By: Rev. Dr. Suzie Chamness
"If we live by the Holy Spirit, let us be guided by the Holy Spirit" (Gal 5:25)
Some may think that being a Gay Christian is almost in-compatible. It is in some people's mind an oxymoron. There are many other adjectives I have heard used with the word Christian that create more of an oxymoron. A few of the following for just a few examples: Judgmental Christian, Hate Filled Christian, Graceless Christian. In my thought Gay Christian does not fit in the same breath.
I question placing any adjective before the word Christian. In my estimation it's not a good idea. Sticking so many adjectives in front of the word Christian has made the term lose its meaning. Being a Christian means knowing God as Sovereign through Jesus, experiencing forgiveness and a relationship with God. It is following the way of Jesus in a community and participating in the mission and life of the Kingdom of God throughout our world.
Regardless of our orientation, if you believe the above, I'm pretty sure you too are a follower of Christ. I've grown to like that term much better. It is less likely to be placed with an adjective that diminishes our identity with Christ. We should not be modifying Christ with any adjectives. Christ is our all. Our aim should be to strive to make our lives as Christ-like as possible. I am a flawed individual but I do not believe, as flawed as I am, that being gay can discredit any belief in God.
Often the Christian community overly sexualizes the term "Gay". As soon as they hear the term, their response is thoughts of two people of the same sex having sexual relations. That shouldn't be the case. It needs to stop. It's dehumanizing. Just because one identifies as gay does not mean their identity is linked to being only a sexual being. There are countless heterosexual Christians that seem to enjoy sleeping around even though they "preach" sexual purity.
I have good friends that are far more knowledgeable Christians because of their years of study. From their actions I have learned more about the life of God than through the teachings of seminary. Some are amazing preachers, pastors and ministers. They love God, follow Christ's teachings and I know the Holy Spirit dwells within them. They may not know all the hymns or all the scriptures but they are humble, kind, loving, patient, and grace filled. They loves communion, have been baptized and ordained into the Church. They are also gay.
Will there be a place for these God filled people in the Church? I sure hope so. The Church would be missing out on an amazing Christian person if they weren't allowed to belong.
What is interesting is many are more sexually pure than most of the heterosexual Christians. I doubt that the sexual aspect of a relationship occupies their mind but at few times.
Although gay, many have chosen to be celibate and abstinent. Yet, because they are identified as gay, they may be shunned, many will question if it is possible to be gay and Christian and depending on the faith, they may not be ordained and earn a pastorate.
Because of the admitted fact that we are gay, it is assumed we are not pure, among other things. But if a heterosexual pastor becomes addicted to porn or is sexually promiscuous, they will most likely be allowed to continue ministry with some accountability and counseling all will be considered fine. Most churches will continue to hire the heterosexual Christians with a past of sexual promiscuity, over those who are sexually pure gay Christians. It doesn't make sense.
I am convinced that all Christians, regardless of sexual orientation, should pursue a "holy-sexuality." It means to pursue holiness in all aspects of our life. Therefore, it's not about heterosexuality or homosexuality, but instead about holy-sexuality.
We look to keep our thought life pure and pursue holiness. We decide that many sexual partners may not be what God has intended. We work to stop the lust for other people. If we are in a relationship, we pursue holiness. We work for the love and value of our partner. We learn to place them before ourselves and love self-sacrificially.
So if you are a follower of Christ, regardless of orientation, pursue holiness. Don't be holy because someone told you, but look for holiness because of what God does in your life and learn how Christ is working in your life daily. There is nothing we can do that will make God love us less and there is nothing that we will do that will make God love us more. Even though we become distant from God, we are more accepted, loved, and cherished than we ever hoped at the same time. That is the value of pursuing holiness.
Rev. Dr. Suzie Chamness is an MCC minister and chaplain. She just completed her D.Min. thru Andersonville Theological Seminary.
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