“Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” — 1 Peter 3:15
Note: All letters are posted as they were received. No spelling or grammar errors have been corrected. Links to responses are at the end of the letter.
God really loves you very much and he wants you to change. You probably think that is okay to be GAY, but is not okay. God wants you to change your life style, and Jesus can help you do that. you have to give a lot of effort, you have to give up the bad things, and follow Jesus foot steps. You know that is not correct to do it with the same sex, and that is not good to blame God for your mistakes. God gave us freedom of choice. You want to choose the right way or you want to choose the wrong way, that’s up to you. You’re the one that make the choice, just ask God to lead you, so you can go on the right way. Please do not feel bad, He can help you and ask for forgiveness and He will lead you on the right way. Pray hard and believe that He is the greatest, and the mythers, and the most kindness of all. So, my friend never blame God of your wrong doings. on the contrary, talk to Him and ask Him for help. He will never let you down. I can promise that, because I believe in god and I believe that Jesus is His wonderful son.
Rev. Dr. Jean Orost responds: Dear Marciano,
Since I was a child I knew that God created me in His image and loved me. In 1949, I realized that Jesus had died for my sins, and gave my life to Him. God did give all of us free will, as you have said, and the ability to follow Jesus or not, as we choose. Since 1949, I’ve been diligently endeavoring to live a life pleasing to Him in every way. I do not claim to have attained, but I press on toward the mark of the high calling in Jesus (Phil. 3:14). I pray multiple times daily for God’s direction and provision in my life, receiving forgiveness when I err, and comfort when I hurt.
One of the things that hurts me most is when my own family members criticize me for not doing things their way. As a brother in Christ, you are hurting me when you try to put me out of the family. It was Jesus’ blood and suffering that paid the price for me to become a member of the Family of God, and you can’t take that away from me.
It takes most of my time and energy and prayer life to live as close to Jesus as I can. I don’t have time or the right to tell others how they should live their lives. We must each answer before God for our own lives only. I suggest that you find a website that helps you to live your own Christian life. Please forgive my criticism, but the pain your letter causes me and other GLBT folks is real and relentless.
May God bless you in your walk,
Rev. Dr. Jean Orost
Maarten van den Driest responds: Dear Marciano,
Thank you very much for your letter. It is heartwarming to see that there are people out there who actually care. It is at times like this I often am at a loss for words. How can I tell you what we feel and how can I tactfully decline your ‘invitation’? My problem right now is that you wrote a warm, heartfelt invitation to Whosoever – and presumably to glbt people at large – to return to the right way. Whatever that right way may signify in your mind … it obviously includes being heterosexual.
My dear friend, it is a bit painful. It is always painful when you offer something you see as wonderful and mysterious and overwhelmingly good, want to share it and are declined. Yet, this is precisely what I will do. For one thing, I do not believe in the possibility to ‘turn straight.’ And even if it could be done, would it be desirable?
A lot of the problems with homosexuality are actually caused by society. It is a fact that gay teenagers commit suicide far more frequently than their heterosexual counterparts but claiming that homosexuality is ‘destructive’ is not correct. What is destructive here is the mindset of society that forces our youngsters into isolation at best and possibly ridicule, hate, or abuse as well. One should not be amazed these children choose to leave the world that spit them out of their own accord. It is a great tragedy and it is not the only one. A further one, almost as serious, is the way some Christians think about homosexuals.
Marciano, we are not people who were ‘just misled’ and ‘only need to see the light’. We see the light. We dwell in it every day. We are Christians and we do not need anyone’s permission or validation to be Christians. You write a lot of Christian-sounding things that to my mind sound pretty presumptuous and aggravating. Of course, we need to understand were we both come from, what our mindsets are. I will try to explain in answer to your letter.
God really loves you very much and he wants you to change. You probably think that is okay to be GAY, but is not okay.
Marciano, this is something you think. I agree with you that God really loves us all and wants us to turn away from our wrongdoings. This is true, but there is no truth in sticking God’s authority onto our own prejudices. If you read the documents on our site, then you know that we firmly believe being gay is good. We believe that we – as glbt people – are just as much children of God and just as much ‘intended’ as the rest. We do not believe that we are caused by all the sin in the world. We do not believe we are blemished, or fallen or misled or any of those things. We do see that, every once in a while, we need a refuge, some time away from the society that hates us. Therefore, Whosoever.
Society’s choices are not automatically God’s choices. Society was wrong when it thought that black people have no souls. It was wrong when it allowed slavery and validated it with Biblical texts. It is wrong again when it believes that homosexual men ‘recruit’ children. It is wrong when it believes we are ill, evil or ‘intrinsically disordered’.
We believe society is wrong when it believes God wants us to change. Now, is it so hard to accept society may be wrong and may not speak for God this time?
God wants you to change your life style, and Jesus can help you do that. You have to give a lot of effort, you have to give up the bad things, and follow Jesus footsteps.
Did you notice that these two sentences are valid for literally every human being? Of course God wants us to change and Jesus can help us. Amen! I will be the last person to attack this vision of hope. However, to follow in Jesus’ footsteps does not mean to become heterosexual. Do we actually know Jesus was heterosexual? For women, following Jesus doesn’t mean turning into men and following Jesus doesn’t mean to travel to Israel and be crucified. We believe it doesn’t mean you have to become heterosexual. Give up the bad things? Yes, I sin. I sin an awful lot and I confess this freely. Will you join me on our fight to become better people?
You know that is not correct to do it with the same sex, and that is not good to blame God for your mistakes.
This is a strange sentence. First of all, it should have been crystal clear to you that we do not ‘know’ we are wrong in loving the same sex. We believe loving – and doing it with – the same sex is wonderful, loving and holy. We have exactly the same feelings – presumably – that straight people have for partners of a different gender.
Secondly, did you find any evidence at all that we blame God for anything? We don’t. We blame society for suppressing us, hunting us down, abusing us verbally and physically and shutting us out of schools, jobs and organisations. We thank God for the opportunities still open to us and pray His support in trying to keep reacting in a love-filled, understanding way despite our adversaries’ attempts of destroying our kind. We thank Him for life, every day anew. We thank Him for wanting to be with us and keeping with us even when we go wrong. We thank Him for everything.
We are sad that some people cannot seem to be Christians while still allowing gay people to be alive in their midst. We do thank God for those that work to advance love and understanding for all mankind, be it gay or straight.
God gave us freedom of choice. You want to choose the right way or you want to choose the wrong way, that’s up to you. You’re the one that make the choice, just ask God to lead you, so you can go on the right way.
I do ask God to lead me. I cannot speak for all members here but I do ask for leadership, inspiration and support from He who created heaven and earth. He who stays with us until eternity and never lets go of the work that His hands began.
I do make choices. I made the choice of trying to make the best of my – gay – life. Sometimes I get a bit tired of always having to focus on my sexuality when speaking about religious matters but hey, that’s what’s needed right now. My dear Marcianio, I could have lied. I could have made the choice of denying my own existence and trying to be as straight as possible. Obviously a lot of people would have had less complicated lives and would never have doubted my beliefs. Well, I didn’t. My God is the God of truth and life. He doesn’t condone changing your inner self just because it suits the prejudiced.
I could have lied, Marciano, I could have lived a double life and kept everyone’s theological ideas safe. I didn’t and it cost me greatly. I have, without bragging, suffered a lot from prejudice and hate. Pressure from society and so-called ‘Christians’ cost me the one I loved. I still love him though and try to be there for him because he, too, suffers at times from those who claim they ‘love us and only want to help’. What would you have me do?
Where do you get the authority to lord it over my life? Where do you get the idea you actually know what is right and wrong? Do I not pray? Do I not love? Do I not believe?
Please do not feel bad, He can help you and ask for forgiveness and He will lead you on the right way. Pray hard and believe that He is the greatest, and the mythers, and the most kindness of all.
I feel pretty bad right now but I think I’ll be over it in time with a brisk walk around the block and maybe even some time on a barstool for a quick glass of perspective-and-soda. Seriously, I do not feel bad about my own life. I believe nothing in heaven or on earth — no power or king or law or anything created — can keep me away from my God. Not even people who love me.
An incredibly painful sentence, don’t you think? Well, for gay and lesbian people this is often reality. Would you share in our pain, Marciano, and believe with us? I’ve said it before, in other answers, but it bears repeating: I invite you to come and worship with us. Go to a gay or a gay-friendly church in your neighbourhood and quietly join in the worship. Join in the powerful currents of love and heartfelt, honest belief that flow through these shelters of the despised. Follow Jesus and join the ones who really need His support. You can get back on the ‘right way’ quickly enough after you leave so that shouldn’t be a problem.
So, my friend never blame God of your wrong doings. on the contrary, talk to Him and ask Him for help. He will never let you down. I can promise that, because I believe in god and I believe that Jesus is His wonderful son.
Friend, since you call me this, I am happy He will never let me down. It would surprise me greatly would you, or any other of those who write us, ever write back and engage us in honest, respectful communication. Now that you have my answers, I have no illusion that you should now magically turn to my views and adopt them as your own. It is not even what I aim at.
However, you now have a piece of my living heart. In reply to your few rather condescending lines – admit it – I wrote a statement of my beliefs, opening my soul and allowing it to be vulnerable. Be vulnerable with us, Marciano, and experience what it is like to always have to fight for existence, fight for recognition, for the right to call yourself Christian.
God will never let me down. My right to call myself Christian comes from Him, not from you or anyone else. This is one of the few blessings we gay people have. Do you dare come down from your righteous straight pedestal and believe with us? You are hereby cordially invited.
I believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord, as my personal Saviour.
Blessings always overflowing,
Rev. Vera I. Bourne responds: Dear Marciano,
I believe you have written your letter out of deep love and concern. However you claim to speak for God in as much as you state that God wants us to change.
Over many years there has been great pressure brought to bear on members of our community to conform to heterosexual standards of behaviour. The pressure has been so immense that folk have been expelled from those churches in which they were members, and in some cases where they were clergy. We have lost our jobs, especially in the fields of education and defence. We have been evicted from our rented housing. We have been slandered and defamed both in the press and in those courts where prejudice has held more sway than justice. In some cases our families have disowned us. Many of us have been subjected to aversion therapy, some even to surgery designed to change our sexual orientation. In fact the treatment we have been accorded has been even more calculated and cruel than that used to change people who were naturally left-handed, when it was erroneously believed that all people should be right-handed. So traumatic has been the oppression and hatred directed against us that many of our community have suicided, believing that they were unredeemable in God’s sight.
No one, on the evidence of the oppression brought against us, could be convinced that what has happened to us has been at God’s direction. Biblical scholarship has not revealed that being homosexual is against God’s design for some people. In fact, if we start searching Scripture at Genesis, we discover that all God has made is perfect and that God is pleased with all that has been created, and that includes all of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. We do not believe that our lifestyle – our sexuality – is wrong, not is it sinful. And, just as heterosexuality is not simply reflected in sexual activity, neither is the God given gift of own sexuality. Like all people we choose whether to express our sexuality in our daily lives, or to abstain from sexual activity. We alone are responsible for the way we treat others, and it is our attitude, our full expression of God’s love or lack of love and concern for others, which reflects our choices.
It is only as we accept that God has made us differently, and this difference is just one part of the great diversity of God’s creation, that we are able to rejoice that we belong among those for whom God’s love has been demonstrated for all time. We are not warped or twisted. Nor are we sinful misfits who need to be altered by those who see us through their own and not God’s eyes. We are precious and greatly loved by our Creator. We are now realising that our sexuality is as specific a gift as is the ability to create beautiful music or pictures. Realising that we have been so gifted, and that God has never shunned us, we are returning to God with praise for his blessings. He has never let us down, that is true, but how many times have those who claim to have special knowledge from God let us down as they condemn us for being the true reflections of God’s diversity.
Thank you for your loving concern for us. We also share a loving concern for you. I sincerely pray that you will never know the discouragement and prejudice we have known, but that God will open your eyes to the love which Jesus has demonstrated to all people. My prayer is that this love will also be yours.
Founder of Motley Mystic and the Jubilee! Circle interfaith spiritual community In Columbia, S.C., Candace Chellew (she/her) is the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians (Jossey-Bass, 2008). Founder and Editor Emeritus of Whosoever, she earned her masters of theological studies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, was ordained by Gentle Spirit Christian Church in December 2003, and trained as a spiritual director through the Omega Point program of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. She is also a musician and animal lover.