"I have struggled with homosexuality since I was a 5-year-old boy, I can’t tell you the number of nights I have cried myself to sleep, begging God to take this away."
This could have been a quote lifted from Michael White’s book "Stranger at the Gate" but it’s Paul Barnes, the latest evangelical pastor to be called out of ministry…into possibility.
But not if the church has it’s way. They hope to "restore" Barnes as a victorious and proper heterosexual.
Paul and Char Barnes will get counseling, but unlike Haggard, they will not go into seclusion or report to a board of reconcilers, (associate pastor) Palmer said. He said it will be more personal and that church members will play a role.
However, reading between the lines of the Denver Post article Pastor Barnes seems to be opening himself up to self-integration. Even though Palmer, the associate pastor, said he wasn’t sure what Barnes had meant, and that Barnes told him that he believes God views homosexuality as a sin:
Barnes expressed hope for a future where one can "be who you are" and be accepted and loved in the Christian community and also spoke about "separating some of the teachings from Scripture" from Jesus Christ.
My heart goes out to Paul Barnes. You don’t say something like this without believing somewhere deep inside that you just may be "created" homosexual. But what an amazingly difficult journey this must be. And gravely trying for his family. The question is whether it will be more trying in the long run to be "restored" and attempt to live out a sadly divided life.
When Barnes experienced a Christian conversion at 17, it gave him a glimmer of hope. But his homosexual feelings never went away, he said.
Barnes said he asked God many times why he was called to ministry, to start Grace Chapel, carrying a "horrible burden."
Barnes described struggling with what he believes is the biblical teaching that homosexuality is an abomination. Over the years, he grew to accept that "this is my thorn in the flesh."
My prayer is for the well being of Pastor Barnes and his family. I do not pray that his homosexuality be taken away. I pray for his own prayer to be answered…that in the future a Pastor Barnes may be accepted and loved in the Christian community. That his being gay be as much an issue as the heterosexuality of his would be counselors.
In their only talk about sex, Barnes said his father took him on a drive and talked about what he would do if a "fag" approached him. Barnes thought, "’Is that how you’d feel about me?’ It was like a knife in my heart, and it made me feel even more closed."