If you follow this blog at all, you know that I sometimes publish here emotionally excruciating letters from gay Christians (such as yesterday’s “Am I Seeking the Truth Because I Want to Justify My Sin?”; see also “God, Why Did You Make Me This Way? Why Did You Give Me This Life?”, “Help: I Want to Come Out to My Loving Evangelical Father,” and, A PCUSA Lay Minister Stays in the Closet.)
In preparing for my book I’m OK – You’re Not, I put a shout-out on Craigslists all over the country for anything that non-Christians wanted to say to Christians about evangelicals’ efforts to convert them. The resultant testimonies (which you can read in my post, What Non-Christians Want Christians to Hear) wound up having a terrific impact on the kinds of books Christian publishers subsequently published; suddenly, it was all about actually listening to non-Christians. (Yay me.)
I want now to have the same kind of impact on the relationship between gay and evangelical Christians. I’m exhausted with the absurd notion that gays can’t be just as Christian as any pastor in any pulpit in any church in the country. And I have found that nothing can more trenchantly drive that point home than gay Christians simply telling their own stories.
And if gays can be Christian, then … well, then we’ve necessarily got ourselves a whole new dialogue about Christianity and homosexuality.
So let’s do it. Let’s make that dialogue happen. Let’s force the change. Let’s present what will be impossible to ignore.
If you’re an LGBT Christian who would like evangelical Christians to hear your story, here’s your chance. Write your story in the first person. Try to keep it under 2000 words. (But basically just use however many words you need; we can later adjust the length if necessary.) Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or any of that sort of thing; I can edit and hone it for you. (And please understand that by submitting your story to me you are thereby granting me full permission to do just that before it’s published.) I don’t care how well “written” your story is; I just want your raw, true, and heartfelt words.
The stories in the collection will presented anonymously. Identity-wise, all I need from you is two initials, and whatever city you (want to say you) live in — same as in the bylines for What Non-Christians Want Christians to Hear.
Submit your story to me either via my “Contact Me” page, or by email to: john [AT] johnshore [DOT] com. Sending me your story implies granting me obligation-free permission to include it in the (as-yet-unnamed) collection, and to edit it as I see fit. You won’t be compensated for your story; just knowing evangelicals will read it has to be motivation enough for you to write it. (I could no sooner track and deal with ongoing payments to fifty different people than I could win a Flamenco dancing contest.) I don’t yet know if I’ll publish this book as an e-book, or with a traditional book publisher.
Along with your story, be sure to include the initials and state (or country) you’d like me to use as attribution to that story. So each story will end with, for instance, “J.S., San Diego,” or “M.D, New York.” Like that. Make ‘em up if you want to. But give me something.
If you believe in this project and would like to see it happen, please spread this post to wherever you know gay Christians gather online. The more stories I get in for it the better.
Here’s to effecting change by affecting hearts.
[UPDATE! Yeah, this isn't really an update. But over on my Facebook fan page I just engaged in a little exchange, in which I wrote a couple of things about this project that I thought I might share here; namely:
1. " ... . For what it's worth, I actually have no particular interest in changing anyone's mind. I know that's a fool's errand. My primary interest and imperative is presenting these stories in a way that's worthy of them. That, to me, is where the power is. I want them to exist in the world, in a way that can't be ... refuted. I want them in a book, basically: I want them to have that kind of enduring presence, that gravitas. That's it. I don't look past that, really. I know that will be enough.
2. " ... I'd like to fill it with the personal testimony of only gay Christians: I want the tom-tom beat that would come with that kind of constant to have its intended effect, you know what I mean? Same hammer, over and over, on the same stake, until it's driven flat. That's what I'm after here."]
[UPDATE DEUX!! There's no deadline/due date for these stories. When/if I have enough of them, I'll post something about how I'll accept stories for, say, two more weeks, or whatever, and wind it down that way. I'll certainly give anyone who's serious about submitting enough time to finish their story and get it in.]
[UPDATE TRES!!! Okay, this isn't even almost an update. But part of why I want to compile and edit this book is because of the guys about whom I wrote a bit in Devout Gay Christians I've Known and Loved.]