… take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:13-17)
“God Hates Fags!” “Kill A Queer For Christ!” “Turn or Burn!”
These are phrases heard and seen often by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians. The axiom “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me” does not hold true when the religious right launches attacks against gays and lesbians. Words are a powerful weapon, designed to physically and mentally hurt gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. When those GLBT persons also say they are Christians, the words hurt even more.
In this issue of Whosoever, we help gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians “put on the armor of God” and defend themselves against those who attack their faith. Nine authors offer their best advice on how to defend the hope that is within every Christian, whether gay, straight, bisexual or transgender.
Though each author has their own way of dealing constructively with persecution, the underlying theme of every essay is that we as GLBT Christians must speak the truth in love. We must be up front about our faith, quick to defend our hope in God, and slow to become angry with or frightened by our detractors.
We hope this issue of Whosoever helps you to fully realize the power of putting on the armor of God. In a recent interview with Whosoever, author Bruce Bawer said, “As a gay and lesbian Christian, putting on our armor is not a choice, it’s a must. Look upon it as a challenge to prove to yourself what kind of Christian you can be. Realize that when you’re confronted maybe your job is to be an evangelist. You can be an evangelist just by your manner. The angrier they get the calmer you get. However much they’ve been taught to hate you if there is something genuinely xtian in them, they will see God in you. It’s a test of patience. It takes time, but by being patient and modeling a Christ-like attitude, you can see an amazing transformation in those who hate you.”
It is our prayer that after reading this issue of Whosoever, you too will see an amazing transformation — in yourself. We hope you come away with the tools you need to defend the hope that is within you!
Whosoever founder and Editor Emeritus Rev. Candace Chellew (she/her) is the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians. 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 serves as the spiritual director of Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C., and blogs at Motley Mystic.