Hey guess what? Gay marriage is legal in the U.S.. In case you were wondering why every building, cupcake and gigantic Ferris wheel in America was bathed in Technicolor. I write a blog about my gay life, my Christian life and my journey thus far. I am sure that a lot of my readers, all 6 of ‘em, have been waiting to see what I have to say. Rest assured. I always have something to say. I was at a loss for words once. Only once.
It was a rainy night. I had been driving along, when suddenly, a brilliant, neon orange, illuminated sign proclaiming, “HOT NOW” beckoned to me. Rushing in to claim my free, Krispy Kreme donut, I was told that the free donut promotion had been…discontinued. I took a vow of silence and fashioned a black, Christian Dior, argyle dress sock into a makeshift armband, which I wore for 3 weeks.
Much like the animals I used to train at Sea World, I have learned a lot from the mistakes of my past. I have learned that my response to the Chick-fil-A scandal of a few years back was hasty; that my agreement with Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty was over exuberant. This time around, with such a hot topic as gay marriage poised and ready to make it’s way down the line, like one of my favorite, fried Krispy Kreme delicacies, I pause for a moment of prayer, reflection and careful thought. I envision a gay community with faces, hearts and souls, rather than the visage of a great, political monster that just pissed me off with “what he had said!”.
If have you have known me five minutes, you know that I lived as a gay man for 10 years. I had an encounter with Jesus. He led me to walk away from my gay life. My friend Sy said this of walking away from homosexuality. “I didn’t leave homosexuality, because I thought it was bad. I left homosexuality, because I found something better.” That something better was Jesus. This isn’t a blog about whether you can be gay and Christian. I won’t try to convince you of anything, but rather I would challenge you to go somewhere quiet, have a conversation with Jesus and give Him the chance to awaken your heart to the truth.
I grew up in the Assembly of God church. We shouted, sang and jumped around. Church services were similar to an Ozzy concert, except we were always angry if the devil showed up. I grew up perceiving that “homosexuals were an abomination” to God. Much like many of my gay contemporaries, I knew at a very young age that I felt different from other boys. In later years I was led to believe that meant I was gay. 30 years later, with tears pouring down my face I would read a very biblical, extremely compassionate document authored by the AOG General Counsel about homosexuality, circa 1979. I was 9 years old. A great and deep ache welled up within me. Questions flooded in. “Why was I just hearing about this now?” “Why hadn’t I been privy to the life giving words of this document when I needed it most?” “Where was this scripture when I was sustaining the emotional blows of the misinterpreted mantra of Leviticus 18:22?” This document had the potential to save me from so many years of heartache and brokenness as a gay man, yet I had never heard of it until now.
I don’t believe that all the people in my church were bigoted A-holes, bent on the destruction of homosexuals. I believe that the real answer was tinged with fear, misunderstanding and ignorance brought about by the enemy of our soul; satan. To the gay community and the Christian community alike, I humbly say this. Satan is the true enemy: not the church or the gay community.
I have known my friend Justin for years. Justin is gay and he is one hell of an animal trainer. He has an incredible heart and a beautiful spirit. When Justin came into my life, he had been with his partner Anthony for 13+ years. What would you think my first assignment from God was concerning Justin? Tell him to repent for being gay? Share Jesus and my testimony with him? None of the above. God simply said, “Love him”. I did a pretty good job. I learned that when you are given the freedom to love someone, you are relieved of the duty of having to “fix” them. When you look beyond a person’s sin and brokenness, you can begin to love them the way Jesus does. Everyone, regardless of whom they choose to marry, has human needs that create opportunities, which allow us to share the love of Jesus, before we ever quote a single line of scripture.
I loved Justin well. When his partnership with Anthony ended, he came to me in tears. His sadness wasn’t my opportunity to speak out against sin. It was a chance to comfort another human being with the comfort that I had been comforted with myself; the love of Jesus. How did I comfort him? I shared about my own breakup with a boy almost 20 years ago. I could speak to my friend Justin from a humble place of familiarity, rather than from the self-righteous perch atop my Ivory Tower.
I believe God has something better for every gay man and woman that far outweighs the expected hopes and promises of gay marriage or even a gay life. There may be victory for the moment, but this win will do nothing to silence the ache of lonely hearts that only Jesus can quell.
I know why so many in the gay community seek to legalize gay marriage. I understand them. I have lived them. This isn’t a blog written by another Christian standing to bash the church. I was wounded by men in the church, but it was in the church at the hands of other men that I found healing and affirmation. I would ask the church at large and the pastors who have been praying vehemently against gay marriage one question: “If you view gay marriage as an event so heinous as to usher in the Apocalypse, do you have something better to offer the gay community instead?” Wouldn’t our prayers for the salvation of lost people have been better than thousands of prayers to stave off a single, inevitable event indicative of the fallen world we live in. If thousands in the gay community knew Jesus as their savior, it wouldn’t have mattered if Freddie Mercury himself resurrected to perform the ceremonies.
I write to the gay community and Christians alike. I ask humbly for your consideration. If you are happy being gay, I won’t challenge you. If you are gay and unhappy, I implore you to add Jesus to your search. To the church at large, I need you to know. I was raised in the congregation of an AOG church, not cooked up in a lab in San Francisco. I believe I was born Artistic, Sensitive and Creative, not gay. To a large extent my sensitive nature was not prized among the men in the church, but was celebrated in the arms of the gay community. Men of God, it’s your role to decide who will shape the lives and destinies of sensitive boys like me: the church or the world.
I responded unwisely and hastily to political shakeups of the past. I don’t want to be “that Christian”. I want to be the Christian whose light shines so bright that the lost are drawn in like I was to the “HOT NOW” sign. I want to impact each person I encounter with a heart surrendered to Jesus, rather than a Facebook page filled with witty rhetoric. I want each person who encounters me to leave loved, affirmed and heard. I want to be a Christian who isn’t afraid to set knee to knee and eye to eye with someone from the gay community or anyone else who needs a little less battle and whole lot more compassion.