Sunday, January 24, 2010

Re-THINKING the Gay Christian Community



“Seriously, who would choose to be subject to ridicule and inequality?”

“If it was a choice, people wouldn't be killing themselves. Nobody in their right minds would choose to go through the things we do.”

First things first.

Yes. I believe choosing to live a gay lifestyle is a sin.

Romans 1:26-27
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
1 Timothy 1:10

But you know what? I think people can be born gay.

With those two statements, I have pushed myself into lonely corner. Hardly anyone shares my opinion. Don’t my two statements contradict? Why would God create somebody gay?

Ever wonder how many people are born as hermaphrodites? A little bit of google research told me that 3 in every 1,000 people are born with both male and female parts. Now tell me, should a hermaphrodite be attracted to men or women?

Hermaphrodites didn’t choose to be born that way. Did God create them that way? God created us all to be PERFECT. True, but sin has corrupted even our physicality.

And even more, sin has corrupted us morally. I was born a liar. I was born selfish.

With that being said, is it possible, is there any way that a person could be born gay? If hermaphrodites are a real scientific example of people born with different sexual organs, why do we find it impossible to say people can be born with different sexual tendencies?

A tendency that is, yes, sinful.

I find it harder to believe that someone could be born with the wrong sex organ than someone to be born with the tendency to prefer the same sex. The former sounds unbelievable. Yet we have documented proof of such.

What bothers me is that the Christian community leaves ABSOLUTELY NO ROOM for conversation on this topic.

“People choose to be gay! There is no other answer.” they proclaim.
“Those chose to be gay. Now they need to choose to be straight.”

I am advocating that maybe we are wrong. As we have just seen, human sexuality is a highly complex concept. I don’t think we should be so quick to rule out the idea that someone can be born gay.

This is a problem, because we can trivialize the very real pain and suffering of being born gay (exclusion, shame, born as an ‘abomination’, teasing, hazing, violence, alienation from the church, labeled as a pedophile, derogatory comments). If the church leaves no room for the idea of people being born gay, we tell them that all of their pain is brought upon themselves, by their own choice. No exceptions.

Can we not empathize with their struggles?
Is it asking too much to try and understand how painful their life has been?
Does it break our hearts to know that gay teens are four times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual teens?

Chad Thompson gives this powerful and creative approach in his book Loving Homosexuals As Jesus Would.

“If we wish to be successful in our attempts to bring God’s message of hope to the homosexual community, we must not go running to the door screaming about the spiritual and physical consequences of homosexual behavior. Rather, we must approach it with a plan to reduce the suffering of LGBT in tangible ways.”

I agree with Chad. We have focused all of our effort communicating spiritual and physical dangers. Trust me. They’ve heard it. Loud and clear.

We yell, “Danger!”
But they hear. “Intolerance!”

Chad suggests that we minister to them the same way we minister to everyone else. “How can we relieve your suffering?”

So I ask you. What are tangible ways that we can relieve the suffering of struggling gays? Here are some of my suggestions.

  • Tell them, “I cannot imagine how painful it was while growing up.”
  • Tell them, “I will accept you as a person, and love you no matter how you choose to live.”
  • Make the first and consistent steps into maintaining a friendship.
  • And what I stressed last week, simply apologize.

Lastly, if a gay lifestyle is a sin, and people are born gay, then we need to applaud the Christian ex-Gays (people who are born gay, but choose to leave that lifestyle and pursue a life of celibacy or heterosexuality). In a country where the non-Christian culture celebrates gay lifestyle, these people have chosen to leave a life that they inwardly desire for a life of faith, virtue, and purity. Some choose celibacy! They choose to live a life of singlehood so they can grow closer to Christ! They give up romantic love. They give up marriage. They give up sex! For the sake of Christ.

These people know what it means to be tempted.
They know what it means to sacrifice.
Christian ex-Gays have my utmost respect.

Is this what we expect of all gays? To be just as strong, brave and sacrificial as these ex-Gays? If they are to become Christian, that they would have to forsake every natural choice and accept a life of self denial.

We have to understand how much we are asking.

Others, such as my new friends, have embraced both lifestyles (Christian and Gay). But that is a different subject. Something that I may cover next week.

We ourselves don’t know what its like to be gay. What its like to forsake internal feelings of all romantic attractions.

And worst of all, we show impatience and intolerance for those who decide not to be ex-Gay.

I’m not advocating that it is 100% choice. I don’t think we will ever truly know why people are gay. What I am asking is for you to re-think what it means to be gay. To re-think what it means to minister to the gay community. We don't have to be louder, we need to love first.





11 comments:

  1. This was really good. I've learned some things, here. It's something to really listen to. Thanks, Chris.

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  2. Chris I love what you are doing and where this blog is going. I'm proud to know you and call you a friend.

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  3. Chris, every time I read this, I love you more. I really do.

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  4. Forgot to mention: if you would like any of my stories and such on my experience with the gay community, let me know. I'd be glad to help the cause ^^

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  5. Hi there, v impressed you even manage to post while moving across the world! You have lots of interesting thoughts, thank you for thinking about this, working on it, and being willing to listen to others' views too.

    Lots of thoughts but here's one, a bit of a tangent but nevermind! It's about whether and how we see people being born showing the affects of our sinful/broken world, as you allude to in the mention of hermaphrodites.

    I have a friend with cerebral palsy, it affects his walking, his speech, and other stuff. He finds that he can't go to healing services, because whenever he does, people assume he wants healing of cerebral palsy. But he doesn't! He tells me that he was made in God's image - and that image includes cerebral palsy. He was made perfectly, and 'perfectly' included things that this world views as 'faulty'.

    It's no surprise that to be made perfectly in God's image includes all sort of different things - otherwise we'd all be identical. But instead we're all sorts of different genders, abilities, races, body shapes, etc. So, I don't think we can label parts of people as affected by sin just because they're different to a majority. (I don't think you do this actually, as you mention the Bible first, but you do seem to refer to it after that)

    And just one second thought - I think ex-gays only exist in the US. At least, ex-gay organisations only exist in the US, and the only people I've met who describe themselves as ex-gay are American. Not sure what that means, except that I don't think there are any (many?) in the rest of the world.

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  6. Good post. I agree that much of the church has left no room for the possibility that sin may have tainted us each personally, rather reducing it to mere choice. And, yes, we need to open dailog with them about their own pain, shamem, fears, etc. We can't demand that people change - doing so only makes us look like idiots, something I don't think any of us really want. When Jesus saw the crowds, he felt compassion because of their being harrasses and helpless.
    Do we do the same? We need to.
    We all have our weaknesses and blindspots. Yet we expect others to be compassionate and gracious to us, right? So why can't we extend that to others, regardless of what their struggle is?
    Well done, my friend! Keep up the good work and the challenging posts!

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  7. *to Rachel

    "v impressed you even manage to post while moving across the world!"

    like i said on facebook, this was one of the hardest post i've ever written, and part of that was staying up on the plane and finishing this post, finding internet when i got here to post it on time. and posting it on time despite the time zone difference.

    but hey, i had to get it out there.

    "It's about whether and how we see people being born showing the affects of our sinful/broken world, as you allude to in the mention of hermaphrodites."

    I'm not sure if i was clear enough, but i am using the hermaphrodite idea ONLY to support another idea, which is 'it is a highly complex issue, simple answers don't work here'

    I not advocating that gays are 'deformed' or 'challenged'

    i DO NOT know what causes people to be gay.

    but if i do consider it a sin (which, for now, you and i disagree on this issue), then i have to treat it as such. as something wrong with us and put my faith in God that he would forgive the sin.

    "And just one second thought - I think ex-gays only exist in the US. "

    thats very interesting. i've never heard that before. one of the 'missionaries' who was in Uganda was an ex-Gay (he is an American). but i guess that doesn't help my argument. i don't really think he should be applauded. for the record, the 3 missionaries did not know about the bill, and they are trying to distance themselves from the bill. but, they also said hateful and derogatory things.

    Rachel, I dont know it all. But i do know that things are a lot more complicated than most Christians would like to believe. And that is worth raising my voice over.

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  8. Hi! My name is Celine. I am a neonatal nurse working at a newborn ICU here in harlingen, texas. As newborns we check babies blood for disorders. some of them does have disorders that would link to their sex/hormones. God did not make people gay. Sin caused this errors in our genetics to happen. Depending on the more visible, apparent, discernible, or obvious sex organ, kids are given the treatment to enhance it further and the child is given support regarding their true identity.i love my gay friends, i treat them as Jesus would treat them, see who they are in the eyes of Christ.

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  9. Chris,

    Interesting stuff. My only suggestion would be to expand your understanding of "hermaphrodites". These days, the preferred term is "intersex". Also, be careful with words such as "deformed" and "challenged" as many in the intersex community are working to fight that. This ties into a much more complicated topic of child genital mutilation.

    Over all, interesting post, but I would recommend doing some more reading about intersex persons!

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