Though I have had some early life experience with the Christian faith through the Catholic religion in the form of involuntary church and parochial school attendance, with questionable helpfulness, my personal introduction to God the Father through Jesus did not come until several years later.
My parents, through whom I began to understand this new experience and life with God, left the Catholic Church and began embracing a charismatic form of Christianity. At that time, the Catholic church did not embrace the charismatic movement until later. During my college years, my parents would often share bible scriptures and related experiences with me. Though I thought of myself open minded about various ideas and ways of living, my attitude toward the Christian church was negative. I was out of the closet as a gay man by my college years and was not about to hand over that part, or any part for that matter, to what I thought was a religion that taught that a gay person would not be welcome in “God’s family”. Thankfully, today a lot of church attitudes toward gay people has changed.
However, back in the 70’s and 80’s, church attitudes toward gays were still archaic and I was not about to embrace this. But God had a plan to help me see him. I was finishing out the last two years of college at the UW. My life was happily involved in my studies, part time work and weekend fun times with my friends and the Capital Hill club scene. I loved going to the Brass connection, Neighbors, and various other places. I also went to Vancouver BC, Portland and San Francisco with friends. During this time, I met others gays that were charismatic Christians, certainly an oddity in the circles of friends I was with. We would discuss God and bible scriptures. Sometimes we would be together all night, enjoying each other as they shared there ideas of God. On one occasion, I invited this guy I met to my place because it seemed he needed a place to stay for the night. He did not appear homeless. He talked to me, “opening” my eyes about God, thereafter I never saw him again. On another occasion, I spent a delightful night with this big black guy, very intelligent and well read. We talked about God and race relations. I am happy to say that he corrected me on some race issues because growing up in a lily white, recently “restricted” community blinded me to some of these. One funny thing happened during this encounter, we were both talking about how it would be nice to smoke a joint and suddenly we looked down and there was a baggy of marijuana on the ground, and this was on the grounds of SU right on the steps of there church. God must have a sense of humor.
I started to feel God’s presence during these encounters, not withstanding the marijuana incident. I began to recognize Him by his presence and when I listened to people talk about Him and expound on bible verses. I also felt his presence in gay bars while on the dance floor, and would raise my hands and praise him!
I met a guy at the Brass Connection who happened to be an evangelical Christian. We often danced there and because he was well versed about the bible he would talk to me about it, and like a spong I soaked it all up. One day, as we were driving to Capitol Hill to go dancing, I asked him to stop and pull over. I asked him to lead me in a prayer to except God and His Holy Spirit into my heart and life. I immediately felt a rush of God’s presence. Thereafter, we went happily down the road to our destination.
During these years of enjoying God, I never stepped foot in church and again did not like there position on gay issues (back then the term LGBTQ did not exist). I began reading the bible, learning to acquire an ear for God’s voice, which I now see as an important asset in knowing Him and recognizing his guidance. I also discovered Christian music that suited by tastes. Though unware at this time, I was gathering some life tools that would help me through some rough patches that lay ahead.
Though I am not currently attending regular church services, after doing so for many years, except for an on-line church which I now enjoy, I still get enormous peace of mind and happiness from reading the bible and prayer. I also still enjoy worshipful Christian music.