"We're just trying to get people together who experience attraction to the same sex, however they have handled that, and who love Jesus and say, OK, you are welcome here, and then let's pray together and figure out where God wants us to take it."Lee is recognizable for his baldness and noticeable lack of eyebrows due to alopecia areata, a condition he has had since childhood.
He is also the director of a 2009 documentary, Through My Eyes, which explores the struggles of young gay Christians, and the author of the 2012 book Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, published by Hachette Book Group.
Lee grew up in a conservative Christian home and continues to hold many of the same core doctrines. According to The New York Times, "Justin Lee believes that the Virgin birth was real, that there is a heaven and a hell, that salvation comes through Christ alone and that he... is an evangelical Christian."
As a teenager, Lee realized he was attracted to the same sex, but he did not identify himself as gay because he believed that would be a sin. Instead, he spent years fighting his attractions, praying for God to change them.
In 1997, Lee posted his story online and heard from people all over the world who were similarly struggling with their faith and sexuality. This led him to be more outspoken on behalf of gay Christians and ultimately to launch The Gay Christian Network in 2001.
Lee does not believe it is a sin to be gay. He argues that "gay" means only "attracted to the same sex," and that condemning people for their unchosen attractions is contrary to Christian doctrine.
Instead, he argues that the real question is whether or not the Bible condemns gay sex, and therefore whether gay Christians can have monogamous relationships ("Side A") or are called to celibacy ("Side B"). Lee personally advocates for monogamous relationships and believes they can be reconciled with the Bible, but the organization he founded offers support to people on both sides.
Lee is also an advocate of waiting for a lifelong, monogamous commitment before having sex, which he describes as a personal choice. In an interview with OUT magazine, Lee said, "Sex is powerful and deserves to be treated with reverence.... [It] has the power to form a sacred bond between people. And it's a bond I want to form with the guy I'm going to spend the rest of my life with, not just some cute guy who danced with me in a club one night."
Lee currently serves as executive director of The Gay Christian Network. He is outspoken on issues pertaining to LGBT Christians and is widely known through his blog, weekly podcast, and YouTube videos.
He has publicly commented on the usefulness of online communities in helping minister to the gay Christian community:
"The Internet has made a huge difference in creating a movement [...]. What at first might have seemed a little fringe group is then able to gain momentum as people meet others and discover they’re not alone."In 2006, Lee was a part of the "Gay-to-Straight Debate" on the Dr. Phil Show, where he argued against reparative therapy. He has also been a featured guest speaker at churches, colleges, and conferences on Christianity and homosexuality.
In response to the announcement that reparative therapy organization Exodus International would be closing in June 2013, Lee said, "As a Christian, I grew up believing groups like Exodus could make me straight. Even years after I realized that didn't work, I continued to hear from friends and family who pushed me to keep trying to change my orientation. Exodus's announcement today is the acknowledgement many of us have been waiting to hear for a long, long time."
Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate by Justin Lee
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Jericho Books; Reprint edition (May 14, 2013)
Amazon: Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate
As a teenager and young man, Justin Lee felt deeply torn. Nicknamed "God Boy" by his peers, he knew that he was called to a life in the evangelical Christian ministry. But Lee harbored a secret: He also knew that he was gay. In this groundbreaking book, Lee recalls the events--his coming out to his parents, his experiences with the "ex-gay" movement, and his in-depth study of the Bible--that led him, eventually, to self-acceptance.
But more than just a memoir, TORN provides insightful, practical guidance for all committed Christians who wonder how to relate to gay friends or family members--or who struggle with their own sexuality. Convinced that "in a culture that sees gays and Christians as enemies, gay Christians are in a unique position to bring peace," Lee demonstrates that people of faith on both sides of the debate can respect, learn from, and love one another.
More Spotlights at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Lists/Gay Novels
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