Monday, March 18, 2013
I've already discussed the inner-turmoil that can come from being a same-sex attracted Christian and the need for space to struggle. Forget other people trying to fit me into their categories, I've been spending my whole life trying to fit myself into a box...a box that I can understand.
The inward wrestling match is difficult enough, but I'm starting to get a taste of the bumps and twists and turns waiting for me on this road ahead called the "Christian life." Sometimes it feels like I'm speaking from two different angles. I'm trying to convince these people over here that yes, I believe the Bible says homosexual practice is a sin and that my homosexual orientation is a result of a fallen world. But then I'm also trying to tell these other people that I don't hate gay people and, maybe even more, that I don't hate myself.
On one hand, I stand in solidarity with the LGBT community. I stand against hatred and ignorance and discrimination...especially in the Church. I stand for the dignity and inherent worth of all people, regardless of belief or practice.
On the other hand, I stand with those who believe God intended covenant marriage to be between one man and one woman, that sexual intimacy is reserved for covenant marriage, and thus, that any sexual intimacy outside of that is off-limits for followers of Christ.
But on the third hand, I don't think it's the government's place to regulate or administer covenant marriage. That's the Church's job. So why does it really matter how the government defines marriage? If we disagree with the definition...okay. We also don't agree with sex outside of marriage, but it's still legal, so...what are you going to do?
"Mr. Mask, is that your official endorsement of gay marriage?"
Yes...well...no. I have no idea.
If you put a ballot in front of me right now, I have no idea how I'd vote on marriage equality. To be honest, at this point, I probably wouldn't feel comfortable voting either way. And you know what, that's going to frustrate a lot of people--a lot of people that normally wouldn't get frustrated about the same things.
I've said before that unless God allows me to marry a woman, I am committed to a life of singleness and celibacy. But I'm not actively seeking orientation-change through therapy or any other methods. I believe this cross will be something I carry for my whole life. I don't think I'll ever not be attracted to men at all, or that I'll ever be sexually attracted to women (in general). But I do think it's possible for partial change to take place. I think it's possible for me to be sexually attracted to one woman in particular. Yes, I do continue to pray that God allows me to get married...to have a wife and kids.
And then it begins:
"Okay, well that's great that you've made that commitment. But certainly you're not implying that everyone should reach the same conclusion..."
"What do you mean you'll always be attracted to men? This is not God's will for your life! Why wouldn't you try everything possible to change?"
"So you're at peace with being celibate. Cool, fine, but won't others just use your story to bully those who aren't at peace with that?"
"You should be more public with your story! God could really use you to show how you can live faithfully as a same-sex attracted Christian!"
"You should be more public with your story! God could really use you to show people how bigoted and ignorant their views of homosexuality are."
"Are you sure you're being called to ministry? Isn't that just a recipe for trouble?"
"This is how you've been created. Holding out any hope of change will just leave you depressed and angry at God!"
"Why are you so afraid to call yourself gay? It doesn't speak to your behaviors or choices...only your orientation."
"No! Don't say you're gay! People might get the wrong idea!"
"You would get married even if you're still have a same-sex attraction? Is that really wise?"
"Why are you doing this to yourself?"
"Why are you doing this to us?"
"You need to love other people more."
"You need to deny yourself."
"You need to love yourself."
"What would Jesus do?"
"What would Jesus do?"
There's a lot of people who love Jesus who wind up believing different things about what exactly Jesus would do. That can make this business of following Jesus pretty messy. I realize my story may upset people all along the spectrum of belief on this issue, but at the end of the day, all I can do is tell my story.
And as you read my story, wherever you're coming from or whatever your beliefs, I pray you will see more of Christ and less of me. Where we agree, I pray you will see encouragement. Where we disagree, I pray you will see humility and grace. In all things, I pray we find unity in our diversity, a unity that can only exist when centered on Christ. It's our job as the Church, the Body of Christ, to show a broken world how the gospel can unite people who would only be enemies apart from Jesus.
My story is complex. Your story is complex. Let us continue to love each other in the midst of complexity and look forward to the day of redemption. That day, all of our stories will finally make sense as we see their threads coming together to form one story...the Story. Praise Jesus.
Grace, peace, & even more grace,
Your Brother Behind the Mask