Archive for the ‘God’ Tag

Can you be gay and Christian? Oh, yeah.   Leave a comment

1037743589_22014b9577Yes, thankfully.  Amen.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” says Paul in Romans 8.

We always get stuck on Romans 1, as if that’s the point of Romans–to condemn people.  The point of Romans is to remind those Christians in Romans the great sacrifice Christ made for all of us sinners, and show us the security we have as a believer.  If you are a Christian, there is no condemnation in Christ.  You are not condemned because you are gay, or because you have gay feelings, same-sex feelings or desires.  Just like God won’t condemn you if you have straight feelings or desires.  It would be silly for God to block certain people from his kingdom, as he issued a blanket invitation to the whole world.

I know I am not condemned because I am gay and still Christian, and I know that because thousands of other gays are Christian too.  They are all over the world.  We are just as led by the spirit as straight Christians, just as “saved” and “sanctified” and “forgiven” and “covered in the blood of Jesus.”  Amen.  The same transformation happened with me as it did with you: that our minds and desires were transformed from the things of this world, to the things above, and how we can become more like the people God wants us to become.  Straight people don’t lose their sexual desire when they become Christian; neither do gay people.  I was a Christian before I knew I was gay.  And I’m certainly a Christian after I figured out I was gay.

Gay people are just like Straight people in that they can have Faith.  Read this Barna research study about gay spiritual life.  Apparently a lot of gays have strong beliefs, some of these gays are strong Christians.  You can discuss more with them at several of their portal sites on the web like Gay Christian Network and Rainbow Christians.

You have to ask yourself how you measure Christianity in yourself.  Is it [ the amount of times you read the Bible  X  how often you pray  X  how often you go to church  X  how much of the Bible you got memorized ] ?  No, it’s not a math formula or a checklist.  It’s about a personal relationship with God, a supernatural being who created humankind.  It’s also about trying to live a moral life which involves more than sexual mores–it involves kindness, compassion, longsuffering, generosity, hospitality, and a whole lot more.  Christians spend a lot of time on the sexual parts–but really, how we treat other people is more important.  So, if you’re concerned about your Christianity only because you’re thinking you might be gay, stop worrying.  You’re fine.

Christians measure our Christianity personally, on the inside.  It’s not a series of things you do or don’t do.   And if you’re worried about your relationship with God, that’s a good sign that you have one.  People who aren’t Christian probably don’t care if God likes what they are doing or not.

So, what you need to do now is check out the Helpful Resources page.  You probably want to read some scriptures and find out how gay christians interpret the Bible.  We don’t do any hocus pocus on scripture to make it say “gay people are great.”  It just never said what we’ve been taught that it said.  And that page has resources that can show you what the Bible doesn’t say.

There are posts on my website here on famous gay Christians–people of faith who were gay, like Henri Nouwen, Ray Boltz, Jennifer Knapp, Sarah Em, Cardinal John Henry Newman, and even King James (for whom we credit the impetus for putting the most famous version of the Bible together).  This is a small list because gay christians couldn’t be very famous before now—they kind of get excommunicated, or thrown out of their churches.  You’ll find, however, that gay Christians are becoming more and more known, and we’re finding that historically those who have been hidden are being brought out.

If you are christian, and feeling same sex feelings, or know you are gay, it’s okay.  You can be both, gay and Christian.  God expects you to be both, and has a plan for your life just as he always has.  You can’t derail God’s plans for you, no matter who you are attracted to. Chances are, that plan included the fact that you were gay.

PS.  A special message to Jason Collins, NBA basketball player who came out today– “Don’t let anyone take God away from you.  Anyone who says you can’t be Christian and gay has a) never been Christian and gay, and b) hasn’t heard of Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopalians, or all the other denominations that have realized that you can be gay and Christian–all their theologians are a lot smarter than an ESPN correspondent or a few conservatives who listen to too much evangelical TV.  These voices who think they know God’s mind without study are like people who argue with their doctor because they read something on WebMD.  Keep being the wonderful man God created you to be.  Ignore them.  They aren’t the voice of God.”

Advertisements

Barna Research Group Study of the Spiritual Life of Gays   1 comment

The Barna Group recently did a survey of gay spiritual life, as compared to straight counterparts.  The study surprised them.  Since their copyright disclaimer says we can’t quote from them without permission, I’ll direct you to their website, from the link above.  Read the survey.  It’s short.

But the Barna Research Group found that gays took their faith seriously, even if churches wouldn’t allow them in.  The gay community is huge and varied.  Gay people are married, have kids, have respectable jobs, are responsible, moral, faithful, compassionate and Christian, and they are also atheist, and Buddhist, and some are irresponsible, some are immoral, some are unmarried–in effect, they have the same population dynamics that represent you.  You just don’t see them coming to your church if your church has a policy against gays.

I think George Barna’s comments show, remarkably, that despite the Christian church’s pushing away gays from church, they have not succeeded in pushing them away from faith.  Further, Barna notes that the stereotypes break down when you see this survey.  Good for us!

The questions and the answers

What I think is obvious, though, is, when straights and gays are surveyed, that their differences in church attendance, in the importance of religion, in the view of God, or the way our faith guides our lives, have a lot to do with how gays are currently treated by the church. Would you want to make “orthodox Christianity” part of your life if you were told that God, and that orthodox faith, condemns you?

The questions the Barna survey asked: whether they would call themselves Christian or if they were committed to the Christian faith?  The fact that four out of 10 gays said they were committed is AMAZING.  But the “noticeable gap” can be explained by the fact that the Christian Faith is not committed to reaching out to gays–but is  committed to reaching out to married heterosexuals, and it is committed to pushing away gays, especially married gays (who have to be “active lifestyle” advocates.)

Again, the Barna survey findings think it is “interesting” that homosexuals aren’t involved in their “local church.”  I’m just not sure if the Barna people’s next survey ought not to be a survey of local churches that allow gay people.  That might clear up the mystery.  That gays don’t feel their faith is “communal”, but instead “individual” also reflects the lack of positive experience in communal church situations.  Much safer to practice faith as an individual.  It’s safer at home, by yourself.  Our views of God are wider because we are trying to find a view of God that has not been appropriated by people who condemn us. And certainly we don’t want Fred Phelps’ God.

Why wouldn’t homosexuals buy into a Bible as the “accurate word of God” as much as straight people do?    Biblical inerrancy has gone hand in hand with condemnation of gays and lesbians.  Their literal interpretation often follows those 1950s translations of the “clobber passages,” reading “homosexuals” as the favorite whipping boy.  It’s no wonder gays would think that there might be an error or two in the translation.  It’s a miracle gays have a christian faith at all, if the central book, the Bible, is viewed as inerrant in its literal 1950s  translation.

I think the survey reveals the damage done to gays and lesbians in churches and the remarkable resiliency of their faith despite persecution.

I applaud the Barna Group and challenge them to conduct a survey on area churches and their practices towards gays and lesbians both in their church and outside their church.  Secondly, a survey that asked members of local churches what they think they should do in regards to gays and lesbians who come to their church, and where they think the church will be in ten years on this issue.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: