“What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. – (Luke 12:3, NIV)
So, this happened. What to say? Another anti-gay pastor is caught cruising for sex with men. It happens, tragically, so often that it ceases to shock anyone anymore – except for the parishioners of said church. The tragedy is not Matt Makela’s attraction to other men – the tragedy is that we have yet one more in an ever-growing list of Christian leaders who have denounced the LGBT community from the pulpit and from the Internet, all the while hooking up with other men incognito. Matt Makela, as an out gay or bisexual man, would not be allowed (by “Matt the Pastor”) to become a member of his own church – unless he was ‘truly repentant for his sin of homosexual choice’ and ‘sought to restore sexual wholeness through Biblical counseling” first.
But Matt seemed to have no problem preaching from the top half and practicing from the bottom. From that church’s pulpit and on social media he has condemned the ‘gay lifestyle’ as well as attacking transgendered people on Facebook.
So Pastor Matt got caught looking to hook up with other men on Grindr. Someone recognized him and reported it to the gay news site Queerty on May 18th. The pastor resigned his position with St. John’s Lutheran Church the day before, probably after being contacted by Queery for a pre-publication comment. After the news became public, the church took to informing the parishioners that seeking out details are “rewarding those who are trying to shame the Makelas.” Of course, it’s normal to defend one of your own when – rightly or wrongly – they’re being accused. But let’s get one thing correct here – the only person who “shamed” Pastor Makela’s family is Pastor Makela.
You can be certain that Matt has condemned the very things he has done, in sermons preached to a congregation that undoubtedly has at least one gay young person in the pews, feeling the blunt force of every verbal blow. What does that young person think now? How do they possibly process such a revelation, given the shaming they’ve been dealt inwardly when the pastor has chosen to broach the “Sin of Homosexuality” from the altar? What fear does this strike them with, of increased scrutiny of them and their own activities? And most importantly of all, why are we still as human beings treating other consenting human adults like pariahs because they can’t help who they fall in love (or lust) with?
Faith or not, why should this even be a hindrance between a person and whatever thing they perceive to be ‘god?’
How many pastors found themselves pushed toward the ministry as a way to subdue their sexuality through the distractions of seminary and, ultimately, pastoral service? Let’s make it personal: What happens what that social web of ministerial service and congregation becomes so tightly wrapped that you can now see no way out of it, now that your urgings are no longer remaining shackled in their box of denial? Perhaps you do what Pastor Matt did, satisfying your desires on the down-low. Hoping to not get caught, but at the same time, maybe kind of hoping you might get caught, because at least then, you can’t keep yourself trapped in it any longer. You don’t have to make that courageous decision to reveal – now someone can pull the switch for you and you have no choice. Or maybe you just figure you’re getting really good at this, and in your cockiness, you start making mistakes. Sending identifiable pictures of your face online – faces which can be searched online and possibly identified, particularly if you’re a high profile person – in this case, the pastor of a church with a good social media presence – or just by normal human recognition, if you are hooking up with people who may recognize you from a shared neighborhood. This is what is known as “shitting too close to home.”
The holy books and most of the religions in America are simply wrong on this subject, and they’re wrong in as terrible a way as it is possible to be. There is nothing wrong about being attracted to people of your own gender. Furthermore, if the parties are adult and consenting, it’s nobody else’s business. If someone has a problem with it, it’s their own fucking problem and you need to avoid that person like the plague.
And to Pastor Matt and the St. John’s Lutheran Church – if you preach from a book that includes Luke 12:3 and Romans 1:26-27, don’t go blaming other people when you get exposed with your hand in the nookie jar.