I’ve come to a couple of conclusions that have kind of rocked my day so far. First, I need to take a break from bitching about hate groups. Second, I’ve been bitching about hate groups so much that I’m letting their bile affect me — and my writing. I can think of a few times in my life where I’ve recognized that God is speaking right to my heart with a staggering amount of conviction. This is one of those times.
Throughout the last few years, my primary goal has been to help people understand that gay Christians are not only true Christians, but we have a deep, passionate, love for the Lord Jesus that drives our very existence. With every goal, there’s always resistance. For me, that resistance comes from at least two fronts. First, from the evangelical and fundamentalist community that is steadfast in their belief that gay relationships are completely sinful. The second is from the gay community at large, wondering why the hell I would want to be a part of a club that doesn’t want me.
These things never change. The cynic in all of us would very much like to dismiss such a damn fool idealistic crusade. Even if that is a quote from Star Wars. But no matter how cynical we (or I) can be, the goal of reconciliation is never far from my mind. Now, more than ever.
For the first time in my life, I’m recognizing clear trends in the Christian church where LGBT people are becoming more accepted. They’re small, yes, but they are there. As church leaders across the country become more and more aware of their LGBT parishioners, they find themselves in an awkward position — to minister them or to make an attempt to “fix” them.
In recent years, the latter has been more the case. With groups like Desert Streams and Exodus International, these “ex-gay ministries” were built around the notion that people can change their sexual orientation.
My, how things change in a short time. The failure rate of these “ministries” is so high that it’s a wonder how they can hide it. Smoke and mirrors only go so far, though. Exodus is forcing itself to reconcile with their own leadership, since Alan Chambers, the group’s president, has admitted that “99.9%” of people can’t change their orientation.
With the recent retraction of Dr. Robert Spitzer’s 2001 study based on anecdotal conversation that “some highly-motivated people can change their sexual orientation,” the ex-gay “ministries” are even more in turmoil. That study was their one hook into secular science, and now leaves them with nothing but pseudo science and religious hysteria.
For these reasons, I can not and will not ever support any ministry that works to “change” the orientation of LGBT people. I should at least be clear about that. Attempting to suppress a person’s sexual orientation is psychologically damaging, and often does more harm than good. It is, essentially, like trying to cut off an arm.
On the flip side, I also know how difficult it is to rip away a person’s faith. We find ourselves often disappointed by those we consider to be our spiritual leaders, especially when they point fingers at us and tell us we’re living in sin and going to hell. Moments like these can drive a stake of bitterness into our hearts, and often lead LGBT people into rejecting their faith outright.
When a person’s faith is part of their core, that’s just not so easy to do. Once again, it’s like ripping out a piece from inside our very soul. I know how hard that is. Without that compass of the spiritual, we sometimes go down a dark place when we feel as if we have to make the choice between our sexual orientation and our faith.
Once I reached the conclusion that both can co-exist in complete harmony, everything inside me changed. It was as if all of the Legos came together into a perfect little model of faith, hope, and love.
I could embrace my faith. I had hope that my life wouldn’t be miserable. Finally, I could partake in the kind of love that I knew God had for me.
I will be writing and speaking to these very issues over the next few weeks, and I’ll be sharing stories — mine and yours — that can help to bring that same kind of reconciliation to all of us. After all, there is a Rainbow Kingdom.
Please, dear reader, consider sharing your stories. The nightmares and the dreams. Send me your stories of how you can to reconcile your faith and sexuality, and share the stories of how you had to struggle and the battles you had to fight.
I truly believe that if we can all work toward that kind of reconciliation, we’ll begin to build a true, wholesome sense of community built on the love and majesty of our living, risen savior.
These are stories that need to be told. Our battles and our victories can help encourage others. I look forward to reading them. I look forward to sharing them as well. I hope to hear from you!