Former Nazarene Pastor Rick James

I recently received this note from Rick James, former pastor in the Church of the Nazarene and a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am a Christian and a former Nazarene pastor (a fairly conservative church) who happens to be gay. After many years of ignoring, denying, hiding, trying to pray away, lying about, attempting to change or to beat my sexual orientation into submission, I finally live with the blessed peace that I’m “gay and OK.”

Rick James, former pastor, Church of the Nazarene

Since I was 5 years old I’ve loved Jesus. Thirty-six long years later I can finally and enthusiastically say that I have joined my Creator and my Redeemer in loving and accepting myself for who I am. God does not create abominations, and He never intended for His gay children to live in closets. While I realize that many will not be able to accept this. In accepting myself, I now live with an inner peace, joy, and love that I’ve never experienced before. I have discovered that life is not life at all when it is not lived authentically.

I’m one of them.  And I love the Lord, too!  My life is exactly like that of so many people who have told their stories here.  I implore the Church (and particularly the Church of the Nazarene) to educate Itself on the issues and stop the fear, the misinformation, and to include without qualification my LGBT family.

I’d we happy to talk with you about it.  It’s not an untouchable subject for me. My hope is that you, too, would operate on the same level of ease. I have a HUGE passion to increase knowledge and understanding – both of which will eradicate fear.

Likewise, I encourage you to click on this video link (“God Knows I Tried” ). When I first heard the song, I felt as though Christian recording artist Ray Boltz – who came out to the general public shortly after I had accepted myself in ’08 – had looked into my heart and my mind, and then penned and fashioned a song from what he saw there. This is my testimony. And yet, it is the story of tens of thousands of gay Christians who have struggled against and towards what many believe to be a deviation from God’s plan for humanity.

I hope you’ll listen, and allow God’s Holy Spirit to open your eyes and your heart to some things that you may never have considered before. Perhaps then the conversation will begin. I hope to hear from you.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

You can contact Rick James on Facebook.

Click here for LGBT Testimony Index.

About Ron Goetz

My first wife used to say, "There's nothing so sacred that Ron won't pick it apart." My desire to be a pastor -- that was a temperamental mismatch. She was so patient. If my birth mother had lived somewhere else, maybe I would've become a cold case detective. But I would have had to be J instead of a P, I think. And that mid-life reevaluation, starting adolescence as a GARB fundamentalist and transitioning to a non-theist, that gave me an unusual skill set.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Church of the Nazarene, Life and Testimony, Point Loma Nazarene University, Religion, Sanctification, Testimony. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Former Nazarene Pastor Rick James

  1. Duncan Beach says:

    I’m thinking it took a LOT of courage to talk about this. You could serve people by staying a preacher, though you might have to change sects to get proper hearing for your message.


  2. thayes9217 says:

    “I have discovered that life is not life at all when it is not lived authentically.”

    I particularly love that statement, Rick. It brought to mind yet another song, the great one from the musical, “La Cage aux Folles,” by Jerry Herman Georges is the owner of a nightclub and his partner, Albin, in female attire, is the star attraction. At the end of the first act, Albin, weary of being laughed at sings the beautiful song of triumph, “I Am What I Am.” It includes lyrics that state, “. . . One life, there’s no return and no deposit; one life, so it’s time to open up your closet. . .” At the conclusion of this bold statement telling his world that what you see is what you get, Albin sings loudly and proudly:

    “Life’s not worth a damn until you can say, ‘Hey, world, I am what I am.'” I heard you “singing” it in your note above. What beautiful music you made!

    Welcome to world of out, happy and proud!

    Ted Hayes


  3. armpit44 says:

    I’ve seen so many believers, fundamentalists even, who I never expected to open their minds and see that alienating gay people is not God’s will, and that he did create us this way, and I never thought “those people” would evolve, but they have.


    • Ron Goetz says:

      My brain is sparking and synapses are firing. What you have witnessed is the reason for ratcheting down the rhetoric. When people are attacked, when their hackles are up because of bitter words spoken to or about them, it becomes very hard to budge. Phenomena like pride and saving face enter in. This is why I refrain from using words like “haters” and “homophobes.”

      But that’s me.


  4. Pingback: Former Nazarene Pastor Rick James « Serenitylodge’s Weblog

  5. I am so happy for you that you have finally realized that God made you perfect- just the way you are! And I feel really sad that you have had to suffer at the hands of supposed representatives of His Love. It just makes me cringe to think of people calling themselves Christians and then being so hateful. Wow. Thanks guys for giving the rest of us such a bad rep.

    Congrats to you for standing up for your God-given beauty and being who you are!


  6. You are on the right path. I also am an ordained minister who came out. In my case, I spent 26 years trying to change via ex-gay ministries and therapies and my marriage to a woman. I found her a new husband candidate (it worked out) and I left. Now I am engaged to a wonderful man and happy in a gay-friendly church. There are so many now. I hope you find the right community for you.


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