Yesterday my Facebook feed became a sea of red. People from all walks of life changed their profile pics to reflect the changing public opinion regarding marriage equality.
I think it’s really cool how many people are standing up for LGBT rights. And I love that more and more straight people who won’t personally benefit from the rights of gay people to marry are standing up for equality just because it’s the right thing to do. I am proud to be an ally for my LGBT friends and I will continue to be a voice alongside them as long as I’m able.
Sometimes though, it can be tempting to look at myself as some kind of hero for being willing to stand up for equality. We see a senator come around to supporting equality because of his gay son and we applaud him for changing his mind. We pat Rob Bell on the back for coming to an affirming point of view.
These are good things. I don’t want to diminish some of the cost of being affirming as a straight person. I know that any time you go against the expected story, there can be push-back and sometimes that can have negative consequences. So I am grateful for voices that are joining with the LGBT community, asking for equality.
But I don’t for a minute want to pretend that these voices are of greater importance than the voices of the thousands of gays and lesbians who have been sharing their stories. Those who have come out into hostile family situations. Those who have lost jobs or housing because of their orientation. Those who have lost their very lives because they love someone of the same sex.
This happens, and yet we often ask them to defend why they want equality. We put them on the spot and ask why they don’t care about our children. We make them prove to us why they belong in our churches.
And sometimes even as allies we still leave our gay and lesbian friends behind. We speak for them, rather than with them. We look for other straight people to bolster our views, because there’s less of a chance of an agenda. We feel pretty damn proud of ourselves for being so progressive, but sometimes our heroic posturing can be hurtful as well if we forget that those people are the real heroes.
Today, I want to share a few of my favorite resources from gay and lesbian Christians. It can be easy to point to straight authors because they don’t have an “agenda,” but maybe a little bit of an agenda is okay when we’re talking about equality and inclusiveness.
Jeff Chu is someone who I’ve only met in the past few months, but I was honored to have the opportunity to read an advance copy of his book, Does Jesus Really Love Me? that just released yesterday. In it, he shares his travels around America, searching for how he as a gay Christian could fit into the Church. It has a number of poignant interviews and I loved it.
Justin Lee also released a book this year that just knocked me over with its honesty and bravery. In Torn, Justin shares what it was like to discover that God Boy was also Gay Boy. He shares his journey of trying to settle his beliefs about God with his sexual orientation. I read this book FAST, and found it absolutely gripping.
In Bulletproof Faith, Candace Chellew-Hodge offers a Scriptural defense of an affirming view of gay relationships. It is written specifically for the LGBT community, but those who are not can still benefit from her words.
As far as I know, Kimberly Knight does not have any books for sale, but her blog is one that I read without fail. I appreciate her candid approach to her faith and her family. I am enriched by the stories that she shares and I encourage you to check her out as well.
I am grateful to each of these people for sharing their experiences with us, and I hope that we will take the time to listen to them.
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