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‘My religious identity is as important to me as my sexual identity’

Sunday, May 25, 2014
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John Russell Stanger

John Russell Stanger

John Russell Stanger is the first openly gay Presbyterian minister ordained in Texas. And his path toward being ordained began very, well, gay:

“One of the things that I remember doing when I was about 10 was putting on my own church service in our living room. … I had a music stand as a pulpit that I put in the center of our living room, and I laid out on the coffee table Bibles from around our house and some hymnals, and I wrote out an order of service, and so we started with a call to worship, and we sang hymns, and then I asked my parents to read from scripture, and then I’m sure I preached to them as a 10-year-old, and they were really great at humoring me.”

But after learning that his religion was anti-LGBTQ, John stayed in the closet even while earning his B.A. in religion. It was in seminary that John figured out that Jesus would in fact be very accepting and loving toward LGBTQ people.

This is his true LGBTQ story:

“I’m from Driftwood,” a collection of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories from all over the world,” appears weekends on LGBTQ Nation. For more true LGBT stories, or to share your own, visit “I’m from Driftwood.”

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