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James Jones’ article concerning Bishop Alfred Owens (Loose Lips, “Any Given Sunday,” 5/12) does not give a clear picture of Bishop Owens and his ministry at Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church, where I am a member.
It seems to me that a pastor such as Bishop Owens who supports a ministry under his auspices that is run by a former gay man to assist gay men struggling with the trials and tribulations of their sexual orientations isn’t looking to bash gay men.
I thank God for a pastor who is willing to preach holiness and call a sin a sin. He has spoken out against the sin of pornography and pedophiles. He has spoken out against domestic violence, stating that a real man doesn’t need to put his hands on a woman.
At the Palm Sunday service Jones reported on, Bishop Owens first let the congregation know that a real man is not afraid to worship God. And it is my belief that in making the call to the altar that the term “real man” was in the context of “a man who loves God.” A man who loves God is not a perfect man but one who will not of his own volition choose to go against what he knows God hates. He did use some social terms referring to gay men that the world itself uses to describe its displeasure with their choice of an alternative lifestyle. He used words that one might consider politically incorrect.
Jones quoted a gentleman who felt compelled to go to the altar rather than be exposed as not a so-called “real man.” If you have chosen to be in the “closet” with your lifestyle, that in itself brings its own boundaries and pressures. Pressure could possibly have been increased or lessened by what Bishop Alfred Owens said that day. But it was not created by him, as the article seems to suggest. The very nature of still being in the closet and not being open about the choice of a different lifestyle is carried by that gentleman every day of his life.
The gentleman walked to the altar to maintain the illusion that he is just like everyone else who was at the altar. He wanted to be perceived as a straight man. My belief was that the term “straight man” was used in the context of “a man who attempting to be obedient to a path God has clearly stated in the Bible concerning what is acceptable to him and what isn’t.” Bishop Owens made a call to those men who were straight with God.
Another thing I have always noticed in the Bible is that whenever God chastened his people, he was never politically correct. He called their sins out as what they were, and he didn’t make it palatable for them to hear. One thing Bishop Owens has always made clear is that he hates the sin but not the sinner. If he was such a person as was suggested, why would gay men be attending a church led by a person who espoused a dislike for someone who is gay? It would seem to me that word would get around quickly that this was not the church for gay men. But as the article said, there were several gay men there.
If actions speak louder than words, judge Bishop Owens by his overall actions towards the gay community, then rightly judge him based on all his actions.
Dale City, Va.