This was a very sad weekend...

A "man" (I use that word lightly) full of hate and violence. A "man" who does not represent the true Muslims of the world, walks into a building full of individuals simply wanting to enjoy their evening. These people - people of all races, religions, backgrounds, and lifestyles - their lives would be severely altered in a short time. This "man" walks in and openly fires, killing 49, injuring many more.

I am a Christian, and I am also gay. I love the Lord and that defines who I am, my sexuality isn't who I "am". It is merely a part of me, not a "choice" as many would claim.

I have spent my life in the church, but I would not say I have been a Christian all those years. To be a Christian involves faith and a self-proclaimed declaration of that faith. As a child, it is most often just something you either "grow-up" into, or not, which is far different than actually standing up for what it is you believe.

The day I truly took that stand, accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior was in the summer of 1998, at "Jesus of Nazareth" (a re-enactment of the life, death, and resurection of Jesus) held at an amphitheater in Graham, Washington. It was at an intermission when Pastor Casey Treat offered to pray for those who wished to accept Jesus into their heart.

I'd like to tell you my life changed drastically at that point, and BAM! I became the model Christian; however, that wasn't the case. Christianity isn't a sprint, it is a journey. I'd go on to make a number of poor choices from that day on, eventually landing in prison for a second time.

Thankfully though, our God is a forgiving, patient, and compassionate Father. He works with us, side-by-side, day-by-day, to transform us from the inside out to be the person He wants us to be. He is the ultimate Potter.

Many Christians in the world would disagree with me, that I am a Christian, and gay. So-be-it, that is their prerogative, who am I to tell them what to think or believe? I have battled, all of my life, with accepting myself and my attraction to males. The only place that has gotten me is stressed beyond belief, depressed, anxious, and in prison: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I don't pretend to explain how a person can be gay and a Christian simultaneously, with what the bible says in both the new and old testament, but what I do know is that I didn't choose to be attracted to men. I suppose I could choose to force myself to be with a woman, (which I have attempted more than once and failed at miserably) or choose celibacy?

Summarized, scripture also says it is better not to marry, so that we can commit ourselves 100% to God and His work. However, we are also told "...it is better to marry rather than to burn with lust." (1Cor. 7:9)

What I do know, after all these years of struggle and hundreds of prayers to God asking Him to take away this attraction, I finally have a peace about me, have accepted myself for who I am, and believe (most of the time) that God loves me. Of course, like all of us (I think) I have much to work on, or rather much to allow Him to work on in me. It is certainly a journey, one we don't have to walk alone. It's one step at a time, some days we do well and maybe take two steps. Others, we may take two backwards or fall flat on our face. It's okay though, each day is a fresh start.

As the founder of Cornerstone Ministry. it's a unique situation where at times, I feel hesitant what really to share, for fear the ministry might not receive the support it needs, because I am gay, but I've come to learn that we can't please everyone, and that if a person doesn't love or concern their selves with me because of my sexuality and/or past (very) poor choices, they most likely won't support the work we do either. And just maybe? Maybe those individuals need to look within and explore their relationship with God?

Our ministry is saddened to hear of these recent events, and although our funds are very low right now, we have chosen to make a (albeit small) contribution to the victims of the tragedy in Orlando. I hope all of you who read this will too open your hearts and give via gofundme to the massive amounts of people affected by this tragedy.

My prayer is always that God bless you all, and I thank you for your continued support of Cornerstone Ministry.

- A.J. Rasmussen

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