In addition to the young Los Angeles hipster crowd, Reality has also attracted the gays, well the "ex-gays" that is. My perception of Reality after reading this article is that the congregation is full of a bunch of young, healthy, celibate, Hollywood fashionistas, socialistas, homosexuals, etc.
Two of my best friends are former attendees of Reality LA. I remember when they first started attending Reality a few years ago and hearing how amazing the church was and how I needed to come with them on Sunday. I never got around to visiting the church, but I think I'm okay with that. I really don't want to subject myself to stuff like this:
"Sexuality tends not to be singled out in [Pastor] Chaddick's traditionalist doctrines, but it's not exempt from scrutiny either. 'If you believe in Jesus, I have a hard time understanding how you can advocate that homosexuality isn't a sin,' says one of the young men in the church, who says he once identified as gay but no longer does (despite still having homosexual urges) and has been a member of Reality LA since April 2009. "What really impressed me about Reality is that Tim makes it clear that homosexuality is no bigger a sin than any other." Read more at Details.comI am saddened that this young man is unable to find it in his heart that God loves him and God affirms his queerness without reservations. He may not understand how a person, like myself, can believe in Jesus and advocate that homosexuality isn't sinful, but that doesn't mean that we don't exist. It also doesn't mean that we're any less of a Christian than the gays in this church and Pastor Chaddick. For someone to teach that the only way to be closer to God is to deny a part of who we are, and to deny God's gift of sexuality, is unacceptable.
Furthermore, I have a major issue with Chaddick (and the many others that do this) that not only label homosexuality as sinful, but go the extra step to say that "homosexuality is no bigger a sin than other." Do not compare my ability to love my partner in the same way that you love your wife to murder. Not only is it an apples-to-oranges comparison, it's also insulting. If we look at all the things that God calls sinful, we can see how each thing separates from loving God and our neighbors as ourselves—which Jesus considers to the two greatest commandments in which all the laws and prophets hang on. I have a hard time understanding how my queer identity inhibits me from doing those two things.
The article continues to say,
Gay members of Reality who were interviewed say they are celibate and have no problem with that. "If you want to call me gay or ex-gay, you can—it's a title, and we're all so caught up in titles," says David Read, a 27-year-old Virginian whose cousin first brought him to Reality. "I'm sure plenty of psychiatrists would say I'm lying to myself, but I find my identity through Jesus—not through my sexuality."I have no problem with individuals that take a vow of celibacy. I think it's a personal choice that is made through a lot of conviction, but I do have an issue with people that use their sexual orientation as an excuse for celibacy. What are you proving by denying yourself a chance at love? Like I said before, I am no less of a Christian just because I choose not to be celibate and celebrate my queerness. I find my identity through Christ, but I also find my identity through being queer. God teaches me not to bear false witness. Therefore it would be wrong of me to deny my homosexuality, because sexuality is God's gift to all of us.
Photo Credit: Matt Gunther (Details Magazine)