June 6, 2017: A June 4 article on the PBS Newshour website has profiled the efforts of Crystal Cheatham, an Andrews University graduate, to launch a Bible app aimed at supporting LGBTQ Christians.
The Our Bible app will offer a minimum of 20 Bible translations and more than 300 devotional readings, podcasts, meditation exercises and other resources. It is set to be released this fall.
The goal of the app is to provide encouragement for LGBTQ Christians and others who feel that they do not fit in with mainstream Christianity.
The PBS article relates Cheatham’s story of growing up Seventh-day Adventist and going to Andrews University.
Cheatham shares the devastation she felt in being told that her being lesbian could conflict with her Christian religious identity.
“When I came out, I was told by ministers so far above me that I couldn’t be an out lesbian and also be on the stage as a leader, and it crushed me. It crushed me so hard,” she Cheatham.
“I felt like I was at an impasse at the road in my life and I had to decide between this love for my God and my personal identity.”
Since then, Cheatham has become a writer and an activist and she has set out to create a digital resource with which LGBTQ users can grow in their spiritual practice without having to compromise any part of their identity.
Cheatham has advocated extensively for LGBTQ acceptance on Christian campuses.
She says that when Christians schools exclude LGBTQ persons from their communities it forces people to choose between hiding their identities and giving up their social support network.
She added that current devotional apps tend to offer conservative Bible interpretations that provide little support for LGBTQ Christians.
Responding to this lack of resources, Rodney McKenzie, a gay Christian minister, has curated readings to accompany the other devotional resources on the Our Bible app.
The readings are designed to connect people “to the love and the truth that is everpresent wherever they are,” said McKenzie.
On June 30, Cheatham will release the app to a small group of donors that supported the Our Bible app project. A wider release is planned for September.