This past weekend I listened on several occasions to a preacher who used to be a practicing homosexual. He travels the world giving sermons and seminars and he specializes in talking about sex. I was struck dumb for the first several minutes when I first heard him speak. He completely overloaded my stereotype filters. He talked just like a conservative fundamentalist preacher. Same cadence, inflection, words, all that. But he was totally gay, with a lilting voice and a posture that tended to settle into slight curtsies whenever he made a point or finished a thought. He flailed his hands around a lot. He admitted that he composes urban electronica music in addition to preaching, though that also carries a Christian message.
But he was a good preacher. Really the whole recovering-gay thing was just a small part of his schtick, and it was fairly easy for me to ignore. Mostly he talked about not letting outside stuff control your life. That was the basic theme, and it was general enough to be applicable, I think, to pretty much everyone who was listening to him speak, including me. A lot of what he said was challenging, in a good way.
I didn't know what to expect before seeing this guy speak. Like any urban liberal (libertarian? cynic?), I'm leery of this sort of thing. Everyone at the church where I've been hanging out told me that he was really good, but such praise is hard for me to gauge because I'm not really one of them. I guess the last thing I expected was that I would like it and that I would get something out of it, and that it would, in a very round about way, actually make things a little better in my own relationship. Which is always a good thing.