Archive for the ‘coming out’ Category

A Letter to Louise: the best argument for affirming GLBT people   Leave a comment

Bruce W. Lowe, a graduate of Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas (1946), and former pastor, has written a beautiful letter to a woman who had been his friend for 50 years.

Recently, during one of the many visits we have had since then she said to me “My brother hates God because God made him gay, and he knows he is going to hell, and I do, too, for that is what the Bible says.”  At that time I had only some suppositions – quite negative – about homosexuality and had never thought it needed study.  But her words made me want to know as much as I could learn.  (from his introduction)

He took it on himself to read and study the issue carefully, and he wrote a response to her a few years later.  I have only reprinted here the beginning of it, but the title links to the whole letter.  It’s worth your time to read it if you believe that gays are not acceptable to God, or even that they must remain celibate if they are Christian.

A LETTER TO LOUISE

To: Louise, dear friend, beloved of God

From: Bruce, by the immeasurable grace of God, a brother in Christ

Your heavy-hearted words to Anna Marie and me the last time we saw you will always burn in our hearts: “My brother hates God because God made him gay, and he knows he is going to hell, and I do, too, for that is what the Bible says.” I struggled for a response, realizing suddenly that what I knew about gays and what the Bible says about them was very superficial. Anna Marie’s immediate response to you was, “No one will go to hell who puts his faith in Jesus Christ.” How gloriously true! Whatever else the Bible says or doesn`t say, homosexuals are not necessarily going to hell.

I decided to give serious study to homosexuality and what the Bible says about it. Thank God! There was so much to learn about gays and lesbians–and the Bible–that I am so glad to have come to know. It distresses me, though, to realize that most others of our church people do not know these facts about homosexuality and what the Bible really says, and that their thinking, like my previous concept, is based on suppositions, not facts, and on feelings, which, of course, have no place in a thoughtful consideration of facts.

I am now convinced that the presumption that you and your brother have about his condemnation is unjustified. I have written out what I believe is clearly a correct interpretation of pertinent Biblical passages; it is Appendix B to this letter. A correct interpretation is dependent on following dependable principles of interpretation, so I discuss these principles in Appendix A. In the body of the letter I have put the convictions I have come to into ten statements that I believe you and I and your brother and our church families must come to understand about homosexuality and about gays and lesbians. But I know some will never accept them, so I have something I want to say to those people; I have made it Appendix C.

Forgive the length of this treatise, but I didn’t think I could address this matter adequately with fewer words. Also forgive the somewhat academic structure; I felt the nature of my study rather required it. I pray that this will give you some of the welcome insights my study has given me.

The rest of the letter you can read yourself—and he does a thorough job, so it is a bit long.  But it is one of the clearest descriptions of the Biblical texts, and one of the clearest arguments for accepting gays and lesbians as they are.  He includes all the Bible verses as well.  It’s a good read, and if you are struggling with your faith in regards to your own same-sex feelings, or struggling too with a family member or loved one who is gay or lesbian, this is for you.

Thanks, Bruce!

Posted December 6, 2010 by jstueart in churches, coming out

The fear of losing everything and everybody   1 comment

Many times people ask why a person didn’t come out beforehand–why they waited, why they lived a lie, or stayed hidden, why they kept their secret.  To understand this, you must understand the fear associated with coming out, especially for those who are both gay and Christian.

Christianity: the ultimate lifestyle choice

First of all, you already understand that being a Christian is the biggest lifestyle choice you can make—it changes everything from your friends, your activities, to your career, and certainly adds a component of the supernatural–a relationship with God–into the mix.  That’s an all-encompassing choice: to be a Christian is to fill your life with Christian people, events, motivations, aspirations, and other things.

It is also about joining a church family–a group to do all of that stuff with together in a building called a church.  You can only be friends, or be intimate friends, with a few people–and becoming a Christian is like being connected to a whole club for your life.  You eliminate, or limit, most other activities outside of church-related ones–because you just don’t have the time.  A Christian reduces his or her world to a set of people who support, affirm, encourage and love them throughout their lives (if they are lucky to live in the same place for a long time).   It also guides your future—you stay with the same denomination if you move; it may guide your decisions as you make those moves, because you are always in prayer.  This is a 24hour hobby, this being Christian.  You aren’t just gold-plated; you get turned into solid gold.  Becoming Christian takes over everything you are.

But if you’ve shrunk your visible society down to the size of a church—and you’re gay—you have a dilemma.  In a society where churches fear homosexuals, fear them enough to want to silence them, legislate against them, push them out of their churches, or strip them of their ability to serve, and finally to withdraw love from them, stop listening to them, and ostracize them—it is not a safe place to be gay, and in the end, it’s not a safe place to be an authentic Christian either.

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What is “Welcoming and NOT Affirming”?

“Welcoming and not affirming” is a murky idea.  As an English teacher, it’s hard to read it and really understand what it means.  We all know what “welcome” is and how to welcome, but it seems “not affirming” is an odd way to express a verb.  It seems important to figure out what “affirming” is and then what “not” doing that would look like.  According to the dictionary, affirming is defined as:

  • State as a fact; assert strongly and publicly
    • he affirmed the country’s commitment to peace
    • he affirmed that she was, indeed, a good editor
    • “Pessimism,” she affirmed, “is the most rational view.”
  • Declare one’s support for; uphold or defend
    • the referendum affirmed the republic’s right to secede
  • Accept or confirm the validity of (a judgment or agreement); ratify
  • Make a formal declaration rather than taking an oath (e.g., to testify truthfully)
  • (of a court) Uphold (a decision) on appeal
  • Offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement
    • there are five common ways parents fail to affirm their children
    • good teachers know that students need to be both affirmed and challenged

Antonyms include: negate, reject, deny, nullify, renounce, refuse, decline

So, “welcoming and not affirming” could just as easily be said as “welcoming and denying ” or “welcoming and rejecting.”  We can probably see that no one wants to have a billboard say that they are both “welcoming and rejecting”….  but in a sense that’s what welcoming and not affirming means.

The other problem with this phrase is that for most evangelicals the adjectives don’t modify the same noun.  What are we “Welcoming” –all people, we might say.  What are we “not affirming”–a sinful lifestyle.  But without the nouns to make a difference, the phrase gets confusing—and we end up saying we are “Welcoming, but not affirming” actual people.  Because we’re not saying we’re “welcoming and not affirming” a lifestyle….  You’re not welcoming a lifestyle into your church are you?

But perhaps there is another definition that we need to consider.

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Hope and blasphemy by the computer screen’s light: a poem   Leave a comment

–a poem for the seekers

____________

In the glow of the computer screen you search

for biblical truth, having already made a deal

with God, that he not strike you dead for researching

something blasphemous.


But you have to know if you’re really

going to Hell or if you can one day have

a boyfriend, or a husband without impunity.

And here, at midnight, when your parents are asleep,

you look for scraps of scripture which will boost your hope,

make you a believer again.


These gay Christians sound authentic–

they pray, and they love God

and they read their Bible every day,

and they are as worried as you about screwing

up everlasting life, except they’ve found a way to have

their husband and their Father too.


How did they do it?  Can they teach you

in the next thirty minutes before you think

about the boy that asked you to kiss him, how he leaned

his face close enough for you to feel his warm

breath and the heat of his arm, before you hate

yourself, and let the guilt swallow you

in the dark.


Can God give you an answer soon?  Because

if you’re going to die for this, you need to know.

You’d rather there be a loophole, somewhere.

You’re no theologian, but you can’t ask

your parents, or your pastor.  And you don’t

want to hurt God either. If He gets upset at a kiss,

you wonder if He’s really paying attention

to Afghanistan.


A thump down the hallway makes you scramble

to click the pages, erase your steps, turn off

your lamp and sit breathless at your desk

in a darkened room, where all you can see

are your mother’s socks blocking the light

under the closed door, as she stands

waiting for you to either stop squirming

or come out.

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