Tag Archives: christianity

KickStarter Launch Off To An Amazing Start!

I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Thank you guys so much for being so supportive of the new documentary project. Please take a moment to read the first update!

One Liberation Under God

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 7.59.53 AMHi, everyone! After months of contemplation, we finally launched the KickStarter page for the project on Tuesday. It had reached a point where I had to stop worrying about number crunching and statistics, and just actually do it! So far, you guys have exceeded my expectations. In less than three days, we reached half of our first goal of $400!

By now, you probably know how the project will work. But you may be wondering how this fundraising thing works. In order to explain why we set such a low goal, I’ll include an excerpt from the project page:

Nashville is my current city, and northeastern KY is my hometown. Therefore, no extra funds are necessary to cover those interviews. Destinations closest to me will take top priority, so we can make the most out of the time and money we have. So why did we only set a $400 goal? 

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Documentary Promo Video Launched!

After several long weeks, I’ve finally been able to finish the promo video. Now, the real work begins! While I’m itching to get started, I realize the fund-raising process can be a delicate thing, and I want to do it right! Stay tuned for the fund-raising launch, which should be happening in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, send prayers, love, and good vibes this way. Here’s hoping to a successful project that will hopefully help us all to find some common ground.

Check out the project’s website, which will be finished within the week.

Timothy Kurek on “The View”

Last week, I posted about Timothy Kurek—a Christian who posed as a gay man for an entire year. I have yet to read his book (although I plan on starting it this week), but I’ve been trying to stay up to date with his countless interviews. Many of you may have seen him on The View. But just in case you haven’t, here is the video clip.

I’m interested to know your thoughts on Timothy’s story. His views on the treatment of gays and lesbians within the Church has clearly changed. Do you think his view of acceptance has changed as well? Do you think his theological creed and interpretation of the Bible has transformed throughout his experience? He is building bridges—something that desperately needs to happen between the Church and the LGBT community.

As a child of God and lover of Jesus who happens to be a lesbian, I wholeheartedly appreciate his efforts of selflessness.

The Importance of Allies: an Interview with PFLAG President, Kathy Halbrooks

When it comes to straight allies, it doesn’t get any better than Kathy Halbrooks, President of the PFLAG Nashville Chapter. She is an incredible lady with a mission, and a heart of gold. I met Kathy a couple of months ago, and I’m honored to call her a friend. I was recently able to interview her about her work at PFLAG, and find out her opinion on the current spiritual climate.

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Coming Out Christian: Many of our readers are familiar with PFLAG. For those who are not, can you describe the purpose and mission of this organization in your own words?

Kathy: PFLAG  (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) is an organization that has regular meetings to support LGBTQI people and their friends and families. We work by promoting dialogue. Every person is welcome no matter where he or she is on the journey to acceptance, and we learn from each other through sharing our personal stories. PFLAG’s tenets are support, education, and advocacy for the LGBTQI community. PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons, and their families, and works to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.

COC: What was it that first drew you to the LGBT community, and how long have you been an ally?

KH: I think of myself as having been an ally in my heart for many years, but I became active in PFLAG about two years ago.  I am an employee of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and became more aware of the situations LGBTQI people face when the city council first tried to add sexual orientation to the protections for city employees several years ago. This first attempt failed. I went to stand on the courthouse steps in support of this ordinance when Fred Phelps, an opponent of equality, came to Nashville.  After that I met many friends who are LGBTQI and was eventually led to PFLAG by a good friend.  (Also, I’m happy that an ordinance adding sexual orientation AND gender identity was recently passed by our city council.)

COC: In your experience, how many people seek services and support from PFLAG due to religion and faith issues?

KH: Any time I join a group discussing LGBTQI issues, I find a number of people who have been adversely affected by a faith community that has not welcomed them.  Since we are in “The Bible Belt,” these issues are at the forefront.  I just returned from the PFLAG National Convention, and faith was one of the main topics.  Plans are being made to reach out to all faith communities to promote better understanding.

COC: Do you think that the current spiritual climate is improving in relation to faith and sexuality? In other words, is the Church at large having a “great gay awakening”?

KH: I think it is.  I especially think younger people are becoming more accepting and compassionate and that fact will change faith-based communities.   At the PFLAG National convention, a panel of two Protestant ministers, a rabbi, a Catholic priest, and an Imam all were optimistic that the religious climate is changing for the better.  In Christianity, I think the fact that Jesus in his time on earth loved and accepted everyone is becoming the lens through which most people are viewing LGBTQI issues.

COC: What advice would you give to a Christian who is opposed to the support of the LGBT community within our churches?

KH: I would encourage him or her to learn more about the Bible and how it can be viewed historically rather than literally. I would also urge him or her to avoid proof-texting or taking words out of the context in which they were meant at the time they were written or spoken.  I think it’s important to look at what we have learned about sexual orientation and gender identity scientifically and to realize that the people of the Bible didn’t have that information and to view this  knowledge as something liberating rather than something negative.

COC: In closing, what would you like to say to LGBT’s who are suffering silently under religious oppression?

KH: Again, I think learning to look at the Bible historically, avoiding proof-texting, and learning more about the science of sexual orientation and gender identity is good advice here if someone is having trouble accepting his or her own orientation or identity.  Just knowing that there is logic that supports the fact that the negative things that have been said about LBGTQI people and religion are false can be incredibly freeing.  Then find a faith-based community that is loving, accepting, and caring to all people.

Find a PFLAG chapter near you!

Jennifer Knapp: Connecting Two Worlds

Thursday night, I was blessed enough to be able to attend a Pride Kick-Off event at the Hard Rock Reverb Room in Nashville.  I have a friend who is a volunteer for Pride this year, and he graciously offered me my ticket in.  I brushed elbows with many amazing supporters, including Lisa Howe, the former Belmont University soccer coach who was fired after revealing her sexual orientation.  Mike Curb, owner of Curb Records, was there to accept the Pride Ally Award.  Curb took a stand for LGBT equality after Belmont fired Howe, urging the University and the city of Nashville to change its stance on homosexuality.

The highlight of my night, however, was hearing Jennifer Knapp play.  I’ve been a huge fan since high school.  Knapp was a Dove Award-winning Christian recording artist in the 1990’s.  Her songs often centered around grappling with sin, and needing the grace of a perfect God.  She dropped off the radar for a few years.  In early 2010, she came out as a lesbian, and shocked the majority of the Christian world.  I was estatic, though.  After all, Christians need to be able to put a face on the gay issue.  On the flip side, gay folks need to know they can approach God!  Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to hear her new album, Letting Go.  And it did not disappoint!

While many Christians today are still trying to understand why Knapp would “ruin her career”, she is out there ministering to those who desperately need to hear the real Gospel.  And believe me, her career is far from being ruined.  Most of her fans have stuck by her, and her fan base is growing every day.  What I enjoyed most about the event on Thursday, was that she played a variety of her old and new stuff… songs about redemption, forgiveness, and grace.   I was able to chat with Jennifer after the show.  She is one of the most down-to-earth, kindhearted people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.  She is doing what we’re all called to do… love on people.

It was quite surreal to be there.  As I listened to her play, I looked around the crowded room.  The place was full of gays… and they were loving this music about a God who loves them.  I was thrilled to be a part of it.

Getting Past Ourselves

There’s one thing that’s been on my mind a lot lately, concerning our plight as gay Christians.  There is such a debate going on in our churches, that thousands of people are being pulled away from productivity in the Kingdom, just to claim their side of the battle line over homosexuality.  It’s true that this journey is one of the most important ones we will take as Christ-followers.  After all, we want to know what’s righteous in the eyes of God.  That’s why every gay Christian knows those 6 clobber passages oh, so well.  And we welcome the day when we reach the end of this emotion-filled journey.  But what happens after?  Where do we go from here, once we can fully grasp our faith and our sexuality?

“I’ll be glad to be over this hurdle, so I can begin living for God again.”  I’ve heard this more than once when talking to gay Christians.  This issue is so difficult, so draining, so intense, that we often spend every ounce of our energy deciding what our personal belief system will be.  And for most people, that’s what it takes.  But it’s worth it… because once you make that reconciliation, you can begin to use those amazing gifts of yours, full throttle, for God.

Unless, of course, the battle just won’t die.

Many of us gay Christians find ourselves defending ourselves over and over again within our churches.  The very place we are supposed to feel safe just as we are… it becomes a battlefield.  The more time we spend fighting with each other inside those four walls, the less time we spend ministering and loving on those outside them.  And Satan loves nothing more than to distract God’s people from the greater work.  Wouldn’t it be better to move forward together with a common goal of serving God?

The bottom line is, this debate over homosexuality has always been bigger than it really should be.  Whether you believe it’s a sin, or whether you don’t… there are way more important things to be focusing on.  Too many people are holding picket signs, and not enough people are feeding the poor, or building houses for the homeless, or reaching out in love.

Let’s get past ourselves, homosexuals and heterosexuals alike, and move forward together!

Kentucky Congregation in Favor of Gay Marriage

Sorry for the hiatus!  Life has proven to be ridiculously crazy over the last couple of weeks.  I’m working on a new blog as we speak.  In the meantime, check this out!  If you haven’t already heard, a church in Kentucky has decided that it will no longer sign marriage licenses for heterosexual couples until gay and lesbian couples are given the same right.

Read the story here.