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A Gay Christian Life


Lewis is a 19 year old gay man who just came out to his family. He’s also a Christian in a very Christian family. Lewis started a new blog called “A Gay Christian Life.” He hasn’t been too encouraged to write a lot because he hasn’t gotten many hits, but let me assure you that his story is worth reading. He has two posts up so far, one about coming out and the other about a meeting with his pastor. It’s a story that is familiar to a lot of our coming outs, both the ups and downs of it. So please go check out Lewis’s blog “A Gay Christian Life.”

Just a Closer Walk


Just a Closer Walk with Thee

I am weak but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Thro’ this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.


In this song, we acknowledge our human inability to live righteously, but we also express awareness of the grace and strength that God gives us in our daily walk. Even such an esteemed saint as the apostle Paul acknowledged his need for this grace: “But he [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” … For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a, 10b ESV)

This song is one of my all time favorite hymns.  Though I was raised in the church of Christ, my mother was raised a Baptist.  She and her sister played the piano and the organ at their church growing up.  Mama always loved to sit and play hymns at the piano in our living room.  More frequently than any other song, mama would play “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.”

Homecoming 


Mark 5:19 – Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

One of the reasons that I decided to come home this week was because the ladies at my home church have been begging for me to come home. I’ve also been homesick. I may live in Vermont, but home will always be where my family is. I have been blessed by the job that I have and the friends that I’ve made, especially those who are most supportive. It’s not easy being away from home, but it’s what I must do for now. We must be thankful for what God does for us.

The Rainbow 

Rainbow Christ Prayer: LGBT Flag Reveals The Queer Christ

By REV. KITTREDGE CHERRY
Colors of the rainbow flag reveal the many faces of the queer Christ in the following Rainbow Christ Prayer I wrote with gay theologian Patrick S. Cheng
Rainbow flags were flying around the world in June for LGBT Pride Month. Rainbows are also an important symbol in many religious traditions. The Rainbow Christ Prayer honors the spiritual values of the LGBT movement. 
The prayer matches the colors of the rainbow flag with the seven models of the queer Christ from Patrick’s book From Sin to Amazing Grace: Discovering the Queer Christ.
Let us pray… 
Rainbow Christ, you embody all the colors of the world. Rainbows serve as bridges between different realms: heaven and earth, east and west, queer and non-queer. Inspire us to remember the values expressed in the rainbow flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
Red is for life, the root of spirit. Living and Self-Loving Christ, you are our Root. Free us from shame and grant us the grace of healthy pride so we can follow our own inner light. With the red stripe in the rainbow, we give thanks that God created us just the way we are.
Orange is for sexuality, the fire of spirit. Erotic Christ, you are our Fire, the Word made flesh. Free us from exploitation and grant us the grace of mutual relationships. With the orange stripe in the rainbow, kindle a fire of passion in us.
Yellow is for self-esteem, the core of spirit. Out Christ, you are our Core. Free us from closets of secrecy and give us the guts and grace to come out. With the yellow stripe in the rainbow, build our confidence.
Green is for love, the heart of spirit. Transgressive Outlaw Christ, you are our Heart, breaking rules out of love. In a world obsessed with purity, you touch the sick and eat with outcasts. Free us from conformity and grant us the grace of deviance. With the green stripe in the rainbow, fill our hearts with untamed compassion for all beings.
Blue is for self-expression, the voice of spirit. Liberator Christ, you are our Voice, speaking out against all forms of oppression. Free us from apathy and grant us the grace of activism. With the blue stripe in the rainbow, motivate us to call for justice.
Violet is for vision, the wisdom of spirit. Interconnected Christ, you are our Wisdom, creating and sustaining the universe. Free us from isolation and grant us the grace of interdependence. With the violet stripe in the rainbow, connect us with others and with the whole creation.
Rainbow colors come together to make one light, the crown of universal consciousness. Hybrid and All-Encompassing Christ, you are our Crown, both human and divine. Free us from rigid categories and grant us the grace of interwoven identities. With the rainbow, lead us beyond black-and-white thinking to experience the whole spectrum of life.
Rainbow Christ, you light up the world. You make rainbows as a promise to support all life on earth. In the rainbow space, we can see all the hidden connections between sexualities, genders and races. Like the rainbow, may we embody all the colors of the world! Amen.
I got the idea for the Rainbow Christ Prayer as I reflected on Patrick Cheng’s models of the queer Christ. Patrick and I each spent years developing the ideas expressed in the Rainbow Christ Prayer. It incorporates rainbow symbolism from queer culture, from Christian tradition and from the Buddhist/Hindu concept of chakras, the seven colored energy centers of the human body. The prayer is ideal for use when lighting candles in a rainbow candle holder.
The Rainbow Christ Prayer has been welcomed and used by many progressive Christian communities, but denounced as blasphemy by conservatives at Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.
I first wrote about linking the colors of the rainbow flag to queer spirituality in my 2009 reflection on Bridge of Light, a winter holiday honoring LGBT culture. Meanwhile Patrick was working on his models of the queer Christ based on LGBT experience. In 2010 he presented five models of the queer Christ in his essay Rethinking Sin and Grace for LGBT People at the Jesus in Love Blog.
In a moment of inspiration I realized Patrick’s various queer Christ models matched the colors of the rainbow flag. 
Patrick and I joined forces and the Rainbow Christ Prayer was born. With wonderful synchronicity, Patrick had already added two more queer Christ models, so he now had seven models to match the seven principles from Bridge of Light. He wrote a detailed explanation of all seven models in his book From Sin to Amazing Grace published in spring 2012 by Seabury Books.
Gay spirituality author Joe Perez also helped lay the groundwork for this prayer in 2004 when he founded the interfaith and omni-denominational winter ritual known as Bridge of Light. People celebrate Bridge of Light by lighting candles, one for every color of the rainbow flag. Each color corresponds to a universal spiritual principle that is expressed in LGBT history and culture. I worked with Joe to revise the Bridge of Light guidelines based on my on own meditations on the chakras and their connections to the colors of the rainbow flag.
The symbolism of the rainbow resonates far beyond the LGBT flag. 
In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the rainbow stands for God’s promise to support all life on earth. It plays an important role in the story of Noah’s Ark. After the flood, God places a rainbow in the sky, saying, “Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (Genesis 9:15-16).
Lastly, in the Book of Revelation, a rainbow encircles the throne of Christ in Heaven.
Originally published on Jesus In Love; Image via Andrew Craig Williams

We Shall Overcome

We shall overcome,
We shall overcome,
We shall overcome, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.

We’ll walk hand in hand,
We’ll walk hand in hand,
We’ll walk hand in hand, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.

We shall live in peace,
We shall live in peace,
We shall live in peace, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.

We are not afraid,
We are not afraid,
We are not afraid, TODAY

Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.

The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around some day

Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.

“We Shall Overcome” is a gospel song which became a protest song and a key anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. The song is most commonly attributed as having descended lyrically from “I’ll Overcome Some Day”, a hymn by Charles Albert Tindley that was first published in 1900.

A couple of the usual haters appeared at Knoxville Pride yesterday afternoon to wave their anti-LGBT banners and shout abuse. Not having it was the touring Washington Gay Men’s Chorus, who encircled the haters to deliver a rousing rendition of We Shall Overcome.

Blessed

1 Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
2 the LORD protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
3 The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.
4 As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
5 My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die, and his name perish?”
6 And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
7 All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me.
8 They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him; he will not rise again from where he lies.”
9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
10 But you, O LORD, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!
11 By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
12 But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.
13 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen. – Psalms 41

The Two Types of Pride

Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.  Galatians 6:4

Selfish pride can be defined as “excessive confidence or glorification in one’s self, possessions or nation.” The concept is found in the Bible, along with pride itself, in words such as arrogance, haughtiness and conceit, among others, all of which are opposite of Godly humility. The wrongness of self-centered pride is essentially twofold. On a spiritual level, it inevitably leads to disregard, disrespect and disobedience to God i.e. self-centered pride is primarily what transformed the once-righteous Lucifer into the wicked Satan after he became too impressed with himself: “I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14). On a worldly level, selfish pride very often results in self-destructive behavior because, while a form of self-delusion, it isn’t necessarily as much an overestimation of one’s self as it is a dangerous underestimation of others, hence “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
The Bible warns us about the dangers of pride, by which it means an arrogant, haughty, self-centered attitude that looks down on others and feels no need of God.  This kind of pride is wrong in God’s eyes because it can make someone act as if he/she is the most important person in the world. That cuts us off from others; no one likes someone who’s constantly acting as if they’re better or more important than anyone else. A prideful attitude also cuts us off from God, because we think we can get along without Him. But the Bible warns, “The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low” (Isaiah 2:11).
The Bible also speaks of a good pride, but it differs greatly from selfish pride, what we might call a healthy understanding of what God has given us, and a humble determination to do our best for His glory. This can be good, giving us the confidence we need to meet challenges and undertake new tasks. The Bible says, “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else” (Galatians 6:4).
Be on guard against a self-centered pride that ultimately will destroy you. Instead, see yourself the way God sees you, and humbly accept the gifts He has given you. Most of all, humble yourself at the foot of the cross, and commit your life and your future to Jesus  Christ.
As LGBT Christians we should take pride in keeping the faith, even when others tell us we are not wanted.  A friend of mine sent me a quote the other day, that I found very inspirational and I believe it is a perfect example of why we should look at pride in a different way.

Maybe our journey in life isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you so you can become who you were meant to be in the first place.

Our experienced help shape us, but they don’t define us.  Sometime we have to unlearn things or peel away those things that hold us back.  We are taught by most ministers that pride is evil, but can we not have a humble pride? We should take pride in God and the life he has created in us.  For me this type of pride is about glorifying God.  We are made in the image of God, and we should take pride in that.  We are a witness to God’s radical love, and his love is everlasting and unconditional.  God promises us eternal life, but we must believe and have faith and follow his word (as a member of the churches of Christ, I feel compelled to say “and be baptized” but I know not everyone believes in the necessity of baptism). Our faith is miraculous: as LGBT Christians we are constantly told that we are the living embodiment of sin, but we have kept the faith, because our loving God encourages and guides us to the truth. We are called to transform the world:  it is our duty to show others that God’s love is everlasting and unconditional. God journeys with us, and He is with a us at all times, in good or bad.  Our experiences teach us how to love authentically and not to listen to those who are naysayers or preach hate. As LGBT Christians, God has freed us from shame for we have nothing to be shameful of, because we have kept the faith. By embracing ourselves, we bring inner peace because we know who we are and we have “unbecome” what others told us to become because we have followed the path of God’s truth.  We are unique creations of God.  Without that uniqueness we’d all be the same, and God made us all diverse and wonderful people who are filled with the capacity to love.
Some gay people find pride to be one time of the year when they do not feel alone, isolated, cut-off, rejected, hated and despised. Pride helps gay people feel they are not a tiny, powerless minority group. Through pride, many gay people find a sense of belonging, a sense of being worthwhile. Society has long taught gay people to hate themselves. By taking pride in who they are in Christ, gay people can start the long process of overcoming self-hate. Standing side-by-side with God, gay Christians are an accepted, loved, connected and powerful majority!
Gay Christians can find meaning in pride. They are start to feel able to freely and openly celebrate who they are in Christ. God wants that! God wants gay people to stop hating and fearing themselves, because those who live secret lives of pain are not able to fully celebrate their identity in Christ. Through gay pride, God calls gay Christians to live as though the world waits for them, waits for them to passionately praise God, to love as faithfully as God loves and to celebrate life, as they walk hand-in-hand with Christ into eternity.
So take pride in our struggles.  We need that good, unselfish pride to show others the true light of God.  So as we celebrate the forty-fifth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, with Gay Pride Month coming to an end, and next Friday, we celebrate the pride we feel in the independence of the American spirit, we should rejoice with others that God allows us that feeling of warmth in our hearts that is our unselfish pride. 
The picture at the top of this post is the reaction to this group of Chicago Christians who showed up at a gay pride parade to apologize for homophobia in the Church.