I sincerely appreciate your response to my question of homosexuality [See Letter 57: Should We Abstain from Homosexuality?] and the Christian life. I think your answer helped me to get a better handle on the situation. Although I am not gay, I have three great friends who are and we are constantly conversing as to what to do about their circumstances, let alone mine.
I am convinced that the problem I have with the glbt movement in the church is not its theological relevance or importance but rather the tone in which much of the debate is cast, even on both sides. Each side of the debate seems to promote an arrogant self-sufficiency as well as ‘well-isn’t-the-answer-obvious’ mentality. The answer is, “No” it isn’t obvious how the church should go. On one hand we have a good theological point, the one your brought up, that God is about love and grace. On the other hand, for two thousand years the Christian faith has found homosexuality to be incommensurate with the Christian life.
I must admit that I have a very liberal stance on the issue at hand: I see much validity in the arguments of the homosexual Christian community. But, this is not something that should and can be forced on the more conservative community over night. Paul himself made concessions on behalf of the gentiles in the book of Acts in regard to the Jewish-Christians plea to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols. The issue seems to be very similar. The conservatives and the liberals (I am using these tags but know they are hazy) need to realize and respect each others positions and recognize that as each tries to overthrow the other, both sides are sinning against God and each other. Charity must be our modus operandi, not coercion.
Well, I would love to hear your response to the above comments. May I ask if you are gay? I have never actually spoken or corresponded with someone who is at the same time clergy and a part of the homosexual community and think it would be enlightening for me. Thanks for your response.
Grace and Peace,
Thank you for your response and your thoughts. However, I must tell you as an “openly, proud of who God made me” man, that your thought on the gay community being tolerant of the straight community’s discomfort with us is a little like a white person telling a black person, “Hang in there we will get it right. Don’t worry about the ones who get killed, beat up, fired from their jobs, or that their relationships will not have the same benefits as everyone else.”
You see I am a child of God, created in the image of God and have the gifts of God. How long shall I wait before I speak the truth about who I am and what my needs are? How long shall I wait for justice to happen before I point out the injustice that is done to my people daily? Yes, the straight world may interpret my speaking the truth as radical and militant, but then wasn’t that the issue for Esther? Wasn’t that the issue for Jesus? My friend, you are straight (I assume white) and male. You can have anything you want anytime you want. For you, like it or not, admit it or not, are apart of the patriarchal system that says you are in control and are the powerful of this world. If that is true then as a compassionate ruler you must be willing to hear the cry of pain and anguish of your people. It may hurt and sound harsh but it is the truth nonetheless.
Yes, I know that the verbiage from the gay community gets strong and even mean, and hard for you to hear. But then we (the glbt community) are not killing you, beating you into comas, raping you to make you be gay, bombing your gathering places, spending unbelievable amounts of tax dollars to harass and send your people to jail, denying your relationships, telling you that you have no right to job protection, that you can go to jail for a long time for loving the wrong person, or that we will reject you from the family because of the gender you love.
For me, as a gay man, to call on “Christian Tradition” is a very bad joke if not hiding from the truth. After all the American Indians didn’t know they were savages until the Christians made them into savages because of their beliefs. The church has been wrong time and time again. How long should we wait for justice? How can I speak the truth so that you will see that what God requires is that we DO justice, ACT mercifully and walk humbly with our God? You see my friend you are in the seat of power and no matter how I address the issue it will be too strong. I will say this: the straight community is wrong about homosexuality and God. It is out of their fear of sexuality and their comfort with tradition that says “everyone must be the same” and “our way is the only way” that causes such mass injustice to come our way.
Yes, charity must be the way, but please remember for the most part that is indeed what the GLBT community has been about. My friend, we need you. We cannot survive alone. We need you to speak up for us. We need you to go before the King as Esther did as there is indeed a movement to make us go away. We need you to turn the temple inside out as Jesus did. Our need is not to be coerced but to be accepted as the children of God. If my or the community pointing out these things to you and others who want to control our lives is coercion then please speak the truth. Tell all who you know that GLBT people are a kind and gentle people, we are flesh and blood. We are in fact of God and we have gifts to give to our world if only you would not be afraid of us. “For who knows that for such a time as this, YOU have been called.”
Editor-in-Chief of Whosoever and Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church of Atlanta, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994, have been in a committed partnership since the early 1980’s and have been legally married since 2015.