Hello there folks! With it now officially being 2017, I hope people have completed their vision boards, made their resolutions, and prepared to hold themselves accountable for fulfilling their hopes and dreams for the New Year. While I’m fully aware that there are those pessimists that will read this and think that there is no real difference between December 31st and the days that follow, I disagree to an extent. I often find you are more hopeful in trying to fulfill your goals when you know you have another 365 days to succeed. Folks just have to make sure to convert that hopefulness into plan and action so they can set new goals for the following year, and not have the same ones.
Anyway, I wanted to take a little time to talk about the Christian Church and homosexuality. In the wake of the Kim Burrell controversy, I thought I’d add my two cents on not just on her comments, but the overall dynamic her comments speak to. I fully understand the delicate nature of this conversation, so I’m going to do my best here to give my opinions, yet remain respectful. The goal here is not to leave anyone with a bad taste in their mouth, although I’m sure some may disagree with what I have to say. So let’s jump into it.
For starters, as a black gay Christian man, I was indeed offended by Kim Burrell’s word choice as shown in the viral video of her sermon. Calling homosexual men and women “perverted” is a very ignorant way of speaking about a people who are just trying to live their lives in happiness, truth, and love. I don’t consider my preference in men to be a perversion nor a choice, but a part of me that I was born with. Much like I was born with black hair and brown eyes, I was born with a sexual attraction to men. I can’t change that fact. And trust me, there was a time I tried.
Again, I’m black and Christian. I knew growing up that the black heterosexual community and members of the church are not always accepting of homosexuality, so I attempted to change who I am. I desperately tried to “pray the gay away” for years, with no success. While I was trying to alter my “natural” sexuality, I struggled with depression for years. Heck, I went as far as contemplating suicide thinking it would be better to prematurely take my life to get to Heaven, then it would be to live a life as a gay man. Thankfully, I eventually came to realize I am who I am, and I love me. And better yet, I grew to understand that Christ loves me regardless. Point, blank, period!
Now to attempt to understand Kim’s perspective, you would have to know that most Christians from the church would agree that the fundamental biblical purposes of the act of sex is to reproduce and for a husband and wife to show their affection toward one another. This is an act that is supposed to be sacred and reserved for the marital bed. Given that only a man and woman can reproduce together, two men (or two women) having sex wouldn’t be to fulfill the primary purpose of having offspring. It would be to satisfy the sexual desires and cravings of the temptation that may live within.
If you just read that last paragraph, you’re probably thinking men and women have sex all the time outside of a marital bed and with no intentions on having a baby. You would be right in thinking that. Most heterosexual Americans don’t walk down the aisle virgins. So in a sense, heterosexual men and women rolling around in the sheets before the “I do’s” are exchanged, are also technically committing a sin in the eyes of the church. Which some clergymen and women may or may not call out as often from behind the pulpit.
What several Kim and some other folks of The Cloth don’t seem to realize, is that them trying to call out the LGBT community for simply living their lives is problematic for the simple fact that one’s sexuality is in essence a major part of who he is. It’s like saying, you’re going to hell for no other reason than you’re black, or you’re short. Or better yet, it’s like saying you are going to hell for being a woman and fulfilling your calling to preach in front of a congregation (According to Paul in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, women shouldn’t be preaching). How does anyone justify that type of condemnation? Delegating people to meet Satan for being them.
The next question that might come to your mind is do I believe being gay is sin? Do I believe I’m living outside the will of God? If I’m honest, I can’t say yes or no for sure on that. But what I can say, is that I have a relationship with God in which I know I’m loved, He hears my prayers, and blesses me daily. It is my personal relationship with Christ that allows me to block out people condemning me or calling me “perverted.” At the end of the day, only God will be able to judge me when it’s all said and done. While I’ve committed my share of sins in my life, I believe I’m redeemed. I don’t plan on spending the afterlife with the devil because of my sexual attraction to the same sex. So I encourage everyone to know Christ for themselves and become intimate with Him. Allow Him to be your judge and jury, not humanity.
And look, I understand when members of the LGBT community feel turned-off by the idea of going to church. Given that Christianity is built on the principle of love, often times it can feel as if church bodies spew a lot of hate toward gay men and women. Nobody wants to enter God’s house and be looked at with eyes of disgust and contempt for being what is naturally them. And nobody wants to be constantly singled out for a “sin” they are committing while other sins and sinners are seemingly glossed over by the pulpit.
Listen guys and gals, please don’t allow Kim or anybody else to run you away from Christ and the idea of attending church. My pastor once put it this way. If you go to a restaurant and you aren’t satisfied with the food and/or service, you aren’t going to stop going to restaurants altogether. You are just going to find a better one for you. I urge those turned off by the idea of church to find the right one for them. And keep in mind, that people aren’t perfect, which means no church will be perfect. So if your expectation is to find a completely flawless church, you won’t ever find one.
I feel like I just let my mind explode on this page today, so let me wrap this up by saying this. Kim, and others who share her views, can’t claim to have love for everyone and want to save souls using inflammatory rhetoric like “perverted.” The ones they hope to “save” aren’t going to respond well to that kind of insult. Also, as much as I disagree with Kim, she is entitled to have her opinion, just like I’m entitled to have one that differs. And on one last note, if she and others have such a problem with “homosexuality” then they should be consistent with their dislike. They should be vocal in their dislike of homosexuality when gay men and women when that are singing in and directing their choirs, dressing them for events, doing their hair, and running their businesses.
As always nothing but love,
PS: Make sure you check out my novel Majoring in Me: Acceptance which goes over this very topic.