Under Fire – remix

Photo by Brian Day

I realized I should probably give a thoughtful response to each of the below comments rather than assuming that all my readers will be able to automatically understand where I’m coming from and why I would react to these statements. After all, each of these statements were made by people who I trust and deeply respect. Hence, I’m re-publishing a remix of this post with my added thoughts. aaaand remix:

I wonder why I feel like I must fight so very hard to defend my acceptance of my orientation… The following are excerpts from actual conversations I had within the past month.

Common questions/confrontations/accusations that my friends raise with regard to ‘the gay thing’

Comment: “Gay people stumble in making an identity out of their orientation. They talk about it all the freaking time! Jeeeze, chill out people. Its not like we (heteros) are always talking about being heterosexual and parading that in front of everyone.” This is also commonly phrased as a confrontation – “David, as much as you process this and it seems to be on your mind, I feel like you’re finding an unhealthy level of identity in this.”

Response: There’s actually a lot of truth to this statement and I really appreciate the guy who in all sincerity expressed this concern to me. Like anything else, there’s a lot of danger in focusing too much on one aspect of yourself – after all, as broken humans we are constantly attempting to find satisfaction apart from our true hope and identity in Christ. Its easy to understand why we’d feel the inclination to elevate our gay identification. As an anonymous blogger put it, “to the degree that someone feels oppressed based on a certain characteristic, they will identify with that characteristic in a proportional way.” That’s why the nerds elevate their nerdiness, ethnic minorites elevate their cultural association, workaholics elevate their job position, etc. In recognition of this inclination, I still find good reason to discuss and study about the gay in me. While true, I must be careful to put my pursuit of God first and not neglect other aspects of my person, this is an internally controversial part of me that needs to be better understood and dealt with.

Comment: “why do you feel the need to have to know and hang out with other gay people? I struggle with eating, its not like I get together with all ‘my fatties’ to hang out all the time.”

Response: While I understand this comment… I also react quite strongly to it. For it assumes that my ‘gay struggle’ is in fact just like any other forbidden sin in the bible. Rather, I would identify it more closely with an ethnic group of people or perhaps another ‘gender’ group. Being gay isn’t a behavior per say (though it can be), but rather a deeper part of our being that directly affects the way we think and typically creates many shared experiences – for ex., most gay people will automatically understand the fight against shame and judgement based on orientation. I deeply value diversity in my community and continue to seek out people who think quite differently from myself. However, we all feel the need to seek out people who understand us with regard to what makes us unique. My response was that just as I seek out gay community, I also seek out community with other Christians, internationals, men, artists/designers, runners, etc.

Comment: After discussing at length why I feel I am at this time in my life called to being single/celibate – unable to in good conscience date men or women for that matter. “Huh. Yeah, I can understand that – but why can’t you date girls?”

Response: This was a super frustrating convo. I think at the end, my take-away is that this is a really difficult issue for Christians to understand. Our worldview has been faithfully engrained in us from our young childhood by our loving parents who discipled us and put us through every bible/church-related thing they thought would grow us spiritually. While on one hand, this provides many of us with a solid spiritual foundation, on the other hand, it makes contemplating something that goes contrary to this mindset incredibly difficult. I had to realize that this straight Christian man just had no reference point to be able to understand why on earth I couldn’t just decide to date good Christian women and let my natural masculine biological created self take over. A good friend admitted to me just last night that much of his aversion to pro-gay theology doesn’t come from a place of biblical confidence but rather a culturally inherited one.

Comment: “I understand what you are dealing with. I mean, I have an unwanted natural inclination to want to sin as well. I struggle with being tempted to lust after women, you just happen to struggle with that about men. Why is your struggle any different?”

Response: Lol. I’ve heard this one so often now that I almost laughed. Sure, we’re all called to celibacy before marriage. Sure, we’re all on the same playing field in terms of brokenness and natural tendency toward sin. Were pro-gay theology in fact truth, yes, there would be no difference. However, if acting on gay attractions is indeed counter to scripture (as the speaker of this statement confidently believes), then there is a very distinct difference to our shared fight for purity. For in that case, as a gay man, I would be forbidden from ever hoping to experience the deeper levels of human intimacy that are satisfied sexually within the bonds of God-blessed, marital, monogomous commitment.

Comment: After excitedly telling a friend about registering for GCN’s upcoming conference. “Is that a good idea from a temptation standpoint? I don’t know how I feel about you being around that many gay people for several days.”

Response: I am so appreciative that I live in a community where my brothers feel comfortable enough to question me and voice their concerns out of a sincere desire to look out for my best. However, this one cracks me up. I live in a decent sized city within close proximity to the gay-er part of town. I encounter gay people on a frequent basis and sing with over 100 gay men in a very not-Christian, out-and-proud community choir. While yes, I’m sure there will be many people at the conference with whom I will be sexually compatible, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be any more tempted than usual to compromise my values… and when we take into account the fact that its a Christian conference, that likelihood is even less. I’m a little offended to be honest. My straight brethren are around people who are potential sexual partners far more often than I ever am, yet we don’t freak out about that. Lol, I don’t attempt to dissuade my roommates from going to church every Sunday out of concern that they won’t be able to hold to their values around so many beautiful women.

But then, there have also been the blessings

-my roommate and best friend told me that he wants to tag along to the GCN conference because he wants to “walk through this journey with [me]“

Response: I cried. I know that my coming out has been extremely difficult for him and he’s had to deal with a lot of personal issues with homophobic prejudice. Whether or not he’s actually able to come, that he would be willing to put himself in such an uncomfortable situation for my sake really got to me.

-getting connected to some GCNers in KC and hearing their stories.

Response: Actually knowing people on a personal level who have struggled through the internal gay-Christian conflict makes a huge difference. Its like discovering a your own minority within a minority.

-while not affirming, my roommates are incredibly supportive and always provide a listening ear or shoulder to cry on

- reconnecting with a friend from college and coming out to her only to discover that she is lesbian. The ensuing discussions have been thoroughly enjoyable.


Cool Stuffs Worth Checking Out

Taken by my coworker near his house

A Puritan Prayer: The Valley of Vision. My amazing sister shared this with me some time ago. The puritans are great at putting a Biblical gospel-centered light on difficult situations. This poem continues to be an encouragement to me on a regular basis.

Slaggety Slagg: I wish I’d known about people like this guy back when I attended SBU, a small Baptist university in Missouri. His essay and stories (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) really resonated with me. If you’re interested in LGBT movements on Christian Universities, also check out: HU Queer Press and One Wheaton

Relevant Magazine: The best way I know how to describe this webzine is culturally relevant while still theologically conservative. While Focus on the Family’s Boundless seems to speak from the perspective of people wrapped up in that strange parallel universe known as Christian Culture, Relevant (as their name implies) does a great job of addressing secular culture as Christians who live in that culture. I thought this article was particularly well written: ‘Christian & Gay

John Shore: This guy cracks me up. His humorous approach to advocating on the behalf of gays in the church puts a smile on my face.

GCN: God’s blessed my face off through this site and people who frequent the forums. I’ve officially registered for my first conference coming up this winter.

Current fav songs:
Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” – by Coldplay
Calgary” – by Bon Iver

LGBT Creative Series: interviews with various illustrators and images of their work

Nurturing Contentment,” a sermon by Beau Hughes of The Village Church in TX. I’ve listened to this talk twice already! Its a beautiful reminder to find our fulfillment and satisfaction in Christ regardless of our current circumstances.


Reflections on Pride

I recognize that Pride was last month, but I needed to process some of my reactions to the whole idea. So here goes.

First, I need to make a quick rant about the flag. Okay. A rainbow? Seriously?? As a graphic designer, I just have to comment on the branding nightmare that it’s caused for the gay community. I can count on one hand the logos or graphic representations that I’ve seen utilizing a rainbow that were actually good from a design standpoint. More often than not, we just end up with super tacky branding and poorly coordinated graphics. Its like trying to take a font like Comic Sans or Papyrus and incorporate it into your branding standards while still attempting to look professional. Talk about a creative challenge! Check out One Wheaton‘s logo for an example of a successful execution of a logo using the rainbow. Alrighty, on to the nitty grit of what’s going through my head.

Is being gay really something to be proud about?

Help me out here. Sure, I’ve finally reached a place where I’m not ashamed of my orientation, but that certainly doesn’t mean I’m proud of it by any means… not to the extent that much of the community seems to endorse. While I may be okay with being ‘gay’, I’m certainly not proud of the culture that said term seems to automatically imply. Where is the gained value in flaunting your sexuality in an obscene way that would be offensive regardless of the orientation attached.

There was a time when gay people scared the crap out of me. All I knew of Gay-dom was what I’d glimpsed through media and the Church’s references. The arrogance, the flaunting, the skin, the bright colors, the liberalism, the open sexuality – all created a rather terrifying picture to my conservative, home-schooled,  sheltered brain. What horrified me even more was the fear that the growing homosexual feelings and thoughts within me might indicate that I was one of ‘them’… that I had no real choice in the matter. I feared that if I admitted to myself and/or anyone else that I was gay, I would be dragged kicking and screaming into a gaudy rainbow colored orgy pit overflowing with masquera wearing, shirtless men shaking defiant glittery fists at their Creator and Christians in general.  If that was Gay, then I most certainly was NOT!!

Its no surprise that I had and still have tons of prejudice and homophobia to work through on a personal level. Why should I be surprised when the church who definitely doesn’t have the insider view that I have, fights so vehemently against all things ‘gay.’ The Ex-gay circles where I first encountered gay fellowship only affirmed this image – describing in gory detail the ‘gay lifestyles’ that Christ had freed them from.

You will understand why its such a big deal when I say that this year has been transformational in completely changing my perspective on what it means to be gay and what the gay community is about in general. For the first time, I took the time to get down and dirty so to speak. I chose to engage with said community rather than continuing to stand at a distance observing ‘my people’ through lenses colored by media, the conservative christian community, and of course, my ex-gay friends. I’d been wanting to sing again and the local gay choir was holding auditions. After my initial shock of going from 5 gay/ex-gay friends to 150 out and proud choir friends, I quickly came to know the ‘them’ on a more personal level. As expected, I got to know flamers, bears, divas, sex addicts, New Agers, and ex-Christians. But, I also met pastors, worship leaders, missionary kids, journalists, rugby players, professors, and lawyers. Along with the bar hopping one-nighters, I also encountered men who’d been faithful to the same partner for 25 years. It quickly became apparent that I’d severely misjudged gay people as a whole.

While I may not stand behind a lot of what comes attached to the word ‘Gay’ and ‘Gay Pride’, I’m all for creating public awareness of civil injustice against a minority and promoting civil equality. On a personal level, I sympathize most strongly with Andrew Marin‘s sentiment “to build bridges between the LGBT community and the Church through biblical and social education, scientific research and diverse community gatherings.” I think its important that as Christians we take a stand for equality, understanding what its like to have been persecuted, discriminated against, and exiled for our beliefs. If you have some time on your hands, check out Misty Iron’s somewhat lengthy but thorough conservative Christian case for civil same sex marriage.

“Christians over the centuries, including this generation of older evangelicals, have been perversely shaped in their thinking by surrounding society. St. Augustine said dreadful things about sexuality, and Luther penned terrible comments about Jews. In my lifetime, too many older Christians were blatantly racist and homophobic. They largely ignored the hundreds of biblical texts about God’s amazing concern for justice for the poor and marginalized.”

- Joel Wentz, Relevant Magazine

Indeed, it is for this reason that I feel it is important that I stand by my decision to be ‘out’ in my immediate community. To borrow the words of my choir friend Josh, former Vice President of Pride Kansas City, unless people have a personal experience with someone they love and respect who is gay, why would they have any reason to question their spoon-fed bias against persons of homosexual orientation and expression. “But David, I don’t think of you as gay at all,” a good friend responded to my coming out to her. But that’s exactly what I hope people will glimpse… being gay, sure, can be a wild cultural aberration from scripture (as can heterosexuality), but it is by no means a defining attribute. I can be ‘normal’ (whatever that is) and love God and yet still be gay… and perhaps even one day learn what it means to express that within the confines of monogamy, partnership, and hopefully marriage.

So let me ask again. Am I proud to be gay? Perhaps, but only as a small part of something much larger. Rather, I’m proud to be! I’m proud that I’m a unique beautiful loved creation that was on God’s mind before the creation of the stars. I’m proud that by existing, I can ascribe and point glory and praise back to my Creator. So, yes. I guess on some level, I am proud.


Dear Boundless

descovered on Pinterest

After reading yet another blog post berating young single Christian men for not marrying and pursuing women, I finally decided to contribute more directly to the conversation. Boundless is a Focus on the Family produced Christian webzine and podcast for 20s and 30s adults striving to know what it looks like to follow the Lord. While I find a lot of their content instructive to my Christian journey and entertaining to read, I feel that they occasionally take things a little too far… as we all do. Being a part of Focus on the Family, their natural inclination seems to be to err on the side of over-advocating marriage as an ultimate goal for all singles. In my opinion, they don’t spend nearly enough time understanding and exploring situations that require or call people to be single. I don’t presume to hope that they would ever come to an affirming stance on homosexuality, but I wish that they would at least progress far enough to recognize and accept homosexuality in the way that Wesley Hill, author of ‘Washed & Waiting‘, does. I really admire how Hill attempts to help the Church understand that Homosexuality isn’t just a choice, lifestyle, or temptation that can be put on or cast off with the proper therapy and prayer. Rather, its a state of being that is experienced by many people who love God – a state of being that causes a large amount of internal conflict as we attempt to understand how our sexuality and spirituality can be compatible.

Good afternoon Boundless folks,

First I want to say how much I enjoy reading your articles and listening to your podcast. You guys are relevant to whats going on in culture today while still maintaining a biblical perspective. However, there is something that I have difficulty with as I read and follow your stuff. It seems like you guys, and not just you but my church and Driscoll and other reputable people, place an awful lot of emphasis on marriage as something that we should be working toward and actively pursuing. I’ll break down my struggle with that into two parts:

1.) Sure, I definitely see marriage as a blessing and beautiful idea created by God as an incredibly positive thing: it gives us an allegory for intimacy with the Lord, it enables the blessing of children, it sanctifies, it satisfies a need for sexual expression within a biblical context, and its an incredible blessing. However, I also don’t see it as a necessary goal for all people. Paul even advocates pursuing a single life of service to God over the distractions involved with marriage.

2.) Also, my situation is somewhat unique. Let me explain. On the surface, it would appear that I am an ideal candidate for marriage. I’m a single guy who loves the Lord and earnestly seeks His will for my life. I’m involved in my church and have a passion for people. I graduated from college 2 years ago and by God’s grace landed a job in a crazy economy that has allowed me to become financially stable and independent. Yet there’s a catch. I’m not in the least attracted to women… not in a romantic sense anyway. To the contrary, as I’ve processed things, I’ve come to discover much to my dismay that I have an exclusive attraction to the same gender. How much do you think attraction – specifically sexual attraction – should play in a romantic relationship? I imagine that with the help of God, through a lot of pain and struggle, I could white knuckle my way through fulfilling sexual duties to a theoretical wife. Personally, I would far rather pursue a lifetime of single celibacy, seeking to fulfill my desires for intimacy through close friendships.

Therefore, I get a little frustrated when called on the carpet by various people, speakers, and Christian programs like Boundless, as to why I’m not fulfilling my role as a Christian man in the church and stepping into the next phase in maturity by pursuing a woman and building a God-centered family. I relate so strongly to Wesley Hill’s sentiments in his book ‘Washed and Waiting’  – desiring for a God-blessed marriage relationship but seemingly barred forever from such a thing. In addition to feeling the sharp pain of loneliness, I also mourn the loss of ever experiencing the joys and trials of Fatherhood.

I’d just like to call attention to the fact that there are many of us out there, minority though we may be, who have been unwillingly drafted to the ranks of singleness rather than passively falling into that role as people often assume. I also wish that the church would address such circumstances more often, acknowledging our unique situation and the associated challenges – providing resources and encouragement rather than condemning us, ignoring us completely, or just brushing us off to issue-specific ministries like Exodus or Living Waters. In our situation, shouldn’t singleness (and celibacy of course) be something that should be celebrated and encouraged?

Thanks for all you do to and for hearing me out!
-Davo

“To the eunuchs who hold fast my covenant, I will give a monument and a name better than sons and daughters” (Isaiah 56:4-5) – Tweeted by John Piper earlier today


All the Single Ladies

Courtesey of Pinterest

I just need to vent for a short second.

I’m tired of being made to feel guilty because I’m not stepping up to my responsibilities as a young “eligible” Christian guy and ensuring that our copious amounts of quality  young Christian women are saved from a lifetime of singleness. Yet another reason why I find myself becoming gradually more open about my orientation with my friends. While I’d hate to be labeled and known of as ‘the gay guy,’ I think I’d rather that than give the wrong impression every time I’m accidentally too friendly with a member of the opposite sex.

However, this can also often backfire. Recently, I was confronted by one such young woman who felt particularly affronted by my acceptance of my orientation. These are her actual words in a message to me:

“My concern is because I, a young unmarried female, realize how this issue is attacking the family, and causing young people, especially men (who are often very intelligent and gifted, and who could have been wonderful strong husbands and leaders), to instead disobey God’s word and live a ”lifestyle” opposed to God and his design for the family and society. Every man or woman who becomes convinced that they are gay/lesbian gives Satan the victory, just the same as a person who murders, lusts, or commits adultery gives Satan the victory.”

Wheweee! Talk about a loaded ‘confrontation’ with preconceptions on so many levels. I chuckle slightly to myself at her implication that I have potential to be a great Dad and husband, but her lack of realizing that I could never do justice by a woman. She’d find that I’d be able to meet her on so many levels emotionally and support-wise as a best friend… but never the additional romantic level that a wife deserves. A woman deserves a guy who has the capability of being crazy about her on a sexual attraction level.

Sometimes, my own thoughts end up being my adversary. I’ve often caught myself wondering what on earth is wrong with me that I am not drawn in the least romantically toward some quality beautiful young women that I know well. I hear the Ex-gay rhetoric reverberate in my head that its because I’m broken sexually – that deep down there is a straight red-blooded male that needs to be liberated. And yet, I’ve been down that path. I know all too well the frustration of trying to force feelings and control attractions in the hopes of one day being a man that could in all honesty do justice by a woman romantically and sexually. I realize its just not for me! I’ve read and heard far too many testimonies from gay men who pursued such a path only to encounter even more frustration and pain in the end. Even if I never come to terms with being able to engage in a monogamous God-honoring relationship with another man, I still don’t think I could ever in good conscience pursue a woman romantically. I know people who have attempted mixed-orientation marriages and I’ve seen the pain commonly suffered by the partner who feels unnattractive/undesired as well as the confliction of the partner who so desperately desires to bestow that type of affection while being innately unable to do so because of incorrect hard-wiring.

Well, you can’t please everyone right? Many churched people will most likely never understand… or really take the time to even try to do so. Yet, I realize that I can’t try to control how other people will perceive me or judge me. I have to be honest with myself and pursue authenticity as I know how – even though it sometimes results in being ostracized and losing friends. I’m not trying to find identity in the fact that I’m gay, but neither am I going to try and pretend that I’m not either. It just is what it is.


A Father’s Love

Fatherson

Courtesy of Flickr – by picMyPostJ

Every son understands the acute need to seek after and receive his father’s love and approval. Most of us know that our parents ‘love’ us on a knowledge level… but feeling it on a heart level is an entirely different thing. I’ve also learned that often times in our interactions with God, we tend to project our relationship with our Dad onto our relationship with God. As a gay man I especially recognize my need to feel my father’s love even more strongly, often feeling estranged from general male community because of my culturally ‘non-masculine’ characteristics and interests. I think many gay people fight a lot of uncertainty, self shame, and frustration and deeply desire to be validated as loved beings (although I suspect this experience isn’t unique to gays… but probably to humanity as a whole).

I’ve seen my Dad do some pretty extraordinary things out of his sacrificial love for me and my siblings. There was the time when he dropped his job and everything and bought a one way ticket and flew half way around the world to New York to search for my older brother who’d gone missing due to addiction issues with drugs and alcohol. Then there was the time when he stepped in and did emotional damage control for another brother who called off his own wedding after realizing that he couldn’t live the rest of his life with a woman who didn’t share his love for the Lord. Then… there’s my story. It took place last Summer and has become a milestone in my transition to manhood.

To tell this experience, I need to briefly recall a tearful 3-way phone conversation between me and my parents who live and do mission work in Thailand. Unable to maintain my picture-perfect-son-facade any longer, I’d finally caved and gotten them both on the phone at the same time to drop my sham and tell them about my attraction to men as well as some pretty stupid decisions I’d made recently. A few months later, I took my one week of vacation to fly back to Thailand and make a much-needed visit to my family. And so it was that I found myself at Prachuap, our favorite family vacation spot along a secluded beach in a remote fishing village on the gulf of Thailand, walking along the beach with my Dad.

Salt wafted softly on the intoxicating ocean breeze… a gentle relief to an otherwise unbearable bath of humidity. The grit of sand crunched between my toes and lightly bruised my foot’s arch as I stepped out of reach of lapping waves. My dad’s shadow cast diagonally in front of me, the sun lightly toasting the back of our necks as we walked.

I was terrified of this conversation. Of anyone in the world who I’d want to think well of me and be proud of me, its my dad. As many differences as we already had, I hated bringing up something as awkward as… “so.. Dad… about that gay thing.” What started as some forced casual questions/answers turned into an hour and a half  conversation about anything and everything. I don’t remember all the details of most of our father-son chat, but I’ll never forget our last interchange before we went back up from the beach to join the rest of my family for lunch. I stopped and faced my dad and said something along the lines of, “Dad, right now, I’m in a good place spiritually. I’ve been learning a lot about how God’s love and grace extends specifically to my particular situation. I’ve connected with several solid Christian guys who are helping me process this and are keeping me accountable on a sexual purity level. However, I don’t know what the future holds. I could… could..” I faltered… having difficulty shaping words, “Next time I see you, I could very well be introducing you to a boyfriend… aaand.. I just want to know that I’d still be able to talk with you about that… should it ever happen.” My Dad’s reaction is branded in my memory. He looked straight into my eyes, put his hand heavily on my shoulder, and said, “David, you are my son. I love you. Nothing you could ever do can change that!” He finished his sentence and pulled me into an awkward bear hug and kissed me on my head. We reverted back to casual convo and went to find food.

Its still hard to relate to my dad. We still have awkward pauses/silences in our short phone conversations… but something is certain. I not only know on a knowledge level that my Dad loves me… I’m deeply cognizant of this fact on a heart level. That puts a confident smile on my face.


Honest Questions

Daniel Bedingfield

My Zimbabwean friend Ashleigh shared this song with me in response to a honest soul searching conversation about various struggles I’ve been going through. The lyrics capture my feelings well, and then go a step further to remind me of God’s sovereign plan – that He truly does intend good from all this pain. I hope you are encouraged as well.

“Honest Questions” – Daniel Bedingfield

Can you see
The honest questions in my heart this hour
I am opening like a flower
To the rain
And do you know the silent sorrows of a
Never ending journey through the pain

Do you see a brighter day for me
Another day
A day
Do you wonder whats in store for me
The cure for me
The way
Oh look down and see the tears I’ve cried
The lies I’ve lived
The deaths I’ve died
Would you die them too
And all for me

(You say)
I will pour the water down upon a thirsty barren land
And streams will flow
From the dust of your bruised and broken soul
And you will grow like the grass
Upon the fertile plains of Asia by the streams
Of living water you will grow
Oh.. you will grow

Do you know
The story from the start
And do you know me
Like you’ve always told me
Do you see the whispers in my heart against your kindness
My eternal blindness
Do you see…

Do you see a brighter day for me
Another day
A day
Do you wonder whats in store for me
The cure for me
The way
Oh look down and see the tears I’ve cried
The lies I’ve lived
The deaths I’ve died
Would you die them too
And all for me

(You say)
I will pour the water down upon a thirsty barren land
And streams will flow
From the dust of your bruised and broken soul
And you will grow like the grass
Upon the fertile plains of Asia by the streams
Of living water you will grow


Heresy

Courtesy of Art of the Title

“You are in a really dangerous place David.”

Sam’s words reverberate past my eardrums and thud sickly against the pit of my stomach wall. They probe at the very heart of what I fear the most… that not only might I be dabbling in what could potentially be labeled heresy, but that I may even be going so far as to rationalize sin rather than repenting of it. If he’s right, my assurance of my election and salvation hangs in the balance.

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. – 1 John 3:9

Yesterday, I sat down to visit with two old friends who mean a TON to me. Both of these men have spoken so much truth and encouragement into my life. I take their perspectives and opinions into serious consideration.

In light of Pascal’s Wager, regardless of the evidence in scripture that would allow for homosexual monogamous relationships, I should pursue celibacy to rule out any room for error. After all, what is a little suffering in this world compared to eternal damnation right? He also raised the concern that should I ever decide to propagate this new perspective on scripture, I would slip under the category of False Teacher… and we all know how strongly scripture condemns those.

On the other hand, Tyler didn’t seem to think the my current state of contemplation was quite so dramatic. When I raised the concern that as Sam said, I very well could just be attempting to justify a clearly stated sin, he astutely noted, “perhaps, but quite honestly we justify ourselves with many things every day. That doesn’t mean we lose our salvation.”

And yet Sam’s grave admonition to hearken to Truth still echoes through my head. I feel trapped… lost… frustrated… tired – no, exhausted… I just want to run away and escape into someone else’s life. I’m tired of me and being me. I don’t want to fight anymore… quite honestly, I don’t even know what I’m fighting. Is it myself? Is it God? Is it acceptance by my peers? I’m struggling to believe God will make anything beautiful out of this conflicted painful mess.

The sun is shining outside today… and for once I wish it wasn’t. All I want right now is a gray drizzle to lose myself in… maybe while clutching a hot mocha for comfort and contemplation. Mmm. That sounds nice.


Plotting a RoadMap

Courtesy of Graphic-Exchange

It has become apparent to me as I’ve continued to research and study scripture, that from an initial glance, there seems to be potentially plausible explanations for how homosexual monogamous committed relationships can be reconcilable with scripture. However, is that really enough? For me to feel like I can embrace this stance, I would need to come to discover the following:

1. Arguments exist that are not just plausible, but just as convincing, if not more so, than traditional church interpretation.

Upon initial examination, I’ve quickly come to the conclusion that there are indeed logical, realistic arguments and explanations that help one understand the various references to homosexuality in a positive light – either through word study, contextualization, or perspective shift.

As I continue to weigh the two ‘sides’ arguments against each other, I want to be able to objectively see how the gay-affirmative stance holds as much weight, if not more than the traditional stance. I sincerely desire to seek God’s will regarding this subject as it will have a direct and powerful impact on future life decisions. I want to live my life in good conscience knowing that I’m continuing to earnestly seek God’s face and am living in light of those convictions that come from an attitude of open honesty before God.

2. As I talk to other Christians, friends, and family, about what I’m discovering on this subject, some of them are persuaded by the evidence. And even if they aren’t, they still recognize the validity of Gay-Affirmation as a legitimate scriptural perspective.

While this point isn’t absolutely necessary for my personal convictions, I understand that I will come under constant questioning and even attack from close friends and family. I realize that I am a fallible human with a very non-objective desire as it pertains to this subject. If these arguments really hold their own ground, it would stand to reason that my discerning friends and family (if they were able to set aside their prior bias) would also recognize the validity of a positive stance regarding homosexuality and the Bible.

I’m extremely paranoid that in my study of this subject that I might just be attempting to rationalize a obviously forbidden behavior by ‘twisting’ scripture to say what I want it to say. That’s the last thing that I want to do. I want the evidence to testify for itself.

3. I must discover a body of respectable believers and elders exist who also come to this conclusion. ie: there is a substantial, credible Christian witness.

Almost every person that I go to when I want a better understanding of scripture and the gospel come to the same conclusion with regard to homosexuality – that it is not God’s original intent and is in fact a broken, perverted desire that must be repressed and rebuked. If one identifies as Gay, he/she is called to a life of celibacy. This is the stance Redeemer takes as well as all the speakers I listen to and read including John Piper, D.A. Carson, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, R.C. Sproul, and so forth. On the converse, most of the the theologians and biblical leaders who do come to an affirming stance on homosexuality also seem to take great liberties with the rest of their theology as well – questioning things that I consider to be foundational to the Gospel itself. Among these are the emergent church leaders.

I am gradually beginning to discover a few Biblical leaders who I respect but they’re definitely difficult to find. It seems that an affirming view of homosexuality and liberal theology typically go hand in hand. But not in all cases… and I am trying to find this exception – theologians who are still orthodox in biblical studying/applying methods, yet still come to a positive conclusion as far as homosexuality is concerned. Currently, I’m checking out a few speakers/authors to get a better grasp on how ‘legit’ they are. So far, my list is comprised of Justin Lee (Gay Christian Network), Mel White (Soul Force), and Jeff Miner (Pastor of an MCC church in Indiana).

4. Like anything else, it must stand the course of time. As I run various situations against this frame of biblical understanding, it continues to maintain integrity. This understanding of homosexuality would directly alter my worldview… and have widespread implications. What are those implications? Can I accept those implications as well?

What do I mean by implications? Let me explain. A simple example would be the marriage allegory. I’m so familiar with hearing how the Body of Christ represents the unfaithful bride, and the groom represents Christ (see Hosea and elsewhere). How does this allegory apply to same sex relationships? Does it make the allegory void of meaning… ? or perhaps the allegory doesn’t apply across the board, as after all, often its the groom who is unfaithful. I feel that accepting homosexual relationships as a norm has widespread implications that will alter (perhaps in minor ways, but more likely in major) our understanding of other scriptural situations, as well as man/woman interaction in general. What about the understanding that woman was made as man’s helper, indeed his complement? Studies reveal that men and women are psychologically different… and somehow the two together make a more cohesive functioning unit. What happens to that theory? Gender roles are in danger of being thrown out along with basic things like chivalry and what I’ve understood to be biblical masculinity. But then, perhaps that’s a bit drastic. Perhaps nothing really changes whatsoever at all… Lets just say, this is something that requires a lot more thought. While this last question doesn’t drive the discussion, it should certainly contribute. I’d like to believe that life and scripture’s description of it is like a well crafted plot written by an intelligent playwright. Where things tie together. Simple observable things within creation serve to illustrate more complex ideas about humanity.


Call it for what it is: Romantic Love vs. Idolatry

Courtesy of Graphic-Exchange

Perhaps I’m just a jaded cynic, disillusioned with Disney and popular culture’s obsession with a particular ‘high’ that is often labeled ‘love.’ While millions of “love songs” praise this feeling/obsession as a higher plane of existence, I question its legitimacy and supposed selflessness. It would seem to me that romantic love is often nothing more than an endorphin charged mental state mixed with varying degrees of sexual tension that enslave your mind with a level of extreme addiction that in any other situation would seem quite frightening. Love at first sight? Perhaps its more like your first hit of auto-addicting Meth. Most of us, myself included, have found ourselves subject to this experience before – the joys and highs that it delivers… and ultimately the heartache and disillusionment.

Clear-headed, logical thinking individuals, when pierced with Cupid’s mind-warp arrow, suddenly transform into creatures obsessed with the pursuit of only one desire, subconsciously believing that this special ‘other’ is their path to real happiness and fulfillment in life. Isn’t that the very definition of idolatry – believing that anything might fulfill our deepest longings and desires apart from God? After all, idolatry can be as simple as “making a good thing… an ultimate thing” (TheResurgence). Yet, in secular culture, we extol romantic obsession with one individual as true love and long for a similar experience in our own lives. As much as I love watching Enchanted, Tangled, Moulin Rouge or any other rom/rom-com… there’s something off here.

In light of these casual observations, I pose the question. What is love?… not the parental, sibling, friend kind… but what is love?… the romantic kind?… the kind that God initially created when he introduced Eve to Adam in a pre-fallen world – because he saw that “it [was] not good that man should be alone” (Gen 2:18). From this passage alone, we recognize a distinct created need (even in the ideal Eden setting where Adam had continuous open communion with God) for community with another individual. Is there such a thing as legitimately expressed romantic love? How do we as humans tending toward idolatry keep from slipping into a selfish worship of the created for our fulfillment rather than continuing to look to God, while still expressing and feeling legitimate romantic love – the kind that one can’t just ‘fall in’ or ‘out’ of.

While searching for insight into my inner dialogue, I stumbled across a post by TheResurgence (yes, I do follow this blog a lot):

In the Bible, love is often a feeling. Rather than being a feeling that promotes action, though, it is often first an action based upon obedience to God that results in a feeling for our spouse. This explains why the Bible commands husbands to love their wives (Eph. 5:25) and wives to love their husbands (Titus 2:4), rather than commanding them to feel loving. This further explains why the Bible even commands us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:43–47).

Thus, love is a verb in the Bible. Love is what we do. Like Jesus’ love for us, marital love is a covenant commitment that compels us to act for the good of our spouse.


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