It would have been good if what the Christian Right in Singapore said was true, that Gays have an agenda, a concrete defined organized agenda with a set vision, goals, plans and framework to achieve it. Yet the notion of a “Gay agenda” speaks much more of the Christian Right anti-gay agenda and their relentless spin and political strength and wealth used to cut down any advances of gay rights.
What about the strong backlash after the defeat of proposition 8, some may ask? If Christians has their churches taken away, their marriages dissolves, and their children taken away to foster homes, there would be an armed rebellion and fires burning in LA and San Francisco. Yet, Gays are just too nice and homely, being so easily bullied that the Christian Right could just about do anything they like without thinking twice of any consequences. They are disunited, disorganized, without a vision or focus, with the basic aim “just to survive” to make best of a harsh and merciless world governed by religious fundamentalist.
How could one blame another whose motive is to survive? Survival is at a level of gaining wealth, receiving dignity, and pursuing acceptance. I am reminded of a Transsexual Christian friend who had gone in a “private” mission trip even though this church was antagonistic towards her orientation. She wanted to have dignity, and be respected as a “missionary”, for she had lost much in her life.
Deep within, we would want others to see and judge us beyond being a GLBT so much so that it can lead to a delusional state. Also, some even believed that the Singaporean public accepts a transsexual much more than a gay person in public view not realizing that many loath to be seen in public with transsexuals lest be identified as a gay person.
One of the greatest challenges for gay Christians is not to live in delusion, a delusion so strong as to deny the present reality which is difficult to be faced. We cannot reflect and live a healthy emotional and spiritual life in a silo of our delusional state.
Another gay friend gives thousands each month to one of the riches mega church in Singapore who really doesn’t need his support, yet when asked to donate a small amount to a gay church on the verge of collapse finds it difficult. I don’t blame him either, he finds worth, meaning and dignity of being associated with a mega church and being respected at this church for his financial and business achievements. What he doesn’t realized is that others have long judged him at Church because he is gay despite outward appearances. They will never fully accept him, for deep within he is a “sinner” in their eyes and there will always be this unsaid “gulf” to deeper friendships. Wealth and success may only gain an outward acceptance.
Another large group of Gay friends attends a mega church in Suntec, for the message of grace preached gives them a sense of acceptance within God’s grace even though this mega church often jokes about gays. Who can blame them, for they were ministered by God even though in hiding. It is good to receive great teaching, but real understanding and change will come when we put into practice. We can sit and learn at Jesus’ feet but some day we too need to follow Christ and bear our own Cross at Calvary. Being always at school even after a decade and not graduating, means that we may not achieve our full potential and service for God out in the “real” world where we are exposed to the reality that even such “grace” churches sometimes shows very little grace.
It is important that gay Christians see beyond themselves, and their own needs - emotional, spiritual, and financial survival, and even step out of their delusional comfort zone. We wanted to be just like straight folks, to be accepted as being no different than straight folks, to be seen as unique individuals of dignity and worth beyond the cruel generalization by the religious right. There is no dignity, nor pride, but shame. I am reminded of a gay Christian friend who worships at the mega church at Suntec. When we last met, he had shaken my hands whilst staring away from me, not willing to see me eye to eye. I had known him many years ago when he was a bible school student at City Harvest. There was too much shame in him.
Not too long ago I was introduced to a former pastor of a mega church who had resigned and is now very successful in the secular world. He is gay, and now leads very separate and private lives from the life he once led as a Pastor believing that he could make a difference for good. All this were past, now replaced by the present need to survive and make it in the secular world.
In Christ, we should have a vision beyond ourselves. Why were the Pharisees so afraid of Jesus? because of his tremendous influences and following amongst the poor and the outcasts. Jesus was a factor of their unity as a movement. He was their intellectual, spiritual, and religious trump card in their fight against the Pharisees and Scribes. His ways was intriguing to his enemies and supporters. Instead of starting an armed rebellion, He championed the Loving His enemies. For His supporters like Peter eager to pull out the sword, He healed those who were wounded by the sword. He was a true enigma. The Jews were hoping for a Messiah to deliver them from the Romans, but Jesus ended up being the protagonist of the Jewish zealots themselves resulting in civil contention.
The “gay churches” motto is being inclusive being both theological world views and sexual orientation. But that may not draw people. Look at MCC in America we may protest, but they started off with a strong determination and civil action to get rid of the anti-gay laws in California. They did not start of with just being like any other Christian church except with an inclusive theme. They were action orientated determined to see that this inclusivity extended beyond the boundaries of the church. Many were jailed, beaten, the churches burnt, all because they were willing to stand up against the authorities. This was the “American Way” which may work differently in Asia, but the fact remains, we are not really free to be who we are and to serve God until we have the anti-gay laws lifted.
Gay Christians should find within themselves not to conform to the straight Christian cultural norms, but find in Christ their unique calling to their own GLBT community and society that they are in. The bible says that when we lift Jesus higher, we will draw all peoples to us. How are we to be of Christ to the GLBT community? In His own unique way, Jesus was a stumbling block to the religious Pharisees that had persecuted Him. He did not take up arms, did not protest in the streets, but in a quiet manner, He gave them all a centre of unity and purpose to believe in themselves and be proud.
Wherever you are, the stage in your life, surely our journey starts today in proclaiming Christ to the nations in our own unique Rainbow way.
We are reminded of Moses feeling aggrieved when he saw one of his fellow Jews being ill treated by the Egyptian. We are not called to act rashly as Moses did before the time of his calling, yet our heart is the issue here. Moses had the right heart, a heart of compassion and identification with his people, yet many of us not only do not see our GLBT brethren being ill treated, but we walked away and refused to be identify with them. Jesus came, to identify with mankind, their hopes, aspirations and sufferings. We too must be outed from our safe heavenly abode to come down to earth, if we are ever to make a difference for Christ for the rainbow people