Monday, October 11, 2010

Come out, come out - from wherever you are!

Coming out can be a fearful thing. Events like National Coming Out Day help, because they can get us in touch with others who have made or are making the journey to being fully who they are in the world -- something we can never do while we are still "in the closet". And even if we still don't "come out" ourselves that year, we still have the opportunity to hear more of the truth about being Gay or Lesbian:
  • We can be as normal and healthy as straight people (but like other oppressed minorities, we have to choose to be).
  • We can be as loving and moral as straight people (though, like most straight people, we should aim higher than that!). 
Some informational and helping resources for coming out as Gay or Lesbian can be found in HRC's A Resource Guide to Coming Out (you can direct-download the PDF here).

HRC also offers A Straight Guide to LGBT Americans, a guide for straight people who are or have found out about Gay people in their lives (PDF here).

Other coming out guides can he found on their site, as well. 

One other guide I noted on their site was Living Openly in Your Place of Worship (PDF here). And that's what I'd like to spend a few minutes on, this morning.

Struggling to be allowed -- by other human beings -- to be who God created us to be in "places of worship" can be a mighty work of God. It truly can.

But it can also be a devil's errand. 

And we have to know which it is in the "place(s) of worship" we want to be a part of.

See, most Gay Christians simply want "in". Or back in. We are nearly always just as contaminated by human-created "churches" ("liberal", "conservative", and in between) which change or ignore God's Word when it doesn't match their  human- and demon-inspired "theology" and live by human-pleasing "values" that only mimic God's way, as straight people are.

And it's understandable we'd be that way. We (and straight people) grow up in cultures where fake-church and fake-Jesus permeate absolutely everything. In such an atmosphere, it would be an amazing thing if we didn't at least start off thinking we see and know what God really wants when actually we've only absorbed what human beings want to pretend God wants.

In that sense, we're a lot like the paganistic Hebrews still living in Egypt: we think we already have it right -- and we have no idea what God really has in store for us and our future. 

So here's the thing:

If we Gay people are struggling to get in or back in to Egypt, aren't we going the wrong way?

Praying, talking, discussing, picketing, arguing, pleading, preaching, and fighting to get back into what only pretends to be God's house is sure the wrong way.

But it hurts, I know, to be separated from our community or the church.  It really does.

But we have to ask ourselves why. WHY does it hurt to be separated?

I know from personal experience:
When we're really, truly, finally honest with ourselves and each other, we can only admit that it hurts because we're missing the human connection we find "in church".
How can I say that? 

Because God is found everywhere. When God let the temple be destroyed, He let be destroyed the last place He'd ever let Himself be "housed". Instead, our bodies -- individually and collectively -- became His temple, the place where His Spirit works and rests and lives. So if we want to "be with" God, then we simply need to turn our thoughts and heart toward His presence within us.

So, is it wrong to hunger for that human connection? Absolutely not. God created us as social beings. We need other human beings around us and as part of our lives.  

The problem comes, of course, when we start mixing up our need for human connection with our need for God connection -- when we start believing the lie that says satisfying what human beings want from us will also satisfy what God wants from and for us, as His people.

Human beings are sinful wretches. Religious human beings are the worst sinners on the planet. And that includes Gay people too.

And that means that if human-church people aren't blocking or attacking Gay people, they're blocking or attacking African-descent people, or women, or the poor, and so on. And if they aren't doing that, they're full of people who cheat and abuse the poor, or treat women like garbage, or give themselves respect and authority that belongs to God alone, and more.

Even "nice" churches are chock full of a nasty case of humanitis, simply because they are full of religious human beings, if nothing else.

And that's what we're struggling to be allowed back in to?

That's what we can't wait to become "clergy" in?

That's what we think God wants from us?

Don't know about you, but my own answer -- after years of answering wrong -- is today:  
No way!
Being a follower of Jesus Christ means walking a lot of fine lines. It's all part of that "narrow road" He told us to make sure we keep to.

As Gay Christians, one of the fine lines we have to walk isn't that much different from the walk that straight people have to make, too:
  • Rejecting what only pretends to be about Jesus
  • Accepting with our whole, exclusive heart the real Jesus. 
The difference for us is that those straight people who have hatred and condemnation in their whitewashed-tomb-hearts have actually done us a great favor in removing us from their churches. 

Being kicked out of a church that even the real Jesus isn't allowed in is not as bad as we think, once we get past the real human hurt we feel!

So do consider prayerfully whether the church you want so badly to get back in to, or be a more open part of, or otherwise "serve" in some way is actually what Jesus wants you to do.

Is there something more godly you could be doing? Like maybe...
  • Joining with others who have also rejected human-church for the real Jesus and His real, worldwide Body (as in making friends, not simply in joining another religious organization).
  • Shedding all the human-invented theologies and contraptions that are simply pagan practices painted with a Jesus face on top (the book Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices is one place to start).
  • Allowing the Holy Spirit to heal your human hurt, and to grow you new courage and contentment in God's real ways
  • Doing God's work like He intended: through your own effort, and not simply via some pastor or committee. (Like, how about learning a homeless person's name and bringing them some coffee and a smile the next cold morning? And then how about not telling anyone you did it, so it stays between you and God?)
God had a LOT more in store for the Hebrews than to simply half- and fake-worship Him in Egypt. He has a lot more in store for us too, when we'll finally let Him lead us away from Pharaoh's way of doing things.

So do come out today! -- As a Lesbian or Gay man in love with the real Jesus Christ and His way of doing things, even to taking up the Cross of rejecting human versions of Him that have sunk themselves like hooks into your heart.

Let Jesus heal, direct, and own - even this!

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