About a week ago, I was having dinner with a great friend who I’m also discipling. We were just chatting about the odds and ends in our lives, what the future holds for us within our local church and the Church at large. On top of that, we were diving deep into our past, comparing what we’ve gone through leading to nowadays. What a drastic change both of us have made, and yet we still yearn to become holy as Christ is holy.
Blah, blah, blah, you know, the typical Christian things we do and talk about.
While we were talking, a thought popped in my head! Gay Pride was coming up, and we had an event coming up for my local church, our annual Independence Day celebration when our church has encouraged us to pass out cards and spread the word to anyone we know.
Right when I was talking, I suddenly stopped and blurted out, “Dude! Let’s pass out the Freedom Celebration cards at Gay Pride this weekend!”
My friend was confused for a bit, but he soon got what I was saying. We started planning what we were going to do, going over our answer if people started asking what we were doing and why we were doing it.
My friend had never been to a Gay Pride event before, whereas I have gone twice! I did my best to prepare him, and once I explained this crazy idea, both of us were pretty stoked!
In those days leading up Gay Pride, we were in prayer and in the Word, asking God to give us love for the LGBT people and words of wisdom so we wouldn’t say something stupid. Also, we asked God to give us the courage to hand out Freedom Celebration cards to people or an alternative route to give this information.
The day arrived for Gay Pride, and both of us were pretty excited yet uncertain of what to expect.
We arrived at the Gay Pride parade an hour late, but we did make it! We could hear the crowd celebrating and laughing, and once we actually saw the parade, there were a lot of people! It was temptation island for me with all the shirtless muscular guys, but I’d prepared myself for this!
I’d gone to Gay Pride event twice before. The first time, I was just curious and wanted to see what all the excitement was about. I’d parked way far away and went to a corner store and hid myself there so that no one I knew would find me. Man, seeing all the hot shirtless guys there was exhilarating! They were dancing, drinking, and whistling at other hot guys!
Man, my first Gay Pride was exciting for me — but only from far away.
The second time I went to Gay Pride was last year when a friend of mine was in town. He identifies as gay and is married to another man. We keep in contact with each other, and I found out he was gonna be there for that particular Gay Pride weekend. So, I met up with him at the parade, though by this time I didn’t care for all the “fun” stuff that was happening there. I’d already gone there in my past, so it was a “been there, done that” type of thing.
Back to my third Gay Pride on the other end of the spectrum with me and my friend. We did see families there, fully clothed, just enjoying their time. This year it was pretty mellow, which was a surprise to me because of my previous encounters at Gay Pride. Of course, there were your usual drag queens lightening the mood for everyone, making sure everyone was enjoying their time at Gay Pride, pulling funny jokes and all.
I prayed for them the whole time, asking God to one day open the hearts and minds of some of these people to the Truth of His word, that He loves them all and has an amazing life-changing plan for them. To have a purposeful life. To call the Church their family.
Man, the weather was so horrible! Of course it’s summer, and that day it reached 100 degrees. I saw some people passing out water, and both of us saw people throwing water balloons at people — including ourselves! We didn’t get hit, unfortunately. But everyone seemed so focused on the parade, and we knew it wouldn’t be possible to see if anyone wanted prayer or to evangelize to them. So, we decided to put flyers on their vehicles.
While putting flyers on the cars, trucks, and minivans, my friend and I were talking about how LGBT people are just regular people like you and me. Yeah, they have their day of celebrating who they are, and we discussed why that was. It was a good conversation all around, and though we didn’t talk with or pray over anyone, we did feel accomplished being there, passing out our Freedom Celebration cards.
Now it’s up to God to do whatever He wants with those cards as we put the whole thing in His hands. We are only vessels, the messengers of God to share the Gospel to anyone willing to listen. I hope someday one of those LGBT people in the community looks back and remembers seeing the card and being invited to an event that changed his or her life forever. Again, it’s in God’s hands.
Have you ever attended Gay Pride in one way, shape, or form? Do you feel led to minister to LGBT people, or do you feel too strong of a divide?
* Photo courtesy diversey, Creative Commons.
This year was actually the first time I ever felt like I was curious enough to want to go, but it’s far amd I’d have no one to go with and I would definitely not go alone. Like a couple side B buddies went and they said it actually wasn’t that bad. One guy I know is even very involved with the “I’m sorry” thing that some churches do at pride. I used to be very repelled by it because I don’t like the idea as pride as a virtue for one and something kind of reflecting what the other guys said, but as my heart grows for the lgbt community I would like to one day do something like that myself. I feel a divide, but I want to make a bridge.
If you are strong enough, I would think a gay pride event would be a good place to show our “brethren” who we really are and that we do not hate them. If the event is too much in terms of temptation, then I would say, don’t go. As I recall, in the book of Acts, Paul went to some crazy places and set up shop to show them Jesus. In Ephesus he initially caused a riot, In Athens he sat down with the pagans and explained to them the unknown God.
If you go to the event for the eye candy though, that can be a problem. It’s hard not to appreciate some of God’s finer work, even when it’s just standing on a street corner or at church and not in a parade. My thought is that we have to deal with our feelings and try our best not to sexualize people no matter where they are or what sex they are or identify with. If we can start seeing each other as God’s children and those others as potential children of God, we can help them maybe. God can use us to help.
Ministry to LGBT people can be simple or hard. It becomes hard when we allow our minds to focus on the things of earth. It’s probably easier when we can see them through Jesus’ eyes. We are in a unique position to do this because we understand LGBT people in a way that straight folks never will. Because of this, we walk a fine and carefully crafted line as we minister to our own kind. Loving someone and falling in love with them can get all mixed up unless we are careful.
So yes, we should minister to our own people if we can do so without getting caught up in the life.
I like to think of our position as that of a bridge. Not with our purpose solely to minister to our LGBT+ brothers and sisters, but also (maybe even mainly) to allow God to use us as mediator between the two groups (almost like a translator actually).
The hardest thing for me to remember is that I am not their savior; only Christ can save. But we should also be encouraged because I believe God not only wants us to be reconciled to Him, but also reconciled to others. And I believe that his Holy Spirit can work thru us and help bring that to realization.
While I don’t believe I could go to Pride and not have my heart drawn towards lusting (not just after guys sexuality, but also emotionally craving that connection), I still feel drawn to the community – they are, after all, fellow image-bearers of God (regardless of sin), and are therefore valuable to God too.
I like the translator metaphor, Jackson. The church needs it desperately.
Hey Matthew! I have not yet attended a GP parade. Thanks for reaching out in that way. I do feel led to minister, but to this point that is largely limited to prayer. I await other marching orders. Hey, we crossed the reservation twice this past week. You don’t happen to know the artist, Eric Benally, do you? We met him in 4 Corners. His wife is from Chinle. We bought some of his stuff.
I’d personally never want to go to a gay pride parade. From the videos I’ve seen it just comes across as really tasteless to me. It’s all in your face, very vulgar, and feels less like people showing pride for theme selves and just a more “look at me!” environment. They also use a lot of shock factor, like I once saw a video of naked guys on stilts wearing giant purple sparkly penises between their legs. So, yeah I guess it’s not for me.
Gay Pride is rather conflicting for me. I identify myself as part of the LGBT community (which in no way takes away from my divine identity as a child of God and such). I’ve had people tell me “you’re not gay unless you’re having sex with men.” Ok ok…I get it, but no…I choose how I describe my attractions, and “gay” seems to be the most accurate (same-sex attraction is starting to sound like a disease or a constant struggle, and that’s not true for me).
Now that’s out of the way, i’m a gay guy who values my propensity to love other men, and who also keeps the standards of my church. I even supported traditional marriage simply because of a spiritual experience I had. As if that’s not ironic enough, part of me wants to be part of Pride, and part of me recoils. I’ve been told conflicting things about Pride: that it’s meant to love, freedom from shame, and freedom from horrible treatment of gay people in the past. But I’m also told that it’s meant to celebrate such things as sex and “marriage equality” (I call it marriage redefinition…marriage was already equal).
Anyway, I’m always wondering what my role is in all this. I want to be loving, but I also know that I can’t see two guys kiss without me wanting some of that for myself. I DO love serving and spending time with those who carry the same values as I do (as well as similar views on marriage…even politically). But when it comes to the larger LGBT community, I’m clueless. Maybe I’m helping out by just being myself and educating other members of my church and other Christian Faith’s about the complex reality of being gay/SSA.
I am inspired to attend a gay pride parade…but think it will trigger some feelings I don’t want to feel…so maybe not…
So I do have gay friends, and think I can have a much bigger impact by being a good friend to them. I have one foot in their world as a man who has experienced SSA to one degree or another all my adult life and the other foot firmly planted in the kingdom of Christ, my Lord. So, I have a good idea what struggles gay men have and can have a genuine interest in them… So as God leads me, I certainly hope I can introduce my friends (gay or straight) to my best friend.
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Haven’t been to any pride events, but after receiving my HIV diagnosis I’ve thought about attending some AIDS walks, which I’m sure are tamer, but still have a strong LGBT representation.
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