Being Gay is a Gift from God
                                 Jerry S. Maneker

Fortunately, in some communities, particularly in urban areas, there are gay affirming congregations. They understand
the Gospel of inclusiveness that puts all of us in the same tent for worship and ministry.

To be able to love another person is a gift from God! As human beings we have the capacity to love another person,
putting that other person’s feelings and interests ahead of our own. This is agapao in the Greek and is the word Jesus
uses when He commands His disciples to love others.

Yet, in addition to agapao, there is also eros and phileo. Eros is love based upon pleasure and phileo is love based
upon reciprocity of feelings and actions. In other words, phileo occurs when one loves the other if that love is
reciprocated and doesn’t love the other when that love is not reciprocated. Most of the world operates on eros and
phileo! Christians are called upon to exercise agapao!

However, in our intimate relations, eros is also very important! It is the bonding of two souls and bodies in love that is
faithful and enduring. The Gay couple well understands this bonding!

Troy Perry was a Pentecostal-Baptist minister at a very young age. He knew he was gay and tried to smother his
feelings. He even attempted suicide! Fortunately, he was found after slashing his wrists, taken to a hospital and
survived. He then realized that God doesn’t create someone whom He can sit around and hate. God created Troy
Perry, just like He created all of His gay and lesbian children! Troy Perry went on to start the Metropolitan Community
Churches which particularly ministers to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities. They are now world
wide and have an internet site, www.mccchurch.org.

The Bible doesn’t condemn same-sex love! In a previous article I wrote in the "Sacramento Valley Mirror" in which I have
a weekly column entitled, "Christianity and Society," I elucidated the passages traditionally used to condemn gay people
and showed that they dealt in a context of the need to propagate, with idolatry and exploitation, as well as with acts
against nature where heterosexuals engage in homosexual acts undoubtedly to various pagan deities. Nowhere in the
Bible is same-sex committed love condemned or even discussed!

The last bastion of the civil rights movement is the stigma and exclusion of gay people from our churches and from our
secular society. Yet, they can be seen to be a gift to us from God in that, despite their terrible persecution, many remain
steadfast in their loving relationships. Despite all of the barriers set up by Christians and non-Christians alike, many
remain in committed relationships.

Being constitutionally gay is not a disorder any more than having brown eyes is a disorder!  Most gay people have been
born that way, and even if one wants to discount that view, the origin of one’s sexual orientation is completely irrelevant
in any case.

If you’re gay, you have been blessed by God in that you are capable of loving another human being. The most
dangerous people in the world are those who either have nothing to lose or who are incapable of loving others. There is
absolutely no reason not to assume that God blesses the monogamous gay couple every bit as much as He blesses the
heterosexually married couple!

As Jesus said to the Scribes and Pharisees, we make void the Word of God by our traditions (Matthew 15:3,6,9) Mere
fallible human beings interpreted the Bible to condemn same-sex unions! Mere human beings call being gay an
"affliction" or a “disorder” and gay sex as "intrinsically evil."

When done in a context of monogamous mutual love, the Bible doesn’t affirm or condemn homosexuality. Indeed, the
Bible is silent on this matter!

Moreover, one can easily understand that anonymous sex may even be engaged in so as to steal a few moments of
furtive intimacy in a homophobic society that condemns same-sex love and marriage. And if a mere human being like
me can understand it, we can be sure that God certainly understands it as well!

Many gay people walk around with guilt and shame because they think that they are condemned before God and their
fellow man. Read the Bible with new eyes, taking account of the most recent biblical scholarship (See, for example, The
New Oxford Annotated Bible), and see for yourself that God created us just as we are and He affirms and loves us just
as we are, be we gay or straight. God shows far more grace than do mere human beings!

If you’re gay, you have been given the gift of the capacity to love by God, your Creator. Don’t take that gift lightly and
don’t deny it as a gift from God.  You have the capacity to love another human being, and nothing is more sacred or
Godly than that.
Increasingly, God’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender children are recognizing that being queer is not a sin, but it
is a sin to deny the value of what God has made!  No longer are many queer people content to live their lives in quiet
desperation, riddled with shame, guilt, and self-loathing.  No longer are they willing to listen to the ignorant hate-
mongers who spew forth their venom from assorted pulpits throughout the world.  No longer are they going to let those
who pervert the Gospel message of grace and love into some sort of twisted legalism define their reality, deny their
worth, and deny the value of their love.

God’s children take Jesus at His word when He affirms that He has come to heal, to bind up wounds, to anoint the
broken-hearted, to deliver those captive to the religious predators who don’t give a damn that their hateful preaching
helps create high gay youth suicide rates and the bashing and killing of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender
people.  

God’s queer children are increasingly taking Him at His word when He says that He has come to give His children liberty
from the hateful and hurtful words of many religious leaders who have completely missed the point of the Gospel
message.  It must be remembered that Jesus saved His harshest words for the arrogant, legalistic, religious leaders of
His day who sought to put others in bondage to their ways of thinking.

As Peter J. Gomes says in his superb book, The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart, that I recommend
everyone read, Christian and non-Christian alike, when we read the Bible we must discern what it says, what it means,
study the text, the subtext, the context, what we bring to the text, and what we take out of the text.  Moreover, biblical
principle must always trump biblical practice!  Just because a practice existed two or three thousand years ago, doesn’t
necessarily make it applicable or Godly now.  Witness slavery, segregation, and the subjugation of women!

We are called upon by God to live the abundant life, the good life!  To engage in this endeavor, we must be authentic
and not only accept but embrace ourselves and others for what we and they are.  Indeed, we are not to judge others or
even ourselves!  As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be
judged by you or by any human court.  I do not even judge myself.” (1Corinthians 4:3)

Paul knew that “Our steps are made firm by the Lord, when he delights in our way; though we stumble, we shall not fall
headlong, for the LORD holds us by the hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24)  So, if you’re queer, a term that embraces gay,
lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (one who is unable or unwilling to play the sex role to which he or she has been
assigned by the expectations of the culture), take heart that God knows every bit of your frame.  If you’re transsexual
(someone who feels trapped in the body of the opposite sex), it may be viewed as a birth defect that you may want to
correct.

To see the Bible’s affirmation of LGBT people, we can look at the love relationships between David and Jonathan; Ruth
and Naomi.  We can look at Deborah, a Bible character who has always fascinated me, who, though married, was a
judge and a mighty warrior in Israel.  She was undoubtedly transgender!  She certainly didn’t live up to the cultural
expectations of “woman” of her time.  

Being gay, like being straight, is not merely about sex!  It’s also about love and relationship.  We’re all human beings
with sexuality being merely one component in our lives.  Indeed, we’re spiritual, sexual, intellectual, and emotional
human beings with all of the complexities and diversity that God made in His creation.  We are called upon by God to
embrace these complexities and diversity in others and in ourselves, and integrate all of these dimensions in our very
lives for any one of them to be meaningful, and for us to truly be intact in order to live the abundant life that Jesus
promises all of us who implacably trust Him!

If you’re queer you’re committing a grievous sin if you condemn yourself, as you are condemning what God has made
and, like those who oppress queers, thereby thwarting God’s sovereign purposes.  As the old Sunday School saying
has it, “God doesn’t make junk!”

So, let’s not listen to the ignorant and the hate-mongers in the religious world who foment internalized and externalized
homophobia.  Let’s listen to God, the Prince of Peace, and His commandment to love Him, others, and ourselves!

When we throw ourselves upon the mercy of God, the Holy Spirit enters us and empowers us to love both our neighbor
and even our enemies.  Indeed, if someone really loves you they will accept you, warts and all, and embrace you,
regardless of whether they agree with you or not.  If someone only “loves” and accepts you if you conform to their
wants, needs, and expectations of how you are to be and act, their so-called love is not really worth much or really worth
having.

Christians are to embrace others and leave judgments to God!  We are not to twist the Bible to suit our prejudices and
project those prejudices onto others and invoke God’s name to discriminate or oppress others.  In fact, the Bible is a
book for oppressed people everywhere: whether they be the poor, women, queer people, or people of color.

Many black people discovered this truth when they adopted the religion of their oppressors.  They saw in the Bible that
was used to justify slavery and segregation a call to equality and liberation for all of God’s children.  They saw that the
exodus of the children of Israel from slavery to the Promised Land was their story too; they could count on a righteous,
just, and loving God to lead the way for them out of slavery to full equality as befits all children of God.

When heterosexist interpretations of Scripture are removed, it can be seen that the Bible belongs to queer people too.  
Witness the relationship between David and Jonathan!  Nancy Wilson, in her pamphlet, “Our Story Too…Reading the
Bible with New Eyes,” writes concerning their relationship as seen in such a passage as 2Samuel 1:26 (“I am distressed
for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of
women.”), “The author is clearly attuned to David’s classic male beauty (1Samuel 16:12) in this story of love and loyalty
marked by romance (1Samuel 18:1-5), secret meetings (1Samuel 20:1-23; 35-42), kissing and weeping (1Samuel 20:
41), refusal to eat (1Samuel 28:32-34), and the explicit warrior/lover covenant which David kept after Jonathan’s death
(1Samuel 20:12-17; 42)”  She continues, “One cannot read this account without discerning that Jonathan was the love
of David’s life.  Centuries of homophobic biblical interpretations have kept them in the closet too long.”   

For too long queer people have allowed others to define their reality for them and define for them what God approves
and disapproves.  They have believed others who said that God despises them; hence, many have despised
themselves.

They believed a big lie!  The fact is that God made us as we are and, as we are to embrace each other, we are to
embrace what God has made in ourselves and yield our very selves to our Creator Who has a plan for each of our
lives. God not only has plans for queer people’s lives, but He has enabled those who are His to realize His will for their
lives and for the world precisely because He made them queer.  Just as He wanted!  

Our sexuality is one of the true and wonderful gifts and blessings given to us by God, and we must never forget that
fact.  We must yield ourselves to God and His call on our lives so that He can use this gift, and all the gifts that He has
bestowed upon us, for His purposes, so that we can fulfill the ministry or ministries to which we have been called. By so
doing, we not only live authentic and truly meaningful lives, but live lives truly honoring to God.


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