3 minutes reading time (551 words)

My Journey on Homosexuality

My Journey on Homosexuality

I grew up in a traditional, conservative family.  My Dad worked for General Electric for thirty-nine years and my Mom worked at home.  When I was a child in the sixties, gay meant “happy.”  We didn’t talk about homosexuality.  That changed when we moved to Mebane, North Carolina in 1975.  At Eastern Alamance High School, we whispered about a P.E. teacher who lived with another woman.

The priest at our new congregation, St. Andrew’s, Haw River, was Father Griswold, a publicly professed celibate.  Father G, as we called him, was a brilliant, extremely conservative man.   I wondered from time to time about his sexual orientation, but we never discussed it.  Years later, an openly gay man confirmed that Fr. G was a closeted gay.

While attending college, in the late seventies and early eighties, I am ashamed to say that other male students and I once or twice talked about beating up “fags.”  Thankfully, we never did anything, and, while outwardly I went along with the chest thumping, such talk made me cringe inside

I began rethinking my views on homosexuality during the 1980s.  When I went to seminary, I heard the Rev. Malcolm Boyd, author of the 1965 bestselling book of prayers Are You Running with Me, Jesus?, speak about his faith and his same-sex orientation.  Some of my seminary classmates were also openly gay.  I found that they wanted to serve God and to grow in their faith like me.

After I graduated from seminary in 1990, as the Episcopal Church struggled with the question, I studied the six biblical passages about homosexual relations and came to believe that they didn’t address people who had a basic same-sex orientation.  I also thought about Christ’s call to “love your neighbor as yourself.” 

In the early 1990s, Fr. G retired and the Rev. Sam Frazier, an openly partnered gay man, became St. Andrew’s priest.  Sam had been ordained in the 1960s.  Like many in that era, he had tried to be straight, marrying and having children.  Only after much inner turmoil had he accepted his orientation.  Under San’s leadership, St. Andrew’s, a congregation about the same size as Grace, became a leader in the diocese for social outreach, winning the Bishop’s award one year for its ministry.

While serving at St. Paul’s, Cary, during the early 1990s, I met a woman, who like Sam struggled with her sexual orientation.  She deeply loved her husband and her two beautiful children.  She wanted to be straight.  The woman would get drunk so that she could have sex with her husband.  Despite their deep love for one another and efforts to stay together, the two finally separated. 

After my reflection on scripture and my experiences with these men and women, who struggled with their orientation and, who wanted to follow Christ and to lead decent lives, I came to believe that gay persons should be treated equally in the church and in society.

This Sunday at 9:30 a.m., during Grace’s Adult Sunday School, we will have a panel of gay persons who will speak about their struggle, growing up in small, conservative, Southern towns and their faith in Jesus Christ.  I hope you will take this opportunity to hear their voices.

(This is the last of a three-part reflection on Homosexuality and Faith.)

The Gift of Forgiveness
The Struggle of Gays for an Equal Seat at the Tabl...

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