Gay Christians: Tell the World Your Story

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.

Coolio, team.

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.]

Print Friendly

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is co-founder of The NALT Christians Project and founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here). His blog is here. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://johnshore.com Jim Cox

    John, I read your stuff every day…. insightful to say the least… and being a Presbyterian, I’m a bit closer to the issue than I have been in the past. Your idea re. LBGTs telling their story to evangelical Christians is a great idea, but a word of caution and a question. Before you publish the reflections, it is important that the stories be validated (not just made up, perhaps by a heterosexual out for “some fun.” How might this be done?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Sorry, Jim: looks like my answer to your good question appears a few comments above this one.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

    I’ve been accepting and editing for publication stories from freelance writers for 15 years. (For ten years, before moving into books, I worked as a magazine and newspaper editor.) There are a million ways you can tell about the authenticity of any given submission. Mainly, it happens through the kinds of back-and-forth exchanges in which you necessarily engage before you can bring to print any submitted piece. Ten exchanges into any such communication, and you know exactly who you’re dealing with. I vetted about 200 of the submission for “I’m OK,” and got it down to the 50 I knew were real, and that I liked best. I had no subsequent problem with any of them–as I knew I wouldn’t. (Besides, why would anyone want to write a fake letter, in which they pretend to be an LGBT Christian who has had to struggle with all that implies?)

    • http://www.beckygarrison.com Becky

      John – I can see some folks faking it for a host of reasons …

      1) They have some form of munchausen whereby they elicit sympathy, etc. from folks by telling a made up sob story.

      2) They want to use a story to illuminate the sinful “homosexual” lifestyle by showing a life pre and post Jesus.

      3) They want to try and out a well known figure they suspect is gay by telling a story that sounds like this person.

      And the list goes on … but you rock and know how to spot the crap. I’m not worried at all about that. :)

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        No, I mean … each of those would be so obvious. Anyway, righto. As you say, it’s just … not anything I’m even a little worried about. I always make sure to understand who/what I’m dealing with with this kind of stuff. Anyone lame enough to want to try to FAKE this sort of thing is too lame to do it well.

        • denver

          I think maybe people are thinking this now because it turns out the bloggers “gay girl in Damascus” and “lez get real” – both supposed to be lesbians, turned out to both be straight guys. As my friend on FB said, “Quit trying to ‘help’, people!”

          • http://www.beckygarrison.com Becky

            John – I hear you. I was just noting that I can see why someone might want to do this.

            And see how quickly they were debunked. It’s not hard to do. :)

            The bigger issue is that this book could really open up some eyes here and that’s key. We’re talking human beings here not statistics. And they have stories that once people hear, they might have a change of heart. Or so we pray.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Yeah, I mean, if I get in enough stories, and they’re solid/real enough, this one could seriously impact the conversation. When I put out the call on “I’m OK,” I got in over 300 statements within two hours. It was overwhelming. This of course reaches out to a MUCH smaller demographic, but it’ll be interesting to see if it stirs any response. It’ll depend on anyone who reads this spreading the word. I’d send it to the Gay Christian Network, but in the past my overtures to them have gone without response. So. There’s that. So we’ll see!

  • http://www.beckygarrison.com Becky

    Great idea John – I think there’s a way to easily verify people’s stories by having them agree to a quick phoner with John. He’s very savvy and can easily figure out who is telling a real story and who is being full of crap. There’s tonalities one can detect using one’s voice here.

  • Suz

    Wonderful. Is it going to be in print or only in e-book form? I already have a list of places I want to “accidentally” leave copies behind.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      from post, “I don’t yet know if I’ll publish this book as an e-book, or with a traditional book publisher.” (Hi, Suz!)

      • Suz

        Oops! Sorry, I haven’t slept much this week! I’m officially requesting paper: I’ll buy as many as I can afford!

  • denver

    I love you, John Shore, but not in a straight way. ;)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I love myself, too. But not in a way with my curtains open.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      You mean, “No hetero”?

  • http://gaychristiangeek.blogspot.com Rainicorn

    This is a great idea! Having spent my first two years as a Christian attending an evangelical church and staying closeted there, I have a complex emotional relationship with evangelicals (God love ‘em) and I will definitely share…

  • Wes

    I’ll send you my story, John. I’d be honored to be a part of helping others gain perspective on gay Christians.

  • http://manalive7@blogspot.com Allen

    But who will speak for all us heterosexual men–forced by the church and society to be monogamous? This is so cruel! When will society and the church allow hetero men to be who they really are–polygamous? God made us this way!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      What a dick.

      • Jackie Morrison

        Yes. Correct. What a dick.

        • Ramond

          I’m sorry…. are you comparing the desire to have more than one sex partner to sexual orientation?

          • http://www.churchinthenow.org Patti Cook

            He’s trying to but he’s coming up short…guess that means he’s a short dick? :o

          • David M

            humming, “Don’t want No short d_ck man!”

          • John Shore lives on my bumper sticker (Erin D.)

            LOL all!!

          • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

            Fer cryin’ out loud, I didn’t need THAT earworm…

    • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

      Well, if you want to get technical, polyamory is Biblical – several of Isreal’s historical figures practiced it. I forget how many wives Solomon had, and something like 300 concubines…

      I can also point out remote, western portions of the country (U.S.A.) where you can practice this if you really want to, but the communities that do so are doing so under the radar/outside the law and are generally considered cults. Also, I’m not sure said communities would admit your species – I mean, your kind usually are found under bridges near goat farms.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        Solomon was not so much polyamorous—that is, being in relationships of romantic love with multiple other people at the same time—as just plain promiscuous. The number of wives that player had was 700, by the way (plus the 300 concubines you mentioned). It just doesn’t seem possible that one man could maintain true romantic interest in—much less fall in love with—a thousand different simultaneous woman. That was just lust and trade agreements.

        Anyway, people can practice polyamory all they want. It’s polygamy that’s illegal, because such is not a valid marriage, so it is only by fraud that in the United States one might have or presents oneself as having such a marriage.

    • DR

      Ah, the injured white American male. I love it when they start showing up.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        Hey! *I’m* the injured white American male, and I’ve been here the whole time. I’m not about to let *him* take that title.

        But so what? Would I somehow be less injured if I dyed my skin, renounced my citizenship, and/or had a sex-change operation? No, so why does it matter? Of course, the problem is that it *does* matter, so now we have to deal with it. But unless your advocating mandatory sex-change operations and/or genocide, you also have to deal with white males in America, and almost everyone’s been hurt by something at some point that they have every right to feel hurt, even angry, over; it’s just some people sadly have to endure more than others, and while this correlates well with certain demographic features on the whole, we can’t just ignore the individual variance.

        Surely, for instance, if this were a confused gay Christian who happens to be white, American, male, and deeply hurt, I cannot imagine you saying, “Ah, the injured white American male. I love it when they start showing up.”

        But of course, the individual circumstance here is most surely NOT that he is so much hurt by it, but that he doesn’t see the pain of others and mocks them for what he sees as an ideal of libertine entitlement.

        Yet perhaps his own sense of entitlement is the root cause of some real pain that he experiences; surely there’s something behind his coming here and attempting to set people straight (in whatever sense you prefer to take that).

        • DR

          Matthew you’re smart enough to know about the concept of privilege. Certainly, people feel pain for sure which is not to be diminished – including white men – but that’s different than privilege. I adore white males in every way imaginable but, you know – their (your) experiences are pretty different (unless the police have pulled you over multiple times for no reason, then I’ll stand corrected).

          • Matthew Tweedell

            So have the police have pulled over a typical LGBT person multiple times for no reason?

            Now, while not everyone in the world is so privileged, DR, as to have a car to be pulled over in, living oversees I did encounter my fair share of harassment as a (presumably wealthy) American on foot. But what does that really have to do with this at all, DR? From what are you saying their (our) experiences are so different?

            They are most likely more different from each other on average than the average is from your own experiences, DR. If your intending comparison with other ethnic groups or whatever—yes, every group has its own unique history as a group (which is not as meaningful to the typical individual as his/her experience as an individual, but whatever), but where was any such comparison introduced? The only demographic details under consideration where those relating to sexuality until you threw in a line about white American males.

            So, is it appropriate? May we also invoke stereotypes about, say, black urban males or young blonde females, in discussions of serious matters, not because their particularly relevant, but just because they seem hold true under the given circumstances?

          • DR

            This is derailing the intent of the thread and I’m not going there or talk about your experience in other countries when you know, we’re talking about America. This will be my last comment on it. You’re being defensive which you’re free to indulge but it’s self-absorbed to do so and neglects the real problem it addresses. The whole privilege construct is now widely accepted as a norm that educated people who know it is at play, have an awareness of having it themselves (if they do) readily acknowledge and have no need to further the ridiculous notion of “reverse – fill in the blanks here” as a result. It’s nonsense. I’m out.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            So why on earth did you bring it up?

            And what am I defending exactly, DR?

            And since when are we only talking about America? Since you wanted to be able to peg me neatly as a white American male? Then how about we just talk about white males too. In that case you have nothing to compare them with. Or are we just talking about America by default because you’re so self-absorbed in your own culture? Well then, still, why do you now state that the bounds of the topic are America and not, say, the state of California actually? And why would you use the word “American” in mention of white males unless you were marking a distinction from others on the global scale?

            Now, about police stops, in America, what of when a young single woman I know gets off with warnings where I most likely would not? But again—you still haven’t addressed—why does this sort of thing really matter, and how is it relevant here?

            It’s hard for me to understand your point in the latter half of your last comment. Now perhaps you’ll have to forgive me for not being educated according to your norms but according to my experience. But I’ve had plenty of experiences. Fortunately (as I often admit) I do have the advantage of my background being what it is, but don’t think I’m so ignorant of the world to not know the other side of the stick—not in terms of whatever theoretical construct but in empirical facts. And your promoting tensions (whether interethnic, intergender, or whatever else) is NOT helpful. So if you didn’t want to discuss that, if you don’t like being called on on it, then don’t do it. Because this is a very serious matter, DR. people die over this shit.

          • DR

            Oh for God’s sake, Matthew. I’m not being called on anything, you’re so defensive about this that you can’t argue the *idea* of privilege without making it about you.

            White men aren’t being pulled over in America in the same ways people of color are being profiled and pulled over. White men are a small minority of the percentage of men in jail. White men have a massive percentage of white-collar executive positions. White men are the massive majority of our elected politicians. The list goes on. All of that is true and it is also true that on occasion there are moments where white men are treated unfairly, suffer and experience discriminatory behavior. I don’t care if it hurts your feelings to acknowledge it and any other point you make about it doesn’t change anything what I’ve described.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            “you’re so defensive about this that you can’t argue the *idea* of privilege without making it about you.”

            Sure I can. You’re the one who wanted to make it about me. The opening line of my initial comment was supposed to be ironic.

            “White men are a small minority of the percentage of men in jail. White men have a massive percentage of white-collar executive positions. White men are the massive majority of our elected politicians.”

            Now why would that hurt my feelings? The problem’s that you can’t seem to understand how it’s non-sequitur with this discussion.

            DR, what exactly is the argument that you are trying to make here? I’ve already told you where I’m coming from, which has nothing to do with the state of some demographic statistic but rather that your attitudes thus expressed are a part of the problem. And yes, that’s calling you out; now either defend them or drop them. And yes, that means I’m playing offense right now.

          • DR

            Matthew, here is the comparison as well as my reason for bringing it up. And I don’t care if you are on the offense, defense, if you don’t like it or disagree with it, that’s all your issue.

            Privilege is an experience that cuts across many institutional norms in our country. Christians in America have enjoyed tremendous privilege over the years. Specifically our theology has driven much of the legality in our society as well as decisions in our school system (prayer in public school being one example). That others who pay an equal share in their taxes as a result of being the non-Christian minority do not benefit from that privilege, they don’t have the voting power or the societal momentum that we as Christians do. So it’s very easy for us to keep our legal laws reflective of our religious laws as a result (which goes against our constitution).

            White men – like Christians- experience tremendous privilege for whatever reason. To date, that privilege has been an obstacle that both women and people of color have had to maneuver around and struggle against. Much like Christians who are gay have to struggle against Christian privilege.

            The point? Privilege has a lot of faces but those of us who have it have a tremendous responsibility in cultivating our awareness of it and making sure that we aren’t using it oppressively anymore. Many don’t intend to, a lot of us with privilege are largely unconscious of it (another benefit of privilege). But it is the reality and it is a massive influence in our country when it comes to legal rights and social justice. It’s important to bring up in these conversations.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Thank you for your explanation and clarification, DR! Indeed, this is important to bring up in such conversations, but you didn’t exactly do that very directly. What I see is an example of the very same dangerous and divisive spirit that established such problems in the first place. There’s really no need to make it about *my* issues: it was you who brought up “white American males”, so something in that would seem to be *your* issue; and where dangerous attitudes are manifest, that’s all-of-our issue.

          • DR

            Matthew you’re welcome. I’ll take the feedback, would you let me know if you encounter that again? It’s a big deal want to make sure I’m handling it well. Thank you. xoxo

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ sdgalloway

      Uhm, maybe you can’t be a polygamous because most women are too smart for that.

      Besides if polygamy should be the God ordained natural, then there should be equal treatment. Feel like being a brother/husband Allen, member of a “hisem”? I think that could be arranged.

      • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

        I don’t want him in my “hisem” unless he comes with a roll of duct tape to ensure he keeps his opinions to himself. And also unless he’s really good at doing laundry and cleaning stalls.

        • Don Rappe

          Now I’m starting to feel sorry for the poor dick!

    • Rebecca

      I’m sure this guy regularly pisses off at least one woman. Why’d he wanna piss off multiple women at once? Glutton for punishment?

    • Laurence-Michael

      A Love Letter for us All-

      Ok… well now. I have no fancy education or fancy words. No-one will dare mistake me for a DR. – I try to self educate myself (successfully and otherwise, unsuccessfully at times) through life. Most all of the posts I have read so far strike some kind of emotional cord. I either agree, question, wonder, worry, get angry, or pray. My mind is still absorbing so many posts, the notion in the good and bad of this project, the divisions it will (oh and it will) cause, and the unity of faith and change it will bring (and it surely, will). My mind is also preparing for a better statement, possibly, as proper words to make a point fail me in my sea of emotion.

      However, this guy who needs his heterosexuality battled for? Sheer anger at first. I mean, whose waging the war, and whose been retaliating in battle? A larger idea has now come to my mind. Anger is “their” largest weapon wielded against us. Then we may act in anger, show our ignorance, react in hatred or violent demonstrations, and really show the world how we degrade “it’s” society. Or better yet, spin our wheels in our anger preparing statements to intellectually defer such attacks. This takes our mind from our real goals and acts only as a mere diversion.

      SO, I will instead attempt, merely, with a re-creation of God’s love, and open my arms to you, Allen… and humbly try to speak for a Nation growing within a nation… I don’t know who you are, your hurt or your pain, your own emotional angst or turmoil you feel as a straight man engaged in a war against me/us, but I do forgive you, I do not hand your soul to God in prayer for it is he who made it, and I dare not judge at his level of understanding. I do know that the Gospel says that all things work to God’s will and hands,, and I accept you as part of his plan… his plan for me, for others, for those of us so tormented by such ridiculous questions such as “are we saved of our homo-sexual sin?” and “Will I go to Hell if I accept homosexuals into “my” religion?” and finally, his plan for you. We are all saved through Christ should we have one belief and acceptance, and it has nothing to do with your accepting my homosexuality.

      In short, live well, and through God’s love, I am able to say that I love you, and will keep loving you through our journey together. Meet you in a better place, on God’s terms, not mine or yours.

      Love, Laurence-Michael (LM)

      • Laurence-Michael

        P.S. Sorry for the length, and I do believe the word of God to be one long, tormented and compassionate, Love Letter to us all… have we forgotten? L.M.

    • Darren Theoret

      Allan,

      Most hetro men I know actually do go around boinking anything they want–except for the practicing Christian ones–unless they’re Priests; but that’s another matter.

      If you think you want more than one wife, the Bible does support that but can your bank account?

      BTW, the gay christians that I know are ALL monogamous so I’m not sure what you are comparing your pleight to. If in your inner heart you feel you need multiple partners, there’s nothing stopping you. But if you are trying to suggest that gays are more promiscuous than straights, have a chat with Ron Jeremy.

  • http://strawberryroan.blogspot.com Shanyn

    I think this is a brilliant idea, and I pray that it comes together well for you. Being a person who is ‘too conservative’ for my liberal friends and ‘too liberal’ for my conservative friends I do know well what it is like to be anything but what the church or your faith family wants you to be. It is even harder for those who are LGB Christians. Off to read your other blogs, bright blessings!

  • sharon

    This is such a great idea. I have been working on a project about doubt. I have a survey of 10 questions that people who were raised in religious homes have been filling out. So far, no one who went through a period of doubt ever came back because someone told them they were going to hell if they didn’t. A lot of people have doubted or even left their church/synagogue/mosque because of the behaviour of people who also went there.

    I still need more people to participate in my survey. Let me know if you’d like to play along.

    The only stipulation is that you have to have been raised in a religious home. Christian or other. Oh, and be honest.

    Peace,

    Sharon

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ sdgalloway

      I’ll play along Sharon. I’m straight, but doubt has long played a part in my religious life.

      • sharon

        sdgalloway, thanks a lot. People of all sexual orientations are welcome to participate. Here is the note and survey.

        I am doing a survey. It is for people who were raised in a religious home, Christian or otherwise.

        Rather than answer my questions here, please send them to me in a private message or email them to sharon.bowler@gmail.com

        Your answers may be as brief or long as you like. You may share this with others, but I’d like their answers too. Please be honest, if you aren’t going to be totally honest, please don’t answer. However if you can answer only some of the questions honestly, do that.

        I will not share any names when I compile the input.

        1. Did you experience a period of doubt about the religion of your parents?

        2. What age were you when it began? Estimations are fine.

        3. How long did it last? Are you still in it?

        4. Did you return to your original religion, adopt a new one or some other answer?

        5. How strong was this doubt, did you reject the beliefs altogether or just doubt?

        6. How difficult was this period? Was it painful? Freeing? Other?

        7. Do you think a period of of doubting is common or normal?

        8. What, if anything do you feel led to your doubt?

        9. What if anything led to your returned or new faith?

        10. Do you have anything else you’d like to add?

        thank you!

  • Brian W

    Hay Evangelicals tell your story how Jesus saved you!! Preach the Gospel to gays and straights alike without prejudice or condemnation, Jesus saves sinners!!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      See, this is why you should never pour whiskey over your Corn Flakes …

      • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

        How about Vodka?

    • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

      Brian, I know I need not remind you that you comment here at the leisure of Mr. Shore.

      I asked you an important question over here http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2011/06/20/am-i-seeking-the-truth-because-i-want-to-justify-my-sin/#comment-69968 last night, and I will patiently look forward to your reply.

      Your comment over there, “Blame the Christians!!”, and here shows you are more concerned about your peer group than you are with others unlike yourself who are hurting and being harmed and you have taken a defensive position because you feel threatened. It is a common predicament. We here who support the oppressed are as compassionately as possible (and sometimes not so compassionately) saying: You are hurting people. You are hurting the body of Christ. Your version of Christianity finds it more important to insist on asserting right belief and claiming superior authority of the gospel than in treating people as Jesus taught us to do and anyone who does not fall in lock step with this belief system is somehow less of a Christian. Please stop it.

      Here’s a different way of seeing: Instead of “Jesus saves sinners!” Try, “Jesus loves everyone!”

      There’s also this remarkable writing mantra that creative writers employ: “Show. Don’t tell.”

      St. Francis was familiar with this approach to the great commission when he wrote: “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” And in the wisdom of Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

      God cares how we treat people. As a community of faith – let’s work on that.

      • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

        DR,

        I just don’t understand why you keep insisting I want to treat gays differently than any other person. Yes have compassion on people by the best means possible, namley sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ – that is the ultimate example of compassion personified, unto death on the cross, have you are anyone else displayed such a selfless act of compassion as that?

        I don’t feel threatend at all, don’t know why you say that either. I don’t know why you claim me and others like me are causing harm to others and I have no compassion, you don’t even know me. The words of Jesus himself state the Gospel can divide people even families. By what basis can you claim that “my brand of Christianity” finds it more important to insist on asserting right belief and authority than in treating people the way Jeus taught? Having the right belief MEANS you live what Jesus taught as the light of the world and the salt of the earth.

        I have never said nor even insinuated that a person who claims to be a Christian and doesn’t beleive exactly as I do, is less a Christian. I freely admit I have a log in my own eye and am in no position to point out a sliver in someone else’s eye.

        I agree, “your talk talks, your walk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks”

        • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

          Firstly, I’m Christy, not DR; there’s a difference, but I’ll take it as a compliment.

          Secondly: facepalm.

          Thirdly: If you’ve paid attention to anything John has written here, rather than only showing up to push your own point of view, you would know that the single most number one thing that “the world” and non-christians hate about christians is them loving them so much that feel compelled to tell them how Jesus loves them, but they are going to hell if they don’t change. It is the approach and the delivery and the messenger that drive them nuts and from Christianity. It is what lead Gandhi to say I like your Christ. It’s your Christians I have trouble with. They are so unlike your Christ.

          Fourthly: I’m done Brian. You refuse to see any other point of view but your own, and I know when to stop banging my head against the wall. I tried so hard because I do know you and the yous like you in the world. I grew up with you in church and school. I’m related to you. I was you……and yet god saw fit to open my eyes to a new way of seeing. I do not begrudge you your type of relationship and understanding of the Divine, I have simply been asking that you show others the same respect. but you cannot. You must insist that you are right and it is the only right spiritual path….and that is the stumbling block with which I am quite familiar.

          Be well. Leave people alone. Thanks.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            “led”…and a few other typos. oh well. nobody’s perfect.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Christy,

            My mistake calling you DR, foregive me.

            Isn’t this a site to post ones thoughts and opinions? We all do, don’t we? We all post our own point of vews too, don’t we? What makes you think I don’t see other people’s point of view? I see it perfectly clear, just as clear as you see mine.

            If I have disrespected anyone on here, I’m sorry and please foregive me, I have never intended to disrespect anyone personally or thier opinion. Also I don’t every recall claiming that I was “right” and everyone else who doesn’t believe as I do, as “wrong”, have I? Come on Christy, you’re doing to me on this very post what you claim I do to everyone else, namely stating how “you were once me” and how (small g) god opened your eyes to a (presumably better and ) “new way of seeing” . This is a subtle innuendo that you’re right and I’m wrong in my “beliefs of the Divine”. Only when I change what I now believe, will I really “get it”

            The only “spiritual” path I have every pointed anyone to was “the way, the truth and the life”…..Jesus Christ. I never stated nor do I state that “I’m right”, I claim and state JESUS is right and the Gospel is the Good News of Divine love personified…..

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            Damn it, Brain. Capital G -o – freaking -d. That’s my point right there.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Christy,

            Well there is a difference between god and God and if it was a mistake, OK but if it was on purpose, that has a meaning if you intended it to be a small g. Christy, most people when they type god with small g have a reason to do so, I assumed you did too, sorry, I guess you freaking didn’t have a reason, LOL!!

            So what does your “point right there” mean?

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            Legalism.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            I’m being a legalist or practice a legalistic form of Christianity because I made a reference to your small g in god??

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            It’s the gestalt, Brian.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            OK, now I understand……

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            I don’t seek to change your mind. I aspire for different but equal views on God. It is likely too lofty a goal.

            Thank you for at least being willing to engage.

            Blessings on your journey. ~ C

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Christy,

            Agreed it is probably too lofty a goal since we each have our own view on God and we each hold that ours is the truth. I’m always willing to engage with you, you do have wonderful and thoughful responses and points and all the more blessings on your journey too :-)

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            No, I hold that mine is A truth….resembling more of an understanding or an ineffable mystery.

            I must admit another goal which is shining light on the suffering of others and placing their concerns above our own in order to live an authentically compassionate life. To do so requires us to ask how we each contribute individually and as a society to the sum total of human suffering and how we can take responsibility for our contributions in order to ameliorate this suffering as much as possible.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Christy,

            OK, my misunderstanding AGAIN, me bad, sorry.

            I suppose I can’t hold that two different and divergent truths can both be true or “a” truth.

            Your last paragraph was spot on a very poignant. All I could add to that is, in and of ourselves we can’t accomplish what you stated, however through God and the finished work of His Son Jesus Christ ALL things are possible……

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            Brian, If you give it a chance, you might see how they are not divergent but nicely overlay one another.

            And from whence do you think I find the source of an authentically compassionate life…….but the Divine? Who (or what) but the Divine could be the source of such compassion?

            You made the point yesterday: “Jesus Christ – that is the ultimate example of compassion personified, unto death on the cross, have you are anyone else displayed such a selfless act of compassion as that?”

            Everyday, in every way, we are given the opportunity in this one wild and beautiful life to show others this kind of selfless compassion when we set aside our own personal wants, needs, and desires for the sake of others – when we put others first.

            When we forgive, feed, clothe, visit, house, love, give, share -attempt to understand – listen to….when we do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.

            And not just on a personal level, but on a societal level as well: when we pound our swords into plowshares, when we are peacemakers instead of warmongers, when we care for the widow and the orphan, the hungry and the homeless, the jobless and the oppressed. And not just help them but ask why and challenge the institutions that created them and keep them there. Like Dom Helder Camara, the famous Roman Catholic Archbishop in Brazil, said, “When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist.”

            This is painful for these institutions to hear -these principalities and powers. Cognitive Dissonance is painful. It’s supposed to be.

            These ARE our opportunities in this life to “display such a selfless act of compassion as that.”

            Progressive Christians see the Conservative Christian Movement focussing on legalism and Pharisee-ism, cleaning the outside of the bowl, working in government to legislate moral laws on people with whom they disagree while being offended by and opposed to legislating through our taxes help for the poor, the homeless, the hungry, the oppressed. They call it “government legislated charity” and say that charity is all fine and good, but it should be a personal matter. Well, why not then is permitting two people who love each other to marry also a personal matter?

            This is the hypocrisy about which we cry: Those Christians who insist others wash the outside of their bowl so that they more closely resemble themselves – believing the “right” things, following the “right” rules – but who refuse to even look inside their own bowl to see how dirty it is.

            We in the Progressive Christian camp believe the greatest commandment trumps all the others: Love wins. Above all, love. This is the new covenant. This is the message of Jesus.

            Thanks be to God.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            OK, fair enough point made and I agree with most of what you say except I think you’re using an awfully wide brush when you paint that Conservative Christianity focuses on legalism, cleaning the outside of the bowel, legislation yada yada. I will agree that SOME “camps” of Conservative (fundamentalism) Christianity do, but you seem to group all of them into one giant lump. That is just not the case.

            Wolves in sheeps clothing has been around since antiquity, so that is nothing new, Jesus spoke about and the authors of the NT wrote of that very issue more than once. There is always evidence of a true desciple of Christ – by their actions or what the Bible calls thier “conversation” (which means their behavior)

            Finally love doesn’t “trump all others” since Christianity is more than “just love of God and people”. “On these these two commandments hangs all the law and the prophets” (Love God and love your neighbor as yourself). Love is more like the foundation or superstructure of Christianity not all of Christianity. The profound sermon on the Mount is a very powerful overview of the Gospel of Jesus Chrst and it’s not JUST love – its more than that.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Amen, Christy! Deep and beautifully put!

            Brian, how exactly is the idea that love is trump at all weakened by the fact that it’s not the only card in the deck?

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Matt,

            I’m not really sure I catch the gist of your post, but I don’t think love is weakend that its not the onlty card in the deck,l but I think the Gospel is not fully declared properly if ONLY love is stressed. The Gospel is more than just love, love is supreme, but it not the ONLY thing.

          • Suz

            Dude(ette)! You have ARRIVED!!! Being mistaken for DR? You rock, woman!

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            I know! I’m sooo lucky!

          • DR

            Welcome! We have wine and cheese in the back for you.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            Sweet!

          • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

            Hugs to you, Christy. You tried. With patience, with reason, and with the love of Christ , you tried. I think at this point taking the backward step is the right choice. Brian is too entrenched in his Pharisean righteousness to acknowledge the Jesus who is busy in the streets loving people.

          • Brian W

            Barnmaven,

            Huh? So since I have a different belief I’m “Pharisaic”? Who is the judgmental one here? Going into the hedges and by-ways as the light of the world and salt of the earth is always what I “preach”

          • Todd

            Please stop feeding, troll.

          • RayC

            What, someone’s a troll because they differ with the majority consensus, now. Wow!

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            Thanks, Barnmaven. Love still wins.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            “Love” is just too broad a statement, it is the Love of God through Jesus Christ that “wins” – The Gospel of Jesus Christ……

          • http://leap-of-fate.com/ Christy

            Who is the author and finisher of all there is and all there ever will be including perfect, selfless, compassionate, unconditional love? Yes, the Creator. The One in whom we live and breathe and move and have our being. And who is Jesus but God incarnate, God God’s self. And what is God, but love.

            God = Jesus = love = the Divine = the Creator = the One

            I know that in the end you believe God wins.

            Therefore: Love wins.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Christy,

            Well, if you put it THAT way, for sure, I agree 100%. I guess I just need things really clear before I understand them……so thanks

    • DR

      Is there ever a moment where you can make this conversation about actual gay people and not yourself, Brian?

      • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

        Foregive me DR in my selfishness, you’re right……

        • DR

          I don’t want to be flippant about this last comment because, I was like this too. I just couldn’t make the topic about gay men and women anything about what I believed about them as a Christian and when someone aggressively countered me that offended me or made a move to support the GLBT community in ways that felt against God/threatening, I wanted to chime in to “weigh the scales”. When someone pointed out how that was totally self-absorbed, it was shocking to realize how self-absorbed I really was. It was a turning point for me.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Thanks, that is indeed insightful.

          • DR

            Sure it was.

  • Lee Walker

    just shared this on the http://www.gaychristian.net message board. They have about 16,000 members, so hopefully the stories should be starting to roll in soon.

    thank you

    &

    you’re welcome! ;-)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Thank … ! Oh. Never mind.

  • sayla1228

    Like this. I’m concerned that this will be too protestant-centric, and American-centeric, however. I think you should expand to stories of LGBT Roman Catholics. Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox as well as LGBT Christians of ‘Color’/other nationalities since Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Anglicanism make up most of Christianity in the World and gay Christians. I know America is culturally Protestant altogether but having more expansive archive will be good. I have too many people that think LGBT stuggles is a Western thing (meaning ‘White’) or that practicing LGBT Catholics and Eastern Orthodox don’t exist or aren’t concerned with it.

  • http://moremusingson.blogspot.com Misty Irons

    John, I just posted about your project on my blog. I think it’s a great idea. Prepare to shed lots of tears when the stories start coming in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/simply.me.rick Rick

    I spent 13 years in Ministry as a gay man, only to walk away with lots of hurt feelings and a devastation added to my life from ever having anything to do with the church. I was in a committed relationship and never, ever, cheated.. My heart was broken by the church (or the people in it) and this was exactly what I wanted to do for a long time. I wrote 13 chapters of stories that I watched unfold in my own life and allowed a pastor that was still a friend to read it…. Needless to say, yet again, hurt feelings, and disappointment. I gave up, and 2 years later, it is nice to see that someone is actually doing this. It is SO needed. Pastors and people in the church alike, need to know the damage that they do to people with their words and actions… I appreciate what you are doing and will be following to know when this project is complete.

  • Douglas

    I would love to share my story and thoughts. I recently shared this at my church and am having a hard time reducing it to the size required. I think there is just to much in it to get there.. I really believe each one of us can provide hope and love to so many who are travelling on this journey!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Please don’t worry about the length of your story. Just write away, if you’re so inclined.

  • http://www.poesies.com Gina Cirelli

    After reading your comment about just how many stories you’re getting, I’m getting inspired to create a special Anglican rosary just for this event.

    Now I just need to figure out what to make it out of!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Broken hearts and blood. Um. Or beads.

      • http://www.poesies.com Gina Cirelli

        Blood-red beads are an idea, as is bloodstone.

        But we want to be positive, don’t we? :D I mean, after all, it would be used to pray for tolerance.

        I just thought of something else. When these people raise the issue of sexuality above love, aren’t they worshipping the god of physical nature above the true God? Isn’t that really dang important?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          That’s a unique perspective with some real traction to it, I think. Good job.

    • cat rennolds

      rose beads. where you cook down red rose petals and they turn into these beautiful, scented, shiny deep red-pink beads. there are recipes all over the net.

  • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

    This is so much with the awesome, John. I can’t wait to see the results of this compilation, and I know you are going to get a ton of awesome submissions!

  • http://www.imagodeo.com michael

    John,

    Do you think the Evangelical world can handle hearing from a gay christian AND former mime? The ramifications could amount to heresy!

    I would love to submit my story: There’s the time I was asked to “denounce the demon of penis” (I hadn’t realized until that very moment that it was Satan – not God – who gave me my penis). Also the part where my mom was convinced I became gay at a fine arts camp they allowed me to attend as a sophomore in high school. And in a misguided attempt to be straight, I was even engaged to a woman and then (thankfully) called it off 40 days into it (Yes, forty days – it was Biblical). Only to endure 2 years of HELL after the break-up because everyone from my church insisted that I wasn’t listening to God.

    Anyway … how much time do we have to write a submission? I want to be thoughtful about this.

    The mind races …

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I’ll go put a thing at the end of the post about a deadline. There isn’t any; when/if I have enough stories, 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.

  • http://writingtowellness.wordpress.com/ Jan

    Sorry but I would prefer to NOT be anonymous. I was raised in the heart of Evangelical land. My father was a Pentecostal minister who walked in the inner circle before he couldn’t stand it any more. I count one of the highest ranking members of “The Family” as a friend.

    Ask any social psychologist, people only accept “the other” if they know them. Generalities don’t mean much.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I understand utterly what you’re saying. But with this kind of thing you have to be consistent. And anonymously is the only thing that’s sure to work overall. And the singularity of the individual voices of each writer will, in and of themselves, establish all the identity anyone needs. Knowing someone’s name doesn’t make you “know” them at all. Knowing their story does.

  • http://imagaybloke.wordpress.com Paul Clevett

    I’d love to tell my story please email me. But not anonymous.

  • Neo

    Are you interested in hearing stories from those of us who are convicted that homosexual relationships are always outside of God’s will, but nonetheless find ourselves attracted to our own sex? Aside from being in that boat myself, I have quite a few connections with others like me in that regard, and could send people your way.

    I’d personally like to see people like myself included – if only affirming Christians are presented, it does make it look like if you are truly compassionate, you have to be affirming, which I don’t believe is true. I think having a more diverse set of stories would help people think through all the issues. (I certainly wouldn’t want only non-affirming gay Christians to be represented, either – that would be equally one-sided.)

    • DR

      Neo, I’m not John but this seems to be a request that goes against the purpose of the request itself. To allow those who are both gay and christian (while still being gay) to share their story seems to be the goal here, though John can correct me if I’m wrong. . I’d suggest your request is inappropriate given that context. Gay Christians have not been allowed to be both “gay” and “christian” at the same time, it’s that experience that John seems to want to support as being a truism. using these stories to show the world that one can indeed, be gay and Christian at the same time. While your experience – gay and believing that it is against God’s will is yours to manage for your own life (and it is) you’ve got a ton of support to live that way from the traditional Christian community. To ask for that here is certainly something you can do but I’m confused as to why focusing on the first group means one may not be compassionate toward you.

      • http://www.RTSministries.com Rev. Melissa Shaber

        I agree that the subject of a gay Christian who is not “ok” with being gay is an entirely different topic. They DO have tons of support from the mainstream Christian community. If I understand correctly, this is a book about being Christian AND gay, and 100% affirming both! I (unfortunately) have many stories along this line to tell- ranging from being shunned to being disallowed to sing/perform music at church. I look forward to submitting a story soon- God bless all of you out there who share the struggle of being a gay Christian- we are not alone and we are loved & blessed by God!

    • Diana A.

      I’m not John either. I think you should write your story and submit it. Tell the truth from your heart about how it feels to believe that homosexual relationships are outside of God’s will and yet still find yourself attracted to your own gender and what it means to struggle with that dilemma. If worst comes to worst, your story won’t make the cut. At least you will have tried.

      • DR

        That’s a really good point.

      • http://www.gaychristian.net Rebecca

        I’d like to point out that there is an entire online community for Gay Christians (which is where I found out about this blog/request) which honors the experiences of those who find themselves to be attracted to the same sex and are trying to reconcile that with Christian beliefs. BOTH those who affirm same sex relationships and thos who believe those relationships are outside of God’s will. What is NOT supported is the belief that to be a Christian one must denounce their same sex attractions entirely. I would agree that those stories need to be heard, too. But I’m not John, either, so what do I know? Submit your story and find out, is my advice.

    • DR

      Neo, I’m sorry for this reply. Diana is right, I’m sorry for butting in with some pre-conceived judgments.

    • Reed

      Dear Neo:

      I’m sorry to learn that you’ve been convicted. I hope you won’t be in prison very long, and that all will be well. I have found that “Just As I Am, Without One Plea” is a pleasant song for passing the time while locked up – especially in a prison constructed of six verses.

      God doesn’t make junk, so if you view your “same sex attractions” as being out of keeping with his will, perhaps it’s time to find a bigger God.

  • Darren Theoret
  • Sonja Lund

    I’ll be sending in a story, for sure. Two, actually. :)

  • denver

    Just sent a story in. I hope you get lots of responses for this project!

  • http://gracepromise.blogspot.com Bob Harkema

    Leviticus gives lobster eating 4 abominations, gay men get 3 and lesbian women get 0. I ate at the temple of the Red Lobster and I liked it. I wonder if I get fewer abominations if I only eat there during happy hour?

  • Prenna Unsane

    I think this is a wonderful project. I’ve shared the information on the Christians For Marriage Equality facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/33840595913/

    Hopefully you’ll get a lot more responses through there.

  • Douglas P. Finnell

    I just came out on Facebook…………….To live a life with NO FEAR, the time has come for me to be completely transparent and brutally honest. Today, while reading a few articles on “Cookie Cutter Christians”, I realized I live in a World of many posers, and I WAS ONE. I am always 100% myself, 100% of the time. I was 1 step away from being an Eagle Scout, so honesty is very important to me. I can no longer perpetuate the charade I’ve been living. I have always been a person who never liked “Blending In” when I was born to stand out. Always fearing someone in church will find out my “secret” when I was among them, I could see the hypocrisy and it made me sick. I’ve often felt like a raisin in the pound cake. I cannot be completely free while living “a lie of omission. I have always been a Christian and have known I was gay from age 5. The tug of war between who I knew I was and the person who I thought people wanted me to be has become more than I can stand. High School life was very difficult and I considered suicide on a couple occasions. NO MORE! I am a Saved Child of the Most High God and I’m gay. I will NEVER apologize for either! BTW, you CAN’T pray gay away. I tried every day for years. Also, I DID NOT CHOOSE TO BE GAY! I did chose to be a follower of Christ and was baptized and love my church. If you are so shallow that you feel the need to unfriend me, BE MY GUEST. If you chose to accept and love me for who I am, I will ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU in your time of need and promise to be your prayer warrior. This will not be a surprise to my closest friends, I know many suspected. My Faith will always be #1 in my life and has served me well. Gay Marriage makes me uncomfortable and is not for me, though I support those who do. I will fight bigotry and ignorance in the church, though will no longer accept sanctified hatred of an entire class of people. Let the chips fall where they may, today is the first day of the rest of my life of peace. The Modern Church needs to know it’s the 21st century AD, NOT BC! Save your 8 “clobber verses” from the Bible, and focus on the 800+ that speak of love for your neighbor. I was told to read Romans when I got my Bible, where it states some of the few condemnations of homosexuality in Roman Times in the New Testement, which BTW was aimed at the Temple slaves. I have a verse from the same book that was meant to shame me………”But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?” Romans 9:20,21……………People who use the Bible as a weapon are despicable. Well, there you have it. I am open to friendly discussion but will NOT be made a mockery of by anyone!

    • vj

      Oh, bravo to you, Douglas… May you know with every fiber of your being that you are wholly loved by, and acceptable to, our most awesome God. I hope your church family will continue to embrace you as a brother in Christ – know that there are certainly many here who will do so as well.