|Gay Christian vanities|
Ecc 1:2,3 – “Vanity of vanities says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun”.
As I gazed into the flickering candle of centring prayer, my mind wanders off two decades earlier at university when I pasted on the residential college notice board the advertisement of an outreach service by a well known Malaysian Charismatic Pastor from Penang at a university in Perth, Australia. The college head was unhappy and complained to the church administrator, a Pastor Michael, who almost knew by instinct I was causing trouble again. More than twenty years later, I am reminded that God didn’t remember the complaint, but the zeal for God in one young man’s heart. He was smiling. God didn't remember the complaint but only the act of faith! All vanity I whispered quietly to God since no one probably read the poster! God didn’t see the end results, He saw faith and obedience.
We were at the edge of Christianity. Michael the church administrator together with a senior pastor from KL, Malaysia were being brought in for the Christian revival that was happening in the Perth university campus in the late 80s. The Senior Pastor was one of the few ordained charismatic women pastors. They were on "loan" from the Full Gospel movement in Malaysia which made such a great early impact into many churches in Singapore which were no more than a hundred or two in attendance then but later became the mega churches. We were students then and when we came back to Singapore/Malaysia, many became the impetus for the Hope, FGA, CHC, FCBC, Calvary type churches.
Many were at the edge of Christianity battling with the Conservatives, the Evangelicals, Catholics, and siding with the Charismatics for something of God that was beyond mere Christian religious sacraments. We wanted more of God, the power, the glory and presence of God.
Soon the GLBT issue came up. A few Gays came to church and became Christians! I wanted to ask them whether they were gays and would have said that it was “ok”, but that would have meant confronting my own sexual orientation. The new Gay Christians very soon left the church because we didn’t dare to speak up. I had failed God.
More than two decades later, as I continued to reflect upon the flickering lamp of the centering prayer, all these efforts were vanities I told the Lord, “Should have gotten myself, a good boyfriend then, and stayed quietly behind the church pews twenty years ago”, or put the effort to get ahead in life and be rich, so that life will not be so much striving. In hindsight, perhaps serving God should be after I become rich with a condominium or two, a large BMW, and a handsome partner. But would I have stayed in the Christian Faith?
Similarly, all was in vain for the Teacher in Ecclesiastes, because as a king, King Solomon had already reached the pinnacle of success with nothing more to achieve. In the opposite, all seems in vain for me, because nothing came out of the effort of faith put in. Why should I have toiled to serve, to worship, and to seek God when it seems it all comes to come to vainity.“No point one” I said to God in Singlish to be so fervent and zealous for God.
God smiled and seemed to reply “you haven’t stop posting …. You are still posting in your web site”. This again was in vain, for no one knows who would be reading the site [Rainbow Harvest] and the lives touched”. My mind went back two decades earlier on the posters I put up to advertise for the outreach event for the pastor from Penang! Perhaps no one read the posters then.
More than two decades later, after 6 years of the web site [Rainbow Harvest] on GLBT Christian issues, I had many more than a few people visiting. God multiplies and sees the small steps of faith even though we consider all is in vain and hopeless.
Ecc 9:4, “But whoever is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion”
Yet, our lives are not entirely hopeless. Whilst we have breath, there is always hope. We may have nothing much and may live like a dog and not a conquering lion but at least we are still alive. I have seen many having gone to be with the Lord, for the harm done by the Church against them was too much to bear. Many in the mega churches take it for granted the grave harm caused by the anti-gay preaching from the pulpit in the name of the Christian Faith. Thousands of gay Christian lives have been destroyed by these pastors still preaching with their anti-gay moral indignation.
Many more lives will be lost, forever estranged from the Christian Faith. Based on 5 million in SG, there are at least 250K gay people. Based on 10% being Christians, we should have at least 25K in GLBT churches, the size of a large mega church. Yet, gays joining the large internet forums such as Fridae and SGBBOY in their thousands but rarely the church of Jesus Christ. This is a tragedy for the mainstream evangelical churches have shut the gates of heaven for the GLBT tribe by their hate and rejection of the gay minority. They will be judged for it in God's timing.
Ecc 4:1 “Again I saw all the oppressions that are practised under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed – with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power – with no one to comfort them”
The Gay community have been so oppressed. We hardly have any rights even the right to exist, have relationships, though disturbing nobody. The mega churches have all the power, the vast majority voices, the special right to put us in closets. Where could we go, but to the Lord? They have all the power, wealth, control, and massive organizational structure. We are scattered. We don’t even know what is the gay agenda they alleged we were planning to overthrow Christianity! We can't even stay alive lest wanting to undermine the church instituition that has lasted for two thousand years.
Some say we should take part in healing the wounded in society once we have reconciled our faith and sexuality. They will be waiting for a long time because there are very few gay christians. We can't even help our own tribe lest helping others.
This is not the US where homosexuality was slowly being decriminalised since the 70s. We are 40 years behind and counting. We will never be reconciled until there is equality and basic rights for the GLBT people in our nations. We cannot help others effectively when we are at the lowest rung of society. Even the poorest straight men could get married, but the wealthiest gay men cannot.
We are at the bottom of the heap and even our real faces we have to hide. The female prostitutes in the streets despised by the majority can be out and in the open, whilst we have to hide silently. Even if gay men wanted to sell their bodies, they can't parade in the streets!
Gay Christians are at the bottom of the lowest rung in society for even the gay tribe would wonder what had gotten into us for aligning ourselves with the oppressors and believing in Jesus Christ whom they see reflected as perpetrators of gross hate, injustice, and hypocrisy through the actions of the mega /mainstream churches. Our voices all seems in vain. All is vanity.
Ecc 11:7 “Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see. Even those who live many years should rejoice in them all; yet let them remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity”
God is asking us to live for the present – to go forth and fight the good fight of faith whilst there is an opportunity even though all may seem in vain. For what is tomorrow we would never know? And what one person does to bring the message of God’s love to the GLBT community, may not be in vain for who knows what God will do with that seed of faith.
So rejoice, lift up your spirit, for today is the day of the Lord. Let us march on even though it is likely in vain. We will one day be judged in heaven not by the plenty we have, but receive the glory due for the nothingness we have on earth yet our faith in God remains.