Despite what certain religious leaders say about homosexuality, should gay folks be more open to living a spiritual life? To a loving Higher Power, or God, in their lives? Gay Conversations with God author James Langteaux says it may be a good idea.

“A lot of spirituality has been missing from the gay community,” says Langteaux, who also wrote and, “which may be the cause for so much self-medicating. You think nothing matters, and you don't treat yourself or other people well. You're nihilistic. That causes a lot of pain, so you use alcohol or drugs to dull it.”

He's caught our attention …

Langteaux grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family in a small town in Wisconsin. At a young age, he knew he was gay, and that was not a good thing from where he came from. “I was told if you prayed enough,” he recalls with L.A. Weekly, “you could pray the gay away.”

His new book, Gay Conversations with God, takes the position that you can be gay and have a strong relationship with a Higher Power. And that God, or a power or force greater than yourself, does love you.

“I wanted to put my journey down on paper,” says Langteaux, “and welcome [gays and lesbians] back to spirituality.”

He adds, “The gay tribe has been bloodied and bullied beyond belief by many religions. I get the anger [toward religion and God]. But it was never God that inflicted the pain on gay people. It was his screwed-up kids who thought they knew what the scripture said.”

Langteaux says he's been receiving emails from people who consider themselves atheists and agnostics, telling him the book has changed them. He hopes others will be impacted in some way, too.

“God is love,” says the writer, “and there's a shift in your life when you operate out of love … I've had so many great experiences on my spiritual journey. In the long run, it's a richer journey, although sometimes it gets hard.”

For those who wonder how can a loving God exist with all the horrible things that have happened in the world, Langteaux has asked that question, too. His answer?

“I take it back to free will,” he says. “God gave everyone unconditional love and unconditional free will, and people do bad things with that free will. God can't just push a button and not make something happen.”

Langteaux also suggests a higher way when dealing with anti-gay groups and people.

“One of the messages of the book is that someone needs to be Jesus within this conflict,” he says, “and maybe gay people need to take that role and forgive the people who hate us. Anytime you forgive a tormentor, you get rid of the cancer — of the anger and bitterness. If we walk away from the argument, then people have to stop shouting at us.”

It took Langteaux nearly a decade to write Gay Conversations with God. He hopes you'll be curious enough to read it.

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LA Weekly