That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.1 John 1:1-10
I want to tell you a little about my faith and to explain to those who read my blog why I write my Sunday devotionals. First and foremost, I am a Christian. I am also a gay man. Furthermore, I am a teacher. Those are three things that I am, though I am many more things and much more, but fundamentally, I am a Christian gay man, who is a teacher. These descriptions are a core of my being, and I have no desire to change them.
Each Sunday, I write a religious post. I started those posts as an exploration of myself as a member of the churches of Christ and decided to continue writing one each Sunday as a personal devotional for myself, and for anyone who desired to read them. Many of my regular readers tell me how much they enjoy those posts. Others, however, have criticized me for them. Criticism, I can deal with, no problem. I do my research and I meditate and ponder my devotionals before posting them. I am firm in my faith, and I enjoy a good discussion/debate. However, what I am uncomfortable with is those who belittle my faith. Questioning the existence of God is one thing, even disagreeing with someone about what they believe is okay, but there is no reason to belittle someone for his or her faith.
I am not perfect, and neither is anyone else. As Romans 3:22-25 states "For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins."
I was raised in the Church of Christ. My congregation is a small country church where the number of attendees has been anywhere from 12-25 people. It is also a loving church and each member is like a member of my family. They, however, do not know that I am gay, except for my parents who do know. Homosexuality is not something that comes up in the sermons at my church. My minister tends to preach about loving kindness and how to be a better Christian through our daily lives. Because of this loving environment, I have a strong faith in Christianity.
Some people in the LGBT community may judge me for my belief in Christianity. Many have questioned me on my blog about this very issue. Some have even belittled me about my belief in God. It seems that many gay people feel abandoned by God because of the hatred that many people who call themselves Christians espouse. That kind of hatred was never part of the Christianity that I grew up around. I was taught to take God's word as a whole and not to pick out individual verses to condemn someone. I was taught that the Bible should be studied closely and that various translations of the Bible can be flawed. Therefore, if a word or words trouble you, then you should look closer at the meaning and context of those words. Therefore, I studied the texts that people use to condemn homosexuality, and came to a different conclusion. Go back to my posts about the Church of Christ and you will see what I mean.
I try to live my life by treating others as I want to be treated. Am I always successful? No, but I do try. I have my flaws. If you looked at my life, would you think of me as a typical Christian? No, you wouldn't. First of all, I am gay, which means that I've had sex with men (though, I do think you can be gay and celibate, if you chose). Personally, I been celibate for a while, but that is really not by choice. Do I think that God approves of me having sex with men? No, I don't think he does, but it does not have to do with my sexual partner's gender, but because it is premarital sex, fornication, if you prefer. However, I am weak of the flesh. I also don't always take perfect care of my body. I drink alcohol, sometimes eat too much, and don't exercise enough. I take pleasures when I can, but I also do so in moderation, which I think is the key. I'm not perfect, but God still loves me. So, I try my best to be a good person, so that I can feel worthy of God's love.
If you do not agree with my Sunday devotionals or you don't believe in God, then I ask one, two, and/or three things of you: (1) please do not use the comment section to belittle my faith it only makes me very sad and, honestly, hurts my feelings; (2) try to take the broader moral message from the post instead of the religious God-centered message; and (3) if you like my other posts but know you do not enjoy or want to read my devotionals, then please just skip reading my blog on Sundays and read it the other six days of the week. I am not trying to push my faith on to anyone. My Sunday devotionals are personal to me, and many others enjoy reading them.
All I ask is that you to do is to adhere to the Golden Rule or the ethic of reciprocity which is found in the scriptures of nearly every religion and is often regarded as the most concise and general principle of ethics. One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.
One final note, and this is a bit of an aside, I personally cannot fathom a strict adherence to atheism. I look around me each and every day and see the wonders of God's creation. If you strictly adhere to evolution, then you admit, in my opinion at least, that we are all a cosmic accident. For me, there is too much perfection and love and beauty for all of this to be an accident. I wholeheartedly believe that God has guided the creation of the universe, and that he guides us each and everyday. He is with us always, and that thought brings me the greatest comfort in my life.