Hello.

Like getting lost in the plot of a dream or completely immersed by the pictures of a movie only to be snapped back to reality when the alarm goes off, or a sneeze in the audience, such is the pretend world of Neal, who dared to dream of a Church free of discrimination and judgment and full of love, support, truly mutual respect and open arms, only to return to a reality where much work is needed to be done in order to achieve that dream.

At the time it was a very practical solution to a problem I had been wrestling with for years. How do I speak up for LGBT rights, my own rights, while being called to a Church that denies them? I created a character named Neal. Although I never thought people would actually refer to me as Neal, but more on that later. Neal was more than just an imaginary friend; he could dive into things I couldn’t touch; he could speak to people I was scared to speak to; he could think about things I didn’t want to think about. Neal challenged me from his very creation to kill him. Only in Neal’s death could I finally realize what life was like on the other side. After two and a quarter years of long, thoughtful and purposeful deliberations and arduous chronicling the moment has arrived.

I thought surely there would be a guessing game as to who I was, but there wasn’t. (And to my surprise no one ever asked either…) Then sometime in late 2011 it clicked. People personalized my ramblings. Suddenly I wasn’t anonymous. I was Neal. Light bulb! The message was interconnected to the messenger. In order for me to make any progress I would have to switch gears. I started maneuvering myself in November of 2011 for this very post. It took another year, but here we are. I’d like you to meet the real ‘Neal’.

My name is Ty McCarthy. I grew up in Kansas City. (The Kansas side for those wondering). I was raised Nazarene and grew up attending Olathe College Church of the Nazarene. I moved to Oklahoma City and graduated from Southern Nazarene with a degree in Theology and Ministry. I stuck around Oklahoma and got my Master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in Norman. I attend Bethany First Church of the Nazarene where I’m currently a member. When not working downtown, I enjoy watching Doctor Who or exploring a new part of ‘The City’ on my bike. Someday, I want to go to the Olympics, and maybe visit every Olympic city. (Anything else you want to know you can ask, I’m going to stop here, otherwise this will look like a OkCupid profile.)

This has been really difficult to write, partly because I don’t want it to come off as too vain or self promoting (because I don’t), but mostly because I never thought I would tell anyone this in my whole life: I’m gay. But there is power in a name, a face, a relationship. I’m not some abstract concept or someone from outside the church. I’m very real, and very much Nazarene.

Looking back, it seems like a lifetime ago, since I sat on my hide-a-bed in my living room and began to type. I have been honored to hear your stories. I wanted to create a place where Allies could connect with Allies, where people can find support and love and know they aren’t alone. I did this because love this Church. I do this for the Church that raised me and saved me. It is not done with malice, revenge, or schism, but it was done out of love and respect.

My story is filled with imperfections and missed opportunities, but I hope you catch a glimpse of where I’m headed and the person I’m hoping to become. It is my hope that Nazarene Ally opens the doors to enable us as a Church to build more bridges with a people group we’ve long mistreated and ignored. This won’t happen overnight, and it won’t be easy. I am naïve enough to picture a Church where issues of sexuality and gender identity are a thing of the past. It is only possible if we all work together, keeping our eyes fixed on the Gospel: The Gospel, which is Jesus. When we truly love God, we can truly love others. What else matters? Together, the body of Christ can move forward. Together, we can do better.

TyTo my friends and family that may have found out through Facebook or by any means other than me, I apologize for any grievance or hurt find out this way has caused you. I hope you can forgive me. This is not how I wanted you to find out, I wish you had heard it from me. This has been one heck of a year, and I’m so thankful to my friends for sticking by me as I began my coming-out journey. I would not have made it this far without them. I am so blessed, and I am lucky I have them for support. I will continue my story here: www.tymccarthy.com as Nazarene Ally can now grow into something greater than just my story. It can be a place for all of our stories.

My name is Tyler. I’m Nazarene, and I’m gay, and I’m not alone.

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35 thoughts on “Hello.

  1. I applaud your courage Tyler. God Bless you. As a Straight, Nazarene, father of 3 boys, I stand by you with full support.
    The Church’s stance on sexuality has always bothered me. I know I never made a conscious effort to like girls. It was natural. Therefore, I think its arrogant and ignorant for me or anyone else to believe everyone is born straight and only a few people decide on same sex attraction.

    I hope and pray this site will help end the anti-gay discrimination and the silly divisivness that has permeated throughout the Church.

    1. Um…. I hope you know that what you described here is not the Church of the Nazarene’s view on this issue. While there may be some members who believe that “everyone is born straight and only a few people decide on same sex attraction,” that is certainly not our official take on it.

      1. The Manual says that there is “no compatibility between homosexuality and Christianity” and this simply isn’t true, there is compatibility. I am Christian and I am gay, more over I have a call to ministry. PP1 & PP2 are not official stances. PP1 takes us in a good direction only to be replaced by PP2 which doesn’t help.

        Regardless, we can do better on handling this issue. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      2. Sorry, Tyler, but that’s not what it says. It says there is no compatibility “between Christian morality and the practice of homosexuality.” As you’re aware, that’s a very different claim. I don’t deny that we can do better. But I think it helps all of us to be clear about what we’re saying and claiming about others.

      3. I see the Manual as distinguishing between desires and acting on those desires, much like the Pastoral Perspectives (PP) documents do. The Manual in paragraph 37 seems to equate “homosexual acts” and “the practice of homosexuality.” These are described as sinful acts and practices that can be overcome by the grace of God.

        I haven’t read PP1 and PP2 in a while, so I don’t remember all the differences. I remember liking PP1 better. 🙂 I don’t remember seeing any conflict between them and the Manual statements.

        Is that how you read it, too? Or do you see it as saying that even having homosexual thoughts/desires/inclinations is sinful?

      4. Just a thought on the manual discussion. 1st however the manual states it, the general stance of the Nazarene church currently is that homosexuality in any aspect is wrong. Secondly the aspect that the manual is infallible or has never changed should be examined within the history and polity of our denomination and tradition. The manual used to state that bowling was sinful, movies were sinful, eating at establishments that served alcohol (even if you didn’t drink) was sinful, and heaven forbid if you danced at all you were going straight to hell. Ok I humorize a little bit but that is just to point out that it is possible for the Church of the Nazarene under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to change and adapt. These changes often happen when leaders step up and encourage conversation (much like ty is doing), and we evaluate what more accurately promotes the Kingdom of God. So to both the questions of the manual and the questions of why Ty doesn’t just go somewhere else, I would respond with Ty is acting much like many that went before him in seeking to promote change, and I applaud him for that.

      5. Apply the same standard to your heterosexual life. How do you separate where practicing starts and ends? Is it only in the thought? Is it only in an action? Is it only in an emotion?

        People say as long as I don’t act on my sexuality then I can preach, if that is the case, I’ll do it, as long as we fire all women pastors & force them to cover their hair, shame men with long hair, and own slaves. Deal? I’m just applying the same Biblical interpretation to those other sticky passages as we would like to do with homosexuality (which are fewer in number, then women being quiet in Church.)

    2. Many heterosexual men could CLAIM that they are “oriented” to pursue relationships with MANY women—– which would not of course be in line with the will of God.

      The problem with the position you are taking is that the scriptures are abundantly clear that same sex relationships are NOT in God’s natural design. The position of the church is not violating anyone’s rights. The church cannot become the place where every individual’s sins are to be codified into a new article of faith in order to make the sinner ignore their own guilt.

      1. Polygamy is not an orientation. It is a however, biblically defined, I’ll give you that. But the problem is when two Christian men get married the Church of the Nazarene says they aren’t Christians anymore. Our sexual ethics needs to be greater than what it is. We can do better than what we have now.

        Only 6 places is not abundantly clear. Also scholarship, reason, historical and cultural contexts seem to suggest that it is not abundantly clear.

        I have no rights to anything, but I am an adopted son of God. And therefore claim full inheritance to what my Father has waiting for me. And the Church is made up of sinners. I am a sinner, its just that being gay isn’t one of them. I am saved by grace, and I tell my story. So that people maybe, possibly, might be able to see Christ’s reflection in my life.

  2. Thank you Tyler for your courage. You have an ally in me. I, too, grew up in the Naz church, am grateful for the heritage of the Naz church and thankful for people like you who are willing to risk to share their story so I can evaluate my own perspective and beliefs.

  3. It takes a lot of courage to come out in such a public way, but after reading several of your posts, I am really curious why you are so intent on changing the Church of the Nazarene instead of just attending one of the many LGBT-affirming churches that you mention? It seems like all of your energy could be better used in other pursuits. (I know you grew up a Nazarene and all of that) Just wondering.

    1. My guess is that if Tyler just leaves the Church of the Nazarene, he will be turning his back on gay Nazarenes who will then suffer as he did. His courage in trying to change the church speaks loudly about his concern for others. He isn’t just looking to make life easier for himself.

      1. I think John Wayne says it best “Mis Raices Estan Aqui.” (My roots are buried here). There is room for the LGBTQ community within the Church of the Nazarene, we’ve already here anyway.

  4. You don’t know me and I don’t know you, but I so appreciate your heart and the way in which you have shared it. Don’t give up on the church because we need people like you who can help us navigate through the issues that we need to wrestle with as the body of Christ.

  5. Know that this message does not come with hatred or mean words. Many times when a “Christian” reads/hears something like this, there is a smearing of slandering words and destruction. Christ never worked like that.

    Not to sound cliche, but first and foremost I pray for you. I admire your strength and conviction to your stance, however I believe that it is misguided.

    In the Old Testament, New Testament, and through Christ’s teaching, there is nothing that says that being gay or in a gay relationship is ok. Yes there is the scripture in Leviticus, but what about Romans 1:26-27? Or what about Christ’s teachings in Matthew 19:4-6?

    Leviticus 18:22
    “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”

    Romans 1:26-27
    “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

    Matthew 19:4-6
    “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”?

    In all 3 cases, they do not say that being gay is ok. “Christ does not specifically say that being gay is wrong”. Christ himself says that a man should be with a woman. Do the red letters hold more weight than the black? Are both colors not from God or God inspired?

    Please know that I deplore the way that self proclaimed believers go out and attack the LGBT community. We are suppose to show love and kindness, not bigotry. However, as Christians, we are not to be of the world. We are suppose to be the example and guiding light to Christ’s love. The only time that Christ showed anger towards someone was when they were taking advantage of His people when they were trying to worship (See Matthew 21:12-13). Look at how He treated Judas, even knowing that Judas wold betray Him.

    The act of being gay is deplorable to God, per scripture. “Well its just a sin and a sin is a sin….” A sin is not just a sin. There are different levels of it. As an example, if a sin was just a sin, then how could blasphemy against God not be forgivable, (see Mat 9:34)?

    I pray for you brother.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Nic. I make no claims that those verses are in the Bible, but yet we need to take them with a grain of salt. Meaning, we can’t literally interpret them at face value. There are historical and cultural things to consider about the first hear-ers. Which is how we treat scripture.

      Here’s a website for more information. Matthew does a much better job at explaining it then I could in a comment. (It’s 45-60 mins long). I encourage you to check it out.

      http://www.matthewvines.com

    1. Paul!

      Thanks! PLNU just can’t stay out of the news it seems like. Do I need to get over there and moderate? Ok you talked me into it. I’m skipping Christmas for San Diego! I’ve got a new email. I’ll email it to ya soon.

  6. Ty, I applaud your courage to come out and to remain true to your calling. Growing up in the Nazarene church I was always wary of homosexuality ( kinda an ingrained thought process). I was fortunate enough to get called to a denomination where they were already open and accepting ( non Nazarene). In this process it called me to wrestle with everything I had been taught. I came to the conclusion that as a messenger of Christ I am called to love everybody regardless of who they are. That stance has greatly benefited my ministry and like u my hope is that someday all churches/denominations will be more accepting and inclusive instead of rejecting and exclusive. I as a straight minister and fellow snu alum stand with you and pray that you will have the strength and wisdom to see it through.

    1. Josh!
      Thanks for your kind words of support! Find me on FB so we can re-connect there too. What an awesome journey of thought! Thanks for sharing that.

      What Church have you been going to? I sneak over to a UCC church near my house. Turns out a lot of SNU alums have passed through its doors too.

      -Ty

  7. TY – All I can say is ‘WOW’ and ‘THANK YOU’. I recently heard about this website from a family member who is totally on my side about this whole subject. Yes, I am a gay man, have been in a totally monogamous relationship for 30 years, both of us Christian (me brought up Nazarene, him brought up Church of Christ). I have a ton of stuff I want to add / say on this blog – where to start is my biggest issue. I think I’ll keep it short with this first entry. I totally support you dude. I understand the debate elements Nic listed above, I’ve mulled over and over all that, worked through the logic for and against, over and over, comparing one version of the Bible to another, comparing ancient understandings to current ones – a worthy effort for my understanding, but for me, leads to the wrong conversation focus when I want to connect with someone else on this subject. The bottom line (to NIC – God bless you man) is this – do you seek to judge me, and do you intend to show love and inclusion of me, as a person sitting in a Nazarene church pew, participating fully in the same worship as you – or not. What Would Jesus Do if he was physically there at that same church service – walk over to me and tell me to leave the building? What would He do the next Sunday, tell me again to leave the building and suggest that I stop coming back? What action – NIC – do you think you and others in a Nazarene church should take to deal physically and spiritually with a unabashed gay person sitting in a Nazarene church service? What will you do when I say nicely to you if you approach me during an alter call “Thank you but I assure you I am saved and God tells me in my heart that He loves me just like I am.”. Can you deal wih how God is now and has been working through me to do His work on this earth to help others, and that I feel a deep assurance that “It Is Well, With My Soul” ? I have learned this – let each and every action / word / deed that you take be based entirely in Love, and there’s no part of ‘exclusion’ or ‘judgement’ that can also be considered Love. I have felt God’s presence and Blessing over and over in my family’s Nazarene church, and do so look forward to each service, and the idea that you or others just can’t and won’t accept me, as I am, as part of that church to be frankly, well, ….sorry….Bizarre. I don’t worry about it though, because I know you are also a child of God, and I am both commanded and I choose to turn to you with Love and say “please, identify with the Prince of Peace” who said “Let the little children come unto me” – we never stop being those children, our whole life long.

    1. To be fair, Nic did talk about loving.

      I’ve never seen in a Nazarene church any gay person be turned away from attending just because he/she was gay. I believe that most Nazarene churches would welcome and love any gay that visited or attended their church. I think the struggle is with gays who want to fully participate in some way in the service/church or want full acceptance and acknowledgement that their lifestyle is OK. I don’t think we’ll find that in a Nazarene church (or at least very many of them), but I still believe we’ll find love and a welcome to attend & worship.

      Just because Nic understands Scripture differently, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love. It doesn’t mean he rejects anyone as a person. We need to be fair.

  8. If you don’t want the Church of the Nazarene (or any church) to change you because you’re coming out as gay, why are you trying to change the Church of the Nazarene? Isn’t it hypocrisy to do something to another that you do not want done to you?

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