Last week, Christianity Today‘s spinoff Leadership Journal published a joke of a piece called “Help, I’m Gay.” Unfortunately not satirical, it’s an imagined conversation between Pastor Stanton L. Jones and a fictional gay man (“Todd“) whose comments are “a composite drawn from many of Stan’s interactions” with LGBT people who are unhappy in the church.
The premise of the piece is pretty similar to lots of other “conversations” we see between conflicted LGBT Christians and their smiling-but-belittling church leaders. Lots of loving the sinner and hating the sin; lots of suggesting that being true to God should be prioritized over being true to oneself. And, as always, plenty of unanswered questions and/or vague responses:
Todd: I’m not inclined to think the Scriptures are just wrong. But why does God condemn homosexual conduct? Does he hate me? That’s what Romans 1 seems to imply.
Jones: I am not sure I have a great answer for that. The Scriptures relate the commands but do not give extensive justifications of those commands.
Oh, good. That’s helpful! Patheos’ Tony Jones (I assume there’s no relation, but I’ll refer to him as Tony for clarity’s sake) discussed the faux interview last week, taking serious issue with the pastor’s ultimate suggestion that gay people should shamefully confess their identities to a church official and ask to take on a desired leadership position, anyway. Tony writes:
I think we can all agree that this is some bad advice. If you’re gay, don’t tell your evangelical pastor, “I’m a man who feels sexual attraction to other men, but I’m staying chaste. Can I please serve as a leader in this church?”
No, don’t do that.
Instead, find another church.
There’s more bad advice at play here than simply the pastor’s suggestion to throw your livelihood away in the spirit of leading a bigoted church. In fact, pretty much every one of Pastor Jones’ responses reeks of anti-gay prejudice and homophobia — which is especially problematic when this article posits itself as the ultimate answer for struggling LGBT Christians.