Fact: gay Christians exist.
You might not like that fact, that fact may be hard for you to accept, and that fact may create a lot of tension for you, but it is still a fact nonetheless.
That’s the funny thing about facts. They stay true regardless of how we react to them.
I myself didn’t believe that gay Christians existed until just a couple of years ago. Until then, I would have put the term in obnoxious quotes (the discussion would have been about “gay Christians”). For me, it was a term that referred to a nonexistent people group– as if it were completely impossible to be both at the same time.
At a minimum, for me at least, gay Christians were as elusive as the chupacabra or bigfoot…
Until I met and got to know my friend “James” (that one is in quotes because I’m not going to use his real name).
I knew James for nearly two years before I found out he was gay. And, this wasn’t just knowing him from occasionally bumping into each other at the grocery store– we knew each other from serving together at church. James was one of the kindest people in my church and someone I looked forward to seeing each week. We also attended some classes at the church together and really got to know each other a lot more, as we consistently prayed and learned together.
All I knew about “James” was that he was one of the nicest people I knew, and that he really loved Jesus. It wasn’t until two years after knowing him and serving alongside him at church, that I learned he was gay.
I think what shocked me the most was my reaction to finding out– there really wasn’t one. Once upon a time I had thought that if or when such a moment happened, I would be filled with tension and an overwhelming desire to try to change the other person… but I wasn’t. I just wanted to be his friend, no strings attached. Perhaps the Spirit of God had been preparing my heart during those years without even knowing it.
For two years, I had experienced the fact that James loved Jesus (and the people of Jesus, aka the “Church”). Since a fact is “that which corresponds to reality” and I had spent two years observing reality, this truth couldn’t be doubted. In addition, I now knew what “corresponded to reality” was that James was also gay. Both became indisputable facts.
No longer a concept in my mind that lacked a real human being attached to it, I had then realized that yes– there are gay Christian who love Jesus and love the church. James was the first person in this category I had actually known in the context of a real and authentic friendship, but now I know many of them. You, many of my readers, are some of them.
Like it or not, gay Christians exist– and this “discussion” on the entire issue isn’t going away anytime soon. Unfortunately, most of the time, the discussion doesn’t result in that many net positives. Simply throwing Bible verses back and forth without recognizing the real, actual people involved– people we’re commanded above all else to love– doesn’t move the conversation further. Instead, real people just become an “issue” or a “discussion” that many have at a comfortable distance- safely away from the messiness and uncomfortableness of real relationships and acknowledging real people.
So here is my plea to my conservative friends: when you engage in this “discussion” please remember, you’re talking about real people. Some of whom, are living as radical Jesus followers committed to the way of Jesus and committed to serving the body of Christ.
Whether or not gay marriage/homosexuality is a sin (not the topic of this post or even addressed here), the word Christian at its core means “little-Christs” or “Christ-like”. Which means, in fact, there are many, many gay Christians out there– because I know them personally. They’re my friends.
And I know they love Jesus.
It is nearly impossible to have a reasonable discussion about people you don’t even know, so if you have the opportunity to make a gay friend– Christian or otherwise– I’d invite you to do so. You just might find that such a relationship all of a sudden humanizes an issue that is so easy to detach from.
So please, remember: we’re talking about actual living, breathing people here– people created by God, and who bear his divine image. Please don’t allow this discussion to become about an “issue” you can safely detach from, but instead throw yourself into the tension of embracing the fact that we’re often talking about our own Christian brothers and sisters when we discuss this issue… even if that’s hard for you to accept.