next episode

Single, Gay Christian

with

Greg Coles

Headshot of Greg Coles

Heart of Dating is honored to continue our series on sexuality as we steward conversations on nuanced topics, listen to people’s stories, and approach topics with love, compassion, and empathy.


Today, we are so excited to welcome the epic Gregory Coles to the show. He is the author of Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity and No Longer Strangers: Finding Belonging in a World of Alienation. He holds a PhD in English from Penn State and lives in central Pennsylvania, where he works as a writer, speaker, and worship leader. Greg is a frequent contributor with organizations like Revoice and The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender, and curates most of his creative activities at gregorycoles.com.


Today, Kait and Greg have an open dialogue on what it really means to be a single, gay Christian and how the church can best approach this topic.

What led you to use and identify yourself as a gay Christian?

  • Greg talks about how he wrote a blog series on how he was able to arrive on this specific terminology and what they have hope about the church
  • Always seek to land in a sense of unity even with small differences among us.
  • Identifying as “gay” has been a way in which he has been able to reach out to people who might have the same struggles as he did
“How can I speak about my experience in a way that’s maximally likely to be well-understood to people I’m most concerned about communicating well with?”

Where did the terminology of Same Sex Attraction (aka SSA) come from and why can it potentially come across as dismissive?

  • The term was developed as a way for people who want to acknowledge their experience of being same sex attracted but didn’t want to align themselves with some of the assumptions that came along with being “gay”
  • The Ex-Gay Movement was one of the earlier Christian responses towards the gay community which masked itself as an attempt of compassion but instead truly just had the intentions to offer people how to become “straight”. 
  • Using the term SSA has become a way of creating more distance to the idea of being gay.
  • Unfortunately, people give too much importance to changing their identity label.
  • The change in language has been a way to symbolize a shift in their sexual ethics and decision to follow Jesus. It’s a way to heal from shame

How have stereotypes of being gay play into your journey?

  • Greg shares that stereotypes quickly became a checklist to figure out what he was going through.
  • The posture of “having to rescue” gay Christians in the community actually distracts them from falling in love with Jesus more.
  • He shares that stereotypes set a standard of height towards straight vs. gay people in a sense that straight people were “made” correctly while those apart of the LGBTQ+ community were not.
  • Lusting after people of the opposite sex or the same sex are both a product of the fall of man. 
  • The invitation is not to fix ourselves but to simply surrender the experience of sexuality that we have to Jesus and trust Him to sort out the rest.

Have you ever tried to "pray the gay away"? Could you tell us about that journey?

  • Praying the Gay away is operating in a mindset that everyone should want to get married. It puts marriage on a pedestal.
  • Equating “having a good ending” to a story that you have to get married to the opposite sex is limiting what God can do.
  • Trying to do dating “normally” gave a clear realization that he was not predisposed to desire her up to the point of marriage.
  • He shares how dating someone of the opposite sex felt very analytic and a way of sort of “checking every box”
  • Through a process of elimination led to a revelation of living a life of celibacy
  • Dating someone of the opposite sex felt a sense of closure
"Maybe the invitation for all of us is not to fix ourselves into a certain kind of sexual orientation, but maybe the invitation for all us is to simply surrender the experience of sexuality that we have to Jesus and trust Him to sort out the rest of it"

How do you think as Christians, our inability to step into the grey has kept us further from compassion, love, and connectedness?

  • There’s a tendency to insist that our lives should be a carbon copy of how other people should live their lives. 
  • Messy conversations should be expected to have a clean and clear answer to pass on to people.
  • It’s not possible to walk a lifetime of following Jesus on the basis of other peoples’ faith journeys. It has to be a personal experience. 
  • The most constructive thing that people can do is simply point back to Jesus and let Jesus guide them

Can you share with us the first time that you came out to a pastor and how healing that moment was for your journey?

  • He was reminded that he was not a mistake which led to him believing in himself
  • Using his experience to be a testimony to help other people
  • Looking for the positive thing that God was calling him to use in the world around you

What is your final nugget of dating advice for the listeners?

  • l view singleness, dating and marriage as gifts not for your own comfort and happiness but as a gift in a way that God wants you to use in the world around you.

Greg Coles

Greg Coles

Website IconPodcast Mic IconInstagram IconFacebook IconLinkedIn IconTick Tok IconTwitter IconYoutube IconCustom Icon

Greg Coles is the author of Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity (IVP, 2017) and No Longer Strangers: Finding Belonging in a World of Alienation (IVP, 2021). He holds a PhD in English from Penn State and lives in central Pennsylvania, where he works as a writer, speaker, and worship leader. Greg is a frequent contributor with organizations like Revoice and The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender, and curates most of his creative activities at gregorycoles.com.


Share this episode
Headshot of Kait Warman

Never miss an episode

Let’s clear through the dating fog together.

Stay up to date with all our latest episodes featuring fresh, compelling topics and guests weekly!

Meet us on the Gram!