here seems to be a pattern in the growth of many Christians. It seems at
some time, many of us must go through the wilderness. In Old Testament time,
the wilderness was a physical place; it was a desert. In our modern times, the
wilderness is an allegory; time spent away from God.
The wilderness is not a
pleasant place. It is described as dry, barren, sometimes dark, often
infested with beasts, serpents and robbers. It has pits and the shadow of
death is there (Jere.2:6; Isaiah 43:19). Why we as children of God must go
there is often a mystery. It seems to be a place of testing, learning,
growing, refining and humbling for the child of God, (Deu.8:2). God knows
you're there (Hosea 13:5) , but often we're not sure where God is.
famous bible folk have spent a lot of time in the Wilderness. Moses was there
for 40 years, after he killed the Egyptian, before he began his ministry to
the Israelites! (Acts 7:28-30). He spent another 40 years there with the
Israelites. All total Moses
was in the wilderness for 80 years! (Amos 2:10). David stayed in the
wilderness all the years he was hiding from Saul. When he entered the bible
describes him as a
young man. He left the wilderness when he was 30 years old.  We are in
company, historically speaking.
I personally am well acquainted with the
wilderness. I was there for 22 years. I stayed there because I couldn't allow
myself to believe that you really could be a gay Christian. I heard others
explain the theology and I agreed with them intellectually. But I couldn't
get a grip on it at a belief level - the level of the ultimate intimacy with
God. Could God truly love me, and not care that I was a lesbian? Could all
the mainstream church's be wrong in their interpretation of the scripture?
Was my lesbianism a "blessing" from God? I had been so shamed by
my former fundamentalist church, the thought of my gayness as a blessing
seemed like blasphemy.
It took me a long time to work out those questions.
God kept sending me the answers. But the answers were in unfamiliar packages
- different styles of worship and distinct feelings of mistrusting the
messages. All the while
the current of life was carrying me farther and farther away from the God I
had known and loved. The current was sweeping me out into the ocean of life
and into the world of the flesh. I wandered, with mixed feelings, trying to
find God in strange places. I missed the God I had known in my youth. But I
was also afraid to face my God thinking that I was shameful. So I visited
churches hoping to find something familiar, an old feeling of acceptance and
love, something that would ring true to my tortured soul.
I had been raised Catholic as a child. I met the Lord as my personal savior
in high school and was very active in Christian organizations while in
college. I joined and quickly became a staff member of a large independent
church which worshipped in the style of the Assembly of God churches. After two
years, I was accused of being homosexual and of coming on to the pastor's
niece. At that time, I was unaware of my sexual orientation and was seeing a
young man - because you were suppose to.
The false accusation was meant to be as hurtful as it could be. I was very
publicly fired and removed from the church membership. I was devastated. I
felt that if I had already been punished for being a homosexual, I was going
to find out what homosexuality was all about. I found my local gay community
center, and discovered that my attraction to women was much stronger then to
the young men I had been seeing. In this way the church had done a favor for
me. God used their maliciousness to point me in the right direction to
discover who I was before I made a mistake and entered into a heterosexual
marriage. I was elated at discovering who I was and what that meant. I was
also devastated at the thought of losing my God. That is how I entered the
My wilderness was full of self-doubt and anger at the Christian population. I
saw them as being the enemy. And indeed they present(ed) themselves as the
enemy of gays and lesbians. I became ashamed to call myself a Christian,
because it linked me with the fanaticism and hatred that was being publicly
displayed by right wing fundamentalists. I truly believe that the anger and
venom that they pushed upon our gay community kept me away and keeps many away
from the Christ that only wants to give us love.
I've marched in gay pride
parades and been called a sodomite. My own parents were among the people who
yelled the loudest, that hell was the only place fit for MY KIND. I've
engaged several fundamentalists in discussion, trying to explain and show the
error of their logic, but logic seemed to elude them. I found solace within
the gay community, but I was searching for my God. Where was God in all this?
I attended gay Christian church's from time to time, but nothing was clicking.
About the time I was ready to give up, I picked up a copy of Stranger At
The Gate by Rev. Mel White. I was outraged as I read his testimony of how he
had been abused by the "Christians". Here was a pastor, who endured all kinds
of tortures for his sexuality. I admired his strength and noticed that
through it all he
had found Jesus again in a real way. He had made it through. Maybe I could
I again tried attending services, looking and seeking. I claimed the
scripture, "Seek and you SHALL find" (Matt. 7:7). I asked God to prove that
passage to me. I attended my local MCC and when the band started playing, very
softly and sweetly, "I need you - I want you - I love your presence", my
heart melted and I knew I was home. Many of my questions still aren't
satisfied. But I was able to reconnect to my God and leave the wilderness.
According to Rev. Sandra Turnbull of MCC-Long Beach Ca., the experience is
like "being born again, again". 
I am a very different person now, then the one who entered the wilderness so
long ago. There have been a lot of experiences that I won't forget, a lot of
betrayals by people I loved, and many wounds to overcome. A lot of my attitudes
are different and I can now see that my lesbianism is a gift from God.
mainline denominations are learning that they need to listen to gay
Christians. The research is there for anyone to look at, as far as the
"clobber" bible passages go. If they look at it with
an open mind, they'll see the truth of the scriptures. The "clobber" passages
have been misinterpreted and taken out of context, so that at a simplistic
surface level, they condemn us. Fundamentalists quote these passages without
questioning their true intent or understanding the Greek words that they came
from. If the mind is closed, all that's left is bigotry! The commonly used
phrase of "hate the sin but love the sinner" is a justification phrase created
by the fundamentalists to excuse their hateful behavior toward gay and
lesbian people. "God Hates Fags", or "Turn or Burn"
are not examples of God's love. "If you don't do what we think the bible
be hell to pay. 
We have a community of severely wounded brothers and
sisters that need to know that they've been lied to by the mainstream
church's. We as gay Christians need to be sensitive to the fact that
fundamentalists have used "in your
face" tactics with our community members, just as they have with us. We need
to not be aggressive but rather be caring and sensitive in our sharing of the
good news of Christ's love. We need to look at ourselves as gay Christians.
We need to not emulate the fanaticism and radical style of the
fundamentalists. We need to show Christ's love and be sensitive to everyone's
wounds. No one gets through the straight church background without incurring
wounds. We have this as a unique part of our community. No one makes it
through mainstream Christianity unscathed! Some are hurt more, some less.
Rev. Nancy Wilson of MCC - Los Angeles, Ca. says, "It seems that those who cry
Jesus the loudest are often the most abusive in their behavior". 
worship the God of our fathers, we need to do so with a purity of heart and an
honesty that is acceptable to the God of our future. I thank God for seeing
me through all of these life lessons, and for strengthening me from all of the
 New Bible Dictionary, 2nd edition, Inter-Varsity Press, 1994, P 268
Back To Article
 Metropolitian Community Church, Long Beach. Cal. Sermon 10/5/97
Back To Article
 Jallen Rix, "We Have Learned To Hate", on "The Sacred and the Queer" C.D.
Triam Agency, 1995
Back To Article
 Metropolitian Community Church, Los Angeles, California. Sermon 7/5/98
Back To Article