to write. It is focused on one aspect of the whole, the part that I wish to share to those who find me here. Which is why you will find little of my personal or work life mentioned here. Not because they are un-important, or that they are inconsistent with what I say here, but simply because you are here for the very reason I have claimed to be a gay Christian. And maybe others can benefit from my sharing the same road.

It is also a call for understanding from those who would condemn, who equate the term gay with sin, debauchery and God's wrathful judgement, and call for horrid alternatives like celibacy, desperate attempts to change what canot be changed or the closet in the name of God.

There was a day in my 30's when God spoke clearly to me perhaps for the first time in my life. He asked, "Why are you ashamed of the wonderful man I have created you to be?" That statement made me come to realize that I was wasting so much energy hiding the real me, pretending to be someone I was not, that I had no energy left to do any of the real work he asked me to do.

So now the oppression of the closet is mostly gone, my self-esteem is growing and my relationship with God and others in my live is honest and happy. One other time I heard God's voice was when God sent his peace to me at 10am, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in 2001 and forever drew me from my self-imposed exile in desperation and hopelessness into light and happiness and a renewed spirit.

So just as people who have struggled with and beaten cancer refer to themselves as cancer survivors, I in similar fashion have survived four decades of anguish and trauma to accept myself as a child of God, created proudly by him just as I am so I proudly characterize myself as a gay Christian and hope to provide encouragement to others working through their own reconciliations.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A response to Anonymous comment on the Sexual Sin entry

I wanted to reply to the comment on my Sexual Sin essay on January 26, 2009, from Anonymous no. 2. First, I thank God for sending you to jostle me and the time in my hectic life to write a response.

Anonymous no. 2 started by saying…

I found it most interesting that you used no scripture to back up your claims, but simply your own opinion. It seems to me that God is not working through you, but you are considering yourself to be God. You should not base your assumptions off of other people's opinions, but off of the Bible.

He/she then went on to quote several scriptures. Now one issue I have with people who quote scripture is that for the most part no one is arguing the words that are in the Bible. The discord is in what those words mean to a person. Generally I find scripture quoters presume throwing out scriptures is quite enough to state their / God’s case and change other people’s minds or behavior, assuming the meaning has to be crystal clear.

The soul God gave me doesn’t buy into the whole “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” bumper sticker mentality.

One example of a lack of clarity from my own life was when I told some British co-workers that we would do the conversion at their convenience. When they chuckled I knew we did not share a common interpretation of my words, which were perfectly clear to me. One of them explained that ‘convenience’ in Britain is another word for toilet and they were picturing me doing a computer conversion in their home bathrooms.

The main reason I didn’t quote scriptures is that this is an essay on the sociology of religion, not on scripture. It’s about how people variously interpret scriptures and put their interpretations into practice and how they use that interpretation to judge others. Also I VERY much believe in the power of revelation, which God still speaks to us, not only through the Bible, but more often through those around us whom we interact with (and some of you may remember the fortune cookies LOL). I have studied the Bible since early childhood and am quite familiar with the scriptures Anonymous cites as well as hundreds of others.

Theologians have been trying to understand what the scriptures mean since the earliest writings of Moses and pastors have been struggling to define relevance of words written thousands of years ago to life in modern society. What are healing miracles for 2009? Where did Jesus ascend to since our telescopes can see to the beginnings of our universe?

I also believe without the Holy Spirit of God within our souls to guide and reveal to us, the Bible is so much ink on a page. When you, Anonymous, say I should not concern myself with what others think, am I to assume that you have no use for a pastor interpreting and explaining the Bible? That you do not believe in Bible studies where people discuss what the scriptures mean to them? That personal witness (which is what I claim to be) is worthless for the glory of God? That God has had nothing else to say in the 1800+ years since the Bible was written by men?

So I’m not a big fan of throwing around Bible quotes like rocks at a public stoning. You’ve tossed out several without explaining how you interpret them, as if they are perfectly clear. I also wonder if you have considered how the early Christians fared prior to Paul’s first writings, let alone the Gospels coming along decades later.

For example, since it is a theme of your chosen scriptures, I would ask what your definition of sexual immorality is? I have no doubt it differs from mine, but I suspect it will probably differ from many fellow parishioners. There are numerous Biblical incidents I consider sexually immoral that God seemed to bless or ignore such as Solomon’s 900 wives and Abraham having sex with his concubine to name two. And for the literalists who believe in Adam and Eve, God certainly had to bless a lot of incest to get the human race off the ground.

In reference to 1 Corinthians 6:18, as a male who struggles with his weight, it seems that my eating/exercise habits have far more impact inside my body than anything sexual I have done. I can also guarantee I have never looked at a woman lustfully so we can dismiss Matthew 5:28. Regarding Hebrews 13:4, I never committed adultery with my wife during 20 years of marriage. I have and continue to honor the marriage vows I made to the best of my ability, far, far beyond what is required by any judge or law. Good Christian people have called me a fool for continuing to love, honor and cherish her both financially and emotionally.

As for Romans 1:26-27, you are obviously quoting relatively modern translations as the Bible didn’t put it that way prior to the 1940s. As for Romans 13:13, I am quite in the open about as much of my behavior I feel is proper, certainly as much as the average person. While like most I certainly won’t have sex in public, I will unabashedly give my partner a hug or kiss as well as hold his hand in public.

And if you consider me to lack humility, I suggest you read more of my posts. If I still come across as someone lacking humility who doesn’t defer to God (though not necessarily the Bible), let me know. And speaking of humility, you obviously don’t understand what homosexuality is all about and I recommend getting to really know us and truly learn to love us before you condemn us to hell. Do you really believe it is sinful lust that drives me into the arms of another man? That it’s simply a matter of choosing to live as a heterosexual (been there, done that, didn’t work)? Or simply to deny ourselves the very necessary human intimacy that is essential for our mental and emotional well-being?

The part of your writing that offends me most, though, is when you say I consider myself God. Boy that would sure make my life easier and eliminate the need for me to bother writing this. I have many friends who have turned their backs on God because there was no tolerance for them in their church. Part of the work I am called by God to do is to reach out to those hurt by their church and offer hope and a vision of God as loving and worthy to be worshipped. It is extremely difficult akin to helping a badly wounded animal. They hear words from people like you, Anonymous, and there is nothing but loneliness and despair in them. Do you have any idea how hurtful this is? Is there a bit of compassion in your heart?

I assure you, Anonymous, that simply because I interpret scripture different, that my understanding of God is different, that I am open to discuss my doubts and my faith struggle, I have never claimed to usurp God. I have never claimed to know God’s will other than what he has revealed to me about my own life. That I challenge those certainties others have about what God does or does not actually ‘hate’ does not make me God.

By the way I do have scriptures to back up my beliefs. From the following foremost scripture comes my reconciliation with God who created me just the way I am as his gay son and with others in this world who I have to have the courage to live with. It drives my faith journey, my understanding of God worthy to be loved, my thoughts, my actions, my writing, my life, my compassion and my love. Upon it do I weigh and measure everything written, spoken or revealed.

Luke 12:30-31

30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'[f] 31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[g]There is no commandment greater than these."