Exposure to the Gay Village

I spent my first Friday morning with John Bell (Pastor of New City Baptist Church) at the gay village. John is gifted in his ability to spread the gospel to gay men. He has been building friendships and spreading the Gospel there for a little while now. He goes to coffee shops where he builds friendships with men and tells them the Gospel when the time is ripe. He goes to a particular coffee shop twice a week. Since the setting is so close, one of the keys is simply to go in and sit down and be friendly. He told me that it can be hit and miss. Sometimes he will go and there will be no open doors for natural conversations to get going.

John is mentoring me in this style of evangelism. I am eager (yet nervous) as I learn. I hung out in two different coffee shops yesterday morning, but I was unable to strike up any conversations. Please pray for John and I that the Lord will help us in these efforts to reach fellow sinners with the love of Christ. Let us thank the Lord for John and his desire to train others concerning how to reach out to the gay community in Toronto.

6 responses to “Exposure to the Gay Village

  1. Paul,

    It was good to connect on Friday! Good luck with your thesis by the by.

    I’m looking forward to connecting with you further and being mentored by John.

    I just found out there’s a boxing club on a street parallel to New Life church. I’m thinking of joining as a means of evangelism.

    Cheers bro,

  2. Hmmm… I think I read an article by John Bell because Tim Challies linked to or posted an article about reaching gays in Toronto by approaching them on the gays’ own turf.

    My comments on Challies’s blog seemed to be brushed aside, for the most part. I’ll reiterate here what I said there and you and anyone that reads this can take it for what it’s worth:

    Background. I was saved as a young child. I grew up in a Christian family that faithfully participated in church by going to worship services, Sunday school, AWANA, etc. I went to a conservative Christian college. I taught at conservative Christian high school. I was an AWANA leader. Nevertheless, I am gay (meaning I am attracted to the same sex instead of the opposite one).

    Encouragement. Telling people the Gospel is great. Keep it up! Someone needs to approach the marginalized and much maligned segments of society with love and truth. I’m glad you are doing it. Seeking a real relationship with them instead of just telling them what they need to do in order to meet some standard is more palatable and seems to be more in keeping with the admonition: speak the truth in love.

    Recommendation. Having been in gospel-preaching churches and Christian circles for 30+ years, I know what the general Christian thinks of gay people. I know how they are treated. For gay people, the church atmosphere is truly acerbic. SOMETHING has to be done about this huge problem. Homosexuality needs to be confronted in the gay village AND homophobia needs to be confronted in the church.

    • Thank you for your comments, I think that they are worth much. They are very instructive for me and I am thankful to you for taking to time to help me. I agree with everything you said. Possibly you have had time to read John Bell’s response to your comment to my post; I agree with John – we are to preach and live the Gospel. Homofobia toward gay people is tragic and I am also sorry to hear of any difficulty you have expereinced because of this problem in the church. I also agree with John that you are called to be patient and loving toward your church, just as Christ has been toward you. But, may the grace of God truly abound His church. May the Lord help us.

  3. @ Nathan

    Brother, I am sorry about the confusion concerning my post at challies.com. I did not respond to you because I felt I had stated in my blog post (second last paragraph) what the church needed to be doing to confront homophobia in her midst – with biblical teaching and Christian friendships! – and others who were interacting with your comments were saying things that I would say myself. It was not my intention to brush your comments aside – your experiences of Christian homophobia are tragic and real, and I am saddened and angered to hear of it.
    Gay people are an easy group for Christians to compare ourselves against and come out on top, spiritually speaking. But to do so shows a profound lack of understanding. What is the church to do? Preach and live the gospel, like its real. What else can she do? There is no other answer.
    Of course, you must be very patient and realize
    that many people are convinced that homosexuality is a choice. Many Christians are far from convinced that a totally depraved human being with a fallen nature can be born with a disposition to homosexual sin. I have no problem, theologically, with believing such a thing. I think many Christians may be looking at your life with a skewed theological slant that will make them hostile in attitude toward you: Nathan, the recalcitrant sinner who has potential victory over his sexual orientation, but stubbornly refuses to allow the gospel to do its work. Be patient and loving in this area, brother, even when you are sinned against, even when you want to leave the local church. I know that is easier said than done, but what else can you do?
    Talk to the elders in your church. I certainly hope they are doing all they can in their teaching and preaching to educate their sheep about the nature of grace and how we are all sinners, and that by their example others are loath to treat you as a lesser brother. If the elders are not showing this understanding of the gospel then you are swimming upstream.

    John Bell

  4. Thanks for your replies.

    Regarding John Bell’s second-to-last paragraph of the original post on Challies.com: I like it, but it is vague. It allows people to brush over their reaction and interaction with gay people. Sure, they know that gay people should not be made uncomfortable in church and Christians should befriend them, but what does that look like? What should individuals DO / Not DO? What should the church DO / Not DO?

    The following is an outline of some ways in which a church and individuals in the church can improve its interaction with gay people. You may not agree with everything and it isn’t exhaustive. It is more detailed than your second-to-last paragraph, and it is what I think people need — concrete examples of what to do and not do…
    (I hope the outline form I’ve chosen is easily read.)

    * Do not allow derogatory comments, jokes, etc. whatsoever. All these do is allow one side to feel superior over another side.
    ++This means not using them yourself
    ++This means correcting others when they use it.
    ++This means refraining from using the term “That’s so gay” when showing contempt for something
    ++Ask yourself: “Is being gay something serious — or a joke?”

    * Don’t automatically discount something because it is associated with a gay person, examples:
    ++I hope so-and-so doesn’t win the game/contest because he is gay (I don’t care if he is a great singer, diver, or whatever)
    ++I will never vote for a gay person even if I like his political ideas and the office has nothing to do with gay ethics
    ++I won’t buy lemonade from that kid because he has two mommies

    * Don’t associate non-sexual preferences with being gay or straight
    ++Color preference
    ++Sports preference
    ++Music preference

    * Give up on your theory, it really isn’t as universal as you think
    ++Everyone has a theory about what “causes” someone to be gay
    ++Everyone’s actions ARE a choice, but keep in mind…
    —- unregenerate people don’t really have a choice
    —- unregenerate people following Christian rules doesn’t get them anywhere in eternity (not sure what it means in the present, tho)
    —- A gay person’s choices are probably based on a different basis than yours
    —— !!Just because doing gay things is a huge stretch for you to undertake, doesn’t mean that it is the same circumstance for someone else.
    —— !!Just because you would have to completely pervert and deny many aspects of your life and beliefs doesn’t mean that is the case for someone else.

    * Don’t consider being gay as a kiss of death
    ++HIV and AIDS is a disease affecting

    *promiscuous* people, not gay people
    ++Just because you can’t fathom a healthy, wholesome life for someone gay doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist
    —- Do you automatically characterize a Buddhist as loathsome and confront them about it, either directly or indirectly?
    —- Do you automatically characterize remarried couples as loathsome and confront them about it…
    —- Do you automatically characterize cohabitating opposite sex couples as loathsome…
    —— !!If you don’t do the above, but you do that toward gay people, why the difference between sins?

    * Make church about people and families in a larger community rather than just about families
    ++Notice that the church is made up of both individuals and groups of individuals — not every individual is going to fit into all categories
    ++Every *individual* should be allowed to be a contributing member of the church regardless of their status (while observing biblical gender roles, of course — I’m not advocating female preachers…)

    * Don’t always segregate singles from the rest of the group
    ++Singles need more to be included rather than segregated
    ++Singles discussing singleness in privacy is needed, but probably not as much as the singles are segregated from others

    * It is OK to be single
    ++STOP trying to fix a single person’s situation.
    —– Realize that when you do this, you are saying, “I don’t accept you the way you are.”
    —– Realize that when you do this, you are saying, “Your life pathetic.”
    ++Unless asked by the single for help, butt out.

    * Before listing a bunch of things a gay person needs to do to “be right,” list the things you can do to help him or her.
    ++If you are not ready to be a servant of gay people, what makes you think that you are ready to confront them and dictate their life?

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