Removing Barriers for the Gay Community

Today I reconnected with a friend of mine who has been serving as a pastor the last several years in San Francisco.  Gordon has helped create a way to remove barriers between the gay community and the message of Jesus through iVent and “What is Hagar’s Well?” booths at the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco.

He shared a fascinating story with me. A few years ago, he was in the barber shop that he frequents in his predominantly gay neighborhood. He asked his barber and the others there how he could remove barriers between the Gay community and the Christian community even as he acknowledged that he believed that living a gay lifestyle is a sin.  After pausing for a moment, his friends began sharing advice with him on how to accomplish his goal. His barber even mentioned that he was willing to be there at the booth at the Gay Pride Parade fearing that Gordon and his group might get beat up.

His barber went on to say: “Maybe I should come down to help protect you, because you know how those Christians can be.”

Gordon’s barber wasn’t concerned with violence coming from the Gay Community.  He feared that Christians would have a violent reaction to Gordon and his team.

How sad it is that so many people who do not follow Jesus see those who do as opposed to them?

Originally I had given one of the chapters in Not Like Me the title “Why Homophobia is So Gay,” but my editor encouraged me to broaden the topic and discuss serving, loving, and reaching out to all people no matter how the live their life morally – not just those who are living a homosexual lifestyle. The chapter is now called “Lots of Sex in the City: Engaging Others in a Post-Sexual Revolution World.”

What are other ways that we can remove barriers between ourselves and those with whom we may differ or disagree?

Showing 4 comments
  • J

    Make room for Formers (those previously having lived the lifestyle) to openly share their stories within your community. I was involved in homosexuality, although only as a child and teenager and never living it out openly, but I know that many churches seem to have little love for us Formers just like those actively living the gay lifestyle. Many want to categorize us and no one really can. Formers are the bridge over the gap between the gay and straight communities. Common ground is necessary.
    But understanding by the straight community is not. Can anyone really fully explain all of their heterosexual desires and activities? Maybe only a few can…and yet those desires persist. I do somewhat understand what has happened in my life, but I cannot fully say why I ever desired to be with other women, and though I am occasionally tempted, I no longer fulfill those desires.
    There has to be long term commitment to those in the gay community…don’t expect converts to simultaneously drop the lifestyle. It was a few months after accepting Christ before I decided that the gay lifestyle was not conducive to the plans God has for my life. Many will take even longer…
    And don’t think of heterosexual marriage as the sign of transformation. Even though I am married to a man and the mother of many children, I know that many Formers don’t end up looking like that.
    Love openly and don’t be afraid to give affection. It is all worth the journey. Go the distance!

  • Ryan Tate

    Barriers always arise when we focus on the wrong reasons for what makes us different. There are necessary differences and unnecessary differences. The necessary difference is the message of the Gospel. The unnecessary differences are the ones we fruitlessly quarrel about, which reinforces barriers. Work to eliminate the barriers of race, economics, language, age, etc….and accentuate the necessary difference, the Gospel.

    People spend months preparing to go to a foreign country, learning the language, exchanging the currency, studying the culture, the music. How much time is spent studying the gay community or any other differing community? Learning their “language”, studying their “culture”, if you will. Those barriers can be removed and then only one difference remains, the necessary one, the Gospel.

  • Johnny Laird

    Hey Eric

    …wondering if you are familiar with the Marin Foundation, and specifically this recent story of theirs of an incident at Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade?


  • Sam Scotti

    In Chad Thompson’s book “Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would” He wrote about a High School Teacher who put a pink triangle on his classroom door and told the students that his classroom was a safe place for them to meet during lunch. After taking a posture of care for them did they discover he was a follower of Christ, but he had already earned a place of gratitude which enabled him a voice in their lives.
    I thought that was pretty cool.

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