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So I Love Jesus and Gay People

October 13, 2011

I am supposed to be writing my final paper for a graduate class.  I am supposed to be giving feedback on projects and posters and essays.  I am supposed to be doing a million other things than sitting down to type, but sometimes I just can’t help it.  Sometimes something plucks the heartstrings so hard that I’m thrust forward into motion.  Forward writing motion.

My heart is breaking tonight.  I’ve cried and screamed and questioned, and I’ve still got this dull, aching hurt.

It’s about gay people.

It’s about gay people whom I love.

It’s about gay people whose courage and hope and conviction and truth are all things I celebrate.  All things I want the world to see.  All things I wish my fellow Christians would stop working so hard to break down.

I am a believer in Jesus.  I go to church, I worship, I pray, and I read my Bible.  I talk about faith and its messy-ness and am constantly working to live out God’s deeper presence in my life.  I love God, and his church, and the community that is ours for the taking.

But here is the small problem with many church communities I’ve been a part of.  Here is the small problem that is breaking my heart and making me sleepless and causing slow tears to drip down my cheeks: sometimes churches do not celebrate gay people.  Sometimes Christians, well-intentioned, God-fearing Christians, present a hostile and destructive world-view to the gay community.

I know the passages in Scripture that Christians point to.  I know the way we talk about the gay “issue.”  I know the language used, the prayers spoken, the hope that is misdirected and misleading.  I know all about that.  In fact, if I’m honest, I’m envious of that.  I’m envious that faith can be so black-and-white for some people.  I’m envious that Scripture can be used in their minds to draw a line so clear in the sand, it’s as if the sand could never erase it.  I’m a bit jealous that their understanding of God’s mysterious word is so clear to them because, it’s not for me.  Not always.  Not all the time.

Several years ago, I had the good fortune of being befriended by a gay man.  It was a friendship that started as all normal friendships do – through conversation and coffee and poetry and walks by the ocean.  This friendship was built on trust and openness and honesty.  We talked about the tough stuff, the great stuff, and the really really ugly stuff.  We talked about God and faith, and we prayed and read Scripture, and to this day I consider this friendship one of the most profound and most precious ones of my life.

For me, this was the first time that I got to know a gay man not as an issue to minister to, or a sin to preach against, but as a friend.  I got to know this man as my friend.  Never in my life have I learned so much about God’s grace and redemption and truth.  Never have I felt more cared for and protected and safe.  Never have I wept, wept, so hard for the pain of a friend as I did the night he clasped my hands, held them until the knuckles were white, and begged for God’s love to lift him.  Not as a straight man, not as a celibate man, but as an openly gay, Jesus-loving, Bible thumping man.  That was the prayer he prayed through spit and tears and our intertwined fingers.  And that was the moment I knew, knew without a doubt, that God loved and adored and valued my friend – for all that he is.

For all the times I envy those with black-and-white theology, I find good moments of grace where I can see God’s mystery living tangibly before me.  I find moments where his word is mysterious and un-knowable, so much so that it brings me back and back and back to its tattered binding.  Loving Jesus and loving my gay friends has taught me the deep mysteries of God’s love.  I can’t explain it.  I can’t touch it.  I can’t always provide the best argument for, or against it, and I definitely can’t always bring you to the most poignant verse in the Bible to prove it.  But I know it’s there.  As surely as I know my own salvation, I know God’s love is there.

It is there for me.  It is there for you.  It is there for all.  That is the only message I was put on this earth to communicate.  After that, nothing else matters.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 14, 2011 5:46 am

    You are amazing LKP. Thanks.

  2. October 14, 2011 11:13 am

    OMG i love this post. it’s controversial (love), open/honest (love love) and gets right to the facts. i love that you chose to write about a topic most people shy away from. Way to go friend!

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