Randy Eddy-McCain was born in Arkansas one year before the Little Rock Nine bravely endured threats of violence and death to integrate Central High School. He grew up in a conservative Assemblies of God church where he fell in love with Jesus as a little boy.

As Randy got older, he felt called by God to go into the ministry, but he had what religion taught him was a problem. He was attracted to men, not women.

He thought he might grow out of it. He prayed he’d grow out of it, but when that didn’t happen, he explored what it means to be gay.

Without an example of how a gay man could be a Christian, Randy moved back and forth between what seemed like two conflicting worlds. As a Christian he tried not to be gay, and as a gay man, he tried to ignore how much he still loved Jesus and wanted to minister to people in need.

Turmoil turned to peace when Randy was able to embrace both his faith and his sexuality. He committed his life to the love of his life, Gary Eddy, 21 years ago while he was working as a music minister and associate pastor at a church in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Randy says, “When Gary and I finally got it together, I experienced the dark underbelly of the church. I was fired from my church position, but I decided I wouldn’t let anyone take my relationship or my faith from me.”

Randy’s book is funny on one page, and a tear jerker on the next. It will help Christians understand things they may not understand about homosexuality and it will help LGBTQ folks understand things they may not get about Christians. More importantly it confirms what a whole lot of LGBTQ people already know … God loves and accepts them just as they are without any expectation that they change.

Randy’s story is a real-life example of how Christianity doesn’t have to be in conflict with the LGBTQ community.

Too many parents have hurt their children when they thought they were being faithful to their God. Too many LGBTQ kids have committed suicide because they were bullied and were taught that their sexuality made them an abomination to God. Too many men and women have left a faith tradition they really love because they were asked to leave until they could “stop” being gay.

Randy Eddy-McCain is an openly gay Christian who has pastored a church in Little Rock, Arkansas for 18 years and has been committed to his husband for 21 years. He founded Open Door Community Church as a place that is open to all God’s kids, and not a place that excludes people. His story is beautiful and I want everyone to have a chance to read it.