a reintroduction: the who, what, when, where, and why

Wow, it's been almost a week since I've been around here. That's kinda crazy. Spring break feels like it was barely yesterday when I first put this up publicly and watched God do some crazy things. But life seems to have gotten ahead of me a little bit. As short-ish update: I've been sick this whole entire past week (story of my life), so getting by with school and getting healthy again have been my priorities. However, I've definitely been keeping track of how many days it's been since I last wrote anything, and hopefully, I'll be able to be around about once or twice a week with a new post, God-willing and life-providing in the future. Anyway, something that I neglected to think about when I initially put this blog out there was the fact that I had already been writing for two months before anyone saw any of it. Thus, I'm sure people have inferred from reading the newest posts what this blog is about and sort of what my stances are, but I thought that a nice little reintroduction post was in order before I get on with talking about some more things. And I promise I will! I definitely have some questions from followers and readers that I've been meaning to answer in posts; I just need to wrap my head fully around them and make sure that I'm saying what God wants me to say about those things. So be on the look out for those after this post.

So as many of you already know, I'm Jonah and I'm a gay Christian (my 'JS' display name is a throwback to one of my characters from my novel writing days; just roll with it) who has been trying to reconcile that with what God says in His word and what God has been personally teaching me. I first came to terms with the fact that I was gay about four or five years ago (so really, not a super long time ago), and have wrestled with what that means since then. Up front, I just want to make it clear that I don't have all the answers. Though I do spend a lot of time with the Lord trying to figure out what He wants me to say about these kinds of things, I do want to make sure that everyone knows that I'm primarily writing out of my own personal experiences and personal reflections with God and on these topics. Thus, I will do my best to answer any questions that people may have, but I might not always have an answer, as I am working through things with the Lord even as I write here. I also don't claim to be speaking for all gay Christians. These are just my reflections, opinions, and thoughts on what God has been teaching me and what I believe the Bible to say. Having said that, I do know that many other gay Christians that I have spoken with or know have had many of the same experiences and feelings, so keep that in mind as well.

The purpose of this blog, which I sort of stated in a roundabout way in my very first post entitled eponymous is that I want to speak into the situation of other LGBT Christians from a standpoint of someone who has lived it and experiences that life on a day-to-day basis, something which I believe God has called me to do. In my own life, I observed a lack of dialogue and understanding of what it's like to be a gay Christian from a practical standpoint. I heard a lot of mandates and rules that I was supposed to follow along with being repeatedly read the same verses in the Bible, but none of that really helped me figure out how I was supposed to live my life. I didn't understand a lot of what was going on in my life, and I didn't understand where I stood with God. I don't know about you, but that's sort of a terrifying place to be, when you aren't even sure what God thinks of you because of what you've been told by the church and other very well-intentioned, but nevertheless misinformed and undereducated people. Thus, I also didn't feel very loved by the church. I felt like being gay was something that I had to hide from people, lest they judge me or try to send me to reparative therapy, something out of a nightmare. I'll share more of my own story in the future, but I basically want to be able to talk about what it means to be a gay Christian and how that interacts with faith. I want this to be a place where people can ask honest questions and be free to talk about something that doesn't get talked about in the mainstream church in a healthy, practical way, regardless of the particularities of what you may or may not believe right now.

And because I don't have all the answers, I want this to be a place where you are forced to make your faith your own. I want you to be able to struggle with God and wrestle with Him without being ashamed of your doubt and your uncertainty. Doubt is not always a bad thing, especially with regards to something that is already so unclear and so uncertain in and of itself, and sometimes doubting and crying out to God can bring you even closer to Him than simply believing what you are told about a certain topic, because then you have made your faith your own and you have heard from the Lord, one of the coolest things that I think anyone can ever experience.

Finally, I would love for this to be a place where all Christians can interact, learn, and love. The biggest problem that the church has regarding this issue right now is a lack of understanding and education, and that applies to both gay people and straight people. There are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about what being gay is, whether being gay and being a Christian are compatible, what the Bible says about it, and many other things that just cause the conversation to get convoluted. So, I want this to be a place where people are able to understand each other, because I think that will be the biggest step in reaching peace and reaching a place of unconditional love, just like where Christians are supposed to be.

My goal is give perspective and get people to see what it's like to be on the other side of this topic, because there shouldn't be an us-vs.-them mentality and there are respectful ways to disagree while maintaining a loving dialogue and without condemning other people. And there will be disagreements. There will be strong opinions. But the thing that matters is that we all love Jesus and want to honor Him with our lives. Justin Lee writes about this much more eloquently in his book Torn, which I'd encourage anyone to check out, because I guarantee that it will challenge the way that you think about things. I just finished the book myself this past week and think that anyone who has a heart for this topic should read it. That's my shameless plug for this post.

I think that covers the who, what, when, where, and why. So, yeah, I should be back to posting some more soon, but I just wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of why exactly I'm writing this blog.

Also, if any of what I've written here or in other posts has impacted you or you think it would impact someone you know, please share it. Things like this can save people's lives (no exaggeration) and give clarity to others.

Finally, if you like what I've been posting, there's a button to subscribe to my blog by email at the bottom of every page, so I'd encourage you to do that as well.

Have a wonderful weekend and don't forget that Jesus loves you, wherever you are.