Generous Orthodoxy  

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Gay evangelicals "under the radar"

A careful reading of two articles in The New York Times, December 12, 2006, might move the discussion along in a positive and helpful way, no matter what one's views are. Here is an excerpt from one of them ("Pastors’ Disclosures May Stir Empathy, Some Evangelicals Say" by Neela Banerjee):

The Rev. Randy McCain, pastor of Open Door Community Church in Sherwood, Ark., a Little Rock suburb, started his evangelical church as an openly gay man, and many of his 120 congregants are gay or relatives of gay men and lesbians. Mr. McCain said he hoped the disclosures would shake the certainty many evangelicals had about homosexuality.

But he said...that while leaders of large churches might hide their homosexuality, he had heard of many small churches like his where gay people were accepted, “a ministry under the surface, and not on the radar screen.”

“I think that’s the way God is moving, often under the radar,” Mr. McCain said. “It’s like finding a baby in a manger: you don’t expect to find God there. And it’s like that when, say, the parents of some of our members come to our church.”

The other article, also by Ms. Banerjee, is called "Gay and Evangelical, Seeking Paths of Acceptance." Here are the first paragraphs:

Dateline Raleigh, N.C. — Justin Lee believes that the Virgin birth was real, that there is a heaven and a hell, that salvation comes through Christ alone and that he, the 29-year-old son of Southern Baptists, is an evangelical Christian.

Just as he is certain about the tenets of his faith, Mr. Lee also knows he is gay, that he did not choose it and cannot change it.

To many people, Mr. Lee is a walking contradiction, and most evangelicals and gay people alike consider Christians like him horribly deluded about their faith. “I’ve gotten hate mail from both sides,” said Mr. Lee, who runs, a Web site with 4,700 registered users that mostly attracts gay evangelicals.

The difficulty some evangelicals have in coping with same-sex attraction was thrown into relief on Sunday when the pastor of a Denver megachurch, the Rev. Paul Barnes, resigned after confessing to having sex with men. Mr. Barnes said he had often cried himself to sleep, begging God to end his attraction to men...