Tag: homosexual (page 1 of 2)

Is Jesus Gay?

At times, there is silence for a reason as some things are best said by being left unsaid.

That there is no mention of Jesus’ sexual orientation in scripture is perhaps reflective of a profound, cosmic reality that one’s gender nor orientation are a prerequisite for determining that which is of the Divine. To the dismay of much of western Christianity, Jesus wasn’t purposed on being imaged into a caucasian, American, heterosexual, republican, gun-owning, blue-eyed, conservative male with flowing locks of brown hair—but rather He is the surest example of what it truly looks like to simply be fully human and fully rested in the Divine.

Was or is Jesus gay in terms of sexual orientation or behavior? I don’t believe so—but it certainly doesn’t matter. For being gay is about so much more than mere sexual orientation or gender identification. It’s about being a beautifully created soul adorned with eternal extravagance imaged in the splendor of the Creator, who no less bears the arduous task of navigating their unique, human experience through the minefields of a brutally inhumane world that would quickly ransack those who break religious molds, clawing to strip them of their divine value, identity, purpose and worth. Beyond the gravity of sexuality and orientation, this is the deeper, ultimate essence of the plight intrinsic to being gay—to be fully human and fully alive while sweating beads of blood in determination to find one’s way and hold onto one’s inherent dignity and God-delighting in a spiritually nefarious, different-condemning, and different-killing world.

In this way, Jesus was surely gay.

For in the face of being ostracized and derided by His own Nazareth family of bigots determined to misunderstand Him, Jesus is the gay man and the lesbian woman who live in the constant, gruesome torment of coming out, being known, and fully living their God-designed personhood—a kind of hell on earth of daily accusation and rejection God never weaved into the tapestry of what anyone should endure.

Or crying over Jerusalem, begging for His heart to be understood and His people to receive Him, Jesus is the parent who lies awake deep into the night, tirelessly fighting in solidarity for the defense, worth, dignity and affirmation of the LGBT child God has blessed them, but the religious deem a disgrace—Jesus, not just the parent, but also too the LGBT child born innocent by the Spirit’s authoring, pursued by the cunning Herods of our world whose sure desire is to seek out and kill them.

There, praying in the garden of Gethsemane, begging for divine reprieve, Jesus is the lesbian teenager, trembling in terror as she cuts her arms and threads the noose, convinced that giving up is the only way out, and the only sure resolve to the pain that is before her.

In the outer courts, confronted by the religious through the evil venom of their creed—backed into a corner, a pointed finger pushing at His chest questioning His true identity, Jesus is the transgender person whose truth is too truthful for the world to hear nor see.

Then, from the confines of Pilate’s Praetorium where flogged beyond recognition, to a savage, religiously-conspired cross where nailed, pierced and left to die of internal suffocation, Jesus is the Orlando night club and every LGBT person ever murdered in body, mind or spirit—crucified to death by religion, ignorance, and hate, and even good people who remain silent and unengaged.

In all these ways, Jesus is surely gay—not just gay, but One of us all for whom religion has demonized, illegitimized, and crucified in hate.

For Jesus didn’t die just for humanity, He died as humanity—all of it. Transgender, black, white, gay, straight, rich, poor, conservative, progressive—the haters, the lovers, the lifted high, the beaten low, the Christians, the Muslims—every type, color, creed, and flavor.

Everywhere there is religious oppression, everywhere there is bigotry, discrimination, or injustice—where there is the branding with labels or the withholding of Grace, Jesus is there in Person and as the person being deprived of that which has been given to them freely and irrevocably from the goodness of His Name.

In this way, if you can’t handle the notion of Jesus being gay then you aren’t fully understanding the essence of Jesus being you.

To be you or to be gay is essentially one in the same—it’s what it means for all of us to simply be human, created in the likeness, image, and favor of our Maker, living in a religious world that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy all that His hands have made, with special sights on that which the religious deem inferior or against the grain.

Run your fingers through the strands of an LGBT soul, then through mine, or that of any other, and soon you will declare the only declaration that can be truthfully rendered—that none are better, only different. For the sooner we see Jesus in and as the people around us, the sooner the lenses of God’s affirming view become the windows through which we see ourselves and all humanity.

If Jesus isn’t gay then Jesus isn’t you, and if Jesus isn’t you, then the incarnation is a fake, and your resurrection a certain uncertainty.

No one chooses to be LGBT, but in Christ Jesus, God has chosen to be—not just One of them, but He even does the unthinkable and dares to be One of you.

Yes, that’s right.

Jesus is gay, Jesus is me, and Jesus is even…

You.

Before You Take Your Life: 5 Things Every LGBTQ Person Needs To Know Before It’s Too Late

Your life. It feels like there is no hope, trapped in a well of darkness, no way out. You pray to make it all go away, if only tomorrow never dawned. The constant ping of pain ricocheting within your soul, torturing your every breath. It’s all you can do, to put one knee in front of the other, crawling down this path of living hell.

Nobody seems to hear, to understand, the screams screeching from your soul. All alone on the stage of life, if only to be heard. Crushed by the weight, drowned out by the volume of culture’s condemnation, sinking their bigoted teeth deep down, piercing your every hope. You’re slowly dying, a song inside, afraid to be born.

Not to mention religion, the Christianity that is forever assaulting you. Hate-bombs exploding. Discrimination, isolation, marginalization, shrapnel-packed spirituality. Vests full of death, waiting to be triggered, disguised as children of Light. Your every step, paralyzed in a mine field of ignorance, arrogance, and evil. Terrorism pimped as Truth.

It’s hell, it’s all hell. And you’ve had enough.

I’m not on the same path as you, but I do know what it’s like. To come to the wall, to the place in my mind, heart, and soul that concludes, this is where it has to end. I can’t take it, I can’t make it, anymore.

I’ve been that close. Looking my wife and my children in the eye. Just a trigger, a pill, an exit door away. That was me.

I am begging you, don’t do it.

Before you take your life, give anymore seriousness to the thought. Before you make your plans, plot your course.

There’s some things you need to know, you have to know, before it’s too late.

You are so Beautiful. You are the smiling gleam of your Creator’s eye.

There’s nothing wrong with you. No sin to manage, no stronghold to overcome, no flaw to repair, no tangle to unweave. The heavens declare, you are the joy of the Father, beautifully and wonderfully made. No if, ands, or buts. You’re not a question waiting for an answer, a disease searching for a cure. You are a statement from God, the period at the end of His sentence… everything He makes is good.

God loves you, completely, thoroughly. Not out of some divine obligation, but out pure, radiant pleasure. Everything about you, His hands have made. You are the intentionality of the Creator. Loaded with sacred purpose and design.

To lose you, would to be to lose Himself.

You, are that beautiful.

Religion Has This Wrong.  The problem isn’t you, the problem is us.

The Christian track record is sure.

We are the authors of more confusion, division, and death than any other. Much of church, flat out sucks. Harboring some of the most bigoted, racist, discriminating, judgmental, over-fed people on planet earth. And quite frankly, they like it that way. Hell hath no fiery like an arrogant fundamentalist.

History tells the tale. Wrong about simple astronomy, wrong about black people, wrong about women; wrong, wrong, wrong. Now, leather-bound, name-engraved, wrong about you.

Those people condemning, reclined in their clubs with crosses on top. They’re wrong. Utterly, completely wrong. They are not Jesus, and they are not His heart for you. Close your ears, board up your soul. What they have done with the Bible, those six verses. It’s all wrong. Intentionally or not. Twisting, rewriting what God inspired for good, using it for harm.

Run from it, all of it, emancipate your heart. Don’t let their voice to you, become your voice to you. It is not of God, it’s of pure evil. Spit it out, every last drop.

Religion, has this wrong.

Your Struggle is Real. You didn’t ask for this, you didn’t choose it.

You’re not making this up, looking for a quick fix of attention. This isn’t some drama you’re orchestrating, sucking people in. The pain is real. Your heart is not a fool.

Your plight is genuine, deeply personal, uniquely individual. Those are real scars, fresh from the floggings. Those are real haunts, spinning in your head. Those are real cries, real blood gushing from your eyes. Nothing small about it.

No need to convince, no need to explain, no need to give reason, justification, permission for your pain. Who you are is who you are, where you are is where you are, what you are going through is what you are going. No need to pretend, to amend, to edit for for your audience. Just be you.

There are many who get it, who know it to be true.

The struggle is real, that’s all there is too it.

You are so Loved.  There are lovers amidst the haters.

Maybe you didn’t get it, not from the people who should. But there is so, so much love, from people who do.

You are not alone, countless others are walking this out. Day by day, step by step. Ready to journey with you, intertwine their story with you. Curse dark skies with you, wrestle out depression’s claws with you. Stomach rejections’s vomit with you, dine at homophobic tables with you. Beat ignorance’s chest with you, pull back the knife in your hands with you.

Nothing is impossible when love is the answer. You are so loved.

Feel the hands reaching out, the hearts wide open. Hear the voices weeping… “You are deeply loved.”

God loves you. Everything about you. I love you. Everything about you.

You deserve to be desired, and all of heaven desires you.

You are so loved.

There is Hope. You have a song to sing.

A beautiful, strong, elegant, human, cosmos-penetrating hymn of life. Your life.

There is nothing more tragic than to die with your song still inside. For heaven’s sake, stand up, take your place, and frigging sing it. Be who God created you to be, with all abandon, without restraint. For such a time as this, you have been created.

It feels like the end, but this is just the beginning. Set aside everything that holds you back, believe in the beauty of all that you are, see the horizon, filled with promise. For your life is nothing less than the life someone else needs, to live theirs.

There are good people, good churches, good communities. More and more, it’s getting better. Because of you, it gets better.

Be brave, sing your song, live your life, embrace its worth.

Be brave, I say, and live.

There is hope.

You are hope.

I beg you.

Be brave, and live.

 

Resources for your journey: 

Chris Kratzer: 980-295-0230 // ckratzer@ymail.com

Article “A Six Pack of Gay Affirmation: The Clobber Passages Revisited” 

Article “Be Brave: God’s Ardent Message To Every Gay Person and The People in Their Life”

Book “Torn” -Justin Lee 

 

 

 

What’s It Going To Take? A Pastor’s Plea To Affirm LGBT

You are a good person, perhaps a Christian. Maybe even a leader or a pastor. Your heart is to follow Jesus and to be faithful to His purposes. The important things you are accomplishing for the cause of Christ haven’t gone unnoticed. You’re living out your faith with noble intentions from the framework of your experience, understanding, and conviction.

Yet, there are issues in life that change the course of history, starting with the challenging of our own creeds and spiritual assumptions. The gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender realities being one of those, especially within Christian circles.

For some, you are familiar with terms like LGBT. Others, your awareness is more centered on homosexuality in contrast to heterosexuality. When it comes to sexual and gender manifestations, there is a large expanse. It’s complicated stuff, with lots of moving parts. All of us having a certain level of understanding, if nothing more than how charged, difficult, costly, and controversial these issues can be.

Maybe you have already drawn your conclusions, carved a line in the sand. It’s all an abomination. The clear teachings of the Bible make it perfectly clear. Any other theological landing point is a slippery slope to hell. Nothing is going to move you, sway you, or alter your view.

That was me. The pastor who could look out upon a congregation. With no restraint, no hesitation, no pumping of the breaks. Telling those gathered in my polished preacher’s voice, it’s all a sin and unless met with repentance, every last one of them are on a fast track to hell. Gladly receiving the high-fives from those who agreed.

Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. I understand exactly where you are at.

Maybe you are questioning. It’s all a bit fuzzy to you. You see both sides, swinging from one end to the other. Looking down at the fall between the two trapeze. To grasp for the other side, making the leap, the blood wells up in your head, your breath is constricted in horror. You gaze ahead to the relational dominoes that would crash to the floor if people knew just the doubts you were having, let alone the new position you might be taking. The deconstruction of your faith, the footings of your creed. If only it would all just go away. Indecision, straddling the fence. It’s all too much. So, you just keep swinging.

That was me. The pastor trying to stand for everything, and therefore standing for nothing, and with no one. Lukewarm and loving it.

Been there, done that. The middle ground is the lowest ground.

Maybe deep within, you believe in God’s affirming heart for LGBT people. You have studied it out, covered the chalkboard with new equations, new summations, new conclusions. Like Nicodemus, in the dark of night, you have come to Jesus. Learned His heart. Yet, it’s your secret stance. Only known by you, perhaps a few others. Adding up the costs, the conversations to take place, the meetings to meet with, the look in people’s eyes, the locking of their wallets, the removal of their memberships. The de-friending, the demonizing, the de-humanizing. The firing, the resigning, the transitioning. The tally on the receipt, the numbers that result… it’s too much. The cost is just too much.

That was me. The pastor, who with money he didn’t have, planted a church, starting with seven people. Nurtured it, fed it, changed its diapers. Knowing full well, just a year in, if people knew my true heart, it might die. I could lose everything. Friendships, family, systems that held me together, clients in my bi-vocational work.

But then, the awakening. Truth. Jesus. God’s heart.

Christian, do you realize the spiritual, emotional, and physical torture LGBT people experience, almost exclusively at the hands of our Christianity? Thousands of gay and lesbian people commit suicide every year. Others, walk a daily living hell of discrimination, hate, bullying, violence, abuse, marginalization, and condemnation. A staggering 41% of transgender people attempt suicide because of societal non-acceptance.

Certainly, that has to bother you, at least register a blip on your radar screen, does it not?  No, maybe it’s not happening in your leather-bound, steeple-topped world, but it’s happening in God’s world. And quite frankly, He’s pissed and so am I.

Can you even begin to imagine what’s that like? Every moment of every day, dehumanized and demonized. A breath among them is rarely taken without a whiff of pungent bigotry stinging every fiber of their being, burning clear down to their souls.

Folks, this is disgusting, outrageous, and dripping with pure evil. And who are the ones leading this frontal of death towards the LGBT community?

Christians, that’s who.

Do you realize the Bible, particularly in regards to LGBT, isn’t nearly as clear as you think it is? It’s not the slam dunk we have swallowed as truth. There is only one Word of God, Jesus. The rest our words about God requiring deep contextualization, discernment, and evaluation. Those six verses that we cling to, seemingly condemning LGBT people, are at best a house of cards. We’re slinging marshmallows, arming them are missiles.

But chances are, you won’t hear any of that. The fingers in our ears feel safer. The reality that you, and a whole spiritual system within Christianity could be completely wrong, is perhaps just too much for your pride and faith arrogance to compute. So excuse me, if while you smoke your unnatural cigarettes, sign your unnatural divorce papers, and stuff your faces with all kinds of unnatural, I get a little smirk on my face when you try to get all Bible on me, preaching to me how “unnatural” those LGBT people are.

I know. You think from where you sit, it’s your job to tell the LGBT community the error of their ways, the consequences of their choices. Eternity is in the balance. Sadly, that’s what love looks like to you. But that’s not what Jesus looked like to anybody. You are going to have to re-image Him into a vehicle of your own agenda to arrive at a spiritual license for your condemnation, judgement, self-righteousness, and hate. Sure, you can proof-text a couple passages into compliance, but you’ll never contextualize Jesus and justify that evil prowess.

Christian, do you realize, the LGBT community is not a manifestation of choice or decay, but of God’s delighted design. They didn’t sign up for this like a gym membership. There is no upgrade God is downloading, a change that God is desiring. He didn’t make a mistake. There is nothing to improve, overcome, or revamp.

These are human people. Living, heart-beating, lung-expanding, emotion-feeling people. Beautifully and wonderfully made by the artistry of the Master.

But perhaps that river of revelation hasn’t flowed to the banks of your spirituality. Why? Because you haven’t listened, you haven’t truly befriended, you haven’t humbly sat at the feet of the LGBT community, washing, serving, beholding. You haven’t looked into the eyes of their soul, stood under waterfall of their struggles, internalized their suffering. And therefore, you have missed Jesus, the Living Water, right within your midst. You have become the very people who have received Him not. Leaving your mind, your heart, your faith unchanged, hardened by your unwillingness to repent in response to the kindness, goodness, and holiness of God created in every LGBT person.

The Holy Spirit is charging into the temple of our Christianity, flipping the tables, revealing the truth that in the spiritual x-ray of all that is LGBT, we are in fact the cancer, we are the sin, we are the abomination… not them. And most tragic of all, the wages of our sin has become their death. The wages of our ignorance, the wages of our silence, the wages of our complacency. The wages of our bench sitting, comfort idolizing, spiritual pride, and cowardice… everyday, becomes their death.

Whoever you are, wherever you are at, I am not asking you to go against your conscience, but for Christ’s sake, I am asking you to open your conscience to the transformation of the Holy Spirit.

For the love of God, listen to your heart, listen to the voice of Jesus.

If God, in scripture, affirms the wild donkey that serves no redeeming purpose, the Ostrich that sucks at parenting. Just because they breathe, He pours at His full delight and pride. How much more does He affirm all of humanity, His best idea, one-of-a-kind created in His image? That’s reason enough for the God of the universe to love unconditionally, affirm unlimitedly… just because we breathe.

What’s it going to take?

How many more LGBT people have to commit suicide, begging for life to end? How many more LGBT people have to crawl through this living Hell, tasting the ever constant spit of Satan upon their face as he uses Christians to mouthpiece his declaration that God hates them. How many more LGBT people have to breathe their last, foaming from the mouth in the stranglehold of bullies and bigots? How many more parents of LGBT have to weep until their eyes bleed. Fearing for their children’s lives. Closing the drapes, curling up into the fetal position, all but giving up. How many more LGBT souls condemned, lives destroyed, families broken apart, faiths unraveled? How many more LGBT people have to die at the altar of our Christianity?

What’s it going to take?

But what about my reputation, what about my congregation, what will my family and friends say?

I say to you, who gives a shit? Don’t you get it? Lives are at stake. This is not a joke. We Christians have gotten this completely, emphatically wrong. Search you soul, deep down, you know you have tasted the poison we are pimping as fruit.

While you are dreaming of your future, keeping your ministry aspirations alive, holding on for a life of financial security, family peace, and basic hopes and comforts. There is a whole group of LGBT people dreaming they don’t wake up tomorrow, praying on their hands and knees to die. That’s their dreams.

For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. He went the distance, risked everything, did whatever it took. What was the joy? The full affirmation, the full salvation of all, you and me, just as we are, beautifully and wonderfully made. One and done on the cross. You don’t die for that which you don’t first love and affirm.

So I ask you, what is the object of your joy? Is it your wallet, your pay check, your church attendance, your friendships, family, reputation, ministry? Is that the ultimate, deepest object of your joy?

For Jesus, it was the least of these. The broken, the marginalized, the condemned, the hurting, the discarded, the bullied. Those drifting in the sea of injustice.

Isn’t that enough for you? The life, the wellbeing of a mutual, human being. Their dignity, their divinity?

What’s it going to take? Tell me. I’ll write, pay it, do it.

Your affirmation of what God already has, could be the difference-maker in a life. Hope where there was no hope. Changing everything.

Desmond Tutu said it this way…

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

James, the brother of Jesus said it this way…

“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

Jesus said it this way…

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

What’s it going to take?

For some, it’s already too late.

But for others, before it’s too late… I beg you, affirm what God already has.

Grace is brave, be brave.

Affirm.

A Six-Pack of Biblical Gay Affirmation : The Clobber Passages Revisited

In the biblical book of Hosea, chapter four, the writer experiences God speaking, “My people are being destroyed from a lack of knowledge.”

It’s interesting to me that God doesn’t say, “Hey, you know what? It’s because of sin that you’re being destroyed.” The text doesn’t even say it’s because of temptation, not even because of Beyonce’. No, the writer experiences God declaring, “it’s all about your ignorance.”

Interesting, very interesting.

So here we are with the issue of homosexuality.

No surprise, this is a topic that has been baked in a good bit of ignorance. And I, once a willing cook in the kitchen of bad theology, and even worse… bigotry.

That all changed, however, when I revisited the Bible with a new heart, and with new experience and information.

I pray that process happens for you.

There are a mere six passages in the Bible that specifically deal with the issue of homosexuality. I’m going to deal with five of them; line by line, verse by verse. One passage is basically a repeat of another (Lev. 18:22, 20:13).

Some people call these verses the six “clobber” passages because people use them to clobber homosexuals and homosexuality declaring, “See, it’s clear as day, black and white. God hates homosexual. Homosexuals are sinners. They’re all going to fry in hell.”

Good times for sure.

Yet, the very passages so many want to use to condemn homosexuality, I believe are actually a six-pack of biblical, gay affirmation.

Yup, a six-pack of heaven-crafted, delicious, biblical gay affirmation. Intoxicating, with God-authored freedom and validation. Detoxifying, with truth and fresh revelation.

So, belly on up and drink it in…

Bottle One : Sodom and Gomorrah Summer Ale

Genesis 19. It’s a sad story. A story about a guy named Lot.

There’s a backdrop to this.

Lot is Abraham’s nephew, and Abraham and Lot became very successful. They acquire all kinds of cattle, herds, and people. Bucket loads of stuff. Soon, they realize that sticking together was getting to be too complicated. Running into each other, conflicts emerged.

So, Abraham spoke up one day and said “Listen Lot, we need to go different directions here. I love you, but we’re just on top of each other.” Abraham, being a humble guy, continues “Look at the horizon Lot, pick a spot. You go there, and I’ll take what’s left.”

Lot gazes his eyes upon the cities of the plains, which are Sodom and Gomorrah.

Soon after, he enters into Sodom and Gomorrah and quickly realizes it’s a pretty nasty place. The people are clearly in significant violation of some of the most important ethical and moral issues of that Hebraic context… hospitality, gluttony, and arrogance.

About this same time, God visits Abraham and whispers, “Hey Abe, I need to clue you in a bit about something that I’m probably going to be doing here. That city, where Lot is hanging out, their lack of hospitality, all their arrogance and self-centeredness. I’ve got to end this thing.”

Abraham responds, “Hey God, could you hold off here, give Lot a heads up?” After some discourse, they finally come to an agreement where God sends a couple angels into Sodom and Gomorrah to let Lot know what’s about to happen.

That’s where we pick up the story…

“That evening the two angels arrived in Sodom, while Lot was sitting near the city gate. When Lot saw them, he got up, bowed down low, 2 and said “Gentlemen, I am your servant. Please come to my home. You can wash your feet, spend the night, and be on your way in the morning.”

Right off the bat, a big deal to the Hebrew moral code was the issue of hospitality. Probably the most important, ethical issue of the day. Lot is trying to honor this tenant .

They told him, “No, we’ll spend the night in the city square.” 3 But Lot kept insisting, until they finally agreed and went home with him. He baked some bread, cooked a meal, and they ate. 4 Before Lot and his guests could go to bed, every man in Sodom, young and old, came and stood outside his house 5 and started shouting, “Where are your visitors? Send them out, so we can have sex with them!”

Did you read it… “Every man in Sodom?”

Now let’s just use our brains for a second. You can be sure “every man” was not homosexual in orientation. Our national percentage here in modern 2015 is less than two percent.

But this isn’t about percentages, this isn’t about homosexuality, this isn’t about heterosexuality, it’s about something much larger. Read the text, this isn’t an invitation to engage in mutual, consensual sex. No, this is all about one thing, and one thing only… gang rape.

“6 Lot went outside and shut the door behind him.  7 Then he said, “Friends, please don’t do such a terrible thing!”

A “terrible” thing? Why is this terrible? Because this has nothing to do with consensual sex, or even sex at all. It has everything to do with malicious, victimizing, violent rape. That’s why.

8 I have two daughters who have never been married. I’ll bring them out, and you can do what you want with them. But don’t harm these men. They are guests in my home.”

It’s so amazing to me what we have done with this story. Somehow, we have made it all about homosexuality, which it is not, and overlooked the obvious corruption of Lot, who is willing to hand over his two daughters to be gang raped.

Are you kidding me? Handing your daughters over to be gang raped?

Sadly, when people typically think of Sodom and Gomorrah, they never think about that. In fact, when Lot and his daughters depart out of the city, they decide to repay their father and rape him. Nice, right? Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth… rape for rape.

See, this is not about homosexuality, this is about harm. This is about rape, this is about sexual violence.

The evil aggression is dripping off the pages…

9 “Don’t get in our way,” the crowd answered. “You’re an outsider. What right do you have to order us around? We’ll do worse things to you than we’re going to do to them.”

Here again, these violent demands to commit violent rape are coming from all the men of Sodom, not the gay community. And certainly, this is not a consensual arrangement being desired. No chance, no way.

“The crowd kept arguing with Lot. Finally, they rushed toward the door to break it down.10 But the two angels in the house reached out and pulled Lot safely inside. 11 Then they struck everyone in the crowd blind, and none of them could even find the door. 12-13 The two angels said to Lot, “The Lord has heard many terrible things about the people of Sodom, and he has sent us here to destroy the city. Take your family and leave. Take every relative you have in the city, as well as the men your daughters are going to marry.”

For God, when He hears the name Sodom, He has an entire list of “terrible things” in mind. Yet, interestingly, on that list is not homosexuality.

In fact, Ezekiel 16:49 declares, “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”

“Overfed,” are you kidding me?

We Christians, who for many of us, our favorite past time is to stuff our faces at the local Golden Corral to the point of chosen obesity after Sunday morning preaching. Seriously? We are looking for a condemnation of homosexuality in this passage that just isn’t there, while completely turning a blind eye to the “overfed” sin that God makes clear is certainly there.

This is not a text about homosexuality, especially homosexual orientation.

This is passage about the condemnation of violent sexual behavior. A condemnation of evil, father-daughter relationships. This is a story about the breaking of strict, cultural rules of hospitality.

That’s the context, that’s the issue. Nothing more, nothing less.

In fact, when Jesus spoke of Sodom and Gomorrah, He did so to the disciples stating that if one goes into a town and people don’t receive them into their homes, it would be better for Sodom and Gomorrah on that day of judgment than it will be for the inhospitable. When Jesus, four times in the Gospels contextualizes the issue of Sodom and Gomorrah, He never mentions homosexuality. Rather, over and over again, He highlights the critical issue of hospitality.

The men of Sodom and Gomorrah were not homosexually orientated, loving men. They were men who gathered outside Lot’s door, leaving their natural, heterosexual orientation to rape people as an act of humiliation and emasculation.

This a story of deviant heterosexual males who were hell-bent on humiliating strangers by treating them as women. The evil desires of those men had nothing to do with genuine love being expressed between members of the same sex.

Dr. Richard Haynes of Duke University, who is actually anti-gay, says the following…

“The Sodom story is actually irrelevant to the topic of homosexuality. The attempted gang rape in Genesis 19 shows the depravity of the Canaanite people who lived in the cities of the plain but there is nothing in the passage pertinent to a judgment about the morality of consensual homosexual intercourse.” Dr. Richard Hayes –Duke University

Bottle Two : Leviticus Lager of 18:22

“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female: it is an abomination.” Leviticus 18:22

So here we are in Leviticus. Don’t be afraid, drink it in…

The scholarship yields overwhelming, affirming evidence.

The biblical, ancient, near Eastern context, as best we can investigate, was not familiar in any way shape or form with homosexuality in the sense of a defined sexual orientation a person embodies intrinsically. In the biblical assertion that “a man shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman” the disapproving assumption was, a man would leave his natural attraction towards a woman and emasculate another man.

Here again, this text is about a forced act of humiliation and revenge. Not homosexuality.

In fact, there is am entire holiness code at play here.

If you keep reading further in Leviticus, (most stop after reading this singular verse) not only is the act of “a male lying with a male as with a woman” articulated as unorthodox, but all sexual acts that do not lead to procreation are declared an abomination.

Ruh, roh Scooby.

The Hebrew understanding of the time was that the male seed contained everything needed for human life. No knowledge of eggs or ovulation. It was assumed within the culture that a woman only provided the incubating space.

This was once an Aristotelian world where he, one of the most brilliant minds of the millennia before Christ, suggested that a male seed exclusively produced a male being. Where did women come from? The same place that malformations came from. Genetic syndromes, those are all cousins to a female. Aristotle suggests that a male produces a male, but sometimes things go awry and a female is born.

Folks, this is the context here. And if you take a text out of its context, you can make a con out of the text. To waste of male seed during a menstrual cycle, engage in autoeroticism. All was equivalent to murder because of the wasting of the male seed.

Yet, if you still believe this passage is somehow addressing homosexuality, of which Moses and the Leviticus code had no knowledge. It doesn’t even mention female-to-female activity. Why? Here again, homosexuality is not the issue. Moses knew nothing of this, as we do today.

In fact, if you believe this Leviticus stuff somehow addresses homosexuality, then you have to believe it all the way. So when later, the Leviticus code dictates that all kinds of like behaviors are punishable with death. Now you are going to have to jump on board with ISIS to align with this interpretive thinking.

But, let me suggest, before you start killing all the homosexual people you believe this passage is addressing, you are going to be dead yourself. These same passages forbid many sexual practices and declare them to be punishable by death. Practices that are very likely accepted and practiced by you. Yes, you.

One example. If a bride was found not to be a virgin before marriage, you simply brought her parents up on charges, as women were seen as property. She was taken to the city gate and stoned… to death.

Now let me ask you, how many homosexual condemning females are out there who have had sex before marriage? How many homosexual condemning husbands are out there whose wives were not virgins at marriage?

Need I say more.

If you are looking for a condemnation of homosexuality, you are going to have to belly up to a different bar.

Drink it in, Leviticus Lager of 18:12.

A condemnation of homosexuality? It’s just not there.

Bottle Three : Romans Imperial Stout

1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Now even if you just skimmed this passage, it’s obvious that within these verses is contained a long list of problems. Yet, many Christians, when they think of Romans 1, conveniently dismiss issues like gossip or slander, or any of the other many behaviors listed. Rather, this passage has become the biggest clobber text of those who desire to condemn one thing and one thing alone… homosexuality as a sin.

Yet ironically, Paul does not even begin to indicate the issue of homosexual orientation or homosexuality. We know from history that Paul didn’t have any sense or knowledge of the idea and reality of homosexual orientation.

In fact, if you know any gay people, you know that as early as they can remember, they didn’t choose their homosexuality. With tears running down their eyes, they beg to be understood, “Why would I ever choose this, in such a hateful world, why would I ever want to be gay?”

Some committing suicide, others dealing with severe depression. The hell that we have brought upon so many with this passage (and others) from Scripture is disgusting at best.

Folks, homosexuality isn’t an issue, it’s not a debate, it’s people. Living, breathing people. Beautifully and wonderfully made… gay. No choice, no sin, no different than the color of your skin.

Paul had no reference for homosexuality, for homosexual orientation, or for romantic love between two people of the same sex. None.

In fact, it was Paul, in a pre-scientific world, that reported he had an experience where he went up into the “third heaven.” Yet, we know now, that reality does not exist. Paul however didn’t, because he had no reference for that. It was a different day, in a different time.

Paul once acknowledged…

“From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.” 2 Corinthians 5:16

Paul is admitting that he not only once understood Christ incorrectly, he confesses that he also misunderstood humanity. Am I making a case to discredit Paul? No, but rather showing that contextually, this was a much different time with a much different window to the world.

What Paul is doing in this Romans text is simple. He is condemning those with a heterosexual orientation, which came “naturally” to them, who were acting in homosexual ways.

The text says plainly and clearly, they “exchanged, gave up.” You can’t exchange or give up what you don’t already have… heterosexuality. Their set, disposed, natural orientation… they exchanged that for homosexual acts. They went beyond their heterosexuality, out of power, hate, anger, or lust and acted homosexually.

Paul new nothing of people who for them, “leaving” would mean leaving their natural homosexual attraction to exchange it for heterosexual attraction.

I don’t know about you, but I have many gay friends.

Some have asked, “Chris, when did you decide to be heterosexual?” “How would you like me to read you Romans 1 and then ask you to exchange your heterosexuality for homosexuality?” “Go over Chris and hold that man’s hand and kiss his lips. Do it, turn the switch, flip it over. And if you can’t, you are the evil, God hater of which this passage is speaking.”

In fact, in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul, using the same term “unnatural,” said it was unnatural for a woman to cut her hair and pray without a head covering, and for a man to have long hair. He said it was “unnatural,” the same term he used in Romans 1.

Yet, apparently we are very approving of those things now.

Paul later said it was “unnatural” that the Gentiles be included in the church. Really? You know who the Gentiles are, don’t you? You and me.

With new information, revelation, and experience, Paul realized on several occasions, in regards to some very important spiritual matters, he was wrong. Flat out, wrong.

But even if you still believe somehow Paul is condemning homosexuality, you better keep reading.

For the point of Romans 1 was to describe the evils of a Roman world. Even calling out an unspoken referencing to people like Gaius Caligula who, along with others, practiced most everything on the list of evils in the text. Additionally, making a reference to the Levitical list Paul’s Jewish audience would have known.

Yet, the Romans 1 passage goes on, referring the reader back to this long list of atrocities…

“Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” Romans 2:1-2

Yes, you read it correctly. By our judging of anyone whom we think is on that list, we are actually practicing those very same things. That, my friends, is what you become.

Don’t you just hate it when the Bible gets in the way of our self-righteous, condemnation.

In fact, there is a real sense that when we ask gay people to leave their natural homosexuality and exchange it for heterosexuality, we are admonishing them to do the very “unnatural” thing this passage declares as evil and terrible.

Take a moment, and drink all that in.

Bottle Four : Corinthians Chocolate Porter

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals.” -1 Corinthians 6:8

Bottle Five : Saint Timothy IPA

“9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.”   -1Timothy 1:9-11

The words here in both passages (above) that have been translated as “homosexual’ is the Greek word “arsenokoites.”

This is a hard word to translate to say the least. So difficult, that overtime the treatment of this word has moved from translation to interpretation.

In fact, this word “arsenokoites” is so complicated that before 1946, no Bible translation had ever translated this word to read “homosexual.” I’ll give you a second to try pick up your jaw.

Before 1946, the word “homosexual” was not even in the Bible. No place, no where.

Only starting in the mid-20th century, several translations of 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 were changed to read “homosexuals” will not “inherit the kingdom of God.”

A clear move from a translation to an interpretation.

In fact, the word “homosexual” wasn’t even an actual word until the middle 1800’s.

The word “arsenokoites,” many new testament scholars agree, is rarely used even in secular writings, and does not refer to homosexuality, nor even homosexual activity.

Martin Luther, the Church reformer, translated these same passages to mean “boy abusers.” He understood “arsenokoites” as a reference to pedophilia.

In fact, before 1945, nearly every bible translation interpreted “arsenokoites” as something to do with prostitution, pedophilia, and the like.

Even the KJV did not translate “arsenokoites” as homosexuality, but rather in terms of elite, oversexed men abusing themselves with boys, girls, or animals. It was a practice widely accepted by rulers and ruling men of the day.

Therefore, through the use of these two passages, Paul is bringing a strong condemnation on primarily elite men, who had never been confronted before, for leaving what is natural to them and sexually abusing just about anything they could find. Primarily, pedophilia.

And let me tell you, there is a big difference between pedophilia and homosexuality.

If you knew the kind of sexual practices that were going on during Paul’s time in the Greco Roman world, it was disgusting. Old, perverted men were treating boys like pigs.

The people of this day didn’t have a heterosexual, homosexual perspective. It wasn’t them over here, and those over there. No, they had a heterosexual context where people exchanged that orientation and used acts of homosexuality to overpower with domination, humiliation, slavery, rape, and temple prostitution.

We should all praise God for condemning those deplorable acts, but we have today with homosexuality, is completely and utterly not the same.

And because of this, in recent years, many New Testament scholars have been pushing back against these translations. All because this word “arsenokoites” being translated to mean “homosexual” isn’t a translation, it’s a blatant, biased interpretation.

Drink it in…

Same-sex relationships, based on orientation, between equal-status partners weren’t on the radar screen at all. Neither the word “homosexual” nor the concept it represents existed when the Bible was written.

It is high time we recognize, like Paul and others were willing to do so, we got it wrong.

“My people are being destroyed from a lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6

Drink it in, drink it all in…

Sodom and Gomorrah Summer Ale

Leviticus Lager of 18:22 (20:13)

Romans Imperial Stout

Corinthians Chocolate Porter

Saint Timothy IPA

…a six pack of biblical, gay affirmation.

Stay thirsty my friends.

Stay thirsty.

Don’t Homophobe Me, If You Don’t Know Me

Since becoming a defender, advocate, and voice for the LGBT community, I have been the toilet in which many have squatted their negative feedback. There is nothing like a good online, comment-section spanking. Or, walking through a local store only to bump into the disapproving glares of those who were once friends.

Yet, my experience, just four months into this gay-affirming, homosexual-loving journey as a pastor, dwarfs in comparison to what the LGBT community endures every moment of every day.

Sadly, the emotional, spiritual, and even physical carnage caused to supporters and members of the homosexual community is almost exclusively generated by Christians. Go figure.

Even more disturbing is the glaring reality that Christians who take a condemning posture against homosexuals and homosexuality, often have little to no personal, relational connection with people in this demographic. They harbor great energy and willingness to condemn homosexuality intellectually and biblically, but distance themselves from any personal interaction of meaning and journey with homosexual people. Keeping everything in the comfortable and familiar confines of debate land.

This is a deeply troubling reality. Ideas, creeds, perspectives, and alike are all very important. Yet, in my experience, debate is primarily used by those who simply want to assert opinions and convince themselves they have position over another. It is the mind games of small minds. Loaded with information, lacking in transformation. Debate is an effective way of dealing with the issues without the issues dealing with you.

Nowhere is this more evident than with homosexuality. Hiding behind laptop screens. Endless circular arguments. Statistics, studies, and biblical texts, keeping the heart at a comfortable, sterile distance. Church committee task forces, Sunday sermons bent on defending long-held positions. All requiring little to no soul process, faith, and receptivity to the Spirit. As Jesus admonished, one can diligently search the scriptures, debate issues of the mind, defend human, hermeneutic tradition and completely miss the heart of Christ at same time.

Perhaps that’s the whole idea. Heaven forbid Jesus gets in the way of our ignorance, bigotry and misguided theologies.

In fact, I’ve come to a place in my own ministry where with some people who want to criticize and debate me in regards to homosexuality, I enforce what I call “The Rule of Six.” Before I am willing to take one step further in debating the mere six bible passages relating to homosexuality, I suggest the person first develop genuine, meaningful relationships with six homosexual people. There’s a revolutionary concept.  As those relationships emerge, there is a much better chance we can come back to the biblical texts with an open mind and heart, ready to consider afresh the Spirit of God on this matter. No, it’s not a hard and fast rule, but the idea is extremely important.

Until you have a truly genuine, open-hearted relational connection to homosexual people, you disqualify yourself from the debate, and from a position of criticism and condemnation of gay people and their supporters.

Don’t homophobe me if you don’t know me.

Have you taken the journey of a homosexual? No.

Have you taken the journey of a person who has become a gay-affirming, homosexual loving pastor? No.

Have you truly immersed your heart into the stories and experiences of people who are homosexual? Probably not.

Have you thoroughly studied out the issue of homosexuality, openly listening to voices that speak directly against your anti-gay stance and biblical interpretations? Probably not.

Chances are, you don’t know homosexuals, you don’t me, and you really don’t know this issue. You may know of them, you may know of me, you may know of this issue. But you do not know, because you do not know.

The longest distance between two points is a shortcut. And try as we may, there are no shortcuts with homosexuality.

The truth is, it’s only when we humbly connect with homosexuals and homosexuality at a personal level that minds begin to change from the heart outward. Only then, do we become willing to rethink long-held thoughts. Only then, do we start looking for ways to affirm instead of ways to condemn. Only then, will what we see and hear in front of us, through the stories and journeys of living, breathing gay people, show itself to be nothing like our spoon-fed biblical view of homosexuality.

I know, you can’t wait to write in the comment section below that it’s not necessary to look at other vantage points, nor engage in meaningful relationships with homosexual people for you to know God’s heart on the matter. It’s all so clear to you, and such things are below you.

Maybe you should pump the brakes a bit, because that’s what Paul, the biblical writer thought. In the limited landscape of his perspective and experience, at one point, he had determined that it was “unnatural” for the Gentiles to be included in the Kingdom. However, upon further information and personal experience, he later determined otherwise. Completely changing his view. He realized, he was wrong. Thank God, because guess what? We’re the Gentiles.

See, it’s easy to take shots at people we aren’t willing to sit down with. Condemn things we don’t fully understand, and reject that which challenges the very foundations of our spirituality, humanity, and theology.

There are a lot of string attached and a lot at stake. The costs of being a gay-affirming, homosexual loving person can be great.

Yet, at the end of the day, at least have the integrity to study the issue out, going far beyond the intellectual all the way to seeing through the eyes and heart of homosexual people and the LGBT community.

I double-dog dare you. Walk a mile or two in their shoes. Open your soul, humble your mind, build some relationships for crying out loud. Then, and only then, wherever you land at any given point, you do so from a genuine, humble journey of listening, relating, considering, and experiencing the issues as openly and fully as possible. Heart to heart, hand to hand.

Until then, don’t homophobe me if you don’t know me.

Not me, not my gay friends, not the gay community.

Why I Wish I Were Gay, And Maybe You Should Too

Some of my gay friends would do just about anything to not be gay. Not out of some confusion complex or deep inner shame, but solely because of the abuse, condemnation, and flat out emotional torture they endure from our bigoted culture. For many, there are times of deep introspection, the searching for self-affirmation, navigating through a jungle of external to internal condemnation. I would never wish this experience on anyone and deeply empathize with their journey. The walk of being gay is uphill at best. It can be a special kind of living hell. Day by day, by day, no rest.

Yet, at times, I do wish I were gay.

Being gay affords an intrinsic discovery of profound awarenesses and the development of a depth of personhood that is to be highly prized. Gains that can tip the scales of loss and yield a treasure, over flowing. A vault of gold that only being gay can unlock.

At times, I wish I were gay.

Being so, you quickly find out with whom there is true friendship and true family. There’s no wasting time spending years in veiled relationships only to find out it was conditional love all along. The reality of people is quickly chased out of the shadows. There’s a kind of weeding out, a stripping down. Surface pleasantries and sunny-sky friendships quickly lose their appeal. One possesses a kind of relationship authentication system, revealing who is truly with you and who is truly not. And that, sooner than later. How much relational longing that only ended up in disappointment could have been usurped had I only been gay. Years of giving headspace to people who don’t matter. Tirelessly coaxing people into having an interest in my life and desperately trying to keep them caring. Some heterosexuals claim to have a kind of “gay-dar.” A radar-like sense for who is gay and who is not. Well let me tell you, gay people have a “crap-dar” I quick sense of who is full of crap and who is not.

Oh how at times, I wish I were gay.

I would have jettisoned the Evangelical brand of Jesus much sooner. The house of cards that is much of modern Christianity would have blown over in the wind of my God-breathed homosexuality, revealing religion’s evil scheme. To think about all the years I spent completely oblivious, clueless to this legalistic, self-righteous, elitist, religiously-spirited, arrogant, condemning, and theologically twisted take on Christianity. The blindest of the blind. Never seeing my faith from the other side. Therefore, never seeing faith at all. Rather condemning, judging, misleading, and flat out being wrong. A complete and utter jackass in the name of Jesus. Oh, the shame that could have been averted from the show-stopping, jaw dropping discovery that what I thought was the Way, was no way at all.

Had only I been gay.

I would have known more; earlier, faster, deeper, quicker, of what it means to be truly human. To be humane. To love without condition. To be loved without hesitation. For love that hesitates is no love at all. All that religion and conservatism wanted to rid me, God wanted to give me. My humanity. Not a disease but a divinity. You don’t learn to truly love until you learn what it feels to be truly hated. That’s the gift of an enemy, that we rise above to love, anyway. None grow to be more accepting than those deemed unacceptable. Loving, than those deemed to be unloveable. There is a special sound that Grace makes, a special sound that Grace quakes from those who are gay. Compassion for human suffering, a tolerance for intolerance. Grace upon Grace. None are better, only different. These are the diamonds of being gay.

Oh how I wish at times, I were gay.

To rest in my identity in Christ would have come much sooner. Years spent people pleasing, God pleasing. As if people pleasing and God pleasing were possible. Believing in a God who is displeased, full of an anger that needed to be appeased. What a freedom there could have been, more towards the beginning not the end. That God is Grace. He is love. Perfectly loving me, always delighting in me. Without hesitation, but complete affirmation. He is so much better, so much greater than I ever believed. Higher, deeper, wider, stronger. One can never exaggerate the goodness of God. Seeing Jesus through the lens of being gay, one can see God as being fully grey, loving every shade.

It’s never been about me, and all my me-ness. It’s only and always been about Him, and His loveliness. To finally awaken, to breathe for the first time, when having thought I was breathing all the time. This is what happens, when what you once believed and have been told is that you are breaking the mold, turns out to rather be the Father’s fashioning of a wholeness to behold. Held in the same hands as the stars. That you are.

Had I only been gay.

I would have loved the Bible as I’ve come to love it now, in all its complexity and errancy. The progressive revelation of humanity’s experience with God, completely completed in Jesus. The perfect Word, not a page, but a Person. Longing to reveal Himself to me and through me, as Love. Not a weapon, but a whiskey, intoxicating me in one hundred proof Grace, drinking in the forever favor of His face. Used by the religious to condemn. By Jesus to reveal the beautify of the Father. The beauty of them in which the world sees none. Only a quest from a heart pierced by religion’s claws sees the true divinity within us all. Not just a book, but an anthem affirming all of life.

How at times, I wish I were gay.

Playing in the garden of vulnerability, watching flowers grow in colors of uncertainty, learning to stand in the tension and stay connected with those stretching the connections. Where honesty and openness lose their threatening, and cuts and scars need no pre-packaging. Learning and living in true worship. Hands in the air with words singing, “Oh God, my life sucks and I’m having serious doubts about You.” Beautiful songs that need not reach the throne, because He has already drawn near, long before. Weeping, crying, laughing, living, struggling, searching, learning, questioning… all together. True community. Wanted, welcomed, celebrated, affirmed. Where church happens best where the marginalized, discarded, condemned, cast out, are happening most.

Had I only been gay.

I would have come in touch with my racism much sooner. The inner bigot that was me. The false accuser declaring what is no error, to be error. For this is the bottom line of homosexuality, where the heart meets heaven. No choice, no sin, no different than the color of a person’s skin. To be against one who is gay, is to be against myself, and myself against Him. To stand in opposition to the handiwork of the Creator who created me from within.

If only I had been gay.

To experience such revelation, to have this awareness, discover these discoveries, to garner pure wisdom. To love deeper, be known more fully, embrace more widely, to see more wholly. His beauty, His favor, His essence, His plan.

Sooner, clearer, greater… the heart expand.

To finally see, scales falling from our eyes, the evil so many of us as Christians have embraced and become, you ought to wish you were gay.

Oh, how at times, I do wish… I were gay, and maybe you should too.

Maybe… you should too.

Be Brave : God’s Ardent Message to Every Gay Person, and The People In Their Life

It wasn’t your choice, it may not have been your desire, but the stage is set. You are gay, you have a gay child, your brother, sister, or friend is gay.

For some of you, the curtain awaits, but coming out… the apprehensions are too overwhelming.  You’ve rehearsed your lines a thousand times, looked into the crystal ball of every person’s response, plotted the strands of dominoes that are sure to fall the moment you sing your first note…  “I’m gay.” “My son is gay.” “Yah, my sister… she’s gay.”

For others, you’ve taken the stage. You began your song, the crowd looked down at the Playbill. They were quick to the disconnect. This wasn’t in the script, it’s not how the story was supposed to go. The plot twist sounded… gasps, chatter… then silence. Some picking up their things, searching for exit signs.

One thing is clear, the audience of your life is uncomfortable with this scene, if not in complete rebellion. Relatives can’t seem to understand. Your spouse, hugging an old baby picture off the mantle, still convinced “denial” is just a river in Egypt. Once intimate friendships have now evaporated. The people who should be drawing you close are pushing you away. With spotlights burning your gaze, you struggle to see who’s in and who’s out.

This if your life. This is your scene. You are gay, you have a gay child, your brother, sister, or friend is gay.

A rush of anxiety wells up from your toes to your head. You scan the auditorium. It’s funhouse mirrors without the fun. Everything that once was so familiar looks so unfamiliar. You ad-lib a closing verse knelt down with fists shaking…. “This can’t be real, this can’t be happening. Oh my God, my hands and feet are bleeding. Somebody, pull the damn curtain, and get me the hell out of here.”

In tears, you scamper off stage. If only it ended there.

You search for quietness, but the quietness won’t be quiet. You have questions for God. Why me? Why us? Isn’t there some other way?

It’s gut wrenching, it’s hard, aloneness never felt so lonely.

This if your life. This is your scene. You are gay, you have a gay child, your brother, sister, or friend is gay.

In the very midst. Right here, right now, God speaks a message, to you. He’s sitting on your lap, grasping your shoulders, speaking straight into your eyes…

Be brave.

It’s time to be brave.

You’re gay. You are fearfully and wonderfully made… gay. There was no mistake. You’re not a question, you’re a statement. From the voice of the Father, of the beauty of Jesus.

For such a time as this, you are born. You are the revival God is bringing to this world. Stop wishing for everybody else’s life, this is your life. Holy, pure, without blemish, overwhelmed with purpose. Stand up, take your place.

If God created you to be you, and you aren’t willing to be you, then why in the frigging universe, did God create you in the first place?

Sing your song, damn it, sing your song!

The moment is now. Don’t you dare give up, and don’t you dare shrink back.

It’s time to be brave.

God is not ashamed of your child, why are you? Look at me eyeball to eyeball. You are their family, for crying out loud. You are God’s best idea as to how to manifest His Grace and love to this divine-imaged human being.

What? You think those people’s backseat opinions really matter? You’re actually giving them a voice? I’m not trying to minimize the challenge. But, you don’t owe them anything. Not an explanation, a plan, a Bible verse, and surely not a space in your head. This is your scene, not theirs, this is your family, not theirs. This is your child, not theirs.

For Christ’s sake, it’s time to be brave!

Fine, you’re having an honest debate in your mind regarding the Scriptures. But, it’s our children that deserve our strongest stance and defense, not the Bible. Jesus would have it no other way. It’s unconditional love, or it’s not love at all.

Your homosexual child isn’t a cross to bear, don’t ever think or speak that poison again. They are no less than the Christ you carry into this world.  Stop fiddling, stop fumbling, start embracing, with the same pride and delight your Father has in you.

It’s time to be brave.

Friends don’t let gay friends be gay, alone. They don’t let families with gay children, be families, alone. This is friendship, to lay down one’s life. You could be the only ray of heaven in that person’s hell. If you walk away, what will be left?

It’s time to be brave.

If you are going to be a church, and claim that “ALL are welcome,” with all your branding, slick staging, and spiritual posturing. You better make for damn sure that ALL aren’t just welcomed.. but wanted, loved, empowered, protected and dare I say… affirmed, and celebrated.  You represent Jesus. Who for the joy set before Him… endured. For the God-smiling affirmation and heaven-bursting celebration of ALL set before Him… He endured. Not just endured, but died.

If you aren’t enduring for the ALL, and the joy Jesus takes in ALL, you are not enduring for Heaven’s sake, you are enabling… for Hell’s.

You are gay, you have a gay child, your brother, sister, or friend is gay.

It’s time to be brave.

Be brave.

For Christ’s sake. Be brave.

Anti-LGBTQ : The New Racism of the 21st Century

I once was full blown, anti-LGBTQ… but not anymore. Not even close.

I have met extensively with LGBTQ people, many of which were already friends. I have read, studied, and dissected every biblical passage on the matter. I have sought the counsel of scholars, scientists, church historians, all from various sides and angles. In the process, I have come to a place of level rest and resulting peace that LGBTQ is no more “sin” than having flat feet. You can’t choose it, and you can’t lose it. Heterosexual, or gay. Straight, or LGBTQ. It’s what you are, or aren’t.

I fully understand the complexity of this issue and all the spiritual, religious, and relational strings attached. This is tough stuff. I am well aware of the nature verses nurture debate and the reparative therapy discourse. The science of gender variances in human biology is compelling to stay the least. Yes, there are those who may “try to be gay” for various reasons. But that is far from the norm, nor the reality for the overwhelming majority.

For the LGBTQ person, there is nothing to be repaired, changed, overcome or transformed. It is… who one is.

As a Jesus follower and pastor, long before I became LGBTQ-affirming, this reality first confronted me when feeling the difference in my Spirit between counseling a person involved in something like abusing alcohol verses counseling a person in regard to their sexuality. Guiding a person abusing alcohol in applying the power of God’s Grace to overcome, fit hand in glove with the heart of Jesus. Doing so with a LGBTQ person left my Spirit deeply unsettled and conflicted. Something didn’t add up. At the time, I couldn’t put words to the disconnect, but I can now.

Being LGBTQ isn’t a problem to be fixed, a sin to overcome, a temptation to subdue, or a stronghold to break. It is the person’s beautiful, God-imaged reality, unchosen and inseparably interwoven into their personhood. There is nothing to change, that can be changed, that should change. It’s like asking a tree to become a mountain. Why would you do that? Both are simply different, and wonderful in and of themselves.

Racism towards black people essentially began during the Renaissance and Reformation. Europeans were coming into increasing contact with people of darker skin in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Merely because of the skin color differences among a minority of people, judgments against blacks were increasingly asserted. From this biological condemnation, a rationale for enslaving Africans developed. Because of their darker skin color, a spiritual scar was branded upon them, declaring them “heathens.” Many used the Bible as their justification. In most instances, a story regarding Noah and his sons is referenced. Ham finds Noah drunk and naked in Noah’s tent. He tells his brothers, Shem and Japheth, who then proceed to cover their father without looking at him. When Noah finds out what happened, he curses Ham’s son Canaan, declaring he will be ”a servant of servants.” In the biblical account, Noah and his family are never described in any sort of racial terms. But as the story morphed over the centuries, falling into the hands of the religious, Ham became widely portrayed as black. Blackness, servitude and the construct of racial hierarchy emerged.

From simple, unchosen biological differences in a minority, to labeled demonic spirituality, to judged inferiority, to active slavery, prejudice, and abuse. Racism against blacks is born. Much of which, in the name of God and biblical faithfulness.

“[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.” –Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America

“…the right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example.”Richard Furman, President, South Carolina Baptist Convention

Enter LGBTQ.

From an unchosen, biological difference among a minority, to labeled demonic origin, to judged deviancy from the divine, to active condemnation, isolation, inferiority, and prejudice. Anti-LGBTQ is born. Much of which, in the name of God and biblical faithfulness.

“[homosexuals are] brute beasts…part of a vile and satanic system [that] will be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven.” -Jerry Falwell, Christian Leader

“Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God upon which this Nation and our laws are predicated. Such conduct violates both the criminal and civil laws of this State and is destructive to a basic building block of society — the family….It is an inherent evil against which children must be protected.” -Chief Justice Moore, Alabama

“Build a great, big, large fence, 150 or 100 mile long. Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified till they can’t get out. Feed ’em. And you know what? In a few years they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce.” -Charles Worley, Christian Leader

Sound familiar?

Anti-LGBTQ, the new racism of the 21st Century is here.

This, my friends, is what we have, and it ought to shake you to your core and sound off every alarm in your conscience and creed.

Maybe for you, like many who lived in the midst of the racial history of the past seven centuries, you don’t see it that way. There are too many cultural, spiritual, and religious biases and presumptions constricting your view. For many, you are simply trying to navigate from what you have heard and long been taught. But just because you don’t see it now, doesn’t it mean it isn’t true now.

I know some of my readers will consider this line of thinking as an atrocity. How can LGBTQ today be symbiotic with the racism of yesterday? Yet, I find it interesting how what are often deemed in history to be theological atrocities of the present later become Christian apologies of the future.

What is a different color of skin on the outside for some, is a different sexual orientation on the inside for others. At the core, it’s as simple as that. No choice, no sin, no different than the color of your skin.

“We struggled against apartheid because we were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about. It is the same with homosexuality. The orientation is a given, not a matter of choice. It would be crazy for someone to choose to be gay, given the homophobia that is present.”Desmond Tutu

Wake up America, wake up Christians. Do you really want to be on the wrong side of history, biblical interpretation, and the manifesting of God’s heart for our culture yet again? Do we really want to be connected to and the catalyst of atrocities being committed towards LGBTQ people not unlike the ones we once (and even still) asserted towards blacks?

Let’s surprise even God Himself, and go ahead and write that letter now, apologizing to the LGBTQ community for our role in demonizing, marginalizing, and damaging their lives. A letter, mark my words, we will most certainly construct, sadly years from now, when we finally realize our error and grow the fruits to admit it, in the same way we did with racism, slavery, interracial marriage, and might I add… divorce and women in ministry.

The new racism of the 21st Century is here. It has a name… anti-LGBTQ.

Out of the Closet, Into the Cold : Life after Coming Out as a Gay Loving, Homosexual Affirming Pastor

As I write, it’s been a mere two weeks since I gave a message and wrote a blog post where in both, I “came out” as a gay loving, homosexual affirming pastor to my church, friends, and family. No big deal, right?

Honestly, I never quite imagined the kind of responses I would receive, each one walking me further along the tip of the iceberg of what one must surely experience when “coming out” as a gay person in our culture today. Perhaps I should have know, but who could really? I will tell you this, my perspective on what it can look like to “come out” as a gay person in America has forever expanded with disturbing awareness. The handling of homosexuals and homosexuality by many Christians has become no less than the new racism of the 21st century.

Just shy of death threats, which are probably not far around the corner for me, even as a front-line, controversial Christian writer and pastor, I have been shocked at the negative and hurtful responses from some. Even more disturbing is the calculative results that conclude all the hateful, vial responses have come exclusively from Christians, the very people who profess Jesus as the model for their life.

I prepped our church weeks before that Sunday, and even tipped my hand to the cards I was going to play in addressing more specifically the issue of homosexuality, hoping to ease us further into the waters that I had already increasingly tipped our toes into from the very beginning of the formation of our ministry. On that day, a few chose to not listen or even consider my teaching before I could even teach it, opting out of attendance. Among those, there was a stated fear of receiving new information that could potentially change their mind, others among them just walked away… no words, no communication, no nothing. People who had journeyed close by my side for some time, left it, without a sound, statement, or blink of an eye. The relationship in the end perhaps became disposable or just too difficult.  It was clear that some who came, already formed their conclusions, but went through the motions of being present before quickly telling me of their no longer future presence; of course, through a text or email.

I understand, I really do, this is a complicated issue. There are a lot of strings and traps attached. I have been on the other side of the fence. I get it. It’s a tough issue, it takes time. I hold nothing against. Same love, same respect.

I never asked anyone to agree and repeatedly communicated that one of the defining values we have as a church is that our unity is not based on us all agreeing upon a certain set of beliefs, but on our willingness to agree to disagree and yet have the maturity, tolerance, and humility to still love, respect, and do life and ministry together from a foundation of Grace. Our church is purposed on being less of a church and more of a table, where everyone has a seat in the conversation, the life, the relationships, and the feasting on the Grace of Jesus.

For some, this unique church ethos is a fresh wind of hope and delight they never knew could exist. For many, they are thinking, deconstructing, and reexamining their faith, asking the ultimate question of their biblical understanding, “have I read this right?” All, while still seated, connected, loving, respecting, serving, and experiencing authentic, spiritual community. Many our clapping on the insides with overflowing enthusiasm, others are giving Christianity another chance as they find this compassion, courage, unique church culture, and revelation of scripture something of the miraculous.

It is truly a beautiful thing.

Outside of church, there has been the silent treatment. People I always heard from, going unheard from. Glares, non-verbals of disappointment. The unspoken, yet clearly heard voices of shame. Others communicating their disagreement openly and respectfully, others, not so much. Waves of de-friending, all from… Christians.

I truly admire those who disagree with my perspective on the issues, yet still pledge their love, friendship, conversation and desire to stay by my side. They refuse to let their stance on the issues usurp their stance “with” me. In the same spirit that Jesus died for the ungodly, they are willing to stand with what they perceive is unbiblical and perhaps ungodly… me. Not from a condescending spirit, but from one of unconditional love, togetherness, and respect. This, I deeply treasure and joyfully extend as it’s been extended to me.

Some are more passive aggressive. Disagreeing on the inside, and acting on their disagreements in the shadows. Murmuring, chattering, making me pay subtly, behind the scenes, all the stuff you remember from middle school, now on display in adulthood. Precious, isn’t it?

And this, just “coming out” as one who simply affirms and loves someone and something certain people are against. I can’t imagine “coming out” as actually being a gay person, as hard as it has been for me in just affirming them. Holy crap, batman.

Yet, I wouldn’t trade it all for the conversations I have had with people who are gay or have family members who are gay. One person could barely control the speed of their words as their excitement couldn’t be restrained in finally having a pastor to talk with who understood and supported.

Tasting and seeing, breathing for the first time. Resurrected to life. One after the other.

I wouldn’t trade it all for the atheists, the skeptics, the undecideds, the “done’s” who are actually finding new faith or a faith restored because of this courageous, compassionate, conversational, free, humble, serving, unconditional loving, Grace flowing flavor of Christianity and “church.”  The original, the pure Gospel in flesh, and fleshed out, right before their eyes.

I wouldn’t trade it for all the friends who have shown themselves to be true friends. Who when the shit hit the fan, they stood with me and took it, and are taking it, boldly and even cheerfully. Some with even a Jesus-crazy, Grace-intoxicated smile on their face as if to say, “bring it on, you bastards.”

I wouldn’t trade it for the after-Sunday-service hug of my sixteen year old, heterosexual son, who had never quite hugged me that hard while speaking into my ear, “Great job dad, I am so proud of you.”

I wouldn’t trade it for the peace I have, and the sense of fully realizing the heart of Jesus in me and through me as I boldly and unapologetically love, affirm, and defend homosexual people and their families everywhere.

I will not stop. I will not be silent.

It may be cold…but this cold cannot touch the fire from above and from within.

I will fight as long as it takes, and I have breathes to take.

Today I Came Out as Gay Loving, Homosexual Affirming Pastor

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.

Older posts

© 2017 Chris Kratzer

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: