Friday, August 03, 2012

Christians, Gays, and Chick-fil-A

I came back to my 'ole blog because I started writing these things on Facebook but then it got to be so long it was ridiculous to make it a single post on FB. I didn't feel like it was a good medium for it. So anyway, here's what i wanted to say about recent tit-for-tats about Christians, gays, and chick-fil-A.

I know many people who have experienced gradual shifts regarding their perspective of gay people and the issue of civil rights and all that. I know many people have regret for having voted for Prop 8 or regret for neglecting to vote about it. It's a few years later and I pray that people would not make the same mistake by ignoring the debate-conversation-kerfunckle surrounding Chick-fil-A, but instead choose to engage it. It matters.

I read several blogs this morning that I wanted to share. Each say some very important thoughts that I share. Some have thoughts I don't completely agree with (but that's okay). But I'll add here some of my own thoughts:

One of the things I liked about this one is that he makes the point about bullies. We talk so much about how bullying in schools is wrong, but when a kid stands up to a bully, he gets scolded for fighting. It's not about being neutral. Don't blame a kid for defending himself because he doesn't want to get his ass kicked (yet again). Get the bully to stop. Like seriously. Get the bully to stop. And don't buy it when you confront the bully and he starts crying and pointing fingers saying "He started it!" Here's the rest of his post:

This one is on 5 reasons why the Church failed yesterday. Chick-fil-A made tons of money yesterday. Lots of pictures and video were taken capturing the long lines of people proud about going out of their way to support their cause. But this subset of christians who participated in this "appreciation day" failed to acknowledge that they were inadvertently (and possibly unintentionally) going out of their way to contribute to the hurt of their neighbors. Believe me, I was extremely hurt to see a "friend of mine" advocating, supporting, encouraging, and participating in the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Despite the smiles, love didn't happen yesterday. Here's more of Matthew Paul Turner's post:

What I liked about Mike Patz's post (from a Christian's perspective) was his point that the problem isn't an unrepentant gay community but rather its an unrepentant Church:

My friend Andrew Marin commented about the gay Kiss-in at chick-fil-A restaurants planned for today and how Christians should respond. I like that he says to go and bring them some McDonalds because they'll probably get hungry and won't be eating chicken sandwiches:

Lastly, I'll close with more of my own thoughts.

Yes, people have the right to think and say their opinion. Chick-fil-A can take a stand against marriage equality. LGBT advocates can encourage people not to support a business. I don't think it was a good idea for Christians to support a politician's call for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day because it is not an effective way for the Church to communicate love to a community that already distrusts it. AND I definitely don't think a gay Kiss-In at the restaurants is an effective way to protest the issue. Sure I get the point they're trying to make. But think about it. We're talking about a SUBSET of Christians who think us gay folk are really kind of disgusting (be honest) and therefore we're going to do something to perpetuate their disgust of us?

Some gay people feel like some Christians "flaunt" their judgments around. Some straight people feel like some gay people "flaunt" their sexuality around. Some gay people feel like it's not fair that straight people can express affection publicly but they can't do it without people getting outraged.

We need a different approach. The public protests may raise awareness but it isn't the most effective way to shift thinking. We need to build relationships with each other. We need to learn how to disagree with each other in a civil way -  in a way that doesn't forfeit friendships or familial ties.

People won't fear us when they get to know us.

A Line in the Sand

Wow, it's been almost two years since I've written a blog post here at Two World Collision. I started it in July 2005 and I wrote through 2009 and a bit of 2010 to chronicle my journey of reconciling my faith and my sexuality. Then I reconciled it and I moved on. I still had plenty to say but I found alternative outlets to process my thinking and to share my thoughts.

This year in particular has been crazy. A lot has happened. I may resume writing here again just because I've been feeling so many different things and I haven't used other outlets to fully express what was going on inside. I'll leave it at that for potentially future posts. I miss blogging.

So this post here stands as my official line in the sand between where I left off in 2010 and where I am now in 2012.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Appealing the Ruling on DADT Enables Bullying

I've been increasingly disappointed with President Barack Obama lately, particularly because he appealed the federal court ruling that Don't Ask Don't Tell is unconstitutional. I was hopeful, like many, that his Presidency would be a catalyst for justice for LGBT americans. And at first I was patient with the delays and his ever constant excuse that he prefers that change happen via Congress.

But here's my thing. When a federal court judge determines that a policy is unconstitutional - aka unjust and contrary to the values document of our country, and then to make an appeal against such a ruling - to me, that's a very intentional decision to support the continuation of injustice and inequality.

Seriously, how many judges (who by the way, it's their JOB to be objective and impartial) across the country at various levels of government need to rule that something is wrong before people keep asserting that they'd prefer to have Congress (who by the way, are by nature partisan and partial) or even the general population make a vote saying that something is wrong. It's stupid. To me, it has nothing to do with legal process and how something becomes law and how it's better that there's broad public support for something becoming law. If it's wrong, it's wrong. If it's unjust, it's unjust. The very function of a judge is to determine that! And if the President 'claims' that he supports repealing the policy anyway, well then I think it's a total cop-out to pass the buck and say well if all of those people agree, then we'll repeal it. Nevermind a judge.

I'm disappointed because when I voted for him, I had hoped for a leader.

Every time a judge says that discriminating against gays and lesbians is wrong, and then someone else steps in to say, 'Wait a minute! Let's vote on that!' or 'Let's ask someone else about that!' or worse even 'If it's wrong, let's change the constitution so that we can keep doing it!', every time that happens, it further communicates to not only our youth but to everyone else that it's okay to discriminate and treat certain people differently. That's bullying.

So now, with the media attention around teen suicides and anti-gay bullying, and the popular It Gets Better campaign, now the President has the nerve to do an It Gets Better video saying that it's not your fault and that you should reach out to those who support you. I find this highly hypocritical because he fails to realize that Don't Ask Don't Tell and all kinds of other anti-gay discriminatory laws ARE ALL WAYS THAT ENABLE PEOPLE TO BULLY GAY PEOPLE.

Really. And so to intentionally make an appeal of the court's ruling that something is wrong, so that once again, openly gay American soldiers can be bullied into staying in the closet or getting kicked out of the military, well that's just disappointing and frustrating.

Here's what I think. If the Commander-in-Chief ORDERS the military to STOP doing something as simple as treating openly gay and lesbian soldiers/people differently, and instead to treat everyone equally and with respect, regardless of how they may personally feel about such an order, then I believe that our military is capable of following those orders, even in a time of war. It's a cop-out to say that we need to study the impact on military readiness from such a repeal. They'll be ready no matter what.

Since when did military commanders NOT give an order until first they took a poll to see if the troops would like the order or not? That's absurd.

It's not like I think, at the time of the last election, that the alternative would have been any better on this subject. But still, it's disappointing. And i'm not sure he'd have my vote again.

I'd rather have voted for Michelle Obama. Now her - I still love!

But as for President Obama - if it really does get better, then ARE YOU going to help make it better?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ending the Ban on Gays in the Military

Haha, yeah I know it's been 9 months since my last blog post! While I've kept quite busy with fun and exciting things with Catalyst, a part of me still misses blogging - to process my thoughts on what ever it is I'm thinking about. I wish I had the time to do it more!

I decided to write today because I've been reading about recent and yet long overdue attempts to repeal the ban on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and I had some initial reactions. In a nutshell, I've gathered that opponents to the repeal are concerned about how the ban would effect military life and readiness.


Who do you think we are? Do gay people cause such sexual chaos that without any formal regulations, we would be free to f*ck anything and everything that moves? If you remove the leash, we'll be like dogs? Even in battle? Even when there is an important job to do?

Consider how offensive that "concern" is. At the very core, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is not about protecting good order. It is more about preserving prejudice than correcting injustice. The "concern" reveals that they would rather assume that gay people are sexual deviants instead of assuming that our military men and women already are people of order and discipline - whether gay or straight.

It is the ban that jeopardizes good order and discipline because it perpetuates an unhealthy, unrealistic, and unfounded fear in its own people. It creates the doubt.

Gay people don't make military weaker. We make it stronger. Gay people don't make the Church less holy. We make it more faithful and graceful. Gay people don't diminish society. We catalyze it.

The fear and concern about how our presence will effect others is counterproductive. Because all of those fears and concerns happen with straight people - and perhaps even more.

Do straight men and women serving in the same unit jeopardize military life and readiness?

The fact is that gay men and women are often leaders. Many of us strive towards excellence. We are good at what we do. My theory is that since growing up in the closet can sometimes make us feel inadequate and unacknowledged and that being gay is not in our control, many of us compensate (perhaps even over-compensate) by working even harder than others to achieve things because that is in our control. We can't choose to be gay. But we can choose what we do - to succeed, to excel, to be fabulous!

Either way, we need gay people to be gay people because the experience of being gay and (for many of us) growing up in the closet makes us thoughtful, innovative, creative, and empathetic leaders in our society.

People should be proud to have us among their corps.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My New Green Space

Since I haven't been posting regularly here at Two World Collision, I thought I'd point you to my new blog called My New Green Space.

It's a new personal project that I've started in my new rented home. I've got free reign over the backyard and I'm going to be building up a backyard organic garden from the ground up. It'll be fun to do! I'll have a balance of videos of me and friends, pics, and also my own writing to document my progress.

I don't know how often I'll be posting here. You can definitely search the archives to see past posts I've written. And you can also go to the Two World Collision Collaborative Christian Community site over at

But if you want to follow along with what I'm doing personally beyond my community activities and my gay Christian related activities, come find me over at My New Green Space!

Finding Me at GoCatalyst

So I know it's been quite awhile since my last blog post here. In fact, this whole year has been pretty quiet here at Two World Collision in terms of having regular blog posts. So I figured I'd write a quick post letting you know I was alive and around and where you can find me.

I've been extremely busy and active the past 8 months with investing my energies with trying to catalyze collaborative communities here in Long Beach with my non-profit organization - Catalyst Community. We have seen much progress - too much to try to cram into this post here. So if you're particularly interested in continuing to journey with me, check out:

Catalyst Blog
The Catalyst Community blog at I've documented our work since the start of 2009 so if you piece together all the awesome things happening from the blog posts there, coupled with the periodic posts here at Two World Collision, well then you can kinda get a glimpse of what my life has been like. It's been no doubt an exciting roller coaster ride. But I'll be regularly blogging over there.

Come find me over at Catalyst!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Passing of a Catalyst

The world obeserves the passing of Michael Jackson, a catalyst who reinvented pop culture and his own personal world and in the process connected millions of people around powerful messages and affected millions of lives in countless ways.

It must have been so lonely.

See lyrics below in this post . . . .

"Man In The Mirror"

I'm Gonna Make A Change, For Once In My Life
It's Gonna Feel Real Good, Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right . . .

As I, Turn Up The Collar On My Favourite Winter Coat
This Wind Is Blowin' My Mind
I See The Kids In The Street, With Not Enough To Eat
Who Am I, To Be Blind?
Pretending Not To See Their Needs
A Summer's Disregard, A Broken Bottle Top
And A One Man's Soul
They Follow Each Other On The Wind Ya' Know
'Cause They Got Nowhere To Go
That's Why I Want You To Know

I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change
(Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na, Na Nah)

I've Been A Victim Of A Selfish Kind Of Love
It's Time That I Realize
That There Are Some With No Home, Not A Nickel To Loan
Could It Be Really Me, Pretending That They're Not Alone?

A Willow Deeply Scarred, Somebody's Broken Heart
And A Washed-Out Dream
They Follow The Pattern Of The Wind, Ya' See
Cause They Got No Place To Be
That's Why I'm Starting With Me

I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself And Then Make A Change

I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself And Then Make That . . .


I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror,
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself And Then Make The Change
You Gotta Get It Right, While You Got The Time
'Cause When You Close Your Heart
You Can't Close Your . . .Your Mind!

That Man, That Man, That Man, That Man
With That Man In The Mirror
That Man, That Man, That Man I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
You Know . . .That Man

No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself And Then Make A Change

Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na, Na Nah (Oh Yeah!)
Gonna Feel Real Good Now!
Yeah Yeah! Yeah Yeah! Yeah Yeah!
Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na, Na Nah (Ooooh . . .)
Oh No, No No . . .
I'm Gonna Make A Change
It's Gonna Feel Real Good!
Come On! (Change . . .)
Just Lift Yourself You Know
You've Got To Stop It. Yourself!
(Yeah!-Make That Change!)
I've Got To Make That Change, Today!
Hoo! (Man In The Mirror)
You Got To, You Got To Not Let Yourself . . .
Brother . . . Hoo! (Yeah!-Make That Change!)
You Know-I've Got To Get That Man, That Man . . . (Man In The Mirror)
You've Got To, You've Got To Move! Come On! Come On!
You Got To . . . Stand Up! Stand Up! Stand Up! (Yeah-Make That Change)
Stand Up And Lift Yourself, Now!
(Man In The Mirror) Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Aaow! (Yeah-Make That Change)
Gonna Make That Change . . . Come On! (Man In The Mirror)
You Know It! You Know It! You Know It! You Know . . . (Change . . .)
Make That Change.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bridging the Gap

Lately it's been difficult for me to want to maintain bridges (much less build them) between the worlds of faith and sexuality. Honestly, I feel like wounds just keep getting ripped back open and the scabs are barely hardening. Perhaps my heart, too?

My heart isn't hardening towards the Lord. Heck no, I love Him! He's cool. We're cool. It's church folk that I guess I've been growing weary of - both gay and straight. That's probably a whole other blog entry by itself. You may get a sense of where I'm coming from in February's post "The Monkey's Pet Fish" and also April's posts "Through My Eyes", "Outside the Village Walls" and "Disrespectful, But With a Smile".

But when it comes to the idea of bridge building within the Church between those who hold a traditional perspective and those who hold an inclusive perspective regarding being gay, I'll admit that my initiative has sharply declined the past several months. Our local bridge building efforts (see Oct, Nov, Dec posts here) seems to have been on pause - I guess we're all busy (that's the easy excuse).

I think what brought us to a screeching halt was when it began to become an unsafe place for me. I say that because I was helping to drive our efforts forward and so when I hit the breaks, no one else took the initiative. I felt personally attacked and undermined by one person and the result was me feeling unqualified to be part of such bridge building dreams. Before that, we had been experiencing some really exciting relational breakthroughs. He drove me back into the closet as he reminded me of my shame.

I do believe, however, that we can resume our bridge building efforts. The vision of the Coalition of Bridge Builders is to see the broader Church engage in a productive and safe dialogue regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals within our community. We started our efforts with churches and organizations. I wonder if we could resume with starting with individuals first. Our initial approach was to connect with the senior pastors but our efforts quickly became event driven, rather than relationship driven. Perhaps we can invest our energies with a coalition of individuals who are open to entering this dialogue - a productive and safe one. Individuals like Wendy Gritter at Bridging the Gap and everyone taking part in today's synchroblog event.

If we can catalyze individuals from the ground up, then the conversation will inevitably take place among the leaders. But if we only engage the leaders, then it may not filter down to the people. With productive and safe dialogue happening from both ends, then I believe we can see healthy movement.

How can we do this?

I've written before about these things which I'll share with you at the end of this. But first, here are some of my more recent thoughts from my gay Christian perspective and as a bridge builder:

1. A Sense of Safety is Paramount!

Regardless of the positions we take on issues, we have to be sensitive to people feeling safe. Remember that a gay Christian has experienced tremendous historical hurt by the Church. Asking a gay Christian person to engage in dialogue with a straight Christian person about the subject of being gay or the subject of homosexuality (those are two different things) is like asking an abused person to sit next to the person that abused them. I realize that you may not be the actual person that hurt them, but the feelings are still there and it can get pretty raw when it resurfaces. So if we want to keep everyone at the table, then we all need to be sensitive to that.

On the flip side, us gay Christians need to remember that this dialogue isn't therapy. The person next to us or across the table isn't really the person that hurt us. He or she may represent those who hurt us but it's not fair to them. We can't project our anger towards them by inflicting our baggage on to them. Let's remember that they are present - they are there willing to sit with us to have this very important dialogue. That should score points with us.

2. Take Initiative!

If you're a straight Christian person willing to be in this dialogue, it's a huge gesture for us to see you take the step forward into the gap. The reason is because from a gay person's perspective, we have routinely experienced people stepping away from us. We are all too familiar with rejection. So if you would take the initiative in reaching out toward us, then we're more likely to step forward to join you in the gap.

If you're a gay Christian person willing to be in this dialogue, we ultimately have to choose to step towards the other person as well. I know how we can be really bitter and not want to take any steps forward while expecting the person or group that wronged us to do all the work of making amends. Well, we have to be proactive about our forgiveness too.

3. Elevate the Conversation!

We have to find our common ground. There are numerous things that we might disagree about: tongues, tithing, communion, baptism, leadership roles and worship styles and structures and approaches, or even our interpretations of Scripture about the subject of homosexuality and being gay. But we may agree on the Deity of Christ, the Trinity, salvation by grace through faith, and a number of other core things. We need to elevate the conversation beyond the politics of our differences. We need to elevate the conversation to a broader vision - to see God's people love better. Our goal isn't to enter into debate about the things we disagree on. Our agenda cannot be to try to change the other person's mind. That was the old way and that clearly has served only to divide the Church further. But perhaps through relationship, we can change each others hearts towards one another. And God's Church can again begin to assemble to worship Him.

So with that, I invite you to continue this dialogue at - a gay and straight collaborative christian community.

Here are articles I've written to help serve this dialogue:

"Building Relationships that Matter: A Framework for Entering the Hot Zone"

"Journey Christians: Beyond the Side A/B/X Framework"

Be sure to check back at Bridging the Gap's blog to see what other bloggers are contributing to the synchroblog event!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Three Lessons Along A Straight Gal's Journey

This is a letter written to me by Pat who recently joined our other TWC site - Two World Collision Collaborative Christian Community. That's a place for both gay and straight "Journey Christians" to walk with each other beyond the Side A/Side B/Side X framework.

Pat is a straight gal on a journey through this issue and she shares three lessons that she has learned for herself so far. She gave me permission to share her letter with everyone here. Thanks Pat!

Hi there, I'll update my profile later, for now I'll introduce myself a little:

I am a Mexican Catholic straight girl who came to this whole hot zone discussion by complete accident: to make a long story short I stumbled upon Andrew Sullivan's blog, felt totally immersed by it and felt really curious that he was both Catholic and Gay (go figure, I didn't know that was possible) ... fast forward 40 days (I am a little obsessive person) and now I know about "reparative therapy" the damages of reparative therapy, the possible biological link to homosexuality, gay sheep, marriage laws in the states, anti-gay propaganda, gay parents, gay struggle, gay kids suicide rate, bible passages, etc.

Names that only yesterday meant nothing to me like "Nicolosi", "Alan Chambers" and "Jon Cameron" or "Mel White", "Boswell" and "Mychal Judge" ring bells for me now, whether for disapproval or approval.

I have become an avid reader of Box Turtle Bulletin, Warren Throckmorton, Gay Christian Network, Ex Gay Watch, The Marin Foundation and, of course, your blog.

Through this journey I have learned three things so far:

First Lesson: That we all as Christians have a VERY big obligation to the Truth. If the first commandment is to love, I would say that the second commandment is to restlessly pursue the truth, no matter where the truth takes us. We cannot get comfortable by "just knowing". When we don't actually know, we must investigate, look, knock, ask, call. Every truth comes from the Holy Spirit, and I dare say that no matter WHO says something (a church, a president, a reverend, a priest or even, gulp, the Pope), if we find out that what is being said is false, then that is not possibly coming from the Holy Spirit.

Second Lesson: I am convinced now that being gay is not a choice, and since it is not a choice, it cannot be (substantially at least) changed. And all our following judgments about the question should take that as a premise.

Third Lesson: A constant I have found with all the anti-gay propagandists is that they lie. I'm not talking about what they believe, I am talking about plain and simple ignorance or distortion of the facts. The bare facts. So that makes them really suspect in my book. The other thing is that they are usually very very spiteful people.

So that's it, I don't know where this journey will further take me, I know that I want to do something, but I don't know what exactly. So joining this network is a start, I guess.

Pray for me! And congratulations on your courage! (great web design by the way!)



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Green Long Beach! Festival 2009

Happy Earth Day everyone!

In recognition of all things "green", I thought I'd write a post today on the Green Long Beach! Festival. This will be Catalyst's first big city-wide event as we co-host the festival. I've been serving as the Logistics Coordinator and it's been keeping me quite occupied! But I'm having a blast and I'm working with a terrific team!

Check us out at!

Tweet with us at!

Find us on Facebook here!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Disrespectful But With a Smile

I'm just gonna say this upfront - I reserve the right to vent on my own blog.

That said . . . . what the frickin' hell!?

I'm serious! I mean, really, how in the world can straight "professing Christians" smile with arrogance and then slap me in the face and think that they are doing the Lord's "good work"? I probably shouldn't say "Christians" because some of the people there were cool. It's more like this particular pastor of A Village Community here in Long Beach.

I literally wiped my feet on the mat, not before entering this "house of worship" but rather AS I LEFT this place.

"If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town." - Matthew 10:14

All through the service I kept mentally shaking my head at the things I was hearing . . . .

The whole service was about asking questions. People were asked to text message their questions. The pastor even started off with talking about "us having a conversation with each other." But instead of a discussion about the value of having questions or that we sometimes ask the wrong questions or what are the right kind of questions or at the very least having a discussion about the question - like I suppose I was expecting from this kind of a topic - instead, the pastor read off a question, answered it himself, then read off another question, then answered it himself, then read off another question, then answered it himself.....blah blah blah.

I mean seriously, who does he think he is that he's got all the answers according to his worldview?

And here's the kicker. After reading off a question that said, 'Does God love believers more than He does unbelievers?' he arrogantly and resolutely "ANSWERED" with an emphatic "YES".

Seriously. He said that there is scriptural evidence to suggest that God chooses some and does not choose others and that He loves some and does not love others. Seriously.

Now, yes, there's context to this whole thing. But that's still the bottom line of what he was saying. And I'm not saying that I don't believe in a distinction between "God's people". I understand that as well as the "setting apart" of them. But in this discussion about "questions" I was absolutely dumbfounded that it didn't even occur to this pastor or anyone else that perhaps that was the WRONG question to ask. I mean, really, do you really want to talk about how God loves some people but not other people? Was that the "message from God" for today?

It didn't even occur to him that perhaps the better question to ask instead of 'Does God love believers MORE than He does unbelivers?' but rather would have been better to ask 'How does God want me to love both believers AND unbelievers?' That would have been a question God would answer. I mean, how many times did Jesus NOT answer a stupid question? SO MANY times! Why? Because people asked the wrong question.

But no. Instead of reframing the question, he stayed on that direction to go on and on about God's sovereignty to love whomever He chooses and to NOT love whomever He chooses. Why, did this pastor say? So that the ones He chooses to love could FULLY APPRECIATE the love. So that the ones He chooses to love could see the contrast. Seriously. He spoke about an exclusive love. No empathy or compassion for those outside of God's love. Just that those whom God chooses to love should appreciate being chosen.

I also wondered why the pastor wasn't coming up to me to shake my hand or welcome me during the entire service - particularly since there was literally 12 people in the room and there was a 'say hello to your neighbor' time and also two times where everyone broke up into tiny groups to discuss stuff. There were times when he could have said hello. I wondered if he recognized me because we had met once or twice YEARS ago while I was with that faith-based non-profit that I co-founded. But maybe he didn't recognize me. Yet still he chose not to greet or welcome the obvious ONLY newcomer.

At the close of the service, he prayed a prayer of just accepting truth in faith. Um, the truth that HE just presented? Without question? Without doubt? The prayer was to accept it even when it was hard to accept. His answers. His truth. His interpretation. His worldview. I seriously thought this, but during the prayer it really felt like it was a brainwashing. But this wasn't a cult out in some remote ranch. This was a church just like most in the city.

So then after the service when everything was done and over with, he walked up to me saying my name, 'Eric, you remember we met before.' And I was completely friendly and saying that it was good to see him and he asked a couple probing questions about what I was doing now. I told him about Catalyst Community and I told him about the Green Long Beach! Festival and that some from his church were having a booth and selling T-shirts. I told him about some of the good things we're doing in the community. I didn't say anything gay-related.

He wasn't interested in what I was doing now though. He wanted to probe because he had thought I was a pastor. I told him that I encouraged some communities of gay Christians to feel supported because there are so many that want to worship but are being rejected out of their own congregations. But no I said I wasn't a pastor. And in that context of conversation, he began to say what he really wanted to say which was that he wanted to make it CLEAR that they were not an "affirming" congregation.

(And in my head, I'm thinking why is this relevant? I didn't bring up the gay thing, he did. And if he didn't know me before this, he wouldn't have even known that I was gay.)

Really? I'm here visiting your church and was actually looking for a place to start going to regularly and the welcome sales pitch is to make it CLEAR that they were not a place that thinks "gay" is okay. Really? And after me telling you that there are SO MANY CHRISTIANS who are gay that WANT TO WORSHIP JESUS but are being REJECTED out of their OWN CONGREGATIONS, you feel it necessary to talk about the gay pride parade and how there are churches in the parade that are affirming of "the lifestyle" and there are churches on the side that are holding picket signs and yelling "burn," and you want to tell me that your church represents "neither" but that you want to make it CLEAR that "we are not affirming"? Really? That's what you want to tell me?

And after saying these things to me, he started saying with a smile, "That's my main concern. I wanted to make that clear." After he said that a couple times, I thought it was odd. It seemed out of context. So I inquired, "wait, sooooo, what's your CONCERN?" I asked genuinely with a 'I don't get it' tone. I wasn't saying anything about anything gay regarding me and this congregation. And he said, "well the festival. If we're going to have a booth, I wanted to make it CLEAR that we're not affirming." So I was like, "but the festival is a GREEN festival. You know, GREEN as in, the environment? The festival is about encouraging people about sustainability and how to use energy efficiently and to talk about recycling." And he was like, "oh."

"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." Ezekiel 16:49

Who's the Sodomite?

So now as I think back to the lack of welcome and the lack of eye contact and the messages that God loves the believer and NOT the unbeliever and the closing prayer to accept the truth and the intentional effort to make it CLEAR (his words) that they were not an affirming church . . . . I get the sense that it was all because he did recognize me right from the beginning. Remember, there were only 12 people present. I was clearly the newcomer.

After he realized that I was helping to organize logistics for a GREEN festival, he said his goodbyes to me, stepped back and away to assemble his post-church service meeting (which was actually a debrief of their 'outreach project').

I said my friendly goodbyes to the folks I met, started shaking my head and wiped my feet at the front door as I LEFT them.

What a freakin' arrogant hypocrite.

So I drove home just pissed and angry and mad at how disrespectful he was but with a smile. I'm SURE he has NO CLUE as to how offensive he was. And I'm SURE he has NO CLUE as to how he hurt me and his own witness.

By the time I got home, still mad, the first thing I saw when I turned on the television was the ending speech from Sigourney Weaver in "Prayers For Bobby" (see below) and by the time she hugged her son/that kid at the side of the parade I was literally balling my eyes out just crying like really really heavy tears.

I mean, seriously, why can't I just go to a church service with other people that love Jesus and not leave feeling worse than I did when I arrived? (And no, maybe I don't want to always go to a church where the congregation are mostly gay.)

As far as I've gone on this journey, I'm still surprised at how this still affects me the way it does. I still take it very personally, the Church's rejection of gay people, because my own story of suicide is very real and relevant to me. And I was the one who gave THEM a chance. I freakin' allowed myself, yet one more time, to go into a place knowing that these freakin' Christians might freakin' hurt me freakin' again. AGAIN! It still affects me profoundly and as strong as I think I am, they still freakin' make me cry every time.

Damn it.

Break the cycle of hurt. Go to

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Choosing to Love

This is a letter written by my straight Journey Christian friend Becky to a pastor in response to a comment he had made about gays:


The truth is, you never know how you are going to react to something until it is close to you.

Whether or not I think being gay is right or wrong is not the issue. This is an issue of love. How we choose to love and respond when people are being hurt and treated as being something less than human . . . .

There was a day when I had to make a choice. I chose to listen to the stories. A story about a young man just beginning his life who was hung on a fence post to die. Why? And what makes it even more horrifying is that "Christians" to this day still protest saying this boy is now in HELL...I refuse to believe that.

Then there was another story about a friend of mine who loved the LORD with all of his heart, who had to leave his church and the youth group he loved..for many reasons... but mostly because he feared the reactions of his fellow Christians should they find out he was gay.

There were friends who do not want to leave their house because of how they have been treated. Humans who believe that they should not be on this earth!

There was a close friend who lived in fear, every day of his life. Fear that he would be "found out", always looking over his shoulder if he chose to go out with friends. Who might see him in the "gay" district. I began to ask myself why there was even a "gay" district in cities. I related it to biblical times when so many Christians were persecuted and had to go live in groups together in hiding to get away for the hatred and abuse. They could not tell anyone who they were for fear of losing their lives.

So, therefore I chose to listen and be a positive force in place where people feel like darkness sounds them everyday. I chose to be light in the darkness. I want to make the darkness and pain go away for my friends. I want to go to the places I believe JESUS would be. HE would be with the broken, hurt and suffering. HE would be with the people who have been abused, and all in the name of the Lord.

I had to make a choice a number of years ago when 3 very close and dear friends of mine all came out to me in what seemed a matter of days. I had two options, one was to hurt them, alienate them and leave them alone. The other was that of LOVE. That no matter what, I would love them through my actions, to accept them and everyone right where they were at. Was it right or wrong? I don't know, but I would allow God to be God and if it were wrong then He would convict my friends. My job was to have no agenda, to love them right where they were at, as hard as that may be. What grew out of that decision, both filled me with love and also shocked me.

One time I accompanied my friend to the "gay district" and I met a man who told me he hated "Christians", hated everything about them. I told him that I was one of those people he hated. He asked why I was there then? I explained to him how I had no agenda, that I was there with my friend, to support him. It was amazing how that turned him around and we talked for hours about everything. I questioned him and began to dig deeper, and found out that he had a great sense of who God was and knew that God was bigger than the universe. Before we went our separate ways that night he said to me that I seemed "different", a good different, different than most people. I just smiled, knowing what it was. It was an 'aha' moment for me, I felt shalom come over me. That is exactly what I wanted. I want to be different, I want to be a Christian without ever having to say I am. Without ever having to quote from the Bible. I just want people to see something different in me, and that being Jesus Christ.

That was not the only occasion, afterward gay people seemed to be everywhere. I had to reexamine what I was forced fed. Here is what I know, I believe that everyone was created equally in God's image. That He loves everyone the same, and that it does not matter what someone has done, is doing, or will do for He knows all.

I have become extremely passionate about erasing the stereotypes that are often held against the gay community. Yes, there are gays who do go out the bar, just like many straight people. There are gays who do sleep around with many sexual partners, just as do many straight people. There are gays who refuse to walk in the way of the Lord, as do many straight people. So why does our society deem it "normal" when straights do these things and "perverted" of gays?

In the end, it does not matter to me if a friend of mine is gay or straight, they are my friend. Unless of course they were endangering their life, I would let them know and beg them to stop, gay or straight.

I have come to realize that people are people, no matter what their sexual preference may be, no matter what their denomination or religion, no matter the color of their skin.

I contend that if my beliefs are wrong that I will be shown that in one way or another from God. I believe that HE is the ultimate is up to HIM, not me nor any other human being.

The Pharisees are mentioned many times in the Bible. I remember the story of one of the Pharisees inviting Jesus to dinner and the Pharisees being upset because Jesus did not wash before the meal. Jesus tells them that they clean the outside but the inside is full of greed and wickedness. In many ways that is not too far off from so many Christians of today. We look great and "clean" on the outside, we go to Church services on Sunday and forget about "Church" the rest of the week.

I recently watched a movie called Prayers for Bobby! It was a true story about a young gay boy growing in a conservative Christian household, with a mother who was misguided by what she was taught. She made her own son feel like he was nothing. She would tell Bobby he was going to hell, and that she would never accept him, ever and neither would GOD! After years of struggle, Bobby ends up taking his own life. It is not until after his death that his mother realizes what she had done. She found his journal and read of the struggles he had, how he prayed endlessly to change and how he questioned GOD. It was then that she too began to question, how could a beautiful, loving boy like her son be damned to hell? In the end she realizes that the judging should have been left to GOD, not her, nor any other human. She knew she was partially responsible for what happened to her son because of her close-minded thinking. Her fight to change that thinking continues to this day.

In the end, it does not matter what I think or what anyone else out there thinks. To me it only matters what GOD thinks. I believe that JESUS loves us all the same. His love is unchanging for everyone. I think that if we focused on what we had in COMMON with one another, instead of the differences, then we could live in true COMMUNITY as we were meant to live! I do not know what made GOD lay this topic on my heart? But, he did and I can feel in the core of my bones. It has allowed me to learn so much about myself and who I was created to be. To understand what it means to be a Christian and love one another unconditionally. To show people love through my actions. I believe that love really does win!!!! Love is a choice and I choose to love! Love wins.

Becky O F

Romans 15v4-6

"If you judge others you will have no time to love them."~ Mother Teresa

"Before you echo 'Amen' in your home or place of worship, think and remember...a child is listening." Mary Griffith.


If you are a straight Christian who, like Becky, thinks that expressing genuine love is more important than the divisive politics of the Church's homosexuality debate, then join us at Two World Collision Collaborative Christian Community and find out what it means to be a "Journey Christian."