This issue has been dedicated to exploring the question “Can you be gay and Christian?” I believe our contributors have searched the scriptures and given us a resounding “YES!”
Now that we know God loves us and made us just as we are, where do we go from here? We must explore the question of what it means to be a Christian, regardless of our sexual orientation.
For many, the book of Romans is a painful chapter of the Bible, containing what many see as the most damning of the passages against homosexuality. But, Romans is a valuable resource for guidance on how to be good Christians.
In Romans 12:9-17, Paul’s advice to Jesus’ followers is:
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.
Those are words that speak to every Christian, but I believe they hold a deeper meaning for gay and lesbian Christians. Everyday we are persecuted by people and groups that claim to represent the “Christian” perspective. But, as Paul advises, we must be patient in tribulation, praying constantly that God will open the eyes of those who seek to harm us. Instead of hoping for bad things to happen to members of the Religious Right who persecute us, we should bless them. They should be in our prayers every day. If we seek to bless our enemies rather than do them harm, Paul tells us “by doing so you will heap burning coals upon (their) heads.” What a horrible thought for Pat Robertson, to be blessed and prayed over by a bunch of gay Christians! Praise God!
But remember, our prayers must be genuine. God knows the difference between an honest heart and and spiteful one. He hears and will act if we sincerely pray for God’s blessings on those who hate us. Only through God’s wisdom will others realize that we too are God’s children. He made us, and loves us just the way we are.
Until that day we must honestly live the Christian life and do our best to show God’s love through our lives. As Paul tells us in the end of Romans 12: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
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.