|FCC - a place where I am proud to call Home|
FCC - A Place I am proud to call home
(Acts 10:15 NKJV) And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common."
The Free Community Church (FCC) in Singapore has just celebrated its 7th anniversary. This church has been a great blessing in my life. It is a place of inclusivity, not just of my sexual orientation, but learning from different faith perspectives and accepting people not like us. It has been a place where I have been “Welcome Home” since Oct 2004 where it had its services at the upper room at MOX pub in 21 Tanjung Pagar Road at Chinatown. It has become a very dear Christian Faith Community for me with many good friends and happy memories through the ups and downs of community life and fellowship.
The progression from Safehaven, a gay support group to a church was thanks to New Creation Church (NCC) who showed little grace in expelling a gay man who was then a member of Safehaven. Many key members of Safehaven/FCC also came from Choices of The Church of Our Savior (COS) (which is a major anti-gay church in Singapore). Our worship leader joined FCC after he was rejected by City Harvest Church (CHC) worship team for being gay. Hence, ironically we owe much to NCC, CHC and COS for our existence. What was meant for harm, God has a way of turning it out for good. Praise the Lord.
In the Blog Pastor entry, entitled, “Homosexuality: a geographical angle”, FCC was said to be a pro-gay space which has failed to undermine what it calls “hetero-normativity” but only serves to reinforce “deviant sexual identity”. However, there is no such aim of FCC whose basic mission and vision is to proclaim God’s love to the GLBT community, providing safe space where people are accepted with God’s love, grace and mercy especially those rejected by the mainstream churches and have nowhere to go. On reinforcement of “deviant sexual identity”, if we use the same logic, one may argue that straight churches could also be said to reinforce “deviant heterosexual identity” which is absurd.
Gays are a small minority of the population less than 5%, and not abnormal as implied in article just as one would seldom address a minority race as against normality. The term “pro-gay” space used to define FCC is equivalent to calling the mega churches, a “pro-straight” space which few would do. It has little meaning since FCC does not define gay spaces which are thousands of times larger in the pubs, restaurants, cafes, discos, saunas, and online spaces. FCC however reflects in part the Gay Christian space in Singapore (although there are many highly closeted gay groups in the mega churches).
FCC resides in a very narrow space between the gay community, and Christianity which hitherto has been mutually exclusive with Christians seen as anti-gay zealots. Such anti-gay labeling is well founded on the unprovoked attempts by Christians to vilify gays in 377A, and Rony Tan’s/Derek Hong’s gay agenda (created to rationalize the accusations against gays). Therefore, FCC is lodged in the middle, held with suspicion by both gays and the Mainstream Churches alike.
Throughout history, people of similar races, language, and culture have formed communities for mutual support and encouragement bonded together by their common background. The Gay Community is no different except being much more diverse. Churches such as FCC is indeed a miracle for the greatest challenge is not sexual orientation but being inclusive of the various Christian religious views from the most conservative to the most liberal since there is only one big tent called FCC. It is their common vision to minister Christ to the GLBT community that unites them.
As a space for Gay Christians to worship and serve God, FCC does not have monopoly. Most gays stay back in their home churches hiding silently in the closet or leave church in droves. There is a call to be authentic Christians, honest to ourselves, to God, and to our faith community. If all had come to FCC, say 2% of the 300K Christian community in SG, FCC would have been a mega church of 6,000 members. Yet, FCC remains a church of 100, a small voice in the desert reminding us and pricking our conscience before man and God that perhaps what God has called clean we should not call unclean.
FCC is an inclusive church where we find acceptance of who we are on the inside, our innate sexual orientation. It is a safe place to worship and serve God and be accepted as people of individual worth and humanity rather than the sweeping homosexual label as if this alone defines who we are.
FCC is God’s Grace to the GLBT community – a city of refuge of the Old Testament where those unfairly blamed could find refuge. Gays are unfairly condemned for the sins of the rest of society including family breakdown caused by straight people having adultery, divorces and abortion. God always has a way of keeping His people safe.
The negative reinforcement of religious homogeneity is more relevant to the mainstream churches in Singapore rather than FCC. Without interaction with other faith communities, the fundamentalist religious identity is reinforced until one almost believes all the false witness about gays without questioning. It is a self-fulfilling closet. We only reinforce our own strict religious dogma rather than engaged in reflective theology.
In secular Singapore, there is an increasing danger of large mega churches creating an “us versus them” mentality where we do not associate with non-believers in areas of faith (eg to pray with them) as not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. One could hardly see the involvement of many Charismatic Evangelical Churches in Interfaith Religious Organization activities.
The Gay community is one of the most despised people group, by the community at large. Christians have joined in the condemnation and had become the champions persecuting this minority instead of being the voice of graceful constraint. Ironically, as we send missionaries to the ends of the earth, yet we do not see the gay tribe in our midst because we consider them too sinful like the Samaritans.
We are reminded that the Gospel was preached initially to the Jews only. However, Phillip, and later Paul was able to cross the cultural, religious and racial boundaries. In the 21st century, God is calling us to accept the GLBT community because He has made them clean just like the Gentiles who were once separated from the blessings of Abraham.
It is God's mercy and Grace that endures forever much beyond our rejection of the gay community. The time has come for God to shake the church in Singapore to a greater understanding of His Amazing Grace in Jesus Christ for God is coming back also to the Gay community, whom He died for. The Great Commission to make disciples to all people groups still stands unfulfilled until there is a bridge of God's grace extended to the GLBT community. Will they listen, after all the harm done in Christ's name. God will make a way, just as He has miraculously established FCC to be a voice of Christ's love and acceptance to the GLBT community in Singapore and to South East Asia. May all Glory and Honor be unto the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
(Mat 28:19 NKJV) "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
(Mat 28:20 NKJV) "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.