God and the Queer Who Changed His Mind
How Bob Made Up With God...
My friend Bob tells this odd story…
I knew I was gay by the time I was 10. I also knew I was a Christian. As just about anyone knows, the two usually clash, sometimes with great violence. So, since the born-again had to win out—at least for the present—I slunk into the closet, not to reappear again until I was nearly 20. That’s when the proverbial damn broke. I went from a small town in Illinois to New York, met some gay folks, found the gay scene, and fell head long into the sex game. I stayed there for nearly 18 years.
The born-again thing kept nagging. But I was not about to go back into the closet for some religious “faggot bashers.” I had found what I was looking for and, most important, I had found who I was—a gay man with gay needs and a gay outlook. I was home!
Then I moved to San Francisco. It was the 80s. I soon discovered that at least half of everyone I knew or even met was HIV Positive or already into full-blown AIDS. It scared me but not enough to give up the sex scene. I still was careless and let my penis do my thinking. Turns out, my straight friends were doing the same thing so it wasn’t just in the gay community. We were all putting ourselves at risk.
Somehow, I came away from those years in San Francisco without a dent. But I made up my mind that the crazy sex drive and its actions were over. I moved to Seattle.
It didn’t take me long to find the action in that town either. Seattle had and has a thriving gay community. This time it was different. I got involved with a group of activists that were working with various medical interests to help spread the word of caution within the gay community, to encourage blood tests and condoms. It was during this time that I met Jack.
“Busy Sunday?” he asked one day. I wasn’t. He invited me to his church, of all places. I hadn’t been to church for years.
“Don’t think so,” I said, looking a bit bemused.
“It’s different,” he said. “It’s got a lot of gay and lesbian congregants. They’re folks who’ve grown tired of being shunned by their old religious circles. They want something more. They say they’ve found it. The god of wrath has disappeared for them. The God of Love is all there is.”
“A gay church?” I found it hard to reconcile. After coming out and leaving the evangelical life, this all seemed a bit absurd. Still, I was intrigued. “OK, but just once.”
“It’s not a gay church per se; it’s a welcoming, inclusive church,” Jack was quick to point out. “You won’t feel like you’re being judged. It ain’t perfect, but it’s the next best thing.”
That Sunday found me in the back row, watching. First, great music. Some meditation time. Then a message that told me I was OK just the way I am, that the Great Mystery that brought me into existence was not likely to cast me into some mythical hell just because I am gay. It took me a while to buy it, but I finally did.
And the people were incredible. I not only went back; I eventually became an ordained minister.
Ultimately, I only gave up two things: a belief in a literal devil and the misguided idea that gay people—any people— are bound for hell. But I added more than I could have imagined. I developed a relationship with God again, but this time, it was based in Love rather than fear. My life has changed completely.
Am I still gay? Without a doubt. And that is perfectly OK.
Want more? Visit www.spiritfeast.blogspot.com for a new direction. You’re worth it.