Timothy Kincaid is a “blogger friend” who I’ve had the privilege of engaging on a couple of different blogs: Warren Throckmorton and ExGayWatch. He regularly writes on Box Turtle Bulletin. Timothy is a gay Christian who I have found to be insightful and respectful. Timothy wrote this piece as a comment on another blog and I hope that it will be helpful to the readers of ‘Bridging the Gap’: p.s. Timothy is American – but I think us Canadians have a few take-aways here too eh?
Regarding the question as to how best reach gay persons for Christ, I’m not sure I have an answer for that question, but I do know some things to avoid if one has any real genuine desire to reach gay people for Christ:
1. Don’t demand the impossible. Telling gay people that they shouldn’t be gay is probably going to be about as successful a witness tool as telling Asians they shouldn’t be Asian.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in orientation. Or if you think the Bible talks about behavior not identity. Or if you can reference a whole list of folks who have “walked away from homosexuality”. Or even if you believe homosexuality is nothing but an addiction, or sin, or the result of some root cause, or a lack of paternal attention, or a demonic spirit.
If you want to reach gay people, it doesn’t matter what you believe at all. Gay people generally believe that the direction of their attractions is innate and immutable. To ask them not to be gay is, to their way of thinking, preposterous.
This is not to say that you must give up your religious convictions. But rather that you should allow God to guide others to His will.
Remember, the reason for gay persons to come to Christ is not to become un-gay or even to avoid Hell. The reason for gay persons to come to Christ is to have a relationship with God.
In my opinion the smartest response to orientation is to introduce God’s love and grace and simply say that God wants his children to grow into the life He has for them. And then let God direct them.
And if God leads some gay people to some direction other than the plan YOU have for them, well you can take it up with Him.
2. Don’t coerce conversion. Jews today still resent the efforts of Christians to convert them in the Spanish Inquisition at the point of a sword. Gays don’t feel much different about current efforts to instill repressive and discriminatory laws. They believe that Christians only want to be kind and loving to Christian people and that they will punish you if you are not.
Let’s talk some truth.
Behind every effort to treat gay people differently in this country is language about Sin and Abomination. Gay people observe Christianity to be a threat to their freedoms and sometimes to their very lives. (Yes, some “Christians” use death language).
You may “love the sinner, hate the sin”. You may think homosexuality is a dangerous lifestyle. You may have pity for the person trapped and not want to enable their destruction. You may think that homosexuality is a cancer that will destroy the culture and the nation. You may think that this is a sin that makes God nauseous and that God will rain judgment on the nation that doesn’t harshly punish such filth.
None of that matters. At all.
Currently, gay people experience their interaction with Christianity as being full of hatred. And the fault lies entirely with the Church (yeah, it really does). When you seek to harm the livelihood of someone, when you tax them more, when you take away their children, when you deny their ability to serve their country, when you “would never vote for” them, when you lie about their “lifestyle”, when you make entirely bogus claims about their mortality, when you support discrimination against them in business and housing, when you pass laws to remove their health insurance. When you just treat them with contempt.
These are all things that have been done in the name of Christianity. And they are all experienced as hateful.
If you really genuinely want to reach gays for Christ, you cannot do so in a manner that looks like hatred to the people you are trying to reach. You cannot be coercive.
If you care more about reaching gays for Christ than you do about the culture war, you will give up these efforts. Because you cannot reach gays while simultaneously harming them.
And if the culture is destroyed and the nation crumbles, take it up with God. After all, He didn’t call you to protect nations but to win souls. -WG