By Dr. Jay Zinn
I grew up in a small farming community in Ohio and had never met anyone with a homosexual orientation. It was a time when most homosexuals, at least in small-town America, kept to themselves. I was completely isolated from homosexuality and I barely gave it a thought. At the age of eighteen I entered a private art school in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was immediately introduced to the gay community—by default. I encountered them at the school, the men’s club where I lived, and a men’s clothing store in downtown Cincinnati, where I worked in the window-dressing department. At first I was uncomfortable by the “openness” of the gay community, but then I became friends with a few who I saw daily. Though I am heterosexual or “straight” as they called me, I got to know them and asked many questions like: “Why did you choose this life you are living?” and “How did this come about?” I was curious and they were glad to answer all my questions to educate me. I not only enjoyed their company and their sense of humor, I also grew empathetic about their “societal” struggles and ceaseless longing to be embraced for who they were.
Since those days, I’ve always been thankful to have learned about their lives, their struggles, their heartaches, and their joys as well. It has given me compassion instead of disgust; mercy instead of judgment. And, after that time in the city, I became born-again and was called by God into the pastoral ministry where my knowledge and experience served me well. I’ve attempted to redemptively help those in the gay, bisexual and transgender community come into a loving relationship with Christ and find their wholeness in Him.
In this issue, we will address this with compassion, sensitivity and redemption. It is a real struggle for many believers who have a homosexual orientation, and yet, they have not found safety, compassion, or understanding where it should be found—in the church. Many, who come into the saving grace of God, find it difficult to grow into a healthy identity within the community of believers. It is ignored largely by the church and, therefore, filled with myths and misunderstandings that turn “redeemed” homosexuals away. It is my hope that we will help the hurting and the ignorant toward a greater compassion and direction toward wholeness in Christ for believers who struggle in this area.
Finally, in this issue, I have returned with an article that will address the controversy and questions surrounding “speaking in tongues.” I hope it may serve to guide you into a greater perspective and, ultimately, the encounter of receiving this gift which is promised by God for all who desire it.