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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Comiskey

Kingdom Kindness: Celibate Passion

We celebrate Pride Month by showcasing Jesus’ Kingdom kindness: how His love invites and enables sexually wounded people to become fruitful. May every testimony we feature this June persuade you that ‘the kindness of God leads us to repentance’ (Rom. 2:4).


For Annette and me, Jonathan Hunter embodies Christ Resurrected. Sin and death just can’t keep the guy down. HIV-positive since ’81 (his last ‘gay’ grasp), he’s defied cancer, TB (just a tad), pneumonia, glass swallowing (don’t ask), and a host of other ailments. When hospital bound, he fails to raise much concern from us. We know he’ll spring from the bed and officiate at someone’s memorial service, possibly ours. ‘That man’s gonna dance on our graves,’ Annette mused about this strangely youthful 74-year-old. He gives Cary Grant a run for his money.


Call it Jesus’ strange sovereign will in Jonathan’s life and near death. An actor and seriously good-looking model, his mug graced numerous ads throughout the seventies (honestly, he was a Marlboro man). Hunter was, well, a hunter in the passion plays of the sexual revolution, tilting toward same-sex stuff. Unrestrained chemically and sexually, he overdosed and had a near death revelation of Jesus and heaven. He knew little of either. Yet the experience was so vivid and prescient that this good-natured pagan determined to know the Man Jesus.


Hunter had a cool Christian sister-in-law and brother who steered him in the direction of the Vineyard Westside (LA) where he served and became friends with Annette and me. He was bright and creative and sick of mucking around in dead-end sexual relationships. He just wanted to know the Man Jesus. Living Waters helped him grow in chastity; it gave Jonathan a map for building up brothers, not seducing them, and honoring women in a manly way.


Women like him. He liked them. He dated a few, one seriously, but in the end, Jonathan just wanted the Man Jesus. He became a sound Living Waters leader; he had ministry and leadership gifts with which he built up the saints. He wondered: ‘Am I one of those people called to lay aside marriage and family for the Kingdom?’ He couldn’t dodge Matt. 19:12. But could he accept it whole-heartedly for himself?


Most guys around him in Living Waters were either pressing into marriage or plateauing in an immature way, often using ‘celibacy’ as a dodge from growing in relationship to women. Hunter resisted the latter. I made him resist it. I challenged him often to not settle for the broad way of staying boyish and elusive toward women. If he had an authentic celibate call, then he had to man up and grow into desiring marriage. You can only renounce what you love. Otherwise, closing the door on marriage is not a sacrifice for the kingdom.


He grew. He matured in community and walked in wisdom and integrity. Then came the bombshell news that he was HIV-positive, a dreadful damper on the fact that he had walked in sexual sobriety for 4 years. AIDS was a death sentence in those days. And an ugly unravelling at that. No one survived.


We surrounded Jonathan in ongoing prayerful support; we witnessed the Holy Spirit giving him deep revelation of how to choose life amid a deadening prognosis. We experienced the upward rising of Jesus in Jonathan. And he began to minister to others who were HIV-positive. This was right at the beginning of the epidemic—LA was hit hard. Most AIDS services were ‘new age-y,’ all crystals and no Christ; God did a new Kingdom thing through Jonathan and his growing team.


Jono became the face of Jesus for many dying men. Our church became their last family on earth before they went to be with the Lord. Some were sustained longer than others but they all died. Jono invited them into Jesus’ life through humble mundane service. It took hard work for him and team to not come under the spirit of death. Jonathan fought for life—his own, and theirs. He helped prepare good men for heaven. The heavenly vision he received years earlier on the brink of his own death became a guiding light.


Hunter transcended mere friendship with Annette and me and became family, closer than a brother. He spent his days seeking Jesus in prayer, serving the dying with new life, and ensuring that he was known and well-tended to by friends like us. He felt increasingly like God was setting him apart for serving others. Jonathan needed and wanted to be available for them, however, whenever. One night in 1997, Hunter experienced the convergence of his desire and Jesus’ for celibacy; he felt it in his bones, like a spiritual consummation. Soon after, we as a ministry surrounded him and confirmed his celibate call.


Jonathan had a long honeymoon of no sexual temptation. That passed, and he had to integrate his longings for love and touch into real community. I learned much through friendship with him as to the power of healthy disclosure and prayer cover.


He became a beacon of hope in all the faith communities he touched. Not only did he challenge the ‘spirit of death’ that naturally hangs over those with chronic diagnoses (not just HIV), he ensured that Christians were discipled in how to live chaste, upright, and Spirit-empowered lives. Honestly, Hunter has the best record of any man I know in preparing younger men for their wives-to-be.  Every roommate launches from his pad into a wedding.


Hunter embodies THE miracle, the Man Jesus who liberates every seeking heart with the Spirit of Life. Jonathan gets Jesus’ victory over death. He fights for others to get that too. He brings the Real Presence because he savors and is steeped in it. Through Hunter, I ‘get’ the truth of real celibacy—not a dodge or cover for affective immaturity. I am glad he is set apart for the Kingdom in an extraordinary way. I need him. We need him!  

Whether or not he dances on our graves is God’s business (and a mirthful, if morbid, visual that always makes me and Annette crack up). Hunter’s passion has already transformed our mourning into dancing, over and over again.            


Check out Jonathan’s amazing ministry Embracing Life at

Join Andrew on Desert Streaming each week as he dives deeper into his blog. Watch here or listen on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.



hello mr comiskey, may i ask are you completly straight now? i mean free from any same sex attractions?



Beautiful testimony and work of our miracle-working Abba Father and lovely Lord Jesus. Thanks for sharing this uplifting and hope-filled account of Johnathon’s transformation!



I remember him so well from when I used to volunteer for DSM. Always so kind to me & appreciative. Thank you for writing this heartfelt post.



Powerful stuff, thanks Andy!!! Grateful for people like Jonathan Hunter.

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