(Much thanks to my friend DB Beem for bringing this to my attention. He’s got an awesome blog. If you don’t read it, you should. It’s here.)
At this point, my feelings on homosexuality are probably known by anyone who reads this blog regularly. In short, I’m cool with it. In my ever-growing number of conversations I’ve had with people of faith on this subject, I’ve heard many different takes on homosexuality and the church. Obviously, some people are against it. Nobody I speak to is vehemently against it, but that may be because the vehemence would need to be fueled by a hatred of the people in the GLBT community, and I just don’t hang out with people like that. Other people I’ve spoken too share my conviction that God just isn’t really all that interested in what two consenting, human adults do with their genitals.
But something I’m noticing more and more these days is people saying that their stance on homosexuality is evolving. Much like President Obama (until very recently), they hesitate to say that they support homosexuality, but just aren’t sure that it’s as big a deal as maybe they once thought. A friend of mine whom I greatly respect works for a church (not mine). She told me that there was a time when she was convinced that if that church hired an openly homosexuality person and put them in a place of leadership, she’d leave. But now, she doesn’t think she would. Her position, it would seem, is evolving.
I’m all for this.
In fact, this seems like textbook “Holy Spirit” to me – a subtle guiding toward change, a gradual shift in perspective, encouraged by love and growing understanding. I’m glad I’m hearing more stories like my friend’s.
And then there’s this one.
Chad Estes wrote a blog post about a man named Timothy Kurek that he met on Twitter. They had several online conversations, and they even Skype’d occasionally. In his blog post Chad said that, from what he could tell, “[Timothy] was outgoing, funny, Christian, and gay.” Timothy had just come out of the closet a few months prior to meeting Chad, and he told Chadof the troubles he’d gone through since coming out of the closet. They became buddies.
Then one day, while talking on Skype, Timothy dropped a truth-bomb on Chad.
Spoiler alert for those who didn’t clicky the link – Timothy isn’t gay. Timothy had been pretending to be gay, had faked an “outing” to his family, his church, and most of his friends. And after reading his reasoning for doing this, I can agree with his motivation.
“Well, you see, I knew I had some prejudices in my life toward the homosexual community and when I was praying about it I felt like God told me I should try walking in their shoes… So I am, literally, for a year. I’ve come out of the closet so I can personally understand the pain my brothers and sisters face when they are brave enough to be real about their lives, knowing the rejection they will face.”
Now Timothy has started an Indiegogo account to help fund a book about his experience, awesome entitled Jesus in Drag. And while I wish him the best, I share a concern that was mentioned by my friend DB – whom I hope will forgive me for quoting something he said in an email to me.
“Someone in your small group, tells you that they are gay. What do you do? You support them, you pray with/for them, you even get in arguments defending them to your mutual friends. Then at the end of the year, they tell you that it was all a lie and that this was part of their really cool idea for a book. In short, I would be really pissed off. I would feel manipulated and betrayed.”
. . . yeah, I think I would, too.
But then again, as I mentioned to DB, an argument might be made in support of pragmatism over idealism – in other words, the story is important enough that hurting the feelings of a few people along the way is not such a big deal. I’m pretty sure that investigative journalism wouldn’t exist with the adoption of this viewpoint. Still, a church (or a small group, which is even more intimate than a church) should be a place of safety, security, and trust.
Plus, I would have gone to bat for that guy! I might have lost friends in the church! I’d gladly take slings and arrows for someone who came out, but if I found out afterward that it wasn’t the truth, I would probably be pretty upset. Especially when I found out there was going to be a book – it’s one thing to put yourself in the shoes of the oppressed to understand them better, but it might be another thing to profit from that.
Here’s a question for you guys. How do you feel about what Timothy Kurek did? Was it the right thing to do, to help expose the challenges faced by those in the GLBT community when they come out? Or was it just deceitful opportunism?