Some of us would say he struggles with same-sex attraction. It’s our way of avoiding the word “gay”.
But Greg Coles doesn’t avoid the word; he embraces it.
His book–Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity–is beautifully written and raw.
When he realized–as an adolescent–that he was not attracted to girls, he prayed to God to make him straight. He continued to pray. Over the years, he dated girls.
He did not become straight.
Here was a young man, fully devoted to Christ, with no form of rebellion in his heart, yearning to be normal, yearning to be right.
He suffered two seasons of doubt–first briefly questioning God and the Bible–then questioning the biblical view of sexuality. He still has questions and challenges. But he is steadfast in his commitment to biblical purity.
Life today–gay, single, celibate, and Christ-honoring–is “exhilarating”, he says.
His journey to single faithfulness was not short or easy. But it was worthwhile if complex.
“I’m happy, and it’s a very complicated kind of happy.”
Yet he doesn’t seem to feel that he alone is challenged–even if his challenge is different from mine or yours.
“Following Jesus in costly ways is something we’re all called to.”
He says the church could “uncomplicate the experience” for people like him, referring to those who were less than accepting despite his deep commitment to sexual purity.
Yet there were those who “cared more about loving me more than they cared about my life lining up with their view of what life should look like.”
I suspect these people made the difference for him. They made it possible for him to come out of the closet where he hid his own challenges–and minister to others like him–and others unlike him.
From his book: “[T]he road of celibacy for gay Christians remains a distinctly complex calling. To not only resist sexual urges but to try to banish the thought of ever fulfilling them. To have no daydreams of a future romance, no wistful marriage plans. To feel like the very core of your sexual desire and the faith you hold most dear are at odds with each other. There are sufferings far worse than this, but there is none quite the same” (39).
Greg Coles isn’t just a Christian guy with a sex problem. He is a worship leader at his church. He ministers to people. And he has some advice for those of us who might seek to minister to someone struggling as he has.
“If someone comes out to you, I hope you love them more.”
Many of us tend to think of LGBT issues in terms of US and THEM. We are standing up for God’s truth. They are working to undermine our freedom to freely declare truth.
On the other side of the coin is the LGBT view of freedom of expression vs. a perception of our bigotry.
But as Greg might say, it’s more complicated than that. He and many others stand between US and THEM.
Greg is one of THEM in his understanding of the challenges they face. Yet, he is one of US in his Christian commitment. He is my brother.
To others walking on his path, we can show the love Greg sometimes received and sometimes did not. It’s the love that sees him as God sees all of us–each with our own sufferings.
I heard Greg speak at the Pure Freedom Master Class last week. His joy and his transparency impressed me. Because he is open about his faith walk, others can be open with him about theirs. That is true Christian ministry. That is the church.
There were several speakers at the conference who delivered profound messages. Another spoke to the issue of ministering to those with challenges such as Greg’s. She said, no matter who we’re serving, “the Gospel remains the same.”
May we always show the love of Christ to those who hurt in ways we cannot experience–who walk in a way we do not understand.
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22 Replies to “A Gay Man Living Christ in the Church”
Fantastic post, Nancy. I am so thankful for people like Greg who lay down their lives for Jesus and share openly about it with the world.
The world needs more of us to be transparent the way Greg is. Thanks for reading and commenting, Heather.
This truth needs to be shouted from the rooftops! Because it’s a reminder of the truth that we ALL struggle against sin – for some it’s same-sex attraction, for others it’s gossiping, for others it’s greed, etc. But it’s not about what we struggle with, it’s about whether we’re willing to fight against it and give the struggle to God instead of give into it and live the lifestyle of our sin. Thank you so much for spreading this truth and encouraging people to hate the sin, not the sinner.
Amen, Emily, and we need to allow others to see our struggles. Thanks for participating! God bless!
Tough subject to tackle in the Christian community, even on the blog-o-sphere as a Christian writer. But isn’t that what we are called to in the church? Saying yes we will deal with the issues that other brothers and sisters struggle with just like we want to take off our own masks. And be authentic in the ways we fight the battle between the spirit and the flesh. I admire Greg’s honesty AND his decision to live in purity. So many in his same situation and we in our own spiritual battles often insist we have the freedom in Christ to live the way we want. Yet, that’s unbiblical at its core. The Bible describes all sexual impurity as sin. Not only gay issues, but adultery, sex outside of marriage, and even lusting in our hearts and minds! Thanks for this, Nancy.
Thank you, Karen. Absolutely! We are all flawed, and authenticity and honesty may be the hard things God asks of us. God bless!
Beautiful story and well written. Thanks for sharing this incredible story. Blessings
Thank you, Yvonne! God bless!
Interesting. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks, Melissa. God bless!
Nancy, this is such a beautiful post. Greg’s story is inspiring. His decision to admit his suffering and deny the temptation it brings is courageous.
I like the quote “no matter who we’re serving the gospel remains the same.” So very true.
Thank you for sharing this testimony of faith!
Thank you, Marcie! I found Greg courageous, transparent, and joyful. God bless!
Great post, Nancy! All of us come to Jesus from broken places. When we’re transparent about our struggles, we empower those who struggle in the same way to recognize that the Lord loves them and that he will empower them to deal with their own sins and brokenness. I’m guessing that Greg’s boldness and strong testimony of serving Jesus is an encouragement and a help to others who are attracted to the same sex. It provides an open door for honest communication and for help from others. Thanks for sharing! Many gay Christians are also stepping into marriage relationships with people of the opposite sex, realizing that it isn’t according to their natural attraction, but that they can love, cherish, and desire this other person. Wendy Alsup, Jackie Hill Perry, and Rosaria Butterfield, to name a few. It’s amazing what God can do when the church supports and loves gay men and women who come to Christ.
Great response, Melinda! God does amazing work. I love that Greg reminds us that God calls us to difficult tasks sometimes. It’s important for us–the more comfortable faithful here in the West–to keep that in mind.
Thanks and God bless!
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them.-Genesis 1:27
We all are creations of god.
There are many of Humans like Greg.
Good he is able to be transparent and talk about.
Thank you for this post
Thank you for your comment, Erika! God bless!
Well-written post. Not a story that is told in the mainstream media. btw; what happened to the LIKE button?
Thanks, Christopher. I’ll look into that. God bless!
Great summary of an important book, Nancy. Thank you.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Mitch! God bless!
Thank you for this review, Nancy. This book is now 3rd down on my BTR list – so many important reads, so little time.
Isn’t that the truth? My stack is tall too. Thanks and God bless!