It’s been coming, I can’t say for a long time, but for some time.
I was that guy, that pastor who believed homosexuals were sin-dripping heathens going straight to hell in a hand basket. I preached it, taught it, and stood against it. It was a no brainer, slam dunk issue. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Those who listened either applauded, baptizing me in the oil of their approval, or they walked away, silent and discarded. Shamefully, I didn’t really care, I was right, they were wrong. No blip on my radar screen. They were going to hell anyways, what’s a pastor to do when he has a church to build. Poor gay people, what are we going to do with them?
Then, Grace came to my door. He shook me, wrestled me into His arms and leveled my feet. Deep waters of humility, unconditional love, and supernatural compassion. I was sinking fast. Every footing, every foundation of prior understanding of Jesus, God, and the Bible, forever altered, deconstructed and resurrected into life. Soul searching, soul strangling, and soul saving. That’s what Grace does, it changes everything. Nothing can withstand its refining fire.
I believed it, drank it down, driven to believe it all the way. Consumed by the Consumer. Jesus, the intoxicator of my soul, baptizing me in barrels of Grace.
“So Chris, when did you choose your heterosexuality, give me the date and time?” “So Chris, go over and caress that man’s hands and kiss his lips… what, you can’t, why not? But you are asking me to?” “So Chris, why in the hell would I ever choose to be gay, are you kidding me?” “So Chris, I am supposed to abandon my gay child, put him out of the family?” “So Chris, I am just supposed to flip a switch, I’d rather die, cause I can’t do that, and I can’t do this (holding open Romans 1 with tears in their eyes pointing to the phrase ‘God haters.”” “So Chris, God created me, but hates me, He put in me a desire He in return dooms to eternal fire, cause I know I didn’t put there, I would kill to make it go away, but I can’t?” “So Chris, my sexual orientation defines me?” “So Chris, you love me, but hate a core piece of who I am, no choice of my own?”
That was just the beginning. Experience with real people. The experience gay condemners rarely have. Homosexuality became no longer an issue, a theological debate, but rather… living, breathing, human, loved by God and some, Jesus loving… people.
Then, the pivotal, haunting, and life-changing question… “did I read this right?” Grace grabbed me by the feet and hung me over the biblical texts, like my dad once held me to jerk out the hotdog I was choking on soon about to snuff out my life, ridding my lungs of breathe.
Grace grabbed my feet, hung me over the text, shaking out the ignorance I swallowed whole for so long, revealing that I was barely breathing all along.. that is, before the great Grace dislodging. Sodom and Gomorrah, Leviticus, Romans 1, 1 Corinthians, 1 Timothy. Clobber passages that became clear passages, not for the condemnation of homosexuals, but against those who strip them of their context, rape them of their intent, and turn them into gay-seeking missiles. Hijacking each one from their intended warfare on sexual atrocities well outside the world of homosexual orientated, consensual, life-giving, monogamous, same-sex relationships.
I had been singing in the chorus of the false accuser of our brothers an sisters. Hating with the haters, all under the veil of a Jesus centered life.
Not any more. The curtain has been torn in two.
Today, I came out as a gay loving, homosexual affirming pastor. My church heard it, line by line, verse by verse, one text after the other.
Now, you are hearing it.
It hasn’t been easy, the cost is costly, but at the end of the day, I know this to be true… you have the heart of Jesus when the religious scatter and the broken gather.
Whatever comes and whatever comes my way… Grace wins yet again.