I know a lot of you probably won’t know who this humble man from Atlanta was, but I’ll tell you of him anyway. He was a friend. He was a father. He was an activist, and most importantly, he was a Christian.
Jerry lived his life to match his faith, often frustrated with the petty differences people would put between Christ and His people. As a Jewish Christian, Jerry had a special insight into the history and heritage of our Christian faith. Jerry knew struggles and life’s issues far better than most of us, be he took it all in stride.
I got to know him well over the last few years after meeting him in a nutty AOL chat room (okay, I confess, I’ve been an AOL junkie for far too long). I realized early on that this man was unique in his desire to help others in their faith and struggles. He always, always, always tried to connect people that would be able to help each other. I lost count of the times he said to me, “Send this person an email. You can help them.” Or, “I sent someone to your website. Can he contact you?”
To me, Jerry was a friend. He was bullheaded and stubborn, but then so am I. That’s what made our friendship work. Of course, I corrupted him by introducing him to Stargate SG-1, my favorite TV show. After all, friendships always give and take, don’t they?
What makes him so special to all of us in Clarksville was his desire to help out our Pride festival by organizing the security. He asked so many questions as to what we had thought of in security I thought I was going to slap him. Will we have radios, will we have t-shirts, will we have… you name it. But because of his persistence, we had a clear presence of uniformed and civilian security that went without a hitch.
He gave of his time, his money, and himself… to everything he believed in. I didn’t have to ask Jerry whether or not he was Christian. His life alone told me of his faith in Christ. And his passing tells me of Christ’s promise… eternal life. Actually, I’m kind of jealous.
To honor his faith, and commitment to all of us who ever had to struggle with our sexual orientation and our faith, I will dedicate my book, The Rainbow Kingdom: Christianity & the Homosexual Reconciled, to his memory.
Fly well, my friend. You will be missed. But you will not be forgotten.