My experiences in gay affirming churches

by Jonathan Edwards
Rochester, NY

Several weeks ago I stumbled upon your blog from a link in AFTAH’s website, and since, GCM Watch has become one of my favorite blogs.

In 2004-2005 I attended services at several area “welcoming and affirming” churches. At that time I was looking for a “church home” as a result of slowly feeling a longing to become a Christian. (I was “unchurched”; I was not raised in any faith by my parents). At this time I was also longing to come out as a gay man and pursue a lifestyle as idealized by gay magazines such as Genre, Out, and The Advocate. I looked forward to going out on  dates, finding a mate and then hopefully settling into a long-term relationship with that special someone. To this end, I joined a gay men’s therapy group; sought one-to-one counseling to deal with coming-out issues; enrolled in a coming out workshop at the local gay alliance organization; went to my first pride parade; and sought spiritual succor by trying on various denominations such as MCC; Unity; Unitarian; Universalist; Presbyterian; Episcopal; American Baptist; and finally a small start-up gay evangelical group. I thought at this time that the term gay Christian was not an oxymoron;that Christian/gay; gay/Christian could
be reconciled.

I never formally joined any of these churches; however, I went to Sunday services regularly at the welcoming and affirming Baptist church for about six months. At this church I joined a “gay liberation theology” book discussion group which met after services on Sundays. I never felt completely comfortable at any of these denominations since I always carried a nagging feeling around that this whole “gay-thing” somehow never felt right. Intellectually, during this time, I knew that it was OK to be gay; that gay is good; that for heaven’s sake, it’s the 21st century, and societal attitudes regarding gay relationships were changing rapidly for the better. So why did I have a nagging feeling that something was just not right about “gay-ness?” As I say, I was not
raised in a religious household, so biblical arguments against homosexuality did not have much sway with me then. I read the pro-gay theological arguments and they seemed to make sense. The book discussion group to which I joined had as its leader H. Darrell Lance–an American Baptist, and one of the foremost exponents of gay liberation theology.

I like to say that I am from Missouri, figuratively speaking–I tend not to believe things unless I have actually witnessed them [show me!]; So, in the interest of not settling for second hand opinions regarding Christian thinking on the gay matter, I started reading books by Joe Dallas; Mike Haley; James Dobson; and Erwin Lutzer. After reading these books, I just could not get it out of my head that herein lies the one true thing. That there had to be A One True Thing regarding
homosexuality. When I mentioned that I was searching for the one true thing at the book group, the assistant pastor [who was sitting in on the discussion–he was not gay] said to me “Yes, but what is that?!” I could not believe what I had just heard. Here was an ordained Baptist minister, a graduate of divinity school, saying in effect what Pilate said to Jesus: “Quod est veritas?”

Later in 2005, I stumbled upon a book by David Morrison, “Beyond Gay,” which led me to eventually join the Catholic Church, as its teachings on homosexuality are indeed redolent of truth. I commend your efforts at GCM Watch to spread the Gospel message of truth, always with genuine
love, as regards the issue of homosexuality.

If you want to tell about your past experiences attending a gay or gay affirming church, please read this first.

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2 thoughts on “My experiences in gay affirming churches

  1. Jonathan, thanks for your candor and witness. I pray that others will read your account and be drawn to the truth about this topic.

  2. Thank you Jonathan for that response. You know I ran from God a long time on this. I too am from Rochester,NY and know the church that you’re talking about. As a matter of fact at my other job I used to park in their parking lot off Lake Ave. I’m glad the Holy Spirit led you to get out of that church. One of the members who was a coworker made a strange remark to me in regards to being gay. She said without a breath that the Bible was wrong. Even though I was in the active gay life that rubbed me the wrong way. The Bible or God is never wrong. I too will read Beyond Gay by David Morrison. I believe that the Catholic Church is right on this even though I’m not Catholic. I’m Baptist.

    Take care and God Bless!

    James Young

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