Definitely Not the Opera, (DNTO) a CBC Radio One program devoted to the art of storytelling in Canada, asked me to tell my story of coming out to my church for their Nov 3 show “Lost Causes”.
I had pitched the idea to them last year for a different show called “Making Enemies” but withdrew the pitch because a) I don’t think I meant to make enemies, nor do I think I have made enemies; and 2) because I didn’t want to restir a pot that has finally calmed down.
But they remembered my pitch. And they sought me out. Which is humbling, and cool. We recorded on Friday morning and they are editing my lengthy story to 3-4 minutes. I appreciate Andrew Friesen’s belief that my story was important and needed to be told. I feel like the story is more appropriate under “Lost Causes” because trying to reason with people who don’t want to listen to you, or discuss with you–and believing that you alone have to spark change–well, it can feel like a “Lost Cause”. But in the end–and the end hasn’t come yet–who knows if the cause is lost? I think every person who says the church must look at the evidence, must consider the Christian testimonies of LGBT folks in the discussion, is a step towards change. We need more people who realize how many people have fallen away from the faith, have decided against Christ, have been repelled from the church, and who, sometimes when there is no hope left, taken their own lives, all because the Church has historically refused to consider the scriptures in an accepting light–and this causes their members to refuse to accept their children in an accepting light. This splits familes. My God and my Christ are not what I encounter when I come into a Baptist Church anymore. I daresay they wouldn’t recognize it. Churches are not all one defined Mass though–as many churches are beginning to change their minds about LGBT people. Episcopals, Lutherans, Presbyterians, United Church of Canada–all have begun seeing that this is just the next issue the church has to rethink. As it did slavery, race, and its treatment of Women. And divorce. Change comes when people inside churches decide they can’t hold false doctrine anymore. Christianity and Faith are not the problem. Interpretation is.
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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. 🙂
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.