The Next Generation Speaks

Apr 8 2012 @ 11:17am

Dan Savage highly recommends this long presentation by Matthew Vines (preview above):

Matthew Vines is a young gay man who grew up in Kansas. His family is Christian and very conservative. After coming out, Vines took two years off college to research and think deeply about what the bible says—and doesn't say—about homosexuality. You could argue that what Vines has to say is irrelevant to non-Christians. But Vines' argument and his insights are highly relevant to gay Christians, to their families, to Christians who point to the bible to justify their bigotry and the pain they inflict on LGBT people (including their own LGBT children), and to anyone who happens to live in a country that is majority Christian.

A reader writes:

I only watched bits and pieces of the video, but while reading the transcript – as the 22-year-old gay only son of a Latino minister (with all the Pentecostal-leaning and intransigent tendencies that implies) – I had one thought running through my mind: This is what I always wanted to do.

In my heart of hearts, while tearfully struggling with my confusion and the clashing of mental schemata during my freshman year of college, I wanted to leave everything behind and just study this as critically as I could … and although I did, to a certain extent, I ended up dealing with my doubts by gradually shifting towards secular agnosticism, which made an honest, non-cynical study of the Bible somewhat unnecessary ("Well, it's written by men who didn't know even the first thing about astronomy, so what the hell do I care what they have to say about my sexuality?")

Over the course of the past two years, however, I've been trying to find a balance between the Christianity of my recent past and my current amorphous beliefs (a journey that, for the record, has been aided by writers like yourself; thank you, epilogue to Virtually Normal!) – and that is where my reaction to this comes in. Matthew's video is groundbreaking not by virtue of its arguments – these facts can be found elsewhere – but by the intelligent way they've been compiled and the way they are presented. Its power lies in the sincere, Jesus-loving, millennial face it puts on the issue.

For a few moments, it brought me back to the person I was lying on my bed in my freshman dorm, and made me believe what I used to believe: that God can speak through any human being. It reminded me that, although I don't regret my particular journey, maybe I didn't need to step away from Christianity as far as I did. I know there are many others who need that message. (And I'll be spending my Spring Break translating it into my parents' native Spanish.)