Archive for the ‘gay’ Tag

The Only Good Gay is a Celibate Gay: and other myths the church embraces   6 comments

The new message given to gays these days by evangelical churches is one of acceptance– with a catch.  Several mainstream evangelical churches have begun preaching that, as long as gays stay celibate, they can be fully accepted by the church.  Unfortunately, this message has convinced straight Christians, and some gay Christians, that gay sex is the problem.

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The history of the church’s reaction to gays

Clearly, churches have been much worse to the GLBTQ community.  They used to burn us.  Certainly early Church fathers condemned us, saying that we were aberrations (at best) or the devil (at worst)–with a midscale reaction that lasted through my lifetime, that gays were normally heterosexual people who got seduced by the devil to turn to homosexuality which was unnatural.  (As if no normal person could ever BE gay…this fooled me for a long time.)

In my lifetime I have seen that stance change.  It went from condemnation, saying that God never created gay folks, to an acceptance of the fact that gay people might be innately attracted to the same-sex–or born that way.  Created gay–but abnormal, in the sense that some children are born with defects, and that gay is just another defect.  Right now, pastors are calling it “not God’s best”–and they are willing to embrace gays if they remain celibate.  Well, it just so happens that Evangelicals have stumbled on an accidental “agreement” with a smaller percentage of gays, called Side B Christians, who believe the Bible has “no room for gay sexuality.”

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As Christians, should we sing Ray Boltz’s music in Church?   12 comments

Today, as I was checking my statistics on the site, I smiled at one google search that brought someone to my page: “As a christian should we sing ray boltz music in church?”

Ray Boltz was a staple of Contemporary Christian music for twenty years–a string of albums that contained songs sung in every church across America.  Who hasn’t heard “Thank You”?  “Thank You for giving the Lord/I am a life that was changed/ thank you for giving to the Lord/ I am so glad you gave,” or heard it sung to someone who had fulfilled a life of Christian Service.  Who hasn’t heard someone sing “Watch the Lamb”?  It’s the story of the crucifixion narrated through the eyes of a father who brings his two sons to Jerusalem to participate in the normal sacrifice of a lamb for their family.  He is unwittingly pulled into the drama when he becomes the man who is forced to carry Christ’s cross to Golgotha.  “Shepherd Boy” is the story of David–who isn’t picked because he’s big and strong, but because God wants to pick him.  I used to sing these songs in church–Ray Boltz and I have similar ranges (and I can only hope I did them justice).

His songs speak to the very heart of what it means to be a Christian—“does he still feel the nails/every time I fail/ does he hear the crowd cry crucify again?” and he sings to life the many people that we only know through Biblical stories.  Paul and Silas are singing “I will praise the Lord” in jail, and he sings about the view of the cross from below–the sisters, his mother, watching Christ as he hung there in “At the Foot of the Cross”—reflecting on every Christian’s hope: “keep me near the cross/near the cross/ may I never stray so far/ that I cannot see/ what flowed down for me/ at the foot of the cross”.

These songs keep you close to Christ; they are filled with passion and anguish and they tell the stories that we are familiar with.  Yes, keep singing the songs of Ray Boltz in Church.  To throw them out is to lose a canon of beautiful music, and lyrical devotions worthy of a prayer book.

When Ray Boltz came out in 2008, it shook the Contemporary Christian music world.  Though he had retired several years before, his coming out spawned a massive hate fest on blogs, in magazines, chat rooms, and even hate mail to his house.  His career, and even his legacy, was nearly destroyed.  But he was a brave man, and that kind of devotion to God and bravery in the face of opposition, I think, doesn’t go unrewarded.

He put out a new album, True, in 2010.  Aimed at two audiences, Ray Boltz tries to meet both their needs.  His gruff, deep voice still sings about contemporary christian experience, but it has a focus and a drive now, to help Christians understand gays, and to reach out to the LGBT community.  Many of the songs ask Christians to reconsider their stance–that they are in error–and that they need to understand that gays mean no harm to their families or their Christianity.  In some ways, Ray Boltz is a Paul, trying to talk to us about gentiles, that we are a part of Christ’s plan and message.

I hope one day that Ray’s new songs are also sung in church.  “I will choose to love” is Ray’s response to the hate mail.  “I will choose to love/ though they shake their fists at me/and I will be myself/ and live in authenticity/ though they wrap their hatred in a message from above/ I will choose to love.”  A truly Christian response to the discrimination and judgment of Christians.

“Who would Jesus Love?” asks “would he only love the ones who look the same as me/ would he only offer hope if he saw similarity/ would he leave the others waiting like a stranger at the gate”–and challenges Christians to go beyond the narrow confines of the WWJD movement.

Should we sing Ray Boltz’s music in Church?  I hope so.  I hope we still do.  I hope that one day who someone loves will not interfere with the lyrics and the heart of their offering.  Ray Boltz has written some of the strongest, most beautiful Christian songs, and he still writes and sings these songs–in the churches that will let him.  Ray Boltz is singing his music in church, and I can’t think of a better way to express the heart of Christianity than to keep him singing, and sing with him.

Esther: The Queen Who Came Out   2 comments

Esther at the moment of decision—Sir John Everett Millais, painter, 1865

This article is from 2011, and is a bit dated because of that. *Jerome of 2021.  But the story of Esther can still be very empowering for queer folx! 

The Story of Esther in the Bible means a great deal to me.  On the day I decided to come out it was Esther who gave me the last push.  She was the one who told me–you aren’t just doing it for you.  You’re doing it to save your people.  Every act of coming out is about saving people.  But more on Esther in a moment.

Some background is in order:  I had kept the secret of being gay for five years before coming out—three of them I was gone from the Yukon, a student in Texas, researching whether or not God was okay with me being gay.  He was uppermost on my mind.  If He didn’t like it, I would go through therapy, I would become a monk, I would do whatever was necessary to change myself to fit what He wanted.  Thankfully, not only was He cool with me being gay, it was how he created me to be.  So it was quite a revelation.  However, just because God was okay with it, didn’t mean I was itching to tell my church.  People are unpredictable.

At first, I wondered if I really HAD to come out.  It wasn’t anyone else’s business.  I had known many gays who told me to go live my life and not bother with coming out at all.  Who needs to know?  — Well, I had lived my life pretty open to this point, and it was difficult to keep part of myself from people I loved.  In fact, it was so difficult it was hitting me on multiple levels that I had to come out.

1.  I had become deceptive.  This was hard for me to accept.  That I would have to hide who I was in order to keep the life I had been living, to keep the friends I had.  I was never a liar growing up—and never a liar as an adult.  But suddenly, I was a liar in order to keep the peace, to keep friends, to keep interacting with the church and people I loved.  It made me into a person I didn’t want to be.

2.  I wanted to share who I loved with the church.  They loved me, and I wanted to be as open as I could be with them–letting them know, like anyone else, when I was dating, when I was happy, why I was happy, who I loved.  One day I wanted to stand up with my boyfriend like so many other couples in the church and declare that we got engaged.  The whole crowd would clap.  There would be such a renewal of love and hope in the congregation whenever a young couple announced their upcoming marriage.

3.  God told me, point blank, that he couldn’t use me until I came out.  How could he use someone that had a secret to spill–a secret that might endanger whatever mission he would give me?  And further, how could God put me on any kind of road to minister to other gay christians–when I couldn’t be honest with them?

4.  I was hurting others who knew.  A woman in the church whom I’d told many months before came up to me and said–we can’t keep your secret any longer.  You have to tell the pastor.  She set in motion a pressure that would just increase every day until I came out.  She wasn’t threatening to tell–but she said that the pressure to keep the secret was hurting her family.

And then Esther came along.  I realized what I had to do—but for some reason I thought Easter was the best time to do it.  I knew that I would go from family to family, but just like it’s hard when you skydive to let go of the safety of the plane… I was lingering at the door, looking at the thousand mile drop below me.  I knew if I went to one family, it would get away from me and I would never be able to control who knew what.  The truth would be out and then they could decide to hurt me with it.

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Ray Boltz, Christian music artist, on coming out   2 comments

Ray Boltz, one of my personal heroes, came out about 8 months before I did.  I used to sing Ray Boltz’s songs at church, for special music.  I think his songs are deeply personal and passionate, and they resonated with christian audiences and congregations.  Ray Boltz sold a lot of CDs, but even more importantly, his music was a part of Christian worship for two decades.

He came out in the Washington Blade in September of 2008.  You can read the article here .  (I love how Christians who denounce Ray Boltz are actually the only places we can find the article….alas, skip the commentary, and enjoy Ray’s story)

But I think even more compelling is Ray in his music–and he has penned a new album, True.  This single from the album has a great video where it looks like Ray is typing his story….  it’s a powerful one.  It says a lot about what we think of as success, of what we guide young gay men to do, in hopes that this will change them: Ray married, Ray had kids, Ray was a big Christian music artist.  He did everything the church wanted him to do–except be who he was.  And now he is that.  And thank God!

Ray inspired me to take steps to come out.  If Ray could do it–someone with such a high profile, so much to lose–then I could take a little of that courage and come out too.

I’m still hoping to get Ray to come up to the Yukon soon.  🙂

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.

Will Sixteen Churches of the CBWC reconsider their stance on Homosexuality: an open letter   Leave a comment

Greetings, churches of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada.  I’m writing to you today to talk about an important issue that affects your church, or will affect your church very soon.

Most churches don’t realize that the “issue” of gays and lesbians in church already affects them.  It has a face.  You might have members of your church who are hiding out, closeted gays and lesbians. You might have members with close family who identify as gay or lesbian.  Inside your youth group, or your children’s church, are kids who will grow up to be gay or lesbian.   These are people you know.  They have faces you recognize.  What will your church do when any of these people come out?  Or when they ask you to accept and affirm them as you would anyone else?  Or what will you do if not “coming out” drives these people to hurt themselves, or hurt others by marrying heterosexual partners within your church and, therefore, hurting whole future families?

These are questions many churches are facing now.  They are hard questions to ask.  CBWC doesn’t currently have a policy on this.  Does your church?  Some churches are finding themselves blindsided when the moment arrives.  Forced to pick between their faith and the one they love, churches split, families are torn apart.

The Current situation in our churches

Gay and lesbian members of your churches are hurting.  The families of those members are hurting.  Some of the children you are raising in the church now will one day have to choose between their faith and their sexuality.  This will hurt your churches more than you can imagine.

Imagine this:  we tell our members that we offer them complete and total Christian love.  We baptize our babies and dedicate in front of the church, promising to be there for them as they grow.  We promise them that we will work out our differences in love.  However, from our pulpits, and in our practice, we show that if those people come out, show themselves to be gays and lesbians–that we will shun them, judge them, take away our friendships, our fellowship and our love.

In effect, we ask gay and lesbian members to lie, hide themselves and appear straight—because it will go better for them if they do.  And while they sit there, hidden, we condemn them with scripture and tell them that God does not love them as they are.  They are the only ones who are required to change first before they can become active Christians.  We hold them to a high standard, asking them to be celibate if they are openly gay or lesbian, or to lie and marry our sons and daughters, so that our churches don’t have to face an issue that every other church is facing.  What if our churches are believing the wrong interpretation of these scriptures?

Baptists are long overdue in revisiting, and reassessing, these scriptures.

Many gays leave the church because it is not a welcoming place.  For evangelicals, whose mission is to spread the word of God everywhere, it must be difficult to see people leaving the church because of our stand on homosexuality, and our lack of hospitality towards gays and lesbians—even those who were raised in our own churches.  We find ourselves asking: are we undoing the good work we were doing?

Some will say that we are doing the right thing.  That we are taking a Biblical, scriptural stand on homosexuality—one of loving the sinner and hating the sin. The CBWC, on their website under About Us/what we believe/specific beliefs, say that as one of the Baptist specific and unique beliefs, “Any sexual behaviour outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage is not affirmed biblically or historically.”

But other churches, even other Baptist churches, say differently, that biblically there is no injunction against loving gay couples, or single gays or lesbians.  These Baptist churches have made a different decision—and they have remained Baptist, kept all their theology, and yet they reach out and love their gay and lesbian members, accepting and affirming them firmly.  They keep the families we turn away.  And these churches also believe they are right.  How is this so?  They have scholars too.  They have theologians too.  Who’s right?  Do we owe it to our families and children to search the scriptures again, and to make sure we are right?

The consequences of getting it wrong every Sunday

When we discover there were families in the church who had gay and lesbian children, and they never told us, we reel with the hidden pain they felt as they heard our sermons about their children.

How do we feel when we realize that the kids we taught in Sunday School grew up to hate themselves, or that some of them might choose to take their own lives?  Or what if they leave God altogether because of what we said?  Does it bother us that other kids learned to taunt, look down on, or otherwise reject their gay and lesbian peers in our Sunday School classes?

If someone came to you today and told you that you could have all of your Baptist beliefs intact, but that there was a way to accept and love your gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, would you look into it?  Would you form a book study to look at it yourself?

“But I’m not Qualified…”

All of us feel comfortable researching a medical issue on our own, but not a spiritual one.  Many of us feel intimidated by someone with a seminary degree, but feel no intimidation approaching, with questions in hand, a doctor with a medical degree.  We believe that God speaks to all of us.  We believe in the Priesthood of the Believer, that we have the right to interpret, as well as the responsibility to interpret the Bible correctly.  But do we also know that we have the ability to interpret the Bible because of the Holy Spirit?

God did not expect everyone to get a seminary degree first before coming to Him.  He doesn’t put a bouncer at the door of heaven to anyone without the ability to understand Greek or Hebrew.  Through the Holy Spirit we learn, we grow, and we interpret the Word of God.

Study both interpretations

We can study this issue ourselves by listening to the Holy Spirit, reading our bible and reading commentary from those who have insight from both sides of the issue.  It’s how we understand ANY issue.  We put people who believe both sides passionately and then we read their reasons and arguments.  The CBWC has material on their side of the issue—that of accepting but not affirming gay people.  They also believe in the one man/one woman view of marriage.

There are many seminary-taught people, and lay people, who take a different interpretation of the scriptures concerning gay and lesbian people.  They are Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Mennonites, the United Church, among others, and they accept gay and lesbian people, both single and married, into full membership with full rights to serve God.  And they can show you in scripture how they did it.  Hundreds of churches, who have the same theology you do, made the effort to look at the scripture again, and choose to save these people by pulling them lovingly back into the church, and affirming who God made them to be.

Where can I find information on this interpretation?

There are many websites that cover the basics of the scriptures we use to condemn gay people.  They give an overview of how they are interpreting the scripture.  The best of these sites are at Whosoever magazine, and the Welcoming and Affirming Baptist Churches website.

For those of you who want a more thorough study, good books exist on this subject. Jack Roger’s Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality makes a wonderful book study.  No one can stop you from learning the truth about the widespread turning away of gay and lesbian Christians and their families.  Only you can do something to help them.

Things you can do:

1. Form a book study to read one of the books listed as a group

2. Have a video night and invite others to watch one of the DVDs listed on the Helpful Resources page

3. Ask the church to hold a churchwide forum or discussion that takes into consideration both sides of this issue—with knowledgeable representatives from both sides.

4. Invite a Christian gay person to your meeting, or to your house to talk to him or her about their faith.

5. Invite the family of a Christian gay or lesbian person over to your house to talk to them.  Give them encouragement and hospitality no matter where either of you stand on the issue.

6. If someone comes out in your church, make a public show of support for that person, whether or not you have worked out the theology yourself.  That show of support could be the difference between life and death, someone staying or someone leaving, a church together or a church split.

7.    If someone comes out in the church and they are in a service position, it’s okay to ask them to step down from any service position until you can study the issue.  This is not too much to ask.  But please study the issue.  Pick a date by which the study will be done, look at both sides of the issue from sides that support the affirming and accepting of gay people, and those that don’t.  Publicly affirm them as a person while you do the study and be ready to hear them when they want to speak.

Why did you write us this letter?

You are members of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, one of the sixteen churches represented by members of the Board of the CBWC.  Like you, my church belongs to this denomination.  I am a member of Riverdale Baptist Church in the Yukon Territory.  Our church has been facing this complicated issue over the last year and a half.  It has not been easy for anyone.  You can read more about me, Jerome Stueart, if you follow the My Story link.  You can also view there letters I sent to my own church here, and to the CBWC.  My hope is that this will be a resource, one of many, for your church, for it is addressed, like a personal letter to your sixteen churches.

Each of your churches are linked multiply to this letter, and you can contact and discuss this issue with each other.  Many times we never see or hear from the churches in our denomination–we may not even be aware of them.  But today, like that moment that happens in church on Sunday morning, I want you to stand up and greet one another:

First Baptist Church, Prince Albert, SK

Willowlake Baptist Church, Winnipeg

First Baptist, Brandon MB

Leduc Community Baptist Church, AB

First Baptist Church, Pincher Creek, AB

Clive Baptist Church, AB

First Baptist Church, Kelowna, BC

First Baptist Church, Port Alberni, BC

Westview Baptist Church, Calgary

Riverdale Baptist Church, Whitehorse, YT

First Baptist Church, Penticton BC

Broadmoor Baptist Church, Richmond BC

Westhill Park Baptist Church, Regina

First Baptist Church, Lethbridge AB

First Baptist Church, Vancouver

Bethel Baptist Church, Sechelt BC

And the group that binds them together:  the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada

My hope is that you will sit down and talk about this issue, that you will do it in your homes, that you will do it in your studies, that you will do it in your fellowships, and that you will ask your administration to join you at some point.  Be careful that you do not reflexively defer to your pastor for his knowledge alone to solve this–or else you lose what we hold dear about being a Baptist–that we do not need an intermediary between us and the Holy Spirit, that we can listen to the Holy Spirit and interpret scripture too.  By all means, invite him in–but find a way to come to consensus on the verses, and the Bible, and what the Holy Spirit is saying.  These are your families being affected, not a theological issue to be parsed.

We cannot continue to preach condemnation on gays and lesbians and others in the GLBT community and not reap the consequences of misrepresenting Christ.  Our churches will dwindle in attendance.  Our own children will walk away from the church.  And we will be forced to wear this condemnation against gay people as either a tar baby or badge of honour.

I pray that the churches will consider this request while there is still time to change course.  Your church is part of the CBWC and they will not want you to openly discuss this, to hold a forum on it, or to put it to a vote.  It could mean your expulsion from the CBWC.  But who is it that can harm you if you are eager to do good? (1 Peter 3:13)

The CBWC does great things in the world, and there is no denying that they are a help to other countries, as well as many communities in Canada.  But irreparable harm is being done to people who are being told to hate who they are, or to change who they are for the sake of God and the church.  Quite frankly churches bully gay people and their families until they submit to the pressure.  This was never the intent of the good news.  Despite all the good we do, if we hurt others to do it, can we say we are following God?

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Please let your sixteen churches be the first to study this issue–every person–to make sure your church is not contributing to the problem, and to make sure that the good news gets to every person, regardless of race, gender, sex, nationality, ability, sexual orientation, or any other factor.  The Good News is the Good News of Salvation to every one.

Blessings and the Peace of Christ to you,

Jerome Stueart

If someone has already come out in your church, or you want to know what to do when they do come out–even if you don’t agree with their interpretation of the issue, please consider reading: when someone comes out in your church.  We can react in a loving way–we can sit and listen to each other.  We can be Christ to each other.

Jim Swilley, Pastor of Megachurch, Church In the Now, comes out boldly   Leave a comment

You have to hand it to Jim Swilley.  A difficult decision to come out to his church, but he did so boldly and without excuses.  He writes to his congregation that he doesn’t have to recant his old beliefs, or ask forgiveness for any of his old messages.  “I have never one time in nearly 39 years of preaching said a derogatory or condemning word about people with same-sex attraction. An in-depth search can be made through my books, or through decades-worth of tapes, CDs, DVDs, or manuscripts of my sermons, and there will be no evidence of the preaching of condemnation found.”  He hit the ground running when he came out, producing a video of his sermon, “A Real Message to Real People.”  Read his blog announcement here–it’s brilliant.

When Jim came out, it was unscripted, and happened during a service.  But the service was taped and you can watch the sermon here.  It’s beautiful.

My hat goes off to Jim Swilley.  That he was so bold, so courageous and became unapologetically gay and christian.  For our world we need more like him.  And I know there are more pastors and more folks serving in churches who are gay, and their transitions may not be as easy, but they will be as valued, and as important to the ministry of all peoples.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Martin Luther King, Jr. said.  And when you come out, you help everyone–those who need LGBT people in their lives, those who are LGBT people, and those who have family and friends who are LGBT.  All of us need to hear that God loves us.  And when we see love and tenderness coming from the church, to anyone, we can’t help but be affected positively.  Conversely, if we see bigotry and withdrawal coming from a church, our hearts shrink in proportion.

So thank you Jim Swilley!  It is your bigness of gesture and the bigness of your church’s response that swells up our own hearts in love and celebration!

Posted November 13, 2010 by jstueart in churches

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Creating a Helpful Books Page   Leave a comment

I get asked a lot which books I would recommend for those seeking some answers in their struggle to reconcile their faith with homosexuality.  I’ve started compiling a list of books I found most helpful.  On the top of the list is Jack Roger’s Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality–with a study guide.  For churches and individuals who are seeking answers, it’s thorough, complete, but not too heady.  

When I was looking, I didn’t want answers based on “feelings” or “desires” or “wants”…. I needed a way to think of homosexuality as I think of other things: in accordance with the one book that holds a lot of importance and authority in my life–the Bible.  If I couldn’t find a Biblical way to make it work–a way to make it work within my faith–I don’t know how I would have coped with being gay.  

Christians have a worldview that includes a personal relationship with a god–the God.  This is so radical that I think we’ve lost sight of how radical it is to talk like this, both inside the Christian community and what we sound like outside of it.  But the truth is—we DO communicate with a god, and that God is seriously in love with us.  He watches us individually as if we were the only person on Earth, and he cares what’s happening in our lives.  So, we don’t want to hurt him, and we don’t want to do anything to mess up that relationship.  

This is why many Christians who find out they are gay commit suicide.  They can’t find a way to reconcile these two things.  The Helpful Books page is a way, I think, for people to find the merging of their faith–INTACT–with their sexuality.  If they are afraid of the “lifestyle” choices of other gays, they need not be—straight men and women also choose “lifestyles” that aren’t the most productive.  You can choose to do whatever you want to do with this life you are given, straight or gay.  The important part is to choose life.

The Books page is for anyone looking for life.  

 

Inclusive Orthodoxy: the Best of Both Worlds, the Bridge for Both Worlds   Leave a comment

header-1

I’ve noticed a widening gap happening between Christians and gays.  The churches most likely to welcome them are less interested in orthodoxy, and gays are less and less interested in anything that has to do with organized religion, which has been, in the past, little more than organized hatred.  And for closeted gays who are part of orthodox churches—I’m talking to you, Mr. Baptist, as well–the thought of leaving church doctrine behind when they change to a more accepting church–is as difficult as coming out.  Gays shouldn’t have to come out of Orthodoxy, too.   And yet, the refuges are set up on the outskirts of doctrine.

Naturally, it’s done this way because doctrine was the scourge used to whip us.  So, as my MCC pastor once said, “we give people what they can handle right now.” And she believed that the scarring was so thick in the gay community that anything smacking of rules was going to be too stringent.  I agree partially.  We have to re-emphasize love–even over-emphasize it–because it has been de-emphasized in favor of judgment in most evangelical churches.  For those running from scripture-heavy bludgeons, some inclusive churches are choosing instead to either debunk regular orthodoxy, emphasizing a circus tent of interesting theories, played merely for their challenges to conservative, normative theology {God as Woman, Jesus as Gay, The not-so divine Jesus, the less-than-miraculous God, the Error-Filled Bible}, or churches play the melody of love as often as they can, as a soother for pain, while ignoring any regulations or doctrinal beliefs.

Inclusive Orthodoxy, a website started by Justin Cannon, hopes to bridge that gap by giving churches who preach orthodoxy the skills and knowledge to be inclusive, and to give churches who are inclusive some understanding of how to keep or preach orthodoxy.  Mostly, though, it helps people like me who want to keep my beliefs and my sexuality intact.  I’d like to go to a Baptist church that values me as a gay man.  They also list links for finding inclusive orthodox churches in your area, have topics on Bible and Homosexuality, women in the church, how to preach orthodoxy, how to practice inclusion.

Really, this website is the needed bridge between these two ideologies.  We can’t afford to exclude gays from knowing Christ–even if that image has been tarnished over time; and we can’t allow churches to exclude gays any longer.

Gays can make great, orthodox Christians–whatever brand of denomination that is!  We’ve been your true believers when we were closeted.  We’d like to be your true believers when we’re  Out.

Posted January 10, 2009 by jstueart in Uncategorized

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Is Homosexuality morally wrong?   Leave a comment

Great argument by Dr. John Corvino.

Posted January 6, 2009 by jstueart in Uncategorized

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