Paul Barnes, founding pastor of Colorado mega-church Grace Chapel, has resigned after being outed. He informed his congregation via video that he has had a life-long struggle with homosexuality and that he has "cried himself to sleep" begging God to remove his same-sex desires from him.
Hello? A person of faith who has begged God to "heal" him of his sexuality??? What kind of God condemns homosexuality and refuses to answer the sincere prayer of one who asks for that sexuality to be "cured"? Forget contemporary biblical scholarship, science, psychology, and PFLAG, how about some common sense here?! You've had these feelings for a lifetime, you've asked God to remove them, and God hasn't. Maybe that's because the feelings are natural, normal, healthy...put in the language of evangelical Christianity, "God given."
Barnes preached the same anti-gay party line gospel as the rest of them. How it must have hurt for him to condemn what he knew himself to be. How many hearts and families have to be broken by homophobic prejudice before all Christians concede that sexuality is a given.
Some of us like men. Some of us like women. Some of us like both. And as long as our relationships are consensual, respectful, and non-abusive, then all's fair. What is with this anti-gay obsession that makes people hate gays and that even makes gay people hate themselves? Gay's not to hate! The hatred of Gays is what causes all the pain and heartache. Maybe the God who is Love is glorified whenever joy and fun and love and tenderness are ever expressed, no matter what genders are involved. Any God that I would worship or preach would have to be.
How many conservative, self-loathing, closeted gay megachurch preachers must fall from grace before we stop bashing gays and start confronting our fear of the natural diversity of human sexuality?
Grace is the kindness that God gives freely - one can't earn it nor can one lose it. How odd that the person who founded "Grace Church" didn't really know that. And the Gospel is supposed to "Good News." The Good News is that gays are people, and as people they deserve dignity, respect, and the right to love and live freely, openly, an un-attacked by church and state. I for one am ready for some real Grace and some truly Good News. Maybe 2007 will be the year...