Monday, August 16, 2010

Church of the Holy Hipsters and Gays

The September 2010 issue of Details Magazine has hit the stands with a Zac Efron cover that little gay boys all of the country are drooling over. Past the cover is a feature article titled "The New Face of Faith," that highlights an up-and-coming church in the Los Angeles: Reality LA. What sets Reality apart from other churches is its young, modern, hipster congregation, which also attracts some of Hollywood's young celebrities, including Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and Joe Jonas.

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.com
I 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)

4 comments:

  1. I see that you love God! That is awesome. I'm just curious how you reconcile homosexuality and Scripture. It sounds like you underestimate the power and satisfaction of Jesus Christ, and instead justify your sin because you're afraid of living without it. I encourage you to really question why it is you justify homosexuality and on what grounds you're really able to do so. How much of your argument is from your emotions and relativism, and how much is based on what is true? Saying "this is who I am," is not an argument. A person cannot objectively identify themselves outside of Christ. Also, those who choose celibacy are not using their orientation as an excuse. If you thought about that idea you would realize that men and women who make that decision often have difficulty in doing so and it is not an easy commitment. Your logic in this entry is faulty and you are misrepresenting Christ to those who don't know Him. Turn to God and repent of your sin... find freedom and true fulfillment: something a man or this world can not give you.

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  2. The Jesus Christ you talk about is one theological argument. And the Jesus Christ I talked about is yet another theological argument. Any understanding and claim to knowing absolute truth and the intentions of Christ's ministry is a theological argument. There are plural understandings of Christianity and Christ's ministry. So I cannot speak to knowing the "truth" you speak of, because "truth" is constructed based on plural theological arguments.

    Saying "this is who I am" IS an argument. My experiences in the Church are real. The way I connect with Christ and the Spirit is valid. My Christ liberates me from the self-hatred and I imposed on myself because I was deceived into thinking that God didn't love queer individuals. The Christ I know teaches radical love and inclusion. A misrepresentation? I think not. Instead an understanding of Christ as a progressive liberator adds to the beautiful diversity and plurality of Christianity.

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  3. Jesus defines marriage in the Bible. That isn't a "theological argument" unless you are arguing that scripture is inaccurate. That is a "theological argument", but not the one you think. It comes down to this, who was Christ? A good teacher? A liar? Or the Son of God?

    In the Bible Jesus says that there will be people who can't accept his teachings and his doctrine. Anyone who cherry picks which parts of his teachings seem to fit that bill....

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  4. Also, Jesus's liberation from sin only comes in one flavor, and that is the overcoming of sin. Not accepting it and using it as a label for "who we are". At no point in the Bible does Christ say, "yours great just the way you are, don't change a thing." He says, "Be Ye perfect." If Christ came to tell us all that he we were great and doing fine and didn't need to be redeemed then what was the point? If we didn't need a savior to save us from our sins why did he give his life to do just that?

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