Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Gay and Evangelical, Seeking Paths of Acceptance

Justin Lee believes that the Virgin birth was real, that there is a heaven and a hell, that salvation comes through Christ alone and that he, the 29-year-old son of Southern Baptists, is an evangelical Christian.

Just as he is certain about the tenets of his faith, Mr. Lee also knows he is gay, that he did not choose it and cannot change it.

To many people, Mr. Lee is a walking contradiction, and most evangelicals and gay people alike consider Christians like him horribly deluded about their faith. “I’ve gotten hate mail from both sides,” said Mr. Lee, who runs gaychristian.net, a Web site with 4,700 registered users that mostly attracts gay evangelicals.

The difficulty some evangelicals have in coping with same-sex attraction was thrown into relief on Sunday when the pastor of a Denver megachurch, the Rev. Paul Barnes, resigned after confessing to having sex with men. Mr. Barnes said he had often cried himself to sleep, begging God to end his attraction to men.

His departure followed by only a few weeks that of the Rev. Ted Haggard, then the president of the National Association of Evangelicals and the pastor of a Colorado Springs megachurch, after a male prostitute said Mr. Haggard had had a relationship with him for three years.

Though he did not publicly admit to the relationship, in a letter to his congregation, Mr. Haggard said that he was “guilty of sexual immorality” and that he had struggled all his life with impulses he called “repulsive and dark.”

While debates over homosexuality have upset many Christian and Jewish congregations, gay evangelicals come from a tradition whose leaders have led the fight against greater acceptance of homosexuals.

Gay evangelicals seem to have few paths carved out for them: they can leave religion behind; they can turn to theologically liberal congregations that often differ from the tradition they grew up in; or they can enter programs to try to change their behavior, even their orientation, through prayer and support.

But as gay men and lesbians grapple with their sexuality and an evangelical upbringing they cherish, some have come to accept both. And like other Christians who are trying to broaden the definition of evangelical to include other, though less charged, concerns like the environment and AIDS, gay evangelicals are trying to expand the understanding of evangelical to include them, too.

Read it all.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether this man is deluded about his faith is for Another to judge. That he is deluded about the sinfulness of his homosexual behavior is beyond dispute. Desires are never justified simply because they are 'authentic.' Man does not have the authority to call good that which God calls evil.

If this man is a believer, then he will fall under the chastisement of God - chastisement which is not to despise for it is proof we are children whom He loves. But that is the only option. God will never approve of homosexual behavior.

ECJ

6:41 PM  
Blogger SClerkin63+ said...

It is possible to be a sinner and saved at the same time...or did I miss the whole point of the Cross?!?

6:54 PM  
Anonymous R. Batts said...

"Mr. Lee also knows he is gay, that he did not choose it and cannot change it."

If I understand this gentleman correctly he believes that God can raise a dead man from the grave, yet he cannot save someone from homosexuality. Hmmm.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous John Wilkins said...

The commenters make several assumptions. ECJ, of course, is making a judgment upon homosexuality that we do not think God makes. If anything, we think we should be very cautious about assuming that we know what God thinks about all genital activity. He also makes the assumption that God could not love him for who he is.

Sclerkin, like many reappraisers has a very high understanding of the cross, but a very timid understanding ofthe resurrection. Reappraisers think that the resurrection has changed our relationship to sin through Jesus christ (and thus, it is our faith, not our acts, that are judged).

Sadly, nature and nurture are brought into the discussion again. The issue is peace. Better to be at peace with oneself, and to bring peace to others, than to be constantly at war within.

So, God can raise the dead, but not love gay people who have found faith in being at peace with who they are?

God does save people by teaching them how to love. This is the whole point.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Wilkins

[#4] "ECJ, of course, is making a judgment upon homosexuality that we do not think God makes. If anything, we think we should be very cautious about assuming that we know what God thinks about all genital activity. He also makes the assumption that God could not love him for who he is."

I do not need to make assumptions regarding those matters on which God has clearly spoken. I know with equal authority that homosexuality and adultery are both condemned in God's creation. You have no grounds to parse the difference out of Scripture. To say otherwise is to demolish any basis for sin except the reasonings of the creature.

And you should remember that we are all of us by nature children of wrath - enemies of God who are born dead in sin. God does not set His love upon a man because of who that man is. He sets His love upon a man despite who that man is. And then He proceeds to conform him to the image of His Son.

ECJ

8:27 AM  
Blogger t19elves said...

Note: on the main blog, Kendall turned off comments for this post when he published it. So, I will not be copying these comments to the main blog. And I will be turning comments off now here as well.

Apologize for the confusion, but given yesterday's tech problems, it was impossible to know that Kendall had closed the comments.

--elfgirl

9:02 AM  

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