I am 63 years old. I am a gay Christian. I am not an oxymoron. I am David Hall.
For the first 59 years of my life, I struggled to live a life contrary to who I was. It was a life lived based on the expectations and beliefs of my family, of my religious upbringing, and of society. I feared the rejection, condemnation, and erasure I learned would be the result of living as a gay man. I did not want God’s judgement of burning in hell for eternity.
I married Grace with whom I had two daughters, Megan and Chelsey. I studied and worked as a minister of youth music, a career which ended when my same-sex attraction was known. I continued to serve in the church in various capacities as moderator, elder, worship leader, children and adult choir leader, and on several boards – from building administration to finance – while supporting my family working in the insurance and human resources industries.
I loved my family, church and community. I received pastoral and clinical counselling, including reparative and conversion therapy, in the hope I would no longer be a homosexual, same-sex attracted, gay. I prayed constantly, often prostrate on the living room floor in the middle of the night, sobbing uncontrollably at times, for God to take away the gay. God did not answer my prayer. I was angry, confused, traumatized. Even so, I did not turn my back on God.
In our 33rd year of marriage, my wife Grace died of breast cancer. The facade of a straight Christian life crumbled. I hated God for taking away the life for which I had worked so hard and for not taking the “gay” away. I turned to alcohol, prescription drugs, promiscuity and gambling. I lost everything. Life was no longer worth the effort. Within 10 – 15 minutes of being found by my sister and pastor, I was saved from succeeding with my third attempt at suicide.
With the love, prayers and support of family and friends, I received counselling. It was my daughters and close friends of my wife who told me that it had been Grace’s hope for me to live who I was created to be. It felt like being hit by God with the proverbial 2 X 4. God had not abandoned me. God had always been there waiting for me to acknowledge who I was created to be, in God’s image, God’s child. Loved. Beloved.
On January 1, 2016, I was able to say without shame, guilt, or hesitation that I was a gay Christian.
Within weeks I no longer looked for solace in the alcohol, prescription drugs, promiscuity, and gambling. I went off all the medication I had been on for more than 15 years for back pain, migraines, and intestinal problems. I lost 65 pounds eating healthier and exercising. I found joy in life, in people. My relationship with God felt closer than ever. I began to experience the abundant and fulfilling life God promised: a resurrected life of purpose and hope. I released myself to God and although I was ready to live single for the rest of my life, God brought Jim unexpectedly into my life, and I knew it was right. I have a relationship I never thought possible – faithful, nourishing, enriching, honest, trusting, unconditional love.
Jim and I began to look for a church where we could worship and serve in the ministry and life of a welcoming and affirming Christian community. We attended Jubilee Fellowship Christian Reformed Church during our first year of being together. At the time we were only able to attend every other Sunday as Jim was living in Barrie. There was love, support, welcome, and affirmation among those we spoke with and who sought us out each time we attended. However, we realized there were glass ceilings limiting our involvement, as well as not being able to be married. There were also theological messages from the pulpit from guest speakers telling us indirectly that we didn’t belong. We remain close friends with some Jubilee members and miss many others, but we simply could not continue to attend a church where there are conditions to Jesus’ love — particularly for the LGBTQ2+ community.
We have found a community of faith where diversity is welcomed and affirmed, where love is given unconditionally, where we can worship and serve in the life and ministry of the church, and where we can be married. No human can be denied these inalienable rights to communion for all who seek God with heart, soul, mind, and body. We are all created in God’s image, God’s children, God’s beloved. All with equal access to unknown measure of God’s love, mercy, and grace.
I did experience rejection, condemnation, and erasure by some of my family and by my church when I came out as a Christian in a gay relationship, but not fear. Instead, I have seen God’s goodness and blessing in ways I have never experienced before, including a new family and friends to walk through life with.
Thanks for this opportunity to serve God.