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My Debate with Pride

Recently I found myself hosting an event here in Whistler during the 20th anniversary of Winter Pride, an 8-day festival of events & parties catered to the LGBTQ crowd and run by Gay Whistler. The event I MC’d was a debate featuring prominent members of the Pride community who had respectful and entertaining dialogue around the thesis, “Whistler believes…the Pride Movement is no longer relevant.”

The debate was interesting, eye-opening, laced with a ton of emotion and served as a bit of an education for me. As a recovering pastor who has spent a lot of time in churchy structures I was, admittedly, a little nervous what this crowd would think or how they would respond if they found out I was a Christian with “Pastor” on my resume. (In fact: during the debate the Church’s name was a focus of some anger).

Leading up to the event I really wrestled with what I think and how I believe about the Pride movement in case I was “outed” as a former pastor. If pressed, I wanted to be able to have thoughtful and caring conversation about it, what I believe, and be able to freely ask questions I have. And so, I came up with a very short outline of talking points re: my thought-process around same-sex attraction.  Here’s where I’m at right now:

  1. Sexually – I’m straight as an arrow, and proud of it.
  2. Politically – I’d consider myself an ally. I’m not one for legislated morality (slippery-slope as it is, civil rights has a voice here).
  3. Theologically – Curious. I always have lots of questions and I’m comfortable with God revealing parts of who he is in Scripture and choosing to keep other parts of who he is hidden and undisclosed.
  4. Relationally – My default is towards inclusivity and community. Love and belonging is my guiding ethic here.

This is forever a hot topic and an issue Christians need to approach honestly, with all of our questions, and in a spirit of love. A  few days before the debate a friend asked me this question:

“If we (Christians) are right and sexual orientation can change and we’re able to convert a few homosexuals to the straight side of things, great. BUT, if we’re wrong, how wrong are we? Think of all the harm, pain, confusion, and hurt we’re needlessly inflicting on people – is that worth it?”

If Christians are wrong the answer is, “We’ve inflicted too much pain.” Way too much.

Anyways, I was honored to be apart of the debate and, more than that, I’m thankful for the honest questions and the conversations it has led me into – uncomfortable as the process is. Either way, regardless of anyone’s sexual orientation, gender, faith, or anything else – I’m still down to snowboard with you, to create friendships and memories with you, and to discover life and peace with with you.

Honestly and always in process,

-Jer

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4 Responses to “My Debate with Pride”

  1. I love that you were
    1. Asked to participate.
    2. Prepared to participate.
    3. Did participate.

    I really respect you brother.

    February 12, 2013 at 2:59 pm Reply
  2. Maureen Kelley Small #

    I just stumbled across your blog, and I’ve got to say, I like the way you thought this through. I share your “curious” status theologically. The older I get and the longer I’ve identified myself as a Christian, the more I realize I don’t have it all figured out – and I’m okay with that. I love my gay friends, and I’ll let God deal with anything in their lives He knows needs to be dealt with.

    April 3, 2013 at 8:34 am Reply
  3. Robb Powell #

    Hi Jeremy, this was a good read. I simply love the way you were able to deal with your own sense of ‘insecurity’ and how you were able to love your neighbors. We could easily empathize with you and appreciate your stepping out of your comfort zone. You model that well.. Please hear my personal affirmation. I write this because I love and admire you. And we are family.

    I do want to make a point about a subtext of your blog, which relates to the question your friend asked…

    “If we (Christians) are right and sexual orientation can change and we’re able to convert a few homosexuals to the straight side of things, great. BUT, if we’re wrong, how wrong are we? Think of all the harm, pain, confusion, and hurt we’re needlessly inflicting on people – is that worth it?”

    If Christians are wrong the answer is, “We’ve inflicted too much pain.” Way too much.

    I have had the privilege of walking with SSA brothers and sisters in their journey. They recognize, as should we all, that The Fall, is a real thing. And they have come to the conviction that, if their “orientation” does not change, they are called to celibacy outside of heterosexual marriage. They also realize that in doing so, they are rowing against the powerful tides that resist all boundary lines of sexuality. In their own terms, they feel that they are being thrown under the proverbial bus. They are increasingly isolated and marginalized. I use my own ‘privilege’ to speak on their behalf.

    I see them as courageous. I see them embracing the Cross, and carrying it daily. While I consider them to be heroic, their stance is not supported by an increasing percentage of Christian leaders. It is certainly not supported by the fragmented coalition of LGBTQ2ETC who, to be frank, are more united by what they are against than what they are actually for. What are they against? Prescribed norms… The very things that my brothers and sisters see in the Holy Scriptures. Indeed the history of how each letter was added to ‘the equation’ underscores my point. I could say more, but let me move on.

    I say this, because you are sensitive to the pain that has been experienced by the LGBTQ2ETC community. And it is important that we all are. For me, it includes family members and people I sincerely respect. However, I am also sensitive to the increasing isolation experienced by my SSA brothers and sisters who have chosen a hard path. They hold onto faith that their sexuality may yet be transformed. Are we to deny them this hope? Is there a biblical basis to deny them this hope? ( 1 Cor 6:11) To be sure, there are those who are well on the journey towards transformation. At the same time there are powerful voices that do not want even the Possiblity that this might occur being heard.

    To me, the suppression of their voice is simply wrong. Your friend, whom you put in quotes, provides a binary and non-nuanced situation. What if the topic were different? The hope of salvation? The hope of breaking the power of whatever fallen condition we were to find ourselves in… ? How wrong are we?

    In Vancouver, Point Grey Community Church ( now Redemption Church ) which I planted back in the day had a thriving ministry to the sexually broken. Called Living Waters ( it has since changed its name )It was run by Dr. Tony Dolfo-Smith ( look him up ) who is himself a living testimony. Was it triumphalistic? By no means. It was gritty, real and offered the oxygen of hope and support to those who felt called by God to surrender their sexuality, such as it was, to God and to be open to confronting their issues and growing in Christ.

    It was hardly ‘reparative therapy’. It put sexuality into a much larger picture in which we are not defined by our impulses, feelings or even ‘orientation’. It took our sexuality very seriously, but it took the Bigger Picture even more seriously. As a result, I saw the fruit of it explode in our ministry.

    Your friend makes a point. I was going to say a valid point, but I resist. Why? because it is about far more than a few homosexuals becoming straight. And the alternative is not about pain and confusion. That is a false binary equation. I must insist, it is not helpful.

    March 14, 2017 at 8:42 am Reply
  4. Robb Powell #

    I am genuinely sorry for my verbose commentary. Your piece is the model of elegant simplicity. My response – not so much. Having written it, I came across this within the day. The speaker ( video ) captures in 3 minutes the nub of my point. And does it so much better… Thanks. http://rzim.org/global-blog/qa-with-sam-allberry-same-sex-attraction-synod-remarks/

    March 25, 2017 at 10:57 am Reply

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