A few years ago I made the decision to retire from contemporary Christian music. I had won awards, performed in front of thousands of people, and sold millions of records. Still, I believed that if people knew who I really was, I would never be accepted. During the last few years I've learned that there are many people who feel the same way I did. One church in particular has helped me in many ways. The Metropolitan Community Church (http://www.mccchurch.org/) was started forty years ago by Rev. Troy Perry in the Los Angeles area and has an outreach to the LGTB (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community. I am happy to announce that I have accepted an invitation to perform at two of their churches. On September 14th, I will be singing at the Jesus Metropolitan Community Church (www.jesusmcc.org) in Indianapolis at 6:00p.m. On September 21st, I'll be singing at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, D.C. (http://www.mccdc.com/) at 3:00p.m.
Introduction by Reverend Jeff Miner, Senior Pastor: Ray Boltz has written and sung some of Christian Music’s greatest hits; Thank You, Watch The Lamb, I Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb. He’s sold more than 4 million albums and songs. His songs have repeatedly reached the top of the Christian music charts, including 12 number 1 hits. He’s won 3 Dove awards, Christian Music’s highest honor. He’s been an icon in the Christian Music Movement, although if you’ve read the blade article, you know that I was not aware of that until recently [audience laughs]. But then 4 weeks ago in Sunday evening church I--someone asked us to pray for Payton Manning, and I said “Is he injured?” [more laughter]. So, all things are relative.
What an honor it is for this church, and for our congregation to have Ray here to sing tonight. The timing is a special honor. Many of us who sit in this room have gone through a process of coming out. Where we have reached that time and place in life where we just had to say completely, and authentically who we are, and that is not easy. And there is a price to pay. Not just financially, but in many realms of life. So it takes a lot of courage.
I think all of you know that on Friday of this week, there was an article in the Washington Blade, where Ray shared that information, his coming out story, with the Washington Blade, and therefore with the world. And he’s been getting a lot of…interesting mail. But the world will never again be the same, and for those who have gone through the process, although it comes with a cost, I don’t think any of us would ever say we’d ever go back. [audience: “Amen!” / applause] There is a freedom that comes with that, that nothing can match.
But, as most of us who’ve come out experienced, when you come out, you don’t just want to be known as “that gay person.” You’re still the same full and wonderful person as always. And I’ve talked to Ray enough to know that, that’s not his primary identity, just like it’s not ours. And so he is here tonight, not to sing to us as a gay man, but as a brother in Christ, who happens to be a gay man. And we are honored that his first concert after sharing that information with the world, would be here with us.
There’ll be many detractors as Ray moves ahead, and so tonight, our goal, is to surround you with love, to celebrate your courage [rousing applause], to say thank you…didn’t somebody write a song about that…[laughter]. Seriously, we want to say thank you tonight, so, sisters and brothers, let’s give a rousing welcome, and our loving best to Mr. Ray Boltz. [applause, standing ovation, concert begins] End addendum.
Ray Boltz in Concert from Jesus MCC on Vimeo.
So, grab a beer, pop some corn, put your feet up and relax...oh, and don't forget the kleenex (seriously, that should be first on the list).
Ok, just to let you know, I'm only getting this through my left speaker, just in case anyone else is having the same problem.