Fortunately, in our community there are gay affirming congregations. They understand the Gospel of inclusiveness that puts all of us in the same tent for worship and ministry.
To be able to love another person is a gift from God! As human beings we have the capacity to love another person, putting that other personÌs feelings and interests ahead of our own. This is agapao in the Greek and is the word Jesus uses when He commands His disciples to love others.
Yet, in addition to agapao, there is also eros and phileo. Eros is love based upon pleasure and phileo is love based upon reciprocity of feelings and actions. In other words, phileo occurs when one loves the other if that love is reciprocated and doesnÌt love the other when that love is not reciprocated. Most of the world operates on eros and phileo! Christians are called upon to exercise agapao!
However, in our intimate relations, eros is also very important! It is the bonding of two souls and bodies in love that is faithful and enduring. The Gay couple well understands this bonding!
Troy Perry was a Pentecostal-Baptist minister at a very young age. He knew he was gay and tried to smother his feelings. He even attempted suicide! Fortunately, he was found after slashing his wrists, taken to a hospital and survived. He then realized that God doesnÌt create someone whom He can sit around and hate. God created Troy Perry, just like He created all of His gay and lesbian children! Troy Perry went on to start the Metropolitan Community Churches which particularly ministers to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities. They are world wide and have an Internet site.
The Bible doesnÌt condemn same-sex love! In a previous article I wrote in the “Sacramento Valley Mirror” in which I have a weekly column entitled, “Christianity and Society,” I elucidated the passages traditionally used to condemn gay people and showed that they dealt in a context of the need to propagate, with idolatry and exploitation, as well as with acts against nature where heterosexuals engage in homosexual acts undoubtedly to various pagan deities. Nowhere in the Bible is same-sex committed love condemned or even discussed!
The last bastion of the civil rights movement is the stigma and exclusion of gay people from our churches and from our secular society. Yet, they can be seen to be a gift to us from God in that, despite their terrible persecution, many remain steadfast in their loving relationships. Despite all of the barriers set up by Christians and non-Christians alike, many remain in committed relationships.
Being constitutionally gay is not a disorder any more than having brown eyes is a disorder! Most gay people have been born that way and like the old Sunday School saying goes, “God doesnÌt create junk.”
If youÌre gay, you have been blessed by God in that you are capable of loving another human being. The most dangerous people in the world are those who either have nothing to lose or who are incapable of loving others. There is no reason not to assume that God blesses the monogamous gay couple every bit as much as He blesses the heterosexually married couple!
As Jesus said to the Scribes and Pharisees, we make void the Word of God by our traditions (Matthew 15:3,6,9) Mere fallible human beings interpreted the Bible to condemn same-sex unions! Mere human beings call being gay an “affliction” and gay sex as “intrinsically evil.”
When done in a context of monogamous mutual love, the Bible doesnÌt affirm or condemn homosexuality. Indeed, the Bible is silent on this matter!
Many gay people walk around with guilt and shame because they think that they are condemned before God and their fellow man. Read the Bible with new eyes, taking account of the most recent biblical scholarship (See, for example, The New Oxford Annotated Bible), and see for yourself that God created you just as you are and He affirms and loves you just as you are. God shows far more grace than do mere human beings!
If youÌre gay, you have been given the gift of the capacity to love by God, your creator. DonÌt take that gift lightly and donÌt deny it as a gift from God.
You have the capacity to love another human being, and nothing is more sacred or godly than that.
Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at California State University, Chico, served as an ordained priest in the Congregational Catholic Church, a division of the Independent Catholic Churches International (ICCI). For many years he published a weekly column in the Sacramento Valley Mirror titled “Christianity and Society,” where he dealt with a variety of social issues from a biblical and sociological perspective. Maneker also published a blog called “A Christian Voice for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights” and the website Radical Christianity.