LGBT and Religion: How does the church become more accepting?
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Straight or gay, trans or Bi, God is love and love is kind.
We have done a terrible job at the greatest commandment. We have turned our backs on and cast out those who dress different, have a different skin color, or who love in a unique way. We have taken a few scriptures and used them as a weapon against our fellow brothers and sisters.
Some might say it is “calling out sin”. Others may argue “they are accepted but not affirmed”. But every single person needs emotional support. How? By listening and learning to see past someone’s sexual orientation into the heart of the created being, just as God does.
This week, David Hayward, “The Naked Pastor” is back to talk about how to love and listen to those who we have deemed as outcasts or unloveable. We discuss different sexual orientations, gender identities, and even skin tones and religions. David shares his story and how he came from a pentacostal upbringing to realizing that God is an inclusive God who looks deeper than our surface: He looks at the heart.
Cody Johnston 1:23
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the reckless pursuit. My name is Cody
Elaine Johnston 1:27
and my name is Elaine.
Cody Johnston 1:28
And today we have David Hayward back in action, the naked pastor talking about probably one of the least controversial things we’ve ever talked about here on the reckless pursuit, the church’s views with LGBT q plus. So if this doesn’t already start stirring some emotions in you, then I don’t know what to say. Honestly, this is a topic that I am not educated to talk in or about whatsoever. In is something you’ve learned, I have had on our hearts to share on to touch on. And we are over a year and a half in. And this is something we thought about since day one. We just didn’t have the resources that connections to do it adequate justice, because we don’t know. We we’re not we’re not in that community. We’re not in that pulse. But David has been in his and so this is a kickoff to a series we’re doing on homosexuality in the church. And I just I cannot encourage you enough to truck it out. If it challenges, some religious mindsets allow that to happen. But just take in the words that are being said and don’t, don’t jump straight to conclusions. Maybe you’re already passes, that’s great. But whatever it is, let the word sink in. So we can all come together to just garner a greater understanding of one another. That’s really where it’s at. It’s just garnering this deeper understanding and love, just for your neighbor, loving your neighbor as yourself. So before we get into that real quick, just a quick plug. If you are not part of nomads, I would highly encourage you to go down to the show notes below and asked to be a part that is our private community group where we keep this conversation going. And I think there’s going to be plenty of conversation to be had throughout this month for sure. As we go through and talk about these hard, emotional topics. But I don’t want to waste any time I want to dive right into this with David Hayward the naked pastor talking about LGBT q plus in the church, and how to love your neighbor. Let’s get right to it. Alright, everyone, David Hayward, the naked pasture is back with us today to talk about something that Eli and I have had on our hearts for a while to talk about. We just don’t know how and he seems like the guy that knows what he’s talking about behind it. So David, welcome back. How are you doing?
David Hayward 3:58
I’m doing great disclaimer right off the front. I don’t know what I’m talking about.
I feel Oh, so
Elaine Johnston 4:06
yeah, that yeah, I think better.
Cody Johnston 4:09
If you feel that’s a big feelings are stronger than thoughts. All right. And just to kind of throw it out there. Here’s what we’re talking about. today. We’re talking about church and the LGBT q plus community. David, where do we even start with this? There’s so much back and forth between the the LGBT community, you have the church, you have traditional church, you have some churches now rallying for them, you have these hug rallies, you have all these things going on. It’s such a volatile topic. I feel like it is probably one of if not the biggest forefront topic in churchy entity right now. So where where do we even start just kind of what’s a rundown of the state of things? Where are people at with this? What’s the emotions involved? All of that?
David Hayward 4:58
Right? I agree. It’s really volatile. And, and that’s why it’s a hot topic. And that’s why I I talk about a lot, a lot of my cartoons, at least one week Lately, I’ve been doing an LGBT q plus cartoon. A lot of them involve sheep. But and people people love them. And and I but I often get asked, Why do you draw so many LGBT q cartoons? Are you gay, you know, kind of thing? And I’m like, No, I’m an ally. And, but the reason why I I talked about this a lot is because it’s almost like, this is the hill that we need to be willing to die on. It’s almost like if, if the church will finally accept and embrace and include the LGBT q plus community, then that’s, that’s huge. That’s it, they’ll let a gay person bill at anybody in a transgender person, they’ll let anyway, it’s almost like, you know, this is where the line has been drawn. And this is where the battle has to be fought. And so you know, I have, I have a friend who goes to a church that is not LGBT q affirming, and they’d like us to come to that church. And they’re like, you know, the gay issue that’s only like, 2% of their issue. Everything else, everything else is great. The worship is great, the sermons are great. They got great programs and all this and the gay thing that hardly comes up, but like 2%, and I’m like, No, the whole that whole gate. You know, LGBT q plus issue is not 2%. It indicates a deep rooted issue in their theology that refuses to accept and embrace a whole class of people based on their sexuality or gender, or whatever. And so it’s not just 2% It’s 100%. It’s kind of like Jesus when he said, Be careful of the yeast because all it takes is one tiny little speck of yeast and it’s going to ruin the whole batch. And and that’s what I my attitude is about the whole LGBT q plus issue in the church is a lot of them think, you know, it’s a minor sidebar kind of an issue, when in fact, it’s that little bit of Jesus ruining the whole batch. And because one little speck of law spoils grace, I mean, you can’t you can’t have grace plus law. It’s grace or law. And and that was Jesus warning was that little bit a little bit of law is that little bit of you so ruin the whole batch. So anyway, rant and sermon over, that’s my introduction to YY, I’m talking
Elaine Johnston 7:47
about your comics is that you have Jesus with the sheep, where everyone else is like, you know, they’re they’re not godly. They’re not welcomed in the church. But Jesus Himself is sitting there, eating lunch with them, walking with them, saying, I love you, but all these people who proclaim that they love Jesus, don’t love these people that Jesus is actually loving and seeking after on purpose.
Cody Johnston 8:13
Yeah, it’s really good. What is it? I’m trying to find a Bible verse real quick. Because I saw it the other day, and it so reminded me of some of your comics. Go ahead. What were you about to say?
David Hayward 8:24
Yeah, my cartoons with with Jesus with LGBT q people are sheep or whatever. They’re so it’s so fun to watch people’s reactions, because you can see what something once you see Jesus hanging out with gay people, or transgender people or whatever, you you can’t see that. And it’s very offensive to some people that I’ve done that, that I put the two together. And, and then for others, it’s very comforting. I mean, I even got some messages from people today saying, I can’t believe some of the messages I get from people who were like, you know, I really think thought I was an outsider, rejected, not included, not accepted or loved. And just because of your cartoons. Now I do. And press because they’ve seen it. And that is a possibility. So what’s that verse, man?
Cody Johnston 9:14
Yeah, okay, so it’s john 1016. I’m not sure which translation is this is because it’s a screenshot from Reddit. So I had to go check the Bible real quick and make sure it was actually correct before I shared it, but it is. So it’s I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pin. I must bring them also they too will listen to my voice. And there shall be one flock and one shepherd. And every time I see your your comics, that’s exactly what I think. Because like, we have segregated people. She’d been the sheet pins, right? Yeah, but Jesus is like a shepherd of all of these. Yeah, yeah. Like, it doesn’t matter what sheep pin you know, quote, unquote, you’re in what category you think you fit in? Right? Still the shepherd? Yeah. So
David Hayward 9:54
know that that? Yeah, that’s, that’s right. And like, the whole the whole thing in Acts where Peter a vision where the sheikh descends out of heaven, and, you know, everything that was unclean is in that and then and then God says, here to for everything that I have pronounced unclean is now clean. And and you can partake you can include every everybody’s invite, everybody’s in, nobody’s out. Everything’s clean. Nothing’s on clean. Nobody’s unclean. But, except, no, there’s no except there’s no bad. So I think the radical I know, you can pick and choose, you can cherry pick, but the radical thrust, I think of the theology of the New Testament is inclusion. And, and, and I also want to be careful to like a lot of people will see my cartoons there and saying, Yeah, Jesus, even Jesus loves thieves and murderers and pedophiles. He’s going to love gay people, too. And it’s like, No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, you’re equating criminal behavior with gay people. Like, that’s, that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about everybody’s in, everybody’s included. It’s not Jesus is going to love you, even though you’re gay. It’s, there’s no, even though it’s just just love is love. All means all. And so we’re all on equal footing, we’re all equal, we’re all the same, we’re out. And we all should, therefore, that’s why that’s why I talk a lot about how an idea isn’t just isn’t good enough, love isn’t good enough. what true love is, but just like liking an idea, or saying you love or whatever isn’t good enough, it has to translate into policy. And, and so it’s not enough to say we love gay people, it has to be translated into policy where we are all included in the same I even I even hate using the word included or allowed or, or embraced because it implies that we’re in the center. And we’re, we’re allowing gay people in or you know, tolerating them or, or, you know, something like that, when I don’t think they’re, that we are in the center. In fact, one of my most offensive cartoons was when they’re the cheaper inside a church building. And they say to a gay sheep, I’m sorry, but you’re not welcome here. Jesus is there. And they say, Sorry, you’re not welcome here. And then the sheep leaves, and Jesus goes with the sheep. I can’t believe how many people that upset. Jesus wouldn’t do that he would stay with his people or Jesus, he would go with that person. But he would also stay here. It’s like all these people trying to figure out a way to justify Yeah, make make this work when, you know, there’s, there’s no way and there’s no way out. And once we we get around that sort of black and white idea of how the universe is and
Cody Johnston 12:55
so something, of course, like a big thing with this, this whole conversation right now is Oh, we are a denying church and accepting church or an affirming church? And what are the lines with these? How, what is the difference between accepting and affirming? And is accepting good enough? Or do you have to be affirming,
David Hayward 13:18
I haven’t heard that separation, accepting and affirming. Although I can see what people would mean by that accepting means you’re allowed to come into the stadium, right? But you can’t play affirming would be you’re allowed in and you can play. And I’ve done a lot of cartoons about that as well. One where it’s not enough to be accepting, because it, it puts people into classes, it makes people it puts puts people in a hierarchy of virtue, or moral, or morale, or morals or whatever, or righteousness.
Cody Johnston 13:58
I guess you could almost kind of as associated with like, segregation, how, like, people of color, instead of the back of the bus, you know, they weren’t allowed to sit with the, you know, white people in the in the church, they had to have their own section, that kind of thing is almost what we’ve done to the LGBT community as well. Yeah.
David Hayward 14:15
Yeah. Yeah. So and it’s interesting, you know, there’s a lot of similarities between that struggle, the racial riots, and the, you know, the, all that thing, go, that was going on, still going on in the States and around the world, it is very, very similar. In fact, I was looking for a quote, before our conversation, James Baldwin, the black author in the states who’s died, but he wrote this, he said, we can disagree and still love each other. So everybody, everybody’s interested in that, right? We need to be able to disagree and still love each other. Just because we don’t agree, doesn’t mean we can’t love each other doesn’t mean we have to hate each other. But he continues, and this is the crucial point, he says, unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression, and denial of my humanity and right to exist, right. So it’s good. But that’s so powerful, because what it what it said, and he’s talking about race there, but I, I think it parallels with the LGBT q struggle, where, you know, people say, Hey, you know, we disagree when it comes to theology, and, you know, the church is relationship with LGBT q people, we still love gay people and transgender people. But if their disagreement with gay or transgender, whatever is rooted in their oppression, and, and the denial of their humanity and the right to exist, and they’re equal rights and privileges and everything, then then we have serious issues. I can’t love what you think when you think that those people should be oppressed, or rejected, or marginalized or restricted, or whatever.
Cody Johnston 15:58
Yeah, it didn’t trusting because you can kind of see like, I know, another big headline right now is just some of the Baptist churches under a lot of fire right now, because a lot of this sexual abuse scandals are kind of rising to the surface. It’s almost like the equivalent of what happened in the Catholic Church. But now it’s happening, you know, like, it’s kind of coming to the Protestant churches as well, kind of coming to light. And it’s weird to see Christians rallying around protecting those people, yet, we don’t protect the people who are just trying to get into the first place. Like, I don’t know how there’s just like this weird balance of like, Oh, these people are sexually abusing children. But that’s forgivable, that’s, we can we can look past that. But we can’t look past the fact that someone love someone of the same sex, we can’t look like we can’t, you know, we can look past their, you know, their, the way they are, and we can accept them. But we can’t accept someone over here who’s not doing anything. Like how many Come on, like it’s sexually assaulting children. Like, that’s not this saying, like, that’s, that’s a whole lot different. You know, even if you’re viewing homosexuality as like, quote unquote, sin, which, you know, we’re not here to argue if it isn’t sin, even if that’s how you view homosexuality. Like, there’s a big difference there, you know, and yet, that’s, that’s permissible or forgivable, but we can’t even accept someone who is of the same set, or who does love someone of the same sex. We can’t look past that. And I don’t know, there’s just this weird, dysfunction between the
David Hayward 17:30
That’s right, and the huge differences, consent. Right. Right. So and power, and so on. But that’s, that’s the thing. People, people generally are so concerned about institution of the church, the church, the life of the church, and I get this a lot, I get a lot of feedback from people saying, I’m too critical of the church, and the church is Christ bride and leave her alone, you’re harassing her blah, blah, blah. And I, you know, I listened, I hear them. But I’m like, you know, what, I love the church just as much as you do, if not more, and, and therefore I care about when it’s abusing its power, or taking advantage of people or excluding people or someone like that. And I think I’ve not only a right, but a responsibility to speak up about those things. But people are very reluctant to even consider the whole concept of systemic evil, there’s, there’s individual evil, there’s private evil, where where people do wrong things and that we as Christians have been taught that we need to forgive and forget and move on. And, you know, let those things go, don’t get hung up on those things. And, and, but the whole systemic evil, where this is deeply rooted in the system, this evil that’s deeply rooted in the system itself. People are very reluctant to consider that to see that a lot of people don’t believe in systemic evil. And the don’t even Don’t even think about it. They think of it as personal. I believe in systemic evil. And how we can get so caught up in the in the power and the privilege and everything inside the church and take advantage of things that we we become OF THE WEEK become a part of the systemic evil that it inflicts on its people. And so that’s what I think a lot of what’s happening with like, say, the Roman Catholic Church, with its priests or with the Baptist Church, and its pastors, I’ve said this for a long time, there’s a lot, a lot of people are saying, you know, what you’re talking about a lot about spiritual abuse, or sexual assault and kids and so on. That’s very rare. I’m saying you just wait. I mean, I don’t think it’s rare. I think it’s happening a lot more than we know. And then this whole SBC stuff starts coming out in the news. And I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg.
Cody Johnston 19:54
Oh, yeah, I completely agree with you know, that’s the thing. As far back like, first started this, that was one of our very first topics we talked with a woman named Christie, who wrote a book on her abuse, you know, years ago, and just talking with her was so enlightening to me, you know, growing up where everything was kind of swept under the rug, you know, everything’s kept tidy, right? Everything’s made me look tidy. And she’s like, no, this stuff goes on all the time. Yeah. And ever since then, just trying to once you start watching for it, it’s kind of like, you know, the, the syndrome, when you buy a red car, you start seeing all the red cars, right? Once you’re woke up to this, you’re like, holy crap, this is a real thing. We’ve just learned to look over it, we have just learned to, to gloss over this issue completely. And yet, still, it’s not a big deal. But this other thing over here, that’s just people trying to express their love and trying to exist. No, that’s the thing we’re going to target. So what about homosexuality, do you think has stirred up these people? Where, where did this come from? Why is this such the big deal? And I think it kind of ties in a little bit, even to politics and stuff like that. I mean, there’s just a lot of agenda involved in it. But where did this start? In your opinion, like, why has this become such a hot thing that we have kind of added the if this, then that kind of mentality to
David Hayward 21:17
people just love things to be very neat and tidy, and compartmentalized and black and white? You know, I think we spoke about this last time, it’s easier to control people, when you tell them how they can be how they can live, you’re either this or that, you know, you can’t, there’s no gray, there’s no in between. and this is how you’re supposed to live your life. And this is how we’re going to manage it, it just makes life a lot easier. And, you know, I think people are just afraid of difference, and diversity and change it, it’s produces fear. I mean, we’re seeing that right now, around the world with the rise of, you know, Islamophobia, or racism, or misogyny or, you know, all kinds of terrible things on the rise are being being exposed. Because people are just afraid of difference, you know, they, the, the different lifestyles, and that, that is so strange and unusual. You know, to them is very, very, very hard to process. I remember years ago, when I started getting to know gay people, for example, or transgender people, or bisexual people or whatever. And now I have a lot of friends who are LGBT q plus. And I remember I remember though, at the beginning of, you know, my learning, my education, just how bizarre, like, it’s just so different, it’s different, their lives are different. And, and in, you know, when I’m talking about sexually, and so on, so, and I was like, it took a effort on my part to, you know, keep my brain elastic, and my, my mind open, and my thoughts fluid, and in my heart open and accepting and embracing, to new things. And it’s just, it’s just as simple as that, you know, I, I had the privilege, let’s talk about Muslims for a second, I used to, you know, I always thought we should be inclusive and embrace Muslims and, and Islam is a sister religion, and blah, blah, blah, so on, so forth. And then I taught English as a second language at a local university. And a lot of my students were Muslim, from the Middle East, Arab speaking Muslims, and trying to learn English, so they could go to our universities, and they’re wonderful people. They’re beautiful people, the most beautiful, gentle, kind, loving, interesting, fascinating people I’ve ever met, you know, and that totally at my theology, then became experience, my theology that was trying to be open and trying to figure this out, suddenly was overcome and proven, and everything by actually meeting and falling in love with Muslims. And it’s the same with people, gay people, or transgender people. It’s one thing to have a theology and try to figure this out. And, you know, how do we include all this stuff, but when you fall in love with a gay person, or a transgender person, or whatever it works, it just has to work.
Cody Johnston 24:42
Talking about this a little bit makes me think, and curious, what was your stance on homosexuality? or What did you grow up with? Or as in your, in your Christian walk? What was the primary teaching to you about homosexuality? And when he in when did that shift?
David Hayward 25:02
Well, I mean, I spent most of my time in the Pentecostal church. So you can pretty much do yes.
theology was right. Right. But I’ll tell you, the first time my theology was challenged, was, this was after I’d been to seminary, and we were good friends with a couple who lived in the States. And we’re in Canada. And we would meet like, once or twice a year, somewhere at a hotel and, you know, Bangor, Maine or somewhere and hang out for a weekend and catch up and all that kind of thing. So one weekend, we were, we were there in Bangor at a hotel and, and enjoying ourselves. And we decided to go down to the hot tub. And so we filled up our coffee mugs with wine. And we went down to the hot tub, the four of us, and were there in the hot tub. And there were some guys there. And anyway, before we went down to the hot tub, my friend and I, we were talking, they they were sharing a house with two lesbians. And we were talking about this whole thing. And I’m like, you know, yeah, like, God loves them. But that, you know, they, they need to, you know, change and or be celibate, but that was that was I’m talking 30 plus years ago. Yeah. Now, I was thinking this way. Anyway. So we go to the hot tub, we’re drinking our wine. There’s some guys there. They joined us in the hot tub. A couple of guys. And we just start conversing. What do you do? What do you do? And I’m like, Well, I’m actually I’m a, I’m a pastor. With church. You could just see the blood there. Yeah. And and they’re like, no. Okay. And they said, Well, you might be interested in knowing that we’re gay. Oh, yeah. So then we we ended up talking for like, two hours, these guys had been Christian churchgoers. They was found out, they were gay, they were kicked out. They have the church, they lost their jobs. Only the oil company refused to deliver oil to their homes. Because they were gay, etc, etc. They were telling us all these stories, and they, they were like crying, they were very emotional. Telling us their stories. And I’m like, That was when my conversion started, you know, about this whole thing. I thought this does not work. Obviously, the my theology was, you know, crafted in an ivory tower, obviously, and in my safe little bubble. And here, I meet some gay people who are actually struggling to be accepted and included and not persecuted for being just being who they are. And, and by the church itself. And so that’s when my my change really started. And it took a lot of years to get to the point where I am today. But yeah, that happened like 30 years ago. So the process was long and difficult. But I’ll tell you the key factor in in assisting me in my, my change my my own transformation was just knowing and being friends with being loved by and loving LGBT people. And and that’s key. Like I can tell, for example, yesterday, I noticed there was somebody on Twitter, I think it was said something like that there was a picture of a woman in a Muslim woman in a hit job, her face covered, and someone says, How far should we allow women to, you know, how far something to do with how should we allow women to be made to dress like this? And then somebody came back and said, a woman came back and said, How about how about women just dress the way they want. And then people just piled on her bed. And and like this, these Muslim women are oppressed, and they are forced to dress this way. It’s not true. All the Muslim women I met, there was a couple who, who felt depressed because they had to wear the, you know, a head job that and they didn’t want to, they want to Westernise but almost all the Muslim women I knew, love their head job. They were it was like a badge of honor. And they were proud of it. And wouldn’t even consider getting rid of it, even if they were allowed to. And you know, you might say yeah, that’s cultural conditioning, and so on and so forth. But they, they at that moment, they felt it was there, right. And they’re privileged, privileged to wear the hijab. And I can tell the people who did not know Muslim women who love their jobs, you can tell when somebody doesn’t know somebody like that, because then they come opinionated. Any woman who’s wearing a job is oppressed, and was being forced to wear that it’s not true. That’s just a flat out lie. And so, but once once you get to know the people, once you get to know, so let’s go back to LGBT q plus, once you start knowing and understanding and loving and caring for a gay person, for example, or transgender person, then everything changes. Unless your hearts really hard.
Cody Johnston 30:08
Yeah. You know, there’s something you just were talking about, they’re kind of going back to the the hijab thing. To me, you said it could be culturally conditioned, which is fine. I mean, that’s why we wear denim jeans and flannel shirts. It’s just a cultural condition, because that’s our style. Something else that’s very interesting to me is a lot of times the very same cultures that say, Hey, this is bad. Like, that’s a symbolism of terrorism and things. I mean, because that’s what gets said, right? Like, it’s an extremist point of view. I’m like, these are the same churches where you have to wear denim skirts and can’t cut your hair. Or you have if you’re a girl, you have to wear a dress versus guys are expected to wear it. Like we have those two, they may be a westernized version. But I personally had been kicked out of a church with my mother because she wore dress jeans to a Baptist Church instead of a dress. This was the 90s. But we got kicked out for it. She was told she come back if she doesn’t wear a dress. Yeah, come on. Like it’s the same thing. You know, it’s all these conditions that we apply through this whole Sunday best, you know, that applies over to sexuality, to appearance to all these things, these filters that are unbiblical filters, these are things that we’ve just made up. Because we have done it for so long. We have used it and like you said, it’s easier to control what we can categorize these are control what we can kind of put a box on. So with that being said, there are a lot of people that are very uncomfortable with this idea. And their first gut reaction, because this is what we are trained to do is But the Bible says this, right? What is your response to that?
David Hayward 31:46
Well, my response to that is, please read my highlight on Instagram. Because I I get that so much to like I I get when I do an LGBT q plus cartoon on mean, I just did one yesterday. And sure enough, I get the Bible verses quoted at me. As if, you know, first of all, can I just read what I I wrote for my highlighted short, Yeah, please. I said, here’s my explanation for being an LGBTQ. Li the Bible. People say I should read the Bible and then they quote verses at me. But I studied the Bible since childhood. I went to Bible college and got my bachelor’s in Bible. I went to seminary and got my masters in Bible, then my diploma in ministry, I took years of original languages, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, preached from the Bible and read commentaries and theologians for over 30 years. So please don’t help me. Don’t call me.
Elaine Johnston 32:43
Okay, you already know the Scripture.
David Hayward 32:45
So then theology, what caused my theological anguish was, who was in and who was out? How could a gracious God condemned people just for being who they were Catholics, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and LGBT q folk. I thought my choice was accept everyone reject the Bible, or accept the Bible and reject almost everyone. The Bible didn’t help. Theologians didn’t help. Opinions didn’t help. There are qualified verses versions and voices from all factions. So I poured over all the scriptures until I was ready to give up and total frustration. So my basic point there is I you can study the Bible until you bleed out your eyeballs, it’s not going to help. Peace. Then in 2009, I finally saw one day I was confused. The next day I was at peace, I saw that we are essentially one. There’s one reality and we each apprehended through our own mindsets and articulate it through our own languages. One reality many thoughts and words are different words express or different thoughts of this one reality? All scriptures and theologies are human thoughts and words, trying to apprehend and articulate this one reality, leave our thoughts that endorser intellectual divisions and cling to our words that enforce our thoughts, and they will manifest in our world and relationship as devices. Once we Pierce this conditioning, we are free to love beyond opinions and arguments. So my whole point about that is one day I, I realized I saw on a very deep level, we’re connected. And the only thing we talked about this last time, the only thing that seems to separate us is our thoughts and our language. It’s it’s just words. And unfortunately, it’s it’s those who are in power, that can wield their thoughts and their words, and make laws that are unjust, unjust, and unfair, and marginalize and reject and persecute people. But if we could see underneath all this stuff, all this theology, all these words, all these scriptures, all these voices, and see that we’re essentially one. And it’s like that unity and diversity thing, I really do believe in that unity and diversity. And I think we’re very diverse, including sexually and gender wise, and that, but at an essential level, we’re we’re at one. So when someone comes at me with a scripture verse, I send them to that because I can’t keep writing it over and over again. Yeah. And I, I get it. There’s theologians arguing on both sides of the case. There’s evidence for and against, there’s lawyers for the prosecution lawyers for the defense. But it’s that that debates going to end that court case is going to go on forever, I’m afraid. So I can’t wait for a conclusion. Love has to decide what’s going to happen now. And and I really do believe that means seeing that we’re all one, you know, in it, regardless of our sexual orientation, or whatever.
Cody Johnston 35:41
That’s powerful man. Yeah, made me tear up over here.
Elaine Johnston 35:45
So what are some changes specifically for the church and religion? How do we become more inclusive? How do we be more welcoming and inviting and whenever we have church signs that say, You are welcome here? How do we actually mean that how do we actually mean that without judgment without trying to change people,
David Hayward 36:04
I you know, I, I get it. I used to be a pastor. Like I said, I was pastor of a church for a long, long time. And you know, I’d have people come up to me secretly and say, I’m gay, and lesbian. My welcome here. I’m like, Yeah, absolutely. And then the next Sunday, she’d show up with her girlfriend, and they’d be holding hands. And then I knew Oh, shit. Excuse me.
Unknown Speaker 36:27
You’re fine. You’re not the first.
David Hayward 36:30
yet. Here we go. Yes, one thing to, you know, kind of on the sly. So yeah, you’re welcome. Come on, gays are welcome. Everything. But then when they start being day? Yeah,
Elaine Johnston 36:43
I think that’s where the accepting and affirming kind of comes from, it’s like you’re accepted by your actions aren’t accepted.
David Hayward 36:51
Exactly. So that that was another big milestone for me when they were holding hands and worshipping together. I knew all Here we go, here we go. And sure enough, because now, it wasn’t just me accepting or including or welcoming, welcoming a gay person, it now it was gonna have to turn into policy. And that’s where the hard part starts. And I get it, I get it, I get I know, there’s pastors out there that want to be affirming, and have affirming churches, and I know, they’re up against a mountain of tradition, and rules and expectations and prejudices. And I know how difficult it is for churches to change policy, I know. But you’ve got to start somewhere that you know what, one of the things I learned a long time ago, was the best way to start dealing with a serious issue is just throw in the first grenade and, and stir it up, instead of being so diplomatic, and, you know, appeasing everybody’s feelings and trying to navigate and I’m not nice and friendly way just say, we’ve got gay people coming to this church and I they should be fully included and embrace and have totally equal status. What do you guys think there’s a grenade gets thrown at him, something has to happen from that point on, you might lose your job, the church might blow up, you might lose leaders, and you might have a church split, you know, but, you know, that’s, that might be the cost of of change.
Cody Johnston 38:23
You know, I have a couple of thoughts on that. One of which is I think we have too many church leaders more fearful of their job than they are fearful of preaching love. And that’s a that’s a condition in and of itself.
David Hayward 38:35
Yeah, you know what, it’s a legitimate fear. I’ve been there. And I don’t, I don’t, I don’t judge them. Because I’ve been there. I’ve totally been there where I knew you know, what, if I do this, I could lose my job. I’ve got a wife and three kids, I’ve got a home, and a car and three miles to feed five miles if we could put us you know, it’s scary. It’s very, very, very frightening, terrifying to consider taking steps to lose your job, or maybe even a more normal one blowing up a church. You know, there’s, there’s legitimate fears, and I totally get it. I totally understand pastors who are afraid to proceed, and churches that are afraid to make change. Because let’s say a Methodist Church, for example, like I was a guest speaker in the Methodist Church a few several years ago, that was affirming and had gay people on staff, but they went against the norm. It was going against the flow, and I know, it was being persecuted. And the pastor was being persecuted in ways that I can’t really share. But because a church that’s a part of a denomination, you you’ve not only got your own church to deal with, you’ve got the nomination to deal with. And it’s it’s, it is mountainous, I totally get it. It’s not easy.
Cody Johnston 39:57
Yeah. Well, it’s interesting, because I know like, when I think of I’ve heard this so many times, like Christians are being persecuted, you know, like we’re getting attacked for our faith or whatever. But honestly, the ones that are really getting attacked are the ones standing up to a lot of this, like the people preaching we’re being attacked, aren’t the ones getting attacked? They’re the ones attacking, which is the I mean, most of your comments you had the one the other day is the all the sheep throwing the stones. And I was like that is exactly Yes.
David Hayward 40:24
It’s one thing to say by mid attack, I’m being forced to love somebody I don’t like then somebody who’s I’m being persecuted people are being taught to hate or persecute me and I’m not allowed in. That’s two totally different pains.
Cody Johnston 40:40
That’s good. And I was actually about to ask you, is there an attack on traditional Christianity? And like, I think that kind of just sums it up right there is we view them as attack, you know, air quotes attacking us, the traditional Christians, you know, oh, we’re being attacked by them. It’s like this, us versus them. But in reality, they’re over here like note like you’re teaching people to literally despise us to not serve us at your facilities to deny us service to treat us as outcasts. You’re just scared of us holding hands in your church.
David Hayward 41:09
Right. And that’s, that’s goes back to the whole James Baldwin, quote, it’s okay to disagree. And we can love each other unless your disagreements rooted in my, you know, destruction. Right. So, yeah, absolutely.
Cody Johnston 41:22
What can the church learn from the LGBT q plus community?
David Hayward 41:26
Well, the first thing that has to happen is gotta let them in. Yeah. And, and hear their voice, you know, but that’s the problem is, for many, they’re not allowed in, if they are allowed in, they’re not allowed a voice. They’re not, no power is shared with them. And but if if you would let them in and listen to them, even on a personal one, on one level, if people would just, you know, sit down and listen to a gay person story or a transgender person person’s story. Oh, my goodness, the stories I’ve heard transgender people, it’s just like, it would kill you. If you have a heart. You know, what they’ve, what they’ve gone through. If a group of people could sit down and listen to a transgender person share their story and their struggle. I wonder how many parts that would change? You know, and I think it teaches us a lot about inclusion. It teaches us a lot about having what a dualistic worldview looks like. It teaches us a lot about who’s in who’s out? Is that even a valid way of looking at the world? And, and so on. So we have a lot to learn from each other. Yeah, have you seen that it’s very pot, it became very popular on a video of a white guy who was very racist. And I forget what happened to him, but he suddenly realized he was racist and didn’t want to be racist anymore. I think it was talking on the phone with a black woman. And and it’s so they ended up he asked if they could speak or whatever, and he got to know they got to know each other. And he asked for her help. And they became good friends. And, you know, now he’s thoughtfully in a mature way dealing with his racism. You know, it’s a it’s an incredible video. But I think if we all did that on a one on one level with with gay people, or transgender people or whatever, I think we would learn a whole lot.
Cody Johnston 43:29
Yeah, and that just reminds me of like, the whole you know, down. I don’t know if this is everywhere, but like I said, we’re from the south. So that’s what we know. You know, preaching revival revival revivals about to have a revival is sorry, I’m asking you, right. It’s an individual thing you want revival. Do what you’re saying, like, go sit down with someone who’s different than you and learn, learn something about
Elaine Johnston 43:48
it. don’t have all the answers admit that you don’t know how to talk about it, but you want to learn more. And I think that we just a lot of people have this God complex of well, the body will says this, and I have all the answers. And you should just follow the follow the Scripture, and it’s like, well, actually, the scripture says, this says to love your neighbor, it doesn’t say love your neighbor. But if they’re gay, don’t love them, or Muslim. Don’t love them. It says love your neighbor. And that’s it. Right? There’s
David Hayward 44:18
no stipulation to that. That’s like a tweet I saw yesterday. You know, the whole
Fred, Mr. Rogers movies, and now and everybody’s talking about it and and somebody tweeted, yeah, yeah, we should love our neighbors, but they need to be legal immigrants.
Like, okay, that guy did not get the point. He
Cody Johnston 44:40
Yeah, was right over your head.
David Hayward 44:43
The whole revival thing. I think a parable that applies right now is the whole wine skin thing. The new wine I think, right now, really is the LGBT q plus Muslims, you know, people of color, Mexicans, immigrants, refugees, like all this stuff, the other and here we are white people talking about it, right, which is problematic right from the beginning. White straight people, as well. But yeah, the whole idea of the wine skin is that the old wine skins can’t contain, they can’t hold the new wine, they’re going to burst. And that’s if that’s messy. That’s where the wine gets spelt everywhere. It goes everywhere. And it takes, you know, it takes new wine takes new wine skins, if I got that, right. Yeah, yeah. And and I think that’s talking about structures, and and institutions and policies, the containers of, of this new wine. And I think this is new wine we’re talking about, it’s a new, it’s a hot topic right now. It’s a huge issue. You can’t take new wine into these old ways of doing things, these old systems, these old policies, these old rules, and old traditions and orthodoxies and everything. It’s going to take dramatic change. And in order to hold this stuff, so that’s what I, we talked about, you know, people have this idea of revivals or renewals being so lovely, and enjoyable and happy times, you know, quit, that could be very, very messy and dislocating in decentralizing for those in power.
Cody Johnston 46:35
That’s really good. So my final questions to you twofold, because it’s going to go both ways. And I want to preface this by saying, you can pretty much go and find David on any of his platforms. And you’re going to get a ton of these questions already asked, because that’s what he does well, so go find him go follow him. Because his work is marvelous. I think, like, I share your stuff pretty much more than anything else, because I’m like, that’s our message. That’s part of like, go for it. So. But the final question, of course, we pose of like asking you to pose a question to another group. So what question would you ask to traditional Christians in regards to the LGBT q plus community to help them grow and to help them think,
David Hayward 47:22
do you know a gay person? Is there a gay person in your family? a transgender person? Yeah. It and if you do, just talk and listen, just listen to them. It’s good. Yeah. So that’s what I would ask, do you know a gay person, you know, a transgender person and start from there? That’s good. Because that, like I said, Before, I don’t think arguments and debate is going to change people’s minds. It’s going to take an a profound experience to unlock our theologies. So start by meeting someone, or if you know, someone getting to know them.
Cody Johnston 47:59
That’s and to flip that question, what question would you ask to someone who is of the LGBT q plus community, to traditional Christians to help them kind of come together? Like what is the question you would pose to them to kind of help them help others?
David Hayward 48:16
Will you be my neighbor?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to seeing the Fred Mr. Rogers movie. I am so I can’t, I can’t go into a theater to watch it because I don’t like crying in public. But, yeah, I think, I don’t know. I don’t like suggesting to gay people, that they need to do something or they should ask question. That’s my hesitancy in answering your question. No, that’s good. That’s a valid point. Because I think the onus is on the church to be asking the question, and in inviting, open opening their, their minds and their hearts, I think just being a gay person, or a transgender person as a prophetic existence, just by being just by being a gay believer, or a transgender, Christian, or whatever, is a prophetic way of being. And, and we know what happens to the prophets, they get stone, so I, and that, that’s their, you know, that’s their fate, their curse, or, or maybe their blessing. And I know a lot of I know, a lot of gay people who are trying to be quiet, not stir the waters, and I totally get it. And then there are no other gay people who are are fighting for their rights and privileges, and, and so on. And you know, it, but just being gay, I did a whole book on the art of coming out the whole book on LGBT q cartoons. It’s just a coming out is essentially coming out as a prophet. And basically, you’re saying, I’m going to challenge everything you think about to world and God and you know, the church and everything just by existing. And, you know, I have so much respect for for them. So good. Any closing thoughts before we wrap up here? No, but that was that was a that was intense.
Cody Johnston 50:30
David, thank you so much for being open for being vocal about these issues. I appreciate it so much, everyone. If you’re listening in, you don’t follow the naked pasture on pretty much everything, you’re pretty much missing out on one of the greatest joys of life. Go find his word, support his word, get his t shirts, I’ve been seeing some of your shirts, I’m like, I gotta get some of these. Yes, support him on Etsy will have all the links to where to find him where to get his apparel, and to I get his artwork is just some of your Sophia is Sophia drawings. Correct. I had actually never heard of this until recently. And so those drawings are very powerful. And go get some of his work and support what he does. David, thank you so much. Thank you for coming on the show again. And we look forward to what the future holds.
David Hayward 51:19
Yeah, Yeah, me too. Let’s do it again sometime. Absolutely. Yeah.
Elaine Johnston 51:24
David, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Cody Johnston 51:27
Thank you, David. I love your heart. I love the URI voice crying out to so many people who are stuck in just traditional Christianity to say hey, love, over fear, love over hatred. And just to express to people that Jesus is love goes so far beyond what we allow it to everyone. We did a final five with David where he just ran down a few key mindsets to help us overcome some of are just the religious mindsets that we have worked ourselves into and be more loving. Head over to the reckless pursuit.com forward slash subscribe to find that and we’ll be sending that out via email. You have all week to get on board with that and ultimately it will actually be in our new program. We are creating nomads Academy more about that in the future. If you enjoyed this episode, I would highly encourage you to share it on with a friend that is the best way to keep the conversation going. And if you have not done so, so far go click that subscribe button. That way you can keep up to date with all things the reckless pursuit we have new episodes. Go find David support everything David does grab some of his artwork, follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, his comics are life giving to me I so look forward to seeing and every time they come out. We love you guys and as always be brave, be bold and be reckless.
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