A former gay activist, who married a woman and left his previous lifestyle behind to commit his life to God, has shifted his outlook to serving people in need of change now that he is the pastor of a rural Wyoming church.
The Christian Post interviewed Michael Glatze and his wife, Rebekah, to catch up on what life has been like for the both of them after receiving backlash from the gay community for penning an opinion piece in December in which Michael addressed "angry homosexuals" who have criticized him for leaving his past.
Now, with a movie based on his life set to begin production this summer starring James Franco, and serving alongside each other in ministry, the Galtzes remain busy while trying to deflect the criticism they oftentimes receive.
Below is an edited transcript of the Galtzes' interview with The Christian Post.
CP: How did you two meet?
Rebekah: We met at a Bible college out here in Wyoming during the first week, sometimes in the lunch line and we were also in class together. It was in 2011, and we started dating in November of that year and were together for almost two years before we got married.
CP: What have you been up to after writing that opinion piece and getting married?
Michael: I'm now a pastor of a small community church in Wyoming and our focus in life now is ministry, so our emphasis is on spreading the good news to reach people, inspire them and serve the community. In addition, marriage life has been awesome. I'm constantly thrilled, excited, humbled and grateful that after so long of wondering through many choices and places that weren't satisfying for me, I would eventually find and meet the woman that I was meant to be with. Here I am, almost 40 years old now and enjoying this aspect of my life that God really had wanted for me.
Rebekah: A lot has changed in my life in the past six months. I feel like our church is a reverse ministry because they have ministered more to me than I have to them, and it's been wonderful getting to know everybody. People would say to me, "Oh, you're going to be a pastor's wife!" And there is a stereotype for a pastor's wife, but I haven't felt any of that pressure. They just want me to be myself and do what I can do, I don't feel like a pastor's wife in that traditional sense and I have no complaints.
CP: Do you continue to get backlash from the gay community regarding your published article?
Michael: Yeah, a lot has happened since then. After we got married, prayed and talked about the ways in which I had personally handled some of these issues over the years, Rebekah and I came to the realization that we wanted to tell a different story in our approach to faith and Jesus. We have a really deep yearning to do that, and emphasize that we're not here to judge but to love everyone unconditionally. I do feel the need, in some cases, to apologize to some of my friends and former colleagues because what happens in their lives is between them and God. My ministry is not to condemn people or tell them how to live their life.
Rebekah: We've talked about everything, even the criticism, but I don't really pay that much attention. It does have an impact and it hurts to hear some things that are said, but at the same time we learn from everything that we go through.
CP: What has changed, besides marriage, in your new life?
Michael: I have a bit of a persona of being a firebrand and it's something I don't regret, but I'd like to move away and perhaps get beyond that. When I'm conversing with friends who actually know me, that's not the Michael Glatze that they know, but I guess it's because I've been so political in the past. We don't want our image to be these polarized political figures, we're really not interested in that at all.
CP: Tell me about the movie being made about your life.
Michael: The producer is Gus Van Sant, who did the movie "Milk," and the actor playing me is James Franco. Right after we got married, the director Justin Kelly called us to congratulate us. We had a good conversation with him and I think he realizes that we're not here trying to hurt anyone. We're not sure where the movie will go with my life story, but we'll pray that God will use it and we see it as a positive. James Franco has also told me that he isn't interested in demonizing my character, so we'll see. There's a lot more to come.
CP: I noticed that you have a new blog, tell me about that.
Michael: Our emphasis has really been on healing just because of the aspect of healing that God has shown me in my life on multiple levels. We've chosen to focus on that in our blog, which has been a ministry in itself as well, because we've been spending a lot of time together working on it.
CP: I also noticed that you wrote about San Francisco, a city known for its large gay community, and how Christians have given you "warnings" about the city. Can you explain that a bit more?
Michael: I don't want to be one of those people who holds themselves up and has a mentality where I'm closing my heart off to the needs to humanity. There are a lot of needs and that's what I was trying to get across. Sometimes, we have fear and feel the need to protect ourselves from whatever we see as dirty or frightening, and sometimes that fear equates to people saying, "You don't want to go to San Francisco, it's dirty there, they have unconditional acceptance of sexual diversity." But I love that city, my family lives there and I don't want to have that mentality.
For more on the Glatzes, visit their blog, Healing Springs.