The Gayest Story Ever Told: Part 3

In private and in public, it’s become clear to me that the statements that I make and the process that I am engaged in has an offensive tone, which is why I warned you earlier this week that this would be a little extreme. I mean, referring to Jesus’ death and resurrection as the “gayest story ever told” could be viewed as inflammatory…

Unless of course, you’re gay! (or sympathetic to what LGBTQ people experience)

If you’re gay, reframing the story of Jesus Christ as similar to coming out of the closet or being gay allows you to get an extra dose of redemption. (Taking what has harmed you and reframing it is essential to healing!) And if you haven’t noticed, dosing out redemption is exactly what this blog is about so in the end, if it’s a little hard to stomach the way I process my recovery from Fundamentalist Christianity, you have 3 options:

  1. Make room for a new brand of sacred journey.
  2. Grow a pair.
  3. Don’t read.

That said, I’ll take one more stab at the Jesus story before it all gets blown out of proportion by the missing body tomorrow morning.

Wait? What happens tomorrow morning? Oh nothing… just that Jesus’ body is gone and all of the posturing begins about Jesus being the best and his followers, being the only ones who can know “Truth.” No body? Well then, our god is cooler and our god can kick any other god’s ass. Ours rose from the dead! Beat that!

Am I calling the resurrection story nothing more than folklore? A metaphor? A lie? (Oh no she didn’t! Snap, snap and finger wave)

No, I’m actually refusing to say whether or not I believe in the resurrection because for me, getting tangled up in the conversation of what is behind the stone that was rolled away ignores the fact that Jesus’ body could be laid out on the lawn of the White House on Monday with all the Easter Eggs and the truth about his life would still be enough to establish a following.

Whether he was a human who could heal the blind or a god who could walk on water doesn’t determine whether or not he deserves our attention.

Whether he was a god who could drive away demons or a human who could rise from the dead doesn’t determine whether or not he deserves our admiration.

He deserves our attention and our admiration because more than anything, Jesus lived a selfless life of wisdom, had authentic relationships, engaged in community action, worked to overcome religious oppression and loved in a way that clearly surpasses all of our understanding. We’ve been arguing about him for over 2000 years because of our theologies when we should be following him because of his spirituality. His life is to be examined and our lives would be better if we examined them in light of his. That’s the bottom line for me, about Jesus. The dude has the market cornered on exemplary love and yet in his name, the church has the market cornered on hate.

Unacceptable.

Furthermore, I don’t need magic tricks from god to believe in god… and I don’t need a savior from hell to believe in heaven. And you know what else? I don’t need a resurrected body to believe that suffering is worth it. It’s not like Jesus wrote the book on suffering. Long before him, it was the teachings of Buddha that showed us that suffering is a valuable tool to attaining self-awareness, empathy and for ingraining us with a sense of gratitude.

So for me, what makes the story of Jesus’ life and resurrection the “gayest story ever told” is that just like coming out, people get caught up in all of the details about what is true and they miss the importance of the love that motivated the man.

That is what is true of homosexuality and the comparison is striking. In the end, if we focus on love, who can argue with that and why would anyone argue with love?

This Easter, I’m going to do something a little different to reclaim the season. I’m going to go to a sunrise service, which I haven’t done in over a decade and I’m going to there looking not for a reason to end suffering… not for a reason to start a religion… not for a reason to be awe-struck by god’s way of defying nature…

I’m going to go and look for a reason to love.

Because nothing is more important to the gay community than love. Don’t be mislead… it’s the reason we fight for equality. It’s the right to love and be loved.

And I think Jesus would die for a similar cause… and maybe he did…

~~

Thank you again to the Christians who are speaking out for equality. I’ve spent a majority of the week humbled by the fact that some Christians see equality as a cause Jesus would take up and I confess, you are the people who make it hard for me to discount Christianity altogether! Through Facebook and this blog, I’ve been meeting the people who make Jesus look like the guy I first fell in love with… you’ve made this a holy week.

9 thoughts on “The Gayest Story Ever Told: Part 3

  1. I have been with my gf for over a year. I am so happy in love, I am a very OUTED, HAPPY Lesbian woman and mommy!

    With that being said my gfs co workers have been having the GOD conversations at work, we are not real religious but we do believe that god/ Jesus love us.

    Even though so many in the world think we are living in sin, because we are not married and because we are two women in love, I tell her (my gf) we cant get married at least not yet because we have to live by what the rest of society wants at this time in our lives….. which I do not agree with at all…. I would love to be able to tell a hetrosexual couple they could not marry in the same way they tell us….. any ways back to my point.

    Cole (gf) says how she loves god/jesus and asks every day for forgiveness for the sins she does not know she is commiting, her wonderful co worker tells her she is living in sin because she is commiting lust and adultery because we are 2 women, we live in lust for each other and we are both commiting adultery because we are not married!!!!!

    I’m not sorry we are women in love with each other we can not control who we fall in love with, I feel this is very, very wrong of her. Cole expressed to me last night she has doubts she will make it to heaven when she dies because maybe on judgement day she will not be forgiven if in fact we are living in sin…..

    Who says we are ?? I dont believe we are. I mean god is all loving right? We dont hurt anyone we dont push our beliefs on anyone we pay our taxes and follow the laws that have been layed before us…. I dont understand how someone can plant seeds of doubt in someones mind by saying marriage and love is between a man and a woman and if it is not like that then you should be alone because choosing to be with somone of the same sex is a sin…….. any advice or encourgement is very well appreciated!

    • Thanks for sharing so much of your story, Tina. In my not-so-humble opinion, first, Cole’s co-workers need to be reported to HR for badgering her with their hate speech… that political response notwithstanding, my perspective on any relationship, romantic or otherwise is that relationships are designed to bring out the best in people and that we should engage in relationships with others in order to draw strength in times of need while providing each other with mutual respect and admiration in times of stress. If you are in a relationship that is healthy, meaning, it brings out the best in you and is a place where you feel safe, loved, known and accepted, god smiles on that and celebrates it with you! And in romantic relationships, if you make each other laugh and the sex is good too, god is also a fan ;0)

      In regards to marriage, it always frustrates me when people call homosexuals adulterers. It’s the irony of not being able to marry! What are you supposed to do? Only have sex in states where you can marry? ;0) I do think that physical intimacy is something to be determined in the bedroom (kitchen, bathtub) by two consenting adults who have the maturity to understand what they are getting into… the Bible is one very fucked up place when it comes to sexuality. There aren’t good examples of healthy human sexuality there and I think that’s because it is an individual’s journey and a couple’s sacred expression not a church’s institution (For a good “laugh” about Biblical marriage, check out this cartoon/satire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFkeKKszXTw )

      Hope this helps a little bit! Many blessings to you and Cole!

  2. Gail, your blog is a blessing. Keep hoping, and keep encouraging. I’m a Christian lesbian who is TIRED of being quiet, and tired of my Jesus being used as an excuse for hate and exclusion. Jesus lived a life of abundant, overflowing LOVE, grace, and mercy, and it’s time “Christians” did the same.

    • Dorothy thank you so much for the encouragment. It means so much to know that there are others out there who are reading and sharing the sentiment. I’m going to keep on writing and processing this idea of rescuing jesus from the “christians” who have locked him away from us! As long as I get at least one reader per post (which doesn’t seem to be a problem at all so far) then I’ll keep going :0) Many blessings to you and all you love ~ gail

  3. Gail, my experience has been that the process of grieving for “accepting Christianity” is like grieving a death – I have experienced anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And, at different times, different stages have recurred.

    I was lucky enough to encounter a welcoming and accepting Methodist professor and sociologist named Tex Sample in my early seminary days. I found in his writings and teachings what I found in the 12-step recovery groups: this idea of meeting people where they are, and sharing my stories as a way to open doors. Tex was not above challenging folks, from time to time…in his book “White Soul,” he professed that the country song “Help Me Make It Through The Night” was also a classic 20th century lament psalm…

    That may not mean much to you; but to folks who grew up with Merle Haggard and Tammy Wynette, it gives them a place to find some traction, to make a connection. I’m not a big country fan myself, but I “got it” instantly. “Yesterday is dead and gone/ and tomorrow’s out of sight / and it’s sad to be alone / help me make it through the night” reads more like a prayer than a song….

    That’s where the idea of the story of Jesus as “the gayest story ever told” comes in, for me. It may not mean much to many of my friends – but I get it, and I know a number of my friends would get it too, because they have seen me search for connections between My Story and The Greatest Story Ever Told.

    I first found welcome, acceptance, and love from fellow Christians in the blogging world. Then came my connection to the Gay Christian Network, and the wealth of healing and experience, strength and hope that so many of the “long-timers” shared. I started learning the value of the words “straight ally” and “straight, not narrow.” I realized that there were islands of acceptance, fortresses of welcome where I could be safe, and that there were faithful, believing, Jesus-loving Christians who nonetheless “had my back.”

    I didn’t walk into a “welcoming and affirming church” until I was with my partner for nearly two years. When we walked into McKinley Presbyterian Church in Champaign, IL with Chris, it was so COMPLETELY not-a-big-deal that I almost cried.

    And as I healed from my perceived separation-from-community, I was able to reclaim a song by David Haas from my Lutheran praise-service tradition. Based on Isaiah 43:1, I finally heard that Someone speak to me:

    I am hope for all who are hopeless
    I am eyes for all who long to see
    In the shadows of the night
    I will be your light
    Come and rest with me…

    Do not be afraid, I am with you
    I have called you each by name –
    Come and follow me
    I will bring you home –
    I love you, and you are mine.

    (“You Are Mine,” by David Haas, copyright 1991 Gia Music, in Augsburg Fortress’ “Worship & Praise Songbook” #158.)

    As Tex Sample would tell us at the end of each class, “Keep on keepin’ on, boys ‘n’ girls…”

    • Thank you again for sharing so much of your story publically. I think one of the lines you said about how it felt to go to an affirming church is really key. People are moved to tears once they realize that there are people in this world who will not make such a big deal out of sexuality. It’s empowering to be seen for WHO you ARE not what you do or even who you love. You. Just as you are. It’s beautiful! (Note: I was a presbyterian Youth Director for awhile… and they were fantastic when it comes to being welcoming and affirming. long-standing joke was that i was hired BECAUSE I was gay lol) But another thing I appreciate about your comment(s) is how you reference your heritage and really own it. That is an underlying value to why I write and what I think leads to wholeness for all of us: We have to own our truth, the whole story… and nothing else but our own soul’s journey inside, outside and around the church. Be the hero of your own story, right? :0)

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