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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Apologies from a Pastor

A friend sent me a link that follows. It is a powerful message for gay Christians who have been made to feel unwelcome in the Christian community, who cannot set foot inside a church without a queasy feeling of being in a place where you are despised and threatened.

It is especially painful for a place that was once so much a part of our early lives to betray us and become a place of anguish and mental torture. I miss having the family of a church to support me on a regular basis, a group of people who love and accept me unconditionally.

I have tried to find gay accepting churches but even when I do the trauma of how I have been treated by fellow Christians wells up into a form of panic that I struggle to overcome. But to see a letter like this is powerful and gives me hope that someday churches will welcome their gay members and not cast them to the side of the road in judgment.

To those in the LGBTQ community,
I suppose I should first offer an introduction. My name is Michael, and I’m a pastor.
Because of my role as a pastor I’ve witnessed, over the past few days, conversations responding to the recent Supreme Court decision that is anything but Christlike (read: Loving and compassionate).

You see, the reality of this situation is my fellow church-folk are struggling with this issue. Compounding this problem, as Christians we’ve often come from a place of legalism, and in many ways, even as I write, we’ve not broken free from this law-first theology. Because of this theological reality, we have almost no practice dealing with something as controversial and emotionally/physiologically complicated as same-sex attraction.
Really, this is bigger than same-sex marriage. The Church has historically done an extremely poor job of dealing with sexuality in general.
And so, it’s from this place, and with this understanding, that I, an ordained pastor in the the church, would like to offer a few apologies.

Please forgive us for succumbing to fear.
When it comes to same-sex marriage, for many of us, fear is ruling the day.
For too long, the church has been so intertwined with a particular political agenda that we’ve lost the ability to speak graciously and live lovingly into a difficult situation. We’ve stopped listening to Jesus’ commands to not live in fear and, instead, listen to the talking heads who evoke fear.  And because we rely more on these cable-news networks than Christ’s example, the result has been that we’ve turned you into talking points and into a faceless agenda. In this, we have rejected the truth that you, like me, are a human being, made in the image of God.

Please forgive us for not seeking out your story.
Because you’ve been treated as an agenda instead of a face, a name and a story, we have been unwilling to hear the journey that’s brought you to this point. Because we’ve not listened to your story, we’re unaware of the ways in which the pulpit has been used as a club and our Bible as a knife to wound instead of heal.
I’m sorry we’ve not treated your story with the care and gentleness it deserves. I’m sorry for the times when you’ve tried to share your experiences in our pews only to be shouted down with Bible verses and theology.

Please forgive us for ignoring your pain.
Because you have become an agenda, and because we don’t know your story, we don’t understand the pain you carry with you each day. The church doesn’t understand the thoughts of suicide and self-harm that many of you carry with you from the moment you wake until the moment you finally fall asleep.
Please forgive us for treating your pain as somehow different than ours.
Please forgive us for acting as though your pain will contaminate our social gatherings. Our callousness is anything but Christ-like, and you deserve far better than the church has provided.
You deserve community. You deserve love. You deserve attention. You deserve the right to be heard.

Forgive us for refusing your questions
In those times when you’ve actually spoken, forgive us for shutting your questions down. You see, for so many of us, we’ve operated on a black and white standard our entire lives. We have been unaware of the shades of grey that reflect the sexual spectrum.
We’ve never understood the complexity of human sexuality.
As a result, when you share your thoughts, opinions and ask your questions, we’re unsure of how to respond. Simply put, your questions scare us, and this should not be the case.
Please forgive us for those moments when you have taken the chance and put yourself “out there” and found only silence or resistance.
Please forgive us. You deserve better.

Please know the grace we’ve received is far better than the grace we’ve offered.
There is a beautiful quote by the Christ-follower, Dorothy Day that says,
“As to the Church, where else shall we go, except to the Bride of Christ, one flesh with Christ? Though she is a harlot at times, she is our Mother.”
How often we’ve failed. How often we’ve missed the mark. These past few days, we’ve acted far more like a harlot than the bride of Christ.
And so I beg for your forgiveness.
My friend, in spite of what the Church has conveyed, you are a person of incredible worth, and you are a person who matters to Jesus.
I recognize this damage will take some time to undo. I also understand that many of you may never come around our places of worship again, but know that should you find yourself with questions, doubts, fears or loneliness, you have a place in my church.

You have a place at my table.
My church welcomes you.
You are loved.
A repentant pastor.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I love you... Now pull my finger

I was at a gospel / bluegrass concert at a church with my dad. The group was entertaining and talented. As they were introducing the next song they told how it was inspired by the Bible story of Elijah and Widow of Zarephath.

It is a story about faith and kindness to strangers. Elijah is on the run during a time of severe drought and famine in Israel. God guides him to a widow who is preparing a last meal for herself and her son before they die. She gives him food and the flour and oil do not run out until the famine was over.

Then there was the 'gotcha' part of the story, the part that most people gloss over, but the part that is like a twisting inside me and makes me spiritually squirm.

Elijah insists she feed him first. What? Why not sit down and eat together? Why does Elijah insist on eating first? I don't get it.

Okay, there is the symbolic putting God first in our lives, but why did Elijah insist on being first? If she had offered to feed him first, wouldn't that have been a more powerful show of faith.

So many stories in the Bible have little gotcha's in them that are not consistent with who I believe God is. I do not believe God is random or capricious, I don't think he's pathological or psychotic, but so many stories would have you believe that God's temper is so violent that he is willing to kill hundreds, even thousands of his own people. He seems willing to punish a whole society for the sins of a few.

That's not God. Not in my book. I refuse to worship an entity that has less compassion than I do.

One of my mom's favorite stories was of Job who refused to curse God even when he was afflicted with every form of misfortune that could befall a person.

But the part that makes me squirm is that God tells Satan he can murder all of Job's children and servants. What ?!?!? God is willing to kill off several dozen faithful people to win a bet???

Oh but Job was given new kids later as if they were interchangeable. I know we are supposed to identify with Job, but I identify with the innocents God allowed to be killed.

Again I have to say this is a nice story but that's not the god I believe in.

It must be in the human mindset to add these bizarre elements into stories. All we have to do is look at the children's prayer we all grew up with...
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
And we wonder why our kids are so screwed up.

And the third new commandment - wash your hands

As I lay in bed this morning waking up, a thought occurred to me. Jesus did great things and worked many miracles. So why didn't he drop a few hints about hygiene that could have saved millions. Jewish custom was to wash feet so why didn't he tell his disciples, "Lets all wash our hands as well."

As he sent them out to the world to spread the good news, he could have also told them to spread the concept of boiling water and washing out wounds. And he might have mentioned that if they would quit emptying their chamber pots into the street, they might not have to wash their feet as much.

For that matter why didn't God make boiling drinking water a law like not eating pork? Why did He make us wait over a thousand years for society to discover penicillin and good sewers?

And think of all the embarrassing burnings at the stake the Holy Roman Empire could have avoided if Jesus had maybe mentioned that the earth revolves around the sun. 

Interesting questions, but of course no complete answers. I guess that's what I get for thinking too early.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I am not 'Born Again'

Have you been born again? I have been asked this directly a few times in my life. After some thought about what it means to be reborn, what it means to the inquirer especially, I have to answer honestly.

No. I am not 'born again.'

I've always struggles with the 'born again' concept. It always seemed strange to me. I don't consider myself 'born again' because I felt like I have never left God's presence.

I was born and raised the son of a minister. I was always a Christian and have always been in a relationship with God. When I did my confession of faith and baptism as a young teen, it felt contrived and I kinda felt like a fraud of some sort. After all, I had had no great revelation, no straying out of God's presence, no great prodigal return so I just didn't understand what the big deal was. It was like going through an initiation to a fraternity you have been an active member of for years.

As I became an adult, I met many people who were 'born again,' who had been apart from God's presence and suddenly returned with fireworks and a heavenly host singing glory to God in the highest. Frankly I was kind of jealous. What were they getting out of this that I wasn't? How could they have such a wonderful soul lifting experience having just met Christ while I was on this seemingly humdrum relationship where I could walk into God's kitchen and grab a soda from his fridge and watch TV with him on the couch?

I definitely understood the feelings of the non-prodigal son watching the great party thrown for the returned brother especially when people hung on his every word telling of the adventures of his party-boy lifestyle.

What the Bible story doesn't tell us is what happened a year after the homecoming. I probably could predict it from watching so many 'born agains' come to terms with their new life. Where was the next big party?

When the streamers are taken down and the cake is all eaten, the new Christian settles into the normality of bake sales, Sunday school teaching, committee work, arguments about the mission budget and organizing the chili supper. A dis-satisfaction sets in and they soon start focusing on where their next 'born again' high is going to come from.

Not satisfied with sitting on the couch watching TV with God, they want to start redecorating the many rooms of his mansion. Let's add a new grotto swimming pool or host a great revival party.

I am offended by the implication by 'born agains' today that if you are not a 'born again' Christian, you are not really a Christian. Yeah, yeah Jesus died for our sins, that's great. But have you gotten to the part about where he fed the hungry and blessed the poor? Have you thought about what Paul is really trying to tell us, something that theologians have been contemplating for 2000 years? Have you heard that it was considered a sin to earn interest from a loan?

I'm wondering why God had Hosea marry a whore and what His promise to the meek really meant. Jesus has been my Savior since I first learned the song Jesus Loves Me This I Know.
There are some people who really do experience a rebirth into a relationship with God. And I celebrate with them. But too many prodigal sons enjoy being prodigal sons and always need another homecoming. But worse than that, they belittle us non-prodigals who never felt the need to leave in the first place.

I'm happy to not be 'born again' because I realize my relationship with God is so deep and  unwavering that no party can exceed the day to day presence of him in my life.

That was a great welcome home party we had for you last night... now grab a broom and help us clean up the place.

Marching Band vs Still Small Voice

The marching band has kept me away from here. It may again in the future. Even long after it passed, the cymbals crash in the ears, the trumpets echo and the flutes pierce through. Even when I tried to return to my own voice, all that came out was crap, a cacophony of the marching band now without even a tune to make it coherent.

What I'm saying is that the noise keeps us from focusing on that still small voice whispering in our ear and until we can shut out the sounds of life, we can't even begin to hear what God is saying to us.

Late in life I found that I have a severe case of ADD, predominantly inattentive type. Its the type common to dogs whose focus can change in a moment by the sighting of a squirrel. Unlike the hyperactive type, mine doesn't even contain the energy that would at least keep me moving. I've coped reasonably well most of my life, but then the noise begins and I become a ship on the stormy waters.

I find writing to be rewarding, but distractions abound. Even when I intentionally find the quiet, I am often distracted by something.

Temptation? Lack of discipline? The chemical imbalances in my brain? The delta state brain waves that persist in my waking life?

Or is it something more insidious?

I've never quite come to terms about the literal existence of the devil and his demons. Sometimes their existence seems obvious. Sometimes I feel its just an easy excuse to rationalize bad behavior.

I could easily say the devil is putting temptations in my way to distract me from my writing, from my taking care of my physical self, from socializing with friends and relatives, even from cleaning house and doing laundry. But then I wonder shouldn't God be enabling me to resist better than I do?

Maybe I just am not praying sufficiently. Except I don't think God is as hard of hearing as we humans are. I believe God knows my heart better than I and hears even the smallest thought I send to him.

I know I need the marching band sometimes, perhaps especially now when I'm still recovering from the abusive trauma from work. But I think I should be doing something more productive once it passes rather than waiting in anticipation for the next parade coming down the street.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wandering Thoughts

I feel compelled to write something but can't focus on a topic. Typical ADD acting up again. My boyfriend left yesterday after a 4 day stay. I know part of what I feel is depression from missing him. Plus in a few days I'll be heading out to visit my son. That will be fun, but there is a lot to do to get ready.

But I thought I could share what's rattling around in my head


As I have said, I am not a 'young earth' believer. I trust science to reveal God's creation and my faith is never threatened by anything we can discover. God doesn't want me to stick my fingers in my ears and close my eyes in the face of world changing scientific discoveries.

But a silly question came to my mind... what did God do for 13 billion years waiting for humanity?


If God loves life and children, why was the infant mortality rate so high before human medicine stepped in?


What's wrong with the weather? Last year it was drought. This year it storms every day. The gloom is wearing me down.


I admit that I interpret the Bible. I believe everyone does. Even to take the Bible at face value is an interpretation.


If you think God plans on condemning gays to hell, why aren't you praying for him to show us mercy?


I don't have answers to these questions or thoughts - just wanted to share.

PS: And I'm getting a lot of spam comments.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

From the Donkey's Mouth

While I was going through my decision on leaving my job last year, I wondered what Bible scripture might apply. As I wrote in my last entry, God had been practically screaming at me and I was like wait one diddle-lee-dee moment... let's not rush into things... for two years.

I remembered the story of Balaam - at least part of it. The part I remembered was of Balaam walking along the road with his donkey and the donkey keeps stopping. Balaam repeatedly beats the animal until it moves forward again. Finally after the third such incident and Balaam being quite incensed, the donkey turns and talks.

Now in today's word we are quite comfortable with anthropomorphized animals so a talking donkey (I'm thinking Eddie Murphy in Shrek) is no big deal.

But to Balaam it was a BIG deal especially when the donkey says there's a big scary angel blocking the road with his sword drawn.

So I kinda thought maybe that was a fitting story representing my stubbornness resisting God's message when all around me are telling me to listen. So I found Balaam in Numbers 22 and when I read the whole story all I could do was shake my head.

First off Balaam is an Old Testament prophet (but not an Israelite who happen to be marching out of Egypt to take over the promised land and killing the folks who already live there). The local king sent for Balaam to curse these invaders. Balaam makes them wait overnight for his decision on whether to return to the king with them.
God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”
Now this kinda seems like a dumb question to me. Maybe it's mean to be a trick question. Anyway, Balaam tells God who they are and why they are at his house and God says not to go to the king. Balaam sends the king's messengers packing, but soon they are back with an even bigger speaking engagement fee for Balaam.
18 But Balaam answered them, “Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God. 19 Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the Lord will tell me.”
20 That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.”   21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him.
OK this is puzzlement number 2 and 3 for me. But God can change his mind - twice. Oh, and not bother telling Balaam that he changed his mind again after he told him it was ok to go. Now comes the part I remember with the donkey. God told Balaam to go to the king but along the road he sends an invisible angle that only the donkey can see.
31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
32 The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.[a] 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.”
Puzzlement number 4 - if God wanted to stop Balaam, why choose an invisible angel???? But the story has one more surprise. Balaam tells God, he'll go back home, no problem.
35 The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s officials.
So God tells Balaam to go ahead and go to the king. WHAT ????

What's the point of this story? That God is fickle and just because he tells us one thing at night, don't be surprised that he changed his mind the next morning... and didn't tell you. And then threaten to kill you for disobeying a command he never spoke to you. Now we don't know Balaam's heart and maybe that plays into things here, but that's not an obvious inference.

I did check the Matthew Henry commentary and it infers several pages of explanation from the very few verses. It reads from the point of view that since God can't make mistakes AND the story is absolutely true something else was going on - obviously Balaam was a greedy sinful guy that God was exasperated with. But the God I believe in is patient to a fault. I prefer to believe that the writer of this left out a lot of the pertinent detail and allowed us to miss the moral of the story which requires considerable assumptions to get to the Matthew Henry explanation. How about assuming that God's perfect and the guy that wrote this wasn't?

The Henry commentary also faults the king for fighting the Israelites as they could have lived side by side in harmony. Just like today... er.

In the end, what matter if Balaam did curse the Israelites to his last breath? It wasn't going to thwart God's plan. 

Well, needless to say this story didn't fit my decision process with God one bit. And it illustrated one more reason that I am not a Bible literalist. I can't conceive of a God that would have done such a thing. It reads like an episode of Punked.

If you feel I am being irreverent and cynical, I can agree to that to make a point. I refuse to just sit back and nod. God's ok with me asking questions - how else do we become more enlightened.

As for talking animals, I guess I'll think twice if my cat ever looks me in the eye and says "an angel is going to kill you unless you change my litter box."


Friday, May 03, 2013

Stay Invisible

After I posted yesterday, I checked my posts wondering how long my absence really was. May 2011 - two years ago! I knew it had been over a year. I knew I had been in corporate hell for over two years, but I didn't realize my postings had been so long ago.

One of the reasons I write this blog is to share the things that I meditate on. When I'm not writing, I am not meditating. So a two year absence signifies close to two years of spiritual apathy on my part. So it wasn't just the work that was driving me into the ground, but the fact that it was depriving me of the study and thought and meditation that is so very important to me.

Recently the coming out of NBA player Jason Collins, specifically some of the reactions to it, have been nagging at me. First off I am glad he has found the courage to do this, to be the person I believe God created. Also I must point out that I am not an avid sports fan. I do follow the Packers because my boyfriend is an avid fan so whenever we are together on a game day, we are watching. I do enjoy it, but rarely watch on my own.

Without being a sports fan, I can tell you that there are and have always been gay professional sports stars just as there are gay politicians, gay priests and ministers, gay police and firemen and gays in the military.

So when Phil Jackson, longtime NBA coach, says "question about gay NBA players [are] "Ridiculous," [and] says he doesn't think there are any" I find it laughable. I can guarantee to Phil that there are and always have been gay players in the NBA. Because he doesn't know who they are is more a testament to his intolerance than it is to the players. We are very good at hiding in plain sight.

I want to write more on this topic later, but now I want to focus on the next odd statement that came out. Dr. Ruth whom I admire stated that while she admired Jason for coming out, that sexual orientation is a private matter. I have heard this comment from many gay people as well. 

I will agree that details of anyone's sex life are private but one's sexual orientation should be public. One's race obviously is and often one's nationality. The problem with keeping one's sexual orientation private is that the common default assumption people make about someone is that they are heterosexual. This assumptions dictates many of the ways people interact. 

I have experienced many uncomfortable moments because the people around me, including my parents, assumed I was straight. Many of those now feel like fools now that they know different. If I know you are gay, I won't try to set you up with my opposite sex cousin. If I know you are gay, I will feel quite comfortable sharing my appreciation of the hottie jogging down the street. 

No I had to listen to straight guys go on about a woman's "bodacious ta-ta's" and try to find ways of slipping out from the numerous dates with women my dad tried to set me up on. So sexual orientation should never be assumed and to get here, we all need to be more open about our sexuality.

Finally, I read the article about LeRoy Butler (famed Packer BTW) who lost a lucrative speaking engagement at a church because of his support for Jason Collins. Now the church is within its rights to cancel Butlers speech to youth about bullying. But they went on to try to encourage him to recant his support, to deny his character. 

LeRoy made a wonderful point that the church was trying to bully him into doing something against his values - ironically the very topic he was scheduled to speak about.

So these are the points that most gays have to live with all the time:
  • if I don't acknowledge you, you don't exist
  • if you are different keep it to yourself and just deal with everyone's insensitivity
  • if you don't agree with us we will punish you

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Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Return and Trusting God

For those of you who have found and read my blog, I appreciate you. I wanted to let everyone know that I am still around, still gay, continuing my 7 year long distance relationship to my wonderful guy, still a Christian... but I am no longer employed by the rather large employer who was draining my life from me.

It was a big decision, one that God had been encouraging me to do for several years. One I had resisted even longer. It was very difficult to give up a very well paying job when there was no place to go to. I was not ready, I told myself. I don't have enough saved up. I should find another job first. The reasons for my inertia were countless.

The reasons for leaving were also numerous. Two years working for a woman who was impossible to please (not just me but her entire team had the issue), ever increasing workloads with 55-60 hour weeks for 3 months, taking away people on my team without replacing them, not enabling me to transfer to a different job...

This job was never a good fit for me. I knew this long ago. I was a square peg and they increasingly demanded I fit into their uniformly round holes.

Stress was high, my health was deteriorating and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Except for the one God kept showing me.

I have written before about the ways, some quite humorous that God communicates with me. This time he used a psychologist, TV commercials, the ex-wife and the very nice emergency staff at the local hospital after I went there with some chest pains.

I tell people that when God's still small voice fails to get my attention, he will eventually resort to a firm virtual slap upside the head. 

But what about the money, the security... and the inertia?

And God said, what about your creativity, your dreams, your stress and your life?  You have enough to get by for awhile. Besides I have other things I need you for.

A close co-worker told me she could tell I hadn't changed jobs much in my life. This job isn't worth it. She was right. Of course, God was right. So I told God, if this is what you want, I trust you will catch me when I let go and jump from my secure nest.

So I turned in my notice and left at the end of 2012. Its been 4 months now and I am returning to the person I used to know. Not returning exactly, liberating the real me. I have wanted to return to this blog but it takes time to heal.

I feel there have been three major traumas in my life, long term chronic traumas that I have finally escaped. The first was being in the closet, the second was being married and the third was the job.

People are telling me how much different I am now, how much more happy and content.

And I am.

Thanks, God for forcing me to trust you.

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