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Gays struggle in evangelical Christian world
The Seattle Times ^ | 07/28/2003 | Janet I. Tu

Posted on 07/29/2003 3:53:53 PM PDT by TenaciousZ

They come to a Capitol Hill apartment each Thursday evening for fellowship and Bible study. They talk, as many in Christian fellowship meetings do, of the power of God in their lives: how the Lord has helped heal family relationships for one, given strength for a job search to another.

But just as frequently, they speak of their painful struggles to reconcile their faith and their sexuality, for this is a local meeting of Evangelicals Concerned Western Region -- a group for gay and lesbian evangelical Christians.

In the publicity surrounding last month's Supreme Court decision to decriminalize gay sex and the legalization of gay marriage in British Columbia and Ontario, Canada, some of the most vocal opposition has come from conservative Christians. That has made some gay, lesbian and bisexual evangelical Christians feel invisible.

"A lot of people don't know that there are evangelical Christians who are gay and lesbian and are OK with being gay and lesbian," said Ron Poindexter, a local member of Evangelicals Concerned.

In recent years, more mainline Protestant churches locally have become welcoming of gay and lesbian parishioners. Groups such as Soulforce and Dignity fight for gay rights within various church denominations, and churches such as Metropolitan Community Church Seattle and Spirit of the Sound minister to gay and lesbian Christians across a wide theological spectrum.

Some gay and lesbian evangelical Christians think it's time to bring their struggles into more prominent public awareness.

Tonight, the local chapter of Evangelicals Concerned is bringing to town Jeremy Marks, founder of Courage, an organization in Great Britain that formerly worked to get gay men and lesbians to move to heterosexuality or at least to refrain from having same-sex relations. Several years ago, though, Marks had a change of perspective; the group now affirms gay people in their faith and sexual orientation.

Marks will speak from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Seattle Central Community College, 1701 Broadway, Room 1110. The event is free and open to the public.

"What brought about my change (of perspective) was seeing how destructive the ex-gay ethos was to people's lives," said Marks, 51, who is gay. "For all the devotion people made to coming to our ministry, the sacrifices they made, the effort they made to overcome — the long-term result was that nothing changed, and it brought about a crisis of faith for them. In that crisis, some lost their faith entirely."

The thinking, Marks said, went like this: "If God does not wish people to live a homosexual life, then surely those who seek God sincerely will find a way to become heterosexual or at least be content with being celibate. Most of these people found neither. That leads to people saying: 'I can't choose whether or not I'm gay but I can choose whether or not I'm Christian,' which is a very tragic conclusion to come to."

That line of reasoning doesn't hold for Robert Taylor, pastor and executive director of Metanoia Ministries, a Tacoma-based organization that works to get gays and lesbians to move out of homosexuality.

Taylor, like many evangelicals, considers homosexuality a sin akin to alcoholism or drug addiction — something "incompatible with a life in Christ" but forgivable by God and redeemable if the sinner truly repents.

It is naïve and ludicrous to think that because a gay person has gone through Metanoia or similar ministries, he will no longer struggle with homosexuality, said Taylor, 38, who considers himself ex-gay and is married with two children.

"One of the things we share with our people is we don't know how much of your struggle, say, with homosexuality, drugs, alcohol, whatever, will stay with you," Taylor said. "We want God to just fix it. The drug addict wants to never again be tempted with drugs. Yet at times there are still struggles. So you're always dependent on God."

Poindexter, 41, an executive assistant at a local foundation, spent several years in the ex-gay ministry and concluded it wasn't helpful.

After spending time at Metanoia, he had a three-year relationship with a woman and studied to become a minister at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.

Then he realized that as much as he cared for the woman, his basic orientation was unchanged.

He found out about Evangelicals Concerned — the first time he had met gay Christians. "All my life I'd been told gay Christians can't exist," he said.

And, like other gay and lesbian evangelicals who say they have reconciled their faith and sexuality, he delved into what the Bible says about homosexuality.

Many in the organization cite examples of passages that have been used to condemn homosexuality, such as Leviticus 18:22 ("You shall not lie with a man as with a woman. It is abomination"), and say they do not expressly condemn committed, consensual, adult same-sex relationships. Those passages, they say, should be taken in context, keeping in mind both the purpose of the passage and the historical and cultural norms of the time.

Much of Leviticus, for instance, deals with codes of behavior by which the ancient Hebrews were differentiated from the pagan society, which had some ritual same-sex practices.

In addition, most of the same-sex relations at the time were between men and boys or men and male prostitutes, and the Biblical condemnation of same-sex relationships refers to that imbalance and abuse of power, said the Rev. Jeff Siker, a Presbyterian minister and professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Society at the time, he said, had no concept of equal, committed and consensual adult same-sex relationships.

In studying the Bible, "The more I looked at what Christ said himself in Scripture, the more I realized that what God is looking for in his people didn't have anything to do with the gender of those in a relationship, but how they were in relationships with someone," said Cheri Storm, 34, who fell in love more than a year ago with Kimberly McGill, 33, when both were in their Edmonds church's Bible study group. "Are you kind, are you compassionate, are you honoring, are you building up someone and not tearing them down."

When Storm and McGill came out to their church, they were told if they did not repent, they would be asked to leave.

"We committed ourselves to seeking the truth on this issue," McGill said. "We decided either way it came out, we would go with that. We would really read on this topic. When we got to the end of the open pursuit of truth, if we came to a place where we concluded this was wrong, we would end the relationship."

They concluded God blessed their relationship.

Even for gay evangelicals who say they have reconciled their faith and sexuality, some still wrestle with issues of faith.

"The scary thing is, if you change your perception of what the church says about sexuality, your perception of what the church says about everything is challenged," McGill said. "That's part of what I'm undergoing now, although the basic principles of what I believe I still find to be true."

Tim Peter, 39, says he still has moments when he wrestles with "what it means to be Christian and gay. Can I really be both?"

But they say, despite skepticism or even hostility from the world, they are committed to embracing both. Non-evangelicals often wonder why they want to retain a faith that often condemns them. They are caught in the middle sometimes, regarded with suspicion by both the wider evangelical community and the wider gay and lesbian community.

"Around here, the fact that I'm gay doesn't really raise an eyebrow," Poindexter said. "Mostly the fact that I'm a Christian is a little suspect."

Some say they stay with their faith because they want to remind other church members that gay and lesbian evangelicals do exist.

For most, it's simply because it's their faith. "I crawled through cut glass to hold on to my faith, to hold on as a child of God," said Michael Perez, 57, of Seattle. "I can't get rid of the belief. Nobody can take that away."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: Washington
KEYWORDS: biblestudy; christian; concerned; evangelical; evangelicals; ex; exgay; gay; homosexual; homosexuality; sin

1 posted on 07/29/2003 3:53:53 PM PDT by TenaciousZ
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To: TenaciousZ
gay and lesbian evangelical Christians.

An oxymoron

2 posted on 07/29/2003 3:56:48 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: TenaciousZ
Even for gay evangelicals who say they have reconciled their faith and sexuality, some still wrestle with issues of faith.

This is exactly the problem. They claim to have reconciled their faith and sexuality. The translation is "We have re-written scripture to conform to our world view and now cast ourselves as victims of religious zealots who dont know the scripture!

They can try all they wish but they can never live in the sin of homosexuality and say that its OK by God. They must admit it is sin. They know this so the only real goal is to get enough people willing to believe as they want them to believe.

No one likes to be told they are sinful or do bad things. I have committed many a sin and will assuradly do so again, but I will never look over at God and say "I demand that this sin I commit NOT be called a sin!"

3 posted on 07/29/2003 3:58:02 PM PDT by ICE-FLYER (God bless and keep the United States of America)
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To: TenaciousZ
This is in my neighborhood. I live close to Capitol Hill, and have many contacts there. These people need to chose one or the other. You can't rejoice in your sin and rejoice in God at the same time.
4 posted on 07/29/2003 4:01:23 PM PDT by irishtenor (My God is omnipotent, sorry about yours. *** Swarming Calvinists Unite!***)
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To: TenaciousZ
It saddens me to see them pervert the Word just to justify their own perversion.
5 posted on 07/29/2003 4:01:51 PM PDT by Godzilla (The Voices are telling me "Go home and clean the guns......")
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To: TenaciousZ
"Around here, the fact that I'm gay doesn't really raise an eyebrow," Poindexter said. "Mostly the fact that I'm a Christian is a little suspect."

And if he can answer the question as to why that happens, without blaming others, he may come to a major revelation in his life.

6 posted on 07/29/2003 4:04:32 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (Lurking since 2000.)
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To: ICE-FLYER
Agreed. Clearly, these individuals are responding to the Holy Spirit, but the God they are creating is one who would demand nothing of them and, in turn, would change nothing in them.
7 posted on 07/29/2003 4:05:42 PM PDT by TenaciousZ
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To: TenaciousZ
"The scary thing is, if you change your perception of what the church says about sexuality, your perception of what the church says about everything is challenged," McGill said. "That's part of what I'm undergoing now, although the basic principles of what I believe I still find to be true."

Ok, but what does God's Word say about our sexuality? What's moral and immoral? What's scary is you can 'change your perception' about anything you don't like, but does that make it the truth?

Yhwhsman

8 posted on 07/29/2003 4:06:20 PM PDT by yhwhsman ("Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small..." -Sir Winston Churchill)
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To: LiteKeeper
gay and lesbian evangelical Christians.

What fellowship has light with darkness?....none.These people think they are above God's law.They go to bible study with razors in their hands. Everytime they see a scripture they don't like they cut it out.Fools!

9 posted on 07/29/2003 4:10:25 PM PDT by shiva
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To: TenaciousZ
"I have learned in whatever state I'm in to be content." Paul managed to live a celibate life as did Christ. In fact, God calls upon every one of us to live celibate at some time of our life, whether it be before marriage or after being divorced or widowed. There is no "trying" to be content and failing, there is only rebellion. And yes, I am the mother of a woman who calls herself a "Christian" lesbian. She "hopes" God will forgive her based on her acceptance of Christ as a teen, and is "taking my chances". I pray Christ will change her heart.
10 posted on 07/29/2003 4:12:44 PM PDT by Wiser now
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To: LiteKeeper
It must suck being gay...
11 posted on 07/29/2003 4:13:15 PM PDT by Wilhelm Tell (Lurking since 1997!)
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To: TenaciousZ
they speak of their painful struggles to reconcile their faith and their sexuality

Painful because they are things that cannot be reconciled unless you throw out a good portion of Romans 1 and other sections of the New Testament. Ripping pages from the New Testament should be a painful experience.

12 posted on 07/29/2003 4:25:55 PM PDT by Tom Bombadil
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To: LiteKeeper
gay and lesbian evangelical Christians.

///////////
Yes. They meet down the hall from the shop-lifting evangelical Christians.
13 posted on 07/29/2003 4:29:52 PM PDT by BenR2 ((John 3:16: Still True Today.))
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To: TenaciousZ
When we got to the end of the open pursuit of truth, if we came to a place where we concluded this was wrong, we would end the relationship." They concluded God blessed their relationship.

Perhaps you have not yet gotten to the end of the open pursuit of truth. Go back to the Word girls (and men).

14 posted on 07/29/2003 4:52:06 PM PDT by patriotUSA
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To: TenaciousZ
It is obvious that this reporter spends too much time on her knees before the all-powerful--and always up-to-date--idol of Self-Righteousness.

Apparently the other gods don't flatter our Sodomites sufficiently for their purpose, that they must now fabricate their very own god to worship.

15 posted on 07/29/2003 5:16:02 PM PDT by houstonian (Hillary Clinton: Standing proud for Matriarchal Squalor since 1965)
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To: TenaciousZ
Daniel 12
10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

Folks, we are almost there. The Supreme Court ruling making sodomy legal marks the final countdown to Christ's Kingdom beginning to appear, and the removal of all that offends and glorifies evil, from the face of the Earth.

16 posted on 07/29/2003 5:38:33 PM PDT by Russell Scott (When Christ's Kingdom appears, all of man's problems will disappear.)
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To: TenaciousZ
Bank robbers struggle in this legalistic society too.
17 posted on 07/29/2003 5:40:32 PM PDT by itsahoot
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To: TenaciousZ
Bump to read later.
18 posted on 07/29/2003 5:46:06 PM PDT by bicycle thug
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To: BenR2
Gay/Lesbian Evangelicals???
What is next???

Strippers for the Savior?
Bestiality Believers?
Praising Polygamists?
19 posted on 07/29/2003 6:57:18 PM PDT by Preacher777
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To: TenaciousZ; Ff--150; 4ConservativeJustices
Poindexter, 41, an executive assistant at a local foundation, spent several years in the ex-gay ministry and concluded it wasn't helpful didn't meet with what he felt God should be.

Then he realized that as much as he cared for the woman, his basic orientation flesh's tendency to sin was unchanged.

We all have battles. Even Paul had a battle within his life. It's whether we turn them over to Christ or try to continue to fight them on our own shows who one puts their trust in

He found out about Evangelicals Concerned — the first time he had met gay Christians. "All my life I'd been told gay Christians can't exist," he said.

They can't

20 posted on 07/29/2003 7:04:15 PM PDT by billbears (Deo Vindice)
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To: Russell Scott
right on! couldn't agree more! We laugh when we hear a city has set up a gay high school and the most popular shows on TV feature perversion. We are, indeed, in the last days of the Laodicean church.
21 posted on 07/29/2003 7:09:10 PM PDT by 2nd Amendment
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To: Preacher777
What is next???

Strippers for the Savior?
Bestiality Believers?
Praising Polygamists?

/////
I like Pickpocket Promise Keepers
22 posted on 07/29/2003 7:09:29 PM PDT by BenR2 ((John 3:16: Still True Today.))
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To: shiva
It is like the Bible study I heard of where everyone is nude, saying they have overcome the shame of the Garden, and that they are above all of that stuff.

Yeah, sure!

23 posted on 07/29/2003 7:26:47 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: billbears
Now, hold on just a minute. Homosexuals can be Christians. The fact that someone (for whatever reason) is afflicted with a disordered desire for same-sex relations does not make them incapable of believing in the saving grace of Christ. One might just as well say that an alcoholic cannot be a Christian because he or she craves booze.

Homosexual desires are not in and of themselves sinful, any more than a drunk's desire for liquor is in an of itself a sin. Sin requires a conscious choice, an act of will. It is only when one chooses to give in to disordered desires and willfully commits acts contrary to the natural law that one alienates his- or herself from God. A homosexual can't help his or her desire for sodomy any more than an alcoholic can stop craving alcohol -- but in both cases it is giving in to that desire that constitutes sin, not the desire itself.

With this in mind, is the the duty of every Christian to treat his or her homosexual fellow-believers with charity and compassion. The best way to do that is by loving them, by being there for them, and by encouraging them to make the right choice and avoid acting upon their disordered desires. An alcoholic can choose to drink his or her or her life away, or choose to assume his or her burden and forego all drink for the sake of the Lord. A homosexual can choose to commit sodomy, or choose to take up his or her own cross and remain celibate for life, joining his or her suffering with that of Christ on Calvary's Cross. In such instances, loving support, encouragement, and prayer can make all the difference in determining the choice the suffering person makes. As Christians, we should encourage those of us who suffer from such disordered desires to "fight the good fight" and bear their crosses bravely. Condemnation, namecalling, and a lack of sympathy will only drive these poor people into the arms of the Enemy. The Lord's judgement of those who through their lack of charity cause their fellow Christians to stumble into Hell will be swift and sure.

Sodomy and drunkenness are both sins. While we should never cease to call these actions sins, we should always recognize that we ourselves are not immune to disordered desires -- for food, for money, for sex -- and are thus in no position to judge the eternal destiny of anyone else.
24 posted on 07/29/2003 7:39:07 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: TenaciousZ
"What brought about my change (of perspective) was seeing how destructive the ex-gay ethos was to people's lives," said Marks, 51, who is gay. "For all the devotion people made to coming to our ministry, the sacrifices they made, the effort they made to overcome — the long-term result was that nothing changed, and it brought about a crisis of faith for them. In that crisis, some lost their faith entirely."

Oh..I get it.

If we continue to struggle with any sort of sin, or temptation to sin...we have two choices;
1. Either decide that Biblical Christianity is wrong.
or...
2. Redefine the basis tenents of Biblical morality to fit our personal preferences.

Incredible!

What a phoney self-centered approach to the Christian faith "gay Christians" have settled for.

25 posted on 07/29/2003 7:49:58 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: B-Chan
The fact that someone (for whatever reason) is afflicted with a disordered desire for same-sex relations does not make them incapable of believing in the saving grace of Christ.

I agree with you, it doesn't. However if they act on these desires, as it seems the article presents, I can't see how they are saying that they are living in the light of Christ instead of living in sin

26 posted on 07/29/2003 7:55:43 PM PDT by billbears (Deo Vindice)
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To: billbears
A homosexual Christian who gives in to his or her disordered desires and commits the sin of sodomy is still a Christian, but he or she is no longer in a state of grace and has committed a mortal sin. Unless the person in question sincerely confesses his or her sin, solemnly resolves never to commit that sin again, and performs their penance with a contrite heart, that person may not receive the Sacraments and is in danger of eternal damnation.

I look at is as being akin to adultery. A man or woman who commits adultery can still believe in the resurrection and Deity of Jesus Christ, and can thus still be a Christian, but his or her failure to live up to that belief and repent of his or her sin may very well end up damning him or her to Hell.

The Evangelicals in this story are sadly misguided. If they think they can "sin boldly" (as Luther advised) and count on God to simply cover their sins up like snow on a pile of manure (Luther again), they are deluding themselves. If they think they can somehow twist the Scriptures to say what they want them to say, they are sadly mistaken. This is why our Lord left us the Church -- to prevent people from twisting the Scriptures to fit their agendas. As the sole and Christ-ordained authoritative source of Christian teaching, the Church stands as a bulwark of Truth against those to whom "scripture alone" means "anything goes".
27 posted on 07/29/2003 8:42:56 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: TenaciousZ
I joined an Equestrian Club.

I don’t have or even care for horses.

So I ride my motorcycle at the equestrian events.

What right do the horse riders have to say that my riding a motorcycle at equestrian events is wrong?

Am I not also a fellow equestrian?
28 posted on 07/29/2003 9:38:08 PM PDT by Kay Soze (Itís already too late to regain the United States through negotiations and radio talk shows.)
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