Given that this blog of the GLBTQ Jamaica family was started out as Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica, SCJ inclusive of LGBT religious beliefs of the ‘mother church’ Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) matters and such, posts of which still are here; the matter of religion as divisive came up again on many fronts especially since the ‘Gays are welcomed’ Gleaner story recently and my subsequent entry on the article. In previous and now follow up discourse with a good friend of mine who recently said he converted to Christianity in a Pentecostal church and says he is filled with the Holy Ghost. He has been shedding his gayness on all fronts to include his impressive CD/DVD, dance music collection with some of the best gay circuit anthems and classic divas, hence our regular contact (DJ instinct), his porn collection, books and other stuff to supposedly begin life anew as a heterosexual man. He is bisexual (or was) as he also has a teenage son but is adamant that he is changed and does not want to pursue his urges for men and sex as the Bible says it is an abomination and that I and others should ‘change’
Although his conversion occurred some two and a half years now and we spoke numerous times since but it has been a little annoying that he always seek to include in the conversation at some point the questions as to when am I coming to church or giving my life over to the Lord; followed by the brimstone and fire outcomes if I do not and him having no intention of returning to gay life.
He was in agreement with the reparative tinged narrative of the ‘Gays are welcomed’ article which I found surprising; we discussed some of the tenets over a rather uncomfortable telephone conversation yet while he tried to get me to buy some more of the CD/DVD/books collection he was shedding. So I confronted him none the less as if he wanted me to ‘give my life to the Lord’ then why in the same breath try to get me to buy the very offending materials in his eyes that he is shedding in his purification journey? He claimed maybe in the future I might ‘change’ and that he was going to pray for me. I chuckled, I welcome the prayer if it is for blessings and long life but not for ‘change’ as he thinks and he said he was serious in his intent to go on a fasting cycle. I mentioned that reparative or restorative therapy has been proven to be misnomer and many persons who were forced to suppress their true feelings have come to the realization that it can cause more stress than good. He disagreed and said God can change anyone including him.
What explains individuals who know they love God, claim to or are secure in the knowledge that they are filled with the Holy Ghost yet are same sex attracted, gender non-binary, bisexual or transgender or even asexual? To which he answered that maybe those persons are confused or are led by the devil. He then concluded that it is impossible to be gay and Christian as God would not accept that; so what explains churches that knowingly instruct persons who they suspect to be gay and who are often on the choir, or the band to leadership for that matter but are effectively told if ever so subtly to stay in the closet or do not show any hints at all? The usual stumbling came prior to a delayed put together answer as happened before in other times when I asked similar worded questions to other Christians and such. My friend claims in words to the effect that maybe those churches are trying to allow persons to change in due time by not ostracizing them, a rather surprising answer since Pentecostals tend to feel their way in Christian life is the true one and others are off base. But the aforementioned ‘Gays are welcomed’ article suggests mostly sternly no such tolerance of persons even remotely displaying any signs or gayness (I assume effeminacy which is not a marker of male homosexuality as we now know) while also conflating same gender sex and abuse especially of boys, a misguided if not deceptive way to other gays so as to smear us as sick or depraved when paedophiles and gay adults are not the same.
As a former member of Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica, SCJ often referred to as the ‘gay church’ which was fully LGBT from the clergy to congregants I felt very comfortable during services. Outside of continuity of services in Kingston and Ocho Rios the outfit still meets in western Jamaica but it offered when in full operations a place for judgement free worship; no hetero-normative pre-requisites; between a worshiper and God with no condemnation, unlike what happens in most traditional places of worship involved in the Judaeo Christian religion. In a previous post some days ago I asked in response to antigay Dr Wayne West’s claim that he does not want to peep in our bedrooms, what did he mean by “We don’t want certain things on the streets. We don’t want them in our churches.” which seems to be conflict with the patronizing olive branch by the church groups.
Am I to understand that Dr West thinks outward displays of affection is going to simply cause persons to be homosexualized or is he blindly unaware of the fact of what can and has happened in some instances of such expressions in public. Or like some churches one can be gay or suspected to be so but remain a member so long as they keep it to themselves; no wonder he gladly embraced Queen Ifrica, after all her “Keep it to yuself” song promotes staying in the closet; he also pushing outcasting homosexuals simply due to their sexual orientation when the very master himself does not promote exclusion; lest we forget the alabaster box story and the washing of the feet of Jesus by a scorned prostitute, to which he rebuked those who expressed such disdain. So the church in West’s eyes must be pure of all sinners when the very church is supposed to be the place to win souls for the kingdom.
He who is without sin let him cast the first stone.
In my own journey I do believe that one can be homosexual and Christian; I do not believe that God is caught up in judging us harshly by mere sexual orientation; after all we are more than just who we have sex with or are attracted to. I ask every now and again I refer to the woman with the alabaster box story or the stoning incident where I just quoted above the line Jesus used in terms of who is more holy than others. The raising of homosexuality as the worse sin above all others then the twinning if not combining of atheism/secularism as expressed by some LGBT persons as a false dichotomy to some anti-Christian, anti God position are simply just that, false dichotomies.
Jesus himself never spoke to homosexuality in a discriminatory fashion barring where Jesus in a teaching on the rapture makes what appears to be a neutral non-discriminatory reference where it read (King James Version):
One can argue that how we live with and among each other is another matter in terms of how we navigate sexuality and relations but if there are no templates to guide us as the main reliant material in the form of the collection as the Bible then how do we proceed; apart from prayer, supplication and meditation alongside just basic decency can be a guide. Since the implacable folks such as Dr Wayne West want to judge us by merely worrying about where gay men puts there dicks homosexuals will never get into a traditional church if we are to go by West’s thinking and that of others such as Reverend Clinton Chisholm in his latest letter/article on transgenderism which amounts to more theocratic mischief making.
I remember when award winning, million selling gospel great Ray Boltz finally came out some years ago and decided to remain in his ministry how it was and to some extent is still ostracized so much so that reports that his songs were removed from radio playlists in the aftermath; he still does gospel but as a openly gay man fully cognizant of god’s love and is now embraced by gay Christians. I wonder what would happen to anyone of our local gospel acts (as some of them are as one feels very little or no spirituality in their music) or pastors came out, I can imagine the isolation from their own traditionalists. The continued and indeed unnecessary discussion surrounding atheism and secularism as well has only added insult to injury, feeding a false dichotomy of gay lobbyists being non-Christian or just stopping short of being blasphemers.
If we’re to be guided by the main principle that god loves us all then for his sake can we move on without the need to divide and other persons.
Peace & tolerance