China in Black and White

I read with dismay yet another CT story on persecution in the Chinese church [" 'New' China: Same Old Tricks," March 11]. Why is it that CT can only paint China's incredibly complicated religious landscape in black and white?

My Christian Chinese friends, most of them evangelicals, would be stunned and hurt to see so many one-sided portrayals of the religious situation in China. Hammering the same theme over and over distorts the truth: The religious trends here are largely positive.

Tony Carnes could paint a more nuanced picture if he wanted to.

The Church and Gays

My story in many ways parallels that of the anonymous author of "No Easy Victory" [March 11]. I became aware of my sexual orientation at age 9, was married for nearly 20 years, and raised four wonderful children.

I was saved at 24, and my faith was real. Yet I was still gay. I too was suicidal and felt I could not trust my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I prayed, pleaded, and begged God to change me. I went to Christian counselors, and Christians prayed for my "private struggle." When I was 45, God in his grace and in his time brought me out. His promise that no one would pluck me out of his hand became the reality of my life.

No words are powerful enough to describe the pain and fear I felt during that first couple of years. For a year my wife stood with me while she and my children suffered from remarks by friends and neighbors. Of my Christian friends, 99 percent simply walked away. The Lord did bring me other Christian friends who, although they did not understand or fully accept my being gay, did stand with me.

The guilt and judgment put on me by the church, however, took its toll. My wife filed for divorce, and my life as I knew it came ...

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