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Video: Gay Christian Youth Minister Uses Grindr To Outreach To Gays

A gay Criristian on Grindr who's not looking to make you an ex-gay convert? Go figure! (Actually, there are plenty of non-self loathing, well adjusted gay Christians, but that's another post for another time.)

Openly gay methodist youth minister, Michael James Alexander Szalapski of Clarksville, Tennessee uses the Grindr app to reach out to gay Christians and invite them to his gay-friendly church. Szalapski was recruited to work with youth at his church specifically because he was gay and the church felt the youth of their congregation would benefit from in his insight and experience. Progressive, right?

Filmmaker Christian Hendricks, stumbled upon Szalapski on the mobile app as part of his project "South of Ohio," in which he travels through the South of United States, documenting things of interest.

Hendricks interviewed Szalapski and discussed his use of the "dating" app as a recruitment tool. That conversation led to some interesting insight into Szalapski's own journey in his faith. 

Check out this clip! (The whole segment is interesting, but skip to around the 3:00 minute mark for the Grindr sound bites.)

Szalapski says, "Since I've been coming to the church, I've brought a number of people here who are also gay, usually on Grindr, because I'm quite clear on Grindr that I'm a Christian, and my real main purpose to be there is to be a Christian influence on Grindr, honestly. Because a lot of people think that God hates them, and he doesn't. And any little way that I can help let people know that he loves them is a good one. So people will message me and say, 'hey, you're a Christian? Me too.' And I'm like, 'hey, I've got a cool church that you can come to.'"

"It's just amazing to see what difference a little sentence on an online profile can make for someone. Just that little glimmer of hope that the God that they knew as a kid, that they thought was a loving God and they were told was a hating God...and that one little sentence can give them hope." 

What do you think of Szalapki's recruitment techniques? Thoughts on his journey as a gay Christian?

 

Image Source (H/T: Towleroad)

Comments

Interesting. I don't use Grindr (I don't have or need a smartphone), but as an openly gay Catholic, and activist for full lgbt inclusion in church, I've been thinking about signing up with Grindr, to do exactly what he's doing - engaging people in gay bars in conversation on why it's perfectly possible to be both Catholic and gay - in recovery from Catholic guilt.

This guy is a unique blessing to a group of people alienated by a religious structure who have traditionally misrepresented the word as one of a vengeful or hateful god. This church took a big risk to incorporate this man into their ministry, which only shows the quality of the people and where their hearts truly are. This group was able to move past the dogma of their own religious structure to better bring gods word to his people, by whatever method they may find. 
God bless you.

it's awesome. I used to do tat on Craigslist before Grindr.

How very creative! See, we gay Christians are always thinking outside of the narrow-minded, bigoted box.

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