I love fiction.
While many of my smart and sophisticated friends keep their noses stuck in the latest biographies and watch the trendiest documentaries, I’m a sucker for novels, dark comedies, and superhero movies.
My boyfriend and I had a great conversation about the value of fiction this weekend. He’s reading a book about the importance of being a good listener. I proposed that one of the best ways to learn how to be a good listener is to read a great novel. After all, listening is simply learning how to hear a story… how to engage yourself with a narrator… how to read between lines and ask questions when the story stops. What better teacher for this art than Steinbeck, Tolkein, and Stephen King?
What’s my point, you ask? Why waste valuable internet space on a blog about gay spirituality to promote getting a library card? Well…
As LGBT people, I think it’s desperately important for us to do the theological, ethical, and exegetical (Bible study) work necessary to find peace with both our sexuality and our spirituality. I think it’s invaluable for us to examine our gay, popular, and Christian cultures to find how each of these worlds affect the others. In the midst of all this “smart talk,” however, we can’t underestimate the value of both telling and hearing a story.
Our stories connect us to each other… they allow us to learn from each other… they help us encourage each other…. they remind us that we are not as weird or alone as we sometimes feel. (sound familiar?)
Plus, they’re just plain entertaining.
The writer of the Biblical book of Hebrews seems to agree. After rolling through a long list of the Old Testament’s most faithful folks, s/he says….
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
My friends, as gay Christians, we are also surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who remind us that we’re not alone. So, in the midst of all our arguments and activism, let’s take a minute to sit around an online campfire and listen to one of our gay brothers tell his tale.
It starts with “I was once a proud Evangelical, African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) Christian, the son of an AME Zion preacher, and ready to answer the call on my life to ministry…”
Read the rest – including this brave Christian’s revelation that “after struggling with a four-year addiction to gay porn, in my senior year of college I was forced to acknowledge that this must be more than a mere phase” – here.