Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World


Written by: on March 22, 2018

   This book will push the traditional Christian either into their hiding place or to engage in conversation. In the traditional black Baptist church, we knew our musicians, were homosexual but we didn’t talk about it. They were men and heavenly musically blessed. They kept their private affairs outside the church members view. Our youth choir director, famous in his own right in the music industry, was an older gentleman and we knew as teenagers that he was the queen.

Marin stated in his book, Love is an Orientation, that Christians owe the Gay community an apology. The church leaders and members have ostracized, demonized, tarred and feathered them because they were not like them. They forgot the love of Jesus but want to quickly exercise the chastisement of God on them.  Marin addressed a common comment made by Christians, ‘Love the Sinner but hate the sin,’ and he encourages Christians to stop saying that statement. (46) I remember Jerry Falwell’s attack on the Teletubbies, a children’s show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcaGFGxqUD4

My interaction with the gay community (before they were considered gays) began as a high school teenager. I had two male homosexual friends in school. Now, this was in the late 60’s. Earnest was very flamboyant and didn’t care what others thought. I loved his courage. As a heterosexual woman, having a male homosexual friend was an asset. He was a great listener, personal adviser, and fashion expert. I always said they were great as best friends.

I was president of our church’s children’s parent group and I had to stand up to my male vice president regarding our church’s children music director. His statement to me was, “Our director is soft and I teach my son’s to be strong. I don’t want them to be around someone that is that way.” My response was, “he is a great guy, and wonderful with the children. There is always an adult presence, not because of who he is but because a director needs help with these number of children. I know him and he is staying.” Needless to say, I lost my vice president and the church lost a member. We were a great team.

During a battle with the health insurance industry for rights to ensure their partners, I found myself supporting their cause. I was always against the insurance companies telling us who we could claim as a dependent or even who we can insure. We should be allowed to ensure anyone we wanted to, we are paying the insurance company for service. During the battle for the right to marry, I had struggles picking up the torch. Even with my married gay friends, I have accepted in love but not yet embraced.

When I attended seminary, a few of my classmates were members of the gay community.  I have always been surrounded by members of the gay community and fought for their individual rights.  Yet, this began to challenge me spiritually. I wrestled with the pastoral ship in the gay community. I had to continue to pray and talk to myself remember who I was as a person and the new feelings I was experiencing. Marin shared his experiences interacting with the gay community. God led him to live and serve in the gay community.  His book covers his journey interacting with the gay community. His assignment to the gay community reminded me of the God assignment of Rev. Michelle Boonzaaier, a speaker at our South Africa Advance, who work with the gay community.  Marin found himself in conversation with an aggressively professed gay pastor and he was taken back by his behavior and comment regarding not preaching on scriptures that negatively spoke again who he was, so he had his guard up. He spoke about his feelings on gay pastors and his plan of action on approaching them based on that negative experience but God spoke to him. God said, “What does that have to do with what I told you to do. Go and do what I commanded you to do.” (68)

My experience with my gay seminary classmates was similar to my high school life. One classmate, I’ll call her Ellen, and her partner, Susan, opened their home to us, her classmates, for study sessions and feed us.  We all graduated and were pursuing our God-assigned Journey.  Ellen invited me to her installation as a pastor of a gay church.  I felt honored that she invited me to her special day. I prayed and talked to myself about attending.  I wrestled with the question, ‘was I supporting something God may be against?’  I began brainstorming with myself to reach a decision. Question: If I knew any pastor’s sin, would I not attend?  I have that same struggle with deacons and pastors who have even married their mistress. Pastors who are still pastors after four different wives in the same church and the leaders are afraid to exercise accountability. I concluded that her sexual orientation does not deny her anointing.  I made the decision to attend the installation and I was glad I did. It was an awesome service and we still communicate.  I plan on attending her worship service but I want to ensure that I go as a worshipper and not a spectator.

Marin developed ways that heterosexual Christians can communicate with the Gay community.  In Chapter 4 he discussed several gay apologetics and I am not sure if I agree with all because I am not knowledgeable on the Hebrew and Greek language nor have I had the desire to research God’s view on homosexuality. God loves us all and he commanded us to do the same with each other. Chapters 8 through 10 he addressed sixteen commitments with scriptures on how to build a bridge. He is quite candid about his feelings toward the Gay community and his experiences.  The overall point of his book is to encourage Christians to have a conversation with the Gay community. We aren’t that different after all.

About the Author

Lynda Gittens

9 responses to “WE AREN’T SO DIFFERENT”

  1. Jim Sabella says:

    Lynda, another great post! You hit the nail on the head with your opening sentence: “This book will push the traditional Christian either into their hiding place or to engage in conversation.” You are so right on this. Thank you for sharing you stories. I can see that God has used you and continues to use you as a defender of the oppressed. God bless you!

  2. Jennifer Dean-Hill says:

    Lynda- I just love your feisty spirit! I just smiled visualizing you telling them, “I know him and he’s staying.” Before it was popular to have gay friends you did. You showed appreciation for people who felt left out and ostracized. You advocated for those being marginalized and dismissed. You were and are being Jesus to them.Thank you for your inspiration to me in this area. Your stories were great.

  3. Mary says:

    “We aren’t that different after all.” Amen, sister.
    What a beautiful post, Lynda. Such a strong woman you are standing up for the truth!
    I think that we just need to see everyone as a person made in the image of God. And we all have our own sins. How amazing that we will forgive some for marrying their mistresses, but will condemn others for their actions.
    Is it about time we all sat down and talked about this in the spirit of love and grace?
    Always look forward to your interesting and lively posts, Lynda!

  4. Stu Cocanougher says:

    Lynda, thank you for sharing your story. I appreciate your perspective. As far as the pastors of churches you mentioned that have had mistresses / multiple marriages. I have an African American friend whose pastor had a child out of wedlock. It was ignored by the congregation, even though everyone knew.

    Is this a trend in some churches?

    If so, are these men ever held accountable? What prevents these men from being held accountable?

    (This would certainly be a controversial D.Min dissertation topic).

    • Lynda Gittens says:

      When it comes to black churches, it amazes me what the pastor can do. It’s the views of the older generation who believed that the Pastor was God’s, right man. They did not have the power to remove him. Now the way the churches are managed, it is by choice that they ignore.
      God gave us the right to go to our brother/sister who has sinned and talk to them…

  5. Katy Drage Lines says:

    Thanks for sharing your stories, Lynda, and the ways you’ve been able to work through and wrestle with the issue by being reminded that it’s really about relationships with real people.

  6. Kristin Hamilton says:

    Lynda, I love the way you champion people with love even as you wrestle through your own beliefs! Thank you for sharing these stories, and thank you for being an example of love and courage for those you lead.

  7. Christal Jenkins Tanks says:

    Lynda my pastor talked about this very topic today about us loving without a disclaimer. That our church will not a place where people in the LGBTQ community cannot identify and will not have to worry about be ostracized. He continued to reinforce to us that we must love one another and allow the Spirit of God to do the work in all of our lives. I was shocked and yet elated that on Palm Sunday he took the time as an African American pastor of a majority black mega church ( our services are also aired live on the radio) to speak out openly on this matter.

    • Lynda Gittens says:

      That is great Christal. The black churches I have attended dance around this issue in this current society. In the olden days, they harped on it over and over.
      Palm Sunday is a great day to do that because Jesus was on his way to die for all of us.

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