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background

I was born and raised in the Lutheran church.  My home church is affiliated with the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.  For a variety of reasons, I prefer the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.  They are much more liberal, and I like the services and music better.  My faith is an important part of who I am, and I think it is what makes me such a strong person.

My college, Valparaiso University, is a Lutheran school, however, it is not a "bible" school or a religious school.  For two summers (1993 and 1994), I worked at an ELCA camp in Ohio -- Lutheran Memorial Camp.  Those were the two best summers of my life.  (Read the story of how I ended up at LMC.)

My Christian beliefs are what made my struggle to come out even harder.  For so many years I thought that being gay and being Christian just couldn't be possible.  So I figured that if I had to choose, I would suppress the gay feelings in favor of my Christian beliefs.

However, after much struggle and self-discovery, I found that it is possible to be BOTH and to be at peace with oneself and with God.  And funnier yet, I owe it all to the Internet!  (And this was in the days BEFORE a graphical World Wide Web and Internet Relay Chat).  Thanks to the 'net, I was able to do some research and talk with other people, and find that it's possible to be both.

the cross of pride

The "Cross of Pride" design shown below started out in 1993 when I printed up six verses that were important to me on different colored pieces of paper.  I did them in no particular order and with no real "design" in mind.

However, once I was done, I noticed an INCREDIBLE amount of symbolism in the placement of the verses and colors as I arranged the pieces of paper in the shape of a cross. The colors of the cross are the same as those of the gay pride flag as well as the placement of the verses had meaning.

No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful and will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing He will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

I Corinthians 10:13

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.  Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.

John 3:16-17

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice... And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4,7

Revere the Lord all your days, my son, and refuse to sin or to transgress his commandments. Live uprightly all the days of your life, and do not walk in the ways of wrongdoing; for those who act in accordance with truth will prosper in all their activities.

Tobit 4:5-6

So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

Galatians 6:9-10


Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

II Corinthians 12:10

All verses are taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

I Corinthians 10:13

No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone.  God is faithful and will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing He will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

At the top of the cross is my most favorite verse.  I came across it one day while sitting in a chapel service in college.  I was feeling VERY down at that time -- it was my fifth year in college and I had had a lot of trouble with some of my friends.  There were times I just wanted to give up and not continue with school.  As I sat there that day, that verse was part of the reading.  It totally smacked me in the face, and later that day when I got back to my dorm room, I printed up the verse and put it up on the wall near my mirror.  After that, if I ever felt I couldn't get through something, I looked at that verse and remembered what it had to say to me.

John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.  Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.

Need we say more about John 3:16-17?  Sure... it's trite, and that's why I include verse 17.  Verse 17 continues the hopeful thoughts of verse 16.

Philippians 4:4,7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice... And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

In the middle of the cross is the verse I like to think of at the center of my life.  Being a musician, the idea of "rejoicing in the Lord always" is expressed in the music I perform and compose.  The joy I get from music gives me a peace and fulfillment that can't be explained.

Tobit 4:5-6

Revere the Lord all your days, my son, and refuse to sin or to transgress his commandments. Live uprightly all the days of your life, and do not walk in the ways of wrongdoing; for those who act in accordance with truth will prosper in all their activities.

The book of Tobit you ask?  Where is that?  Well it's not part of the traditional canon of books found in the Bible.  It is one of the deuterocanonical books of the Bible, and can be found in more comprehensive versions.  This verse is a directive from a father to his son about how to conduct himself as he goes out into the world.  I came across this verse shortly before I graduated from college, and I thought it very appropriate to the time.

Galatians 6:9-10

So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

Another verse of hope, that if we continue on, and work hard, and do not become tireless in our mission, we will reap great rewards in the future.

II Corinthians 12:10

Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

At the foundation of anyone's life should be a verse like this. "Whenever I am weak... then I am strong".  It is the weaknesses in our life that we make it through that make us stronger people in the end.  This verse ties in strongly to the "red verse" at the top of the cross.