Diamond Editorial

Dry bones ain't got a chance

What do you do when faced with dead or dying situations in your life? Ezekiel has some answers. Upstream's editor Natasha Coker-Jones says she knows a thing or two about dry places.

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Diamond Features

'An Insatiable Desire to Live'

UWI graduate Kwesi Aguillera is a fighter. His rare condition baffled doctors for years. Successfully diagnosed, he can finally seek out the life-saving surgery he needs. See how ordinary people are pitching in and what you can do to make it happen.

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Diamond Features

I've Got a Future

He's young and single with a promising Gospel music career that was about to take off. Then the secret broke. He had been leading a double life. Worship leader Keron Ramsey had fallen--big time. And that's where the story might have ended. But God...

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Diamond Features

Jason Bishop - Transformed by Truth

It wasn't an accident, sickness or any kind of 'near death' experience that caused Jason Bishop to give up the perks of being a guitarist in one of T&T's top soca bands. But his story is no less intriguing.

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Diamond Features

Watch What You Watch!

Once upon a time it was said that 'real' Christians don't go to the cinema. That was light years ago. Today, movies are 'in' and many believers have no qualms about watching their favourite flick, be it the R-rated 'Sex in the City' or the horror 'Drag Me To Hell.' The big question is: Have we gone too far?

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Out Of The Closet

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by Desiree McEachrane

"It's sometimes a bitter fight," *Bruce Charles told me. "And it's filled with cravings, bad decisions and people who just don't understand."  

Bruce has been saved for more than 20 years. His first encounters with the gay lifestyle came before his spiritual conversion. But his attraction to other men has never completely gone away. "There are pastors I know who are struggling with this," he said. "You still go through the struggles, although you're a Christian.  You might call me a success story; I call it surviving by the grace of God alone."

Although he was not raised in a Christian home, Bruce always felt that his homosexual encounters were wrong, and would spend hours after each one, trying to "wash away" the dirty feeling he experienced.

"Inside of myself, I still felt disgusted.  I did something that I knew was wrong."  Bruce has also faced temptation inside the church. He's been approached "times too numerous to mention" by Christian brothers who also struggle with same-sex attraction. He admitted to having homosexual encounters even after being saved. His process of moving away from the lifestyle has been a long one, he said, and it's not finished.

"This is something you constantly have to work at," Bruce said. "I have a life that I didn't ask for, but still I have to live with it.  You have to face the fact that if somebody attractive passes, you have to put blinders on your eyes, because the feelings are still there.  And I don't blame the devil for everything.

"We always know when temptation is going to happen. You see something and in your mind, in your heart, the Holy Spirit starts to kick up. And you tell yourself, ‘No, I'm strong enough to handle this.' If I ever said that I got myself into any difficulties that I didn't know about, I would be lying.  I don't see myself as being any success; God is the Person who keeps."

A homosexual is defined by Lawrence J. Hatterer in his book Changing Homosexuality in the Male as "One who is motivated, in adult life, by a definite preferential erotic attraction to members of the same sex and who usually, but not necessarily, engages in overt sexual relations with them."

  Homosexuality exists in both males and in females (called lesbianism). And as anyone who has ever been near an evangelical Christian church could tell you, not only is homosexuality a sin, it is chief among taboo subjects.

"Most people who are believers would say, ‘That could never happen in the church,'" said Dr. Lealand Henry, senior pastor at the Nazarene Worship Centre in Santa Cruz. "The church knows that sexual impropriety of the heterosexual kind exists. But we're not dealing with the homosexual kind." Dr. Henry also has a private counselling practice, where he has counselled Christians and non-Christians who want to rid themselves of same-sex attractions. "We [Christians] don't bring up this topic at conferences. The fact is we're afraid." 

In other cases, Christians have hit a different extreme.  Gay theology is a phenomenon that is gaining momentum.  It posits that God has not spoken on the subject of homosexuality as it is practiced today so it's ok to be gay and Christian. Persons claim to have been "born gay" and some churches have become as tolerant of the gay lifestyle as any politically correct talk show host.

The Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), which is located in Abilene, Texas, has a statement of faith that any Evangelical or Pentecostal would be proud of. It includes a belief in a triune God:  the Father; Jesus Christ the Son; and the Holy Spirit or "God as our Sustainer." Yet the MCC International Statement on Marriage Equality states: "We will use our religious voice and our churches to both promote and provide religious services and blessings for lesbian/gay couples who wish to sanctify their relationship before God."

Stephen Bates in his book A Church at War: Anglicans and Homosexuality said: "The Church of England's position on homosexuality is inconsistent and confused... it says that while under certain circumstances the church should accept lay couples in same-sex relationships, such behaviour is unacceptable for ordained ministers."  Bates added that the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, founded in 1976, "was an affront to those who believed there were no homosexuals in the church, or that, if there were, they should keep quiet about it."

            In the secular arena, the gay lifestyle is not only ‘out of the closet', it's wearing a red dress and stilettos.  It is now politically correct to associate with the gay agenda. Gay marriages were first legalised in the Netherlands in 2001; Belgium, Spain, Canada and South Africa quickly followed suit. Massachusetts is the only US state that allows same-sex` marriage.

Hollywood and the Western media have definitely accepted homosexuality. Brokeback Mountain was a film based on a romantic relationship between two men.  Released in 2006 and starring the late Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, the film won three Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score, two Golden Globes and several other international awards.  There are hundreds of independent gay films, books, magazines and websites. There are gay bars, ‘gay-dar', advice on gay and lesbian dating from MSN.com, gay pride parades and gay jewelry. Clearly, it's no longer as Lord Alfred Douglas, reputed to be the gay lover of Oscar Wilde, put it, the love that dare not speak its name.

"I thank God for the era that I went through my situation," Bruce told Upstream Magazine.  "Now, you turn on your television, and homosexuality is not a problem. You have different philosophies now where you can embrace who you are; [say] God created you like this.  I had to hide and stay hidden.  Now you will feel more comfortable with what you're doing; it's easier to fall into the lifestyle and not have a problem with it." 

Contrary to gay theology, Evangelical Christians believe the Bible clearly refers to the practice of homosexuality both in the Old and New Testament, starting with the damning story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Leviticus 18:22 calls it "an abomination" in the King James Version or "a detestable sin" (New Living Translation.)  Many Christians have used these scriptures to place an ‘extra bad sin' label on same-sex attraction, ranking it right up there with murder, pedophilia and witchcraft. 


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