In 2011 I did an lot of writing about the relationship between LGBTQ folk and Christianity. I wish I hadn’t; I wish it weren’t an issue at all. But it is. So I wrote what I did.
Below are links to twelves such pieces I wrote in 2011. Each is followed by a quote from the piece itself—even though, as I think we’ll all agree, quoting yourself is reasonably frowned upon by sane people everywhere.
But, you know. Sanity. Pfffft. Like that’s not ridiculously overrated.
Happy New Year. And thank you, so much, each of you, for all you’ve done for me. You know who you are.
Tell me, please, how you love this kid. Tell me how you understand his pain. Tell me how when he cries, you cry. Tell me how you want to do everything in your power to make sure that no one, ever again, feels free to in any way victimize a young gay person. A Christian myself, I am pleading with you to be honest with me about this. Tell me, please, how none of this kid’s anguish has anything to do with you. I’m listening. I really am. We all are.
Turn, friend. And when you do, open your arms. Discover waiting to embrace you a new Christ behind the relative shell of the one you inherited. Jesus Christ died for your sins. That was unthinkably beautiful. Now Jamey Rodemeyer has died from your sins. That is not. That is the very hell that, awfully enough, you’ve somehow tricked yourself into believing your life refutes.
I know that, when poor and broken spirits like your cousin come before him, he wraps his arms around them, hard, and never lets go.
If Christians would actually read the Bible, instead of daring to insist that three or four isolated phrases within it justifies a theology that has no more to do with Christ than Fred Phelps has to do with Welcome Wagon, we would arrive at a popular Christianity that is not, as so much of our Christianity is today, a pure affront to anyone with half a conscience.
“Am I Seeking the Truth Because I Want to Justify My Sin?”
While Hinkle’s closeted homosexuality may not be sufficient cause for all this horrendousness, it is, I believe, a necessary condition for it. The shameful behavior for which Hinkle is certainly culpable grew from a shame for which he is certainly not. That shame—the great, burning inner shame that every gay and lesbian person is forced to overcome if he or she is ever to claim for themselves the same righteous pride of self that straight people so easily accept as their birthright—should be the shame of everyone who is not today working toward full LGBT acceptance and affirmation. And that holds especially true for Christians, who for far too long have used the Good News of the Gospels to bring nothing but terrible news to homosexuals, who, just like them, want nothing more, and nothing less, than to be loved for who they are.
The only people who don’t like homosexuals just because they’re homosexuals are dented in the heart. Something awful happened to them. They (very often) were inculcated with a version of Christianity that sickens God. Someone gave them the awful anti-gay virus, and they sneeze and spit that nastiness onto others, because they just don’t know any better.
“I ain’t saying this is no story at all,” he said around his chomped cigar. “But it isn’t exactly a four-ton reptile stomping down Broadway tossing cars and eating people, is it? I mean, whaddaya really have here? A bunch of Christians who looked into their hearts, found the God in whom they believe telling them that gay people have the same right to get married, under God, as straight people, and who then organized themselves into a body that reflects that belief. Right, kid?”
Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you might want to track down and correct whomever it is in your organization who is so egregiously failing to properly represent you and your wonderful work. (Hint: the person you’re looking for might be someone pretty high up in your organization; Believe Out Loud was told that the decision to refuse their video was made by “the folks in executive.” It’s almost funny, isn’t it?)
As confoundingly complex as the Bible can be, the one thing within it that comes across with extreme clarity is that Jesus’ primary, fundamental mission and purpose was one of love. When God comes to earth and walks and talks as a man, you’re right away into some stuff you know you’ll never fathom. But the one thing that’s crystal clear is that Jesus came to try to help us grasp the fullness and magnitude of God’s love for us.
“So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived. So don’t be gay.”
If you are a faith leader who is no longer comfortable preaching or pretending to support the traditional Christian view of homosexuality, the first thing you should know is that you are most certainly not alone. Christianity really is in the middle of a second Reformation. And just like it did the first time around, that means that an awful lot of people, at every level among the practicing faithful, are right now harboring a great many thoughts and doubts which they don’t yet feel comfortable sharing with their brethren. But that is changing.
I have no quote from this series, due to its form. But I know I’ll never do better work relative to anything having to do with this “issue”—which, after all, is no “issue” at all, but rather only a matter of how we all resolve ourselves to ourselves, our loved ones, and ultimately to God.
And my work in this area culminated in this book, which I published at the end of 2011: