So, you are probably asking yourself, “Who or what is an Elihu?”. Well, I am. And you can be too.
Elihu was a young and powerful man of God who challenged Job and his friends. In Chapter 32:6-21 of the book of Job, Elihu says this:
I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, not daring to tell you what I know. I thought, ‘Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.’ But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right. Therefore I say: Listen to me; I, too, will tell you what I know. I too will have my say. For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me; inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst. I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply. I will show partiality to no one, nor will I flatter any man.
So, without further ado, “Listen to me; I, too, will tell you what I know”.
More often than not, it seems as though the Christian GLBT community waits for young men and women to go through an extremely destructive phase before reaching out. I have spoken with many of my peers and observed the leaders of the spiritual movement in our community: this seems to be the consensus. Young men and women, strong in the Lord, are having to balance between a Christian community which condemns them for being gay, and a gay community which condemns them for being a Christian. They are left with two very painful and destructive choices.
- One, of course, is to not come out. To lie to themselves and everyone around them even sacrificing peace and love. They often end up getting married and causing great stress to themselves and/or their families later in life.
- The other choice of course is to completely turn their backs to Jesus and the church and embrace a life of chaos. This second choice seems to be the road that most travel down.
Most of my peers who were once Christian had become very quickly and heavily involved with the nightclubs, the drugs, and the negative self-seeking relationships. Finally, when they had lost all strength or ended up in rehab, they turned back to God. This is typically when the GLBT Christian community steps in.
So why doesn’t the community step in sooner? Well, popular belief upon discussing this with my older brothers and sisters in Christ has led me to this. How does an older GLBT Christian walk into private Christian schools, colleges, and churches without immediately being labeled as a pervert or a tool of the devil? They can’t really, I guess. But let me tell you who can….
There are only a handful of young Christians in the GLBT movement. If you are reading this you either are one, or probably know one. Are you challenging them or yourself to be an Elihu?! We are the one’s capable of walking into these schools and churches with the message of God’s love for them. With the support of the church and after an awakening call from God I have stepped into the role of Elihu. I have gone back to the Christian college which had previously rejected me for being gay, and have made allies there who are willing to help. Students and professors who know that the message of God’s love is not reaching the youth in these situations are coming to my aid. This is just one organization of many!
Don’t be afraid because you are young. Elihu was wise because of the power of the Spirit. He challenged people many years older than him, and so can you. It may be difficult at first, but other young Christians will eventually see that the hate being cast against you is not a Christ-like message and then they will start listening. Once you have them listening, grab hold.
We can make a difference, we can make a change! We can make the Son shine through the rain. God can heal the suffering through our hands! (Jaci Velasquez)
So, I urge you, go out into the young conservative Christian organizations around you and show them that God is alive and living well in you!
Erik Stavlund of Minneapolis attends the University of Minnesota and directs the contemporary Christian music program at University Baptist Church (a welcoming and affirming congregation). He also leads GLBT youth Bible studies at a local cafe on Wednesday nights.