As an unapologetic Gay Christian (niche within a niche), I have grown very sensitive, over the years, to those on both sides. Justin Lee on Gay Christianity When speaking to (non religious) gay persons I am often asked, “how can you be a part of an organization, or God, who for centuries has tortured, tormented, mocked, ridiculed, slandered, and murdered our community and throughout the years have thrown us out of churches, synagogues and mass?” In addition, when speaking to non-gay (usually fundamental conservative) Christians, I am often asked, “how can you possibly call yourself a Christian if you are a “practicing” homosexual?” Side note – I put practicing in quotes because I find that term hilarious. After forty years, I think I have perfected my homosexuality, no need to practice anymore lol.
Alright so basically I respond to these often inquisitive people in the following way; keep in mind this is just my personal opinion as I am no Bible scholar, biblical historian or theologian. I will however provide some excellent resources below (I will insert this free book here however http://www.cebiaz.com/book.pdf as it is quite insightful and informative). How can I be a Christian, simple? When one asks God to come into their life, they are ultimately/basically asking Gods spirit (The Holy Spirit) to dwell within their heart, soul, spirit. Since spirits are neither male, female, black, white, gay, straight, republican, democrat, right or left-handed, it simply dwells (takes up residency). From there, the Holy Spirit helps to guide the life of its host and whether the host is in poverty, heterosexuality, homosexuality, lead to Africa to mission or otherwise, is between the host (you, the person) and the Holy Spirit. Everyone will have an opinion (often times people have the most and passionate opinions when it comes to politics and religion) however, you and only you will stand before your creator and have to answer for your heart, your decisions, your life!
Now as far as responding to “how can I attend church/be a Christian” etc when the church, over the centuries, demeaned, belittled, disparaged and degraded our community? Simple, your spiritual journey is a relationship and one only between you and God. You will come across many misinformed churches, preachers and people (many throwing some pretty mean terms your way), you (really should not) discard the steak because of a bone. God loves ALL of His children and knows some of them are gay (Jeremiah 1:5) it is up to us to seek Him out and grow with Him. If a church, synagogue, person etc. wants to spew out (from lack of understanding/revelation), twist, (or isolate) Bible verses (keep in mind Jesus Himself NEVER said a word about being gay), you must protect yourself and love them from a distance. On many an occasion I have disagreed with men and woman of God – Not just on gay issues/rights – but a myriad topics. All are growing in God just as I and are fallible. Eat the steak, disregard the bone. I am disturbed and saddened when I see and hear members of the gay community say, “it is people like so and so that keep me out of church and away from God.” Let me be ever so clear, nothing, no one, no church, parent, friend, family or foe, in any way should you keep or stay away from the loving arms of our Father. If you do, it is simply YOUR choice! There are tons of welcoming and affirming churches, find one that suits you. I would caution however, welcoming churches. I have found that some “welcoming” churches welcome your money, but do not celebrate who you are!
Okay, as promised here are some resources. I will just post a few but there are SO many great and educational resources out there. I hope the few personal favorites help you find some answers.
First, I would like to supply a link for welcoming/affirming churches. This list is growing daily as men and woman are opening their ears to Gods voice of inclusion http://www.gaychurch.org/Find_a_Church/united_states/united_states.htm it is my personal belief that the gay community would benefit greatly from seeking spirituality – again, just my opinion.
1) GCN (Gay Christian Network) http://www.youtube.com/user/GayChristianNetwork#p/c/0/AUmxDbSXvPU my friend Justin gives great insight and understanding on all aspects of being gay and Christian. He answers viewers questions in a poignant, patient and Christian manner.
2) ***FREE Book*** – “Homosexuality and Christianity Reconciled” http://www.cebiaz.com/book.pdf this book is written by Dr. Pearson. We have been to a few of his seminars and really enjoyed what we heard/learned. His book goes into detail and clarifies many of the Bible’s hard to understand history.
3) “Is It A Choice” Book http://www.ericmarcus.com/content/bookdetail.php?recordID=1 I have to say, I am a little embarrassed to post this book. I am embarrassed because we are now moving into 2012 and to think that being gay is a choice is just as crazy as saying color is (albeit Sammy Sosa and Michael Jackson may disagree). I will say however, this book answers a TON of questions for those new to the gay community/culture.
4) “Hearts & Minds” Book http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Minds-Christians-Homosexuality-ebook/dp/B001IBJGPU Sadly I must confess I am not a “reader.” Sure I know how and sure I do but I cannot say that I enjoy it. However, once in a great while a book comes around that I cannot put down and will reread, this is one of them. I have even corresponded with the author who is an amazingly nice guy. This book talks about being gay and spiritual, and included Bible verse break-downs. I highly recommend this book
5) “For The Bible Tells Me So” – Film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpJAucyX7RE&feature=youtu.be This documentary investigates and breaks down multiple Biblical perspectives, and provides points of view from historians, theologians etc.
6) “Fish Out Of Water” – Film http://www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com/trailer.html this documentary breaks down the seven clobber verses and discusses various translations of them. This film is a great resource for schools, libraries, homes etc.
7) “Prayers For Bobby” – Movie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYhwzyKVtzY this movie is based on the true story of Bobby Griffith and his coming out in a very conservative Christian home. The movie is stirring, compelling and life-changing.
8) “That’s A Family” – Documentary http://groundspark.org/our-films-and-campaigns/thatfamily As a former teacher, I presented this wonderful documentary as part of an anti-bullying theme our school implemented. I was amazed at reduction of name-calling and experienced an increase in my student’s respect regarding one another. This documentary is an all inclusive informative film that simply includes, all families.
9) There is absolutely nothing like some good spiritual food that comes in the form of song. I once heard that people do not want to hear others sing, more so they want to hear God through the performer. If music touches your soul and you are looking for some amazing and uplifting spiritual praise, I strongly recommend Jason & deMarco http://www.jasonanddemarco.com/ This couple has a very encouraging ministry, family and their music performs spiritual surgery with every note.