So, What Does It Mean To Be Christian, Anyway?
By: Candace Chellew
This issue has been dedicated to exploring the question "Can you
be gay and Christian?" I believe our contributors have searched the
scriptures and given us a resounding "YES!"
Now that we know God loves us and made us just as we are, where do we go
from here? We must explore the question of what it means to be a Christian,
regardless of our sexual orientation.
For many, the book of Romans is a painful chapter of the Bible, containing
what many see as the most damning of the passages against homosexuality.
But, Romans is a valuable resource for guidance on how to be good Christians.
In Romans 12:9-17, Paul's advice to Jesus' followers is:
"Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good;
love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing
honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice
in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute
to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute
you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with
those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but
associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no evil for evil, but
take thought for what is noble in the sight of all."
Those are words that speak to every Christian, but I believe they hold a
deeper meaning for gay and lesbian Christians. Everyday we are persecuted
by people and groups that claim to represent the "Christian" perspective.
But, as Paul advises, we must be patient in tribulation, praying constantly
that God will open the eyes of those who seek to harm us. Instead of hoping
for bad things to happen to members of the Religious Right who persecute
us, we should bless them. They should be in our prayers every day. If we
seek to bless our enemies rather than do them harm, Paul tells us "by
doing so you will heap burning coals upon (their) heads." What a horrible
thought for Pat Robertson, to be blessed and prayed over by a bunch of gay
Christians! Praise God!
But remember, our prayers must be genuine. God knows the difference between
an honest heart and and spiteful one. He hears and will act if we sincerely
pray for God's blessings on those who hate us. Only through God's wisdom
will others realize that we too are God's children. He made us, and loves
us just the way we are.
Until that day we must honestly live the Christian life and do our best
to show God's love through our lives. As Paul tells us in the end of Romans
12: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."