Sunday, August 18, 2013

Questions and Answers

A  church of Christ minister emailed me a few weeks ago (with school starting back, I've been busy) with some question regarding my posts about gay Christians and my views about the Church of Christ.  In his comment, he stated:
I found your site interesting to come across. There certainly should be a place of discourse about homosexuality. I am a minister in the Church of Christ, and I do find that all sexual behavior outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sinful and contrary to Christ's words. I do know that many Christians can struggle with difficulties that make them feel on the edges of their church and faith to which I can relate. I think we can help each other. I do have some questions that I hope you can consider and respond.
In his comment and his subsequent email, he asked a number of questions which I will endeavor to answer.  In my first email to him, I wrote:
I have struggled for many years to try and understand why God created me in a way that I do not have an attraction to the opposite sex, but an attraction to my own sex.  I once asked myself if God made a mistake, but God does not make mistakes, therefore he had a purpose in the way he created me and those like me.  I prayed and meditated.  I read the Bible, searching for meanings of passages that were difficult to understand, even though some stated that their meaning was very clear and simple.  God guided me in that study, as he guides me throughout life.  I came to understand and believe that God created me the way I am, that the verses about homosexuality do not pertain to true love between human beings of the same sex, but as perverse sexual acts that are contrary to the teachings of Christ and the worship of Christ.
In what I have read of your views on homosexuality, which I plan to take a closer look to, you equate homosexuality with sexual practices only.  Homosexuality is not all about sex.  I can be a homosexual and still not engage in sexual practices. There are many who do.  However, we are judged by our perceived sexual lifestyle.  I am not denying that I have never fornicated, but I have also sought forgiveness for my prior indiscretions.
In his response, he asked how I knew I was born homosexual.  While it is true that most people do not develop sexual attraction until puberty, there is more to being homosexual than sex.  Though I won't claim that I was always aware of my homosexuality, it is more because I did not understand.  I had no concept of homosexuality, but I certainly knew that I was different.  Most homosexuals felt the same way growing up.  Most of us did not have the same interests as other boys.  I preferred to play with the girls when growing up.  I never enjoyed playing sports, though my parents forced me to. So you might ask, how I came to understand my sexuality.  It was not easy.  When sexual interests began in puberty, it was an attraction to boys not girls.  My dreams and fantasies were about boys.  Though I tried to think of girls in the same way, it did not arouse me.  It took a lot of internal wrestling to come to terms with my sexuality.

Some of the other questions my commenter had that I would like to address:

What do you think it would be like to be a Christian without the desires of homosexuality? How would life be any better?

If I were not homosexual, then I would not have struggled with coming to terms with being gay and Christian.  My parents would not worry about me because their concept of Christianity believes that I am damned to hell.  In ways, life would be better, but I am the way God created me.  I firmly believe that God created me as a homosexual and guided my strong Christian faith because he had a purpose for me.  We all have trials and temptations.  God tests our faith, as he did Job and Abraham, and so many others.  James 1:2-4 says "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  However, being homosexual strengthens my faith, not lessens it, and I take joy in that, just as God commands.

With many Christians struggling with temptations of sexual immorality, did you ever see yourself as enslaved your homosexual desires as sin?

Before I studied the scriptures and understood the true meanings of its words, yes, I did feel that I was enslaved by my homosexuality and sin.  However, when I studied the true meanings of the words, with faith that God was guiding my study, I came to believe differently.  I will not repeat this journey, but instead I urge you to go back and read my post "Abusus Non Tollit Usum."

Do you still think that sexual desires can be deceptive and entice someone to sin (Jas. 1:14-15, 1 John 2:15-17)?

Yes, I do believe that sexual desire, as well as all other desires of this world, can entice someone to sin.  However, this is universal, and does not pertain to homosexuals alone, but to all Christians regardless of their sexuality.  When we take verses and place a sexual meaning to them, especially when it has such a wider meaning, then we are perverting the Word of God.

Regarding Jesus, what do you think Jesus means concerning sexual immorality defiling the heart in Mark 7:20-23? What sexual immorality would He have in mind and how would we know what He meant?

This was the last of the questions asked, and I think I deserves a post of its own, so I will continue this next Sunday.

Thank you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and may God bless us to live in His love.


silvereagle said...

Interesting and informative as well. I wonder how the minister came across this site. I would guess that he has more than just curiosity about the subject matter of homosexuality, but may in fact be searching for personal information and guidance. This site will certainly offer him a great insight.

Dave said...

Very thoughtful study. I appreciate your taking the time to do this.

MAC said...

Your posts continue to touch me. So much that you have written about today rings true in my own life. I too preferred playing with girls and my parents also forced me into sports. I also realized I was gay long before puberty. I have memories as far back as 5 years old when I would purposely put on my favorite outfit when I knew my brother'd friends were coming over.

What hits me hardest from your posts is my separation from the church and the guilt that I stoll harbor. I grew up Catholic and it played a big part of who I am today. When I moved out of my parent's house and began my life with Hubby, I stopped going to church. I still have a relationship with God. Maybe someday I'll find my place.


MAC said...

Sorry for the typos... my iPhone couldn't keep up with my thoughts. ;-)

jlo said...

I agree with Mac. When I read this post I thought that you were describing me. I grew up with the same feelings of being different, right down to the playing with the girls not the boys, and not wanting to play sports. But at the time I had no idea what it meant. As you know it has taken me a long time to even admit it to myself. Thank you for putting into words what I have been thinking. I am looking forward to your thoughts on the last question. LOVE AND HUGS

SEAN (The Jeep Guy) said...

I grew up Catholic and don't know enough about The Church of Christ to know the differences. The rest of my family are very devout but without the craziness and judgement - just love. As it should be. I don't remember ever hearing my the parishes I went to negativity about homosexuality or being very fire and brimstonish. I went to catholic elementary school and two different catholic high schools. My father is a member of the Third Order (Franciscan) and a eucharistic minister. I'm not a practicing catholic any longer and no longer believe in god. Not because of being gay but because of all the times I turned to him and felt nothing. My mom told me she was never worried about being with me in heaven because of my being gay (which she accepted and understood) or for my lack of belief in god (which she also understood) because she knew that I was just a good person, with such love in my heart for others and that I lived a life that god would be proud of and on the outside chance that he wouldn't accept me into heaven, then she wouldn't want to be there either and would join me where ever I was.

I don't believe any of us - straight or gay - grow up knowing our sexuality until we hit that age. I do believe that we all know that we are different and that we don't understand why until we understand and accept our sexuality. I think what confuses non LGBT so much is understanding what most of us mean when we say we are happy being gay. The journey to accepting ourselves is so hard, for reasons we all know, and has made us who we are today that we wouldn't change a thing. BUT that is sooooo different from CHOOSING to be gay.

I would ask your reader why they are so focused on the small percentage of LGBT people (and even smaller % of those who want to marry and or have children) when homosexuality is not a mortal sin and there are sooooo many more heterosexuals who are do and are so much more a negative influence on their families and children.

Where does he think LGBT children come from? 95-99% are born of straight parents. All those abortions, all those kids (gay/straight) abandoned to the streets, all those kids molested, beaten and abused, all those on drugs, all those in jail, all those in politics, all those divorces, all those bullies, all those suicides - 95-99% are born of straight people. Should straight people not have children. And what about all those straight people who have abandoned the church? Should they not have children?

My point is that whether you are LGBT or straight - everyone commits sins but it is the christians who refuse and judge LGBT people in life and from the church for the one sin (among others) of sex (like almost all straight people only have sex within marriage!) who are failing god the most.

When you have time can you give a brief description of what The Church of Christ is? I googled it but maybe you can give me and others a better idea.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting how similar our journeys tend to be. Almost all of my gay friends, bloggers and physical friends alike, describe it much the way you do.

I, too, have pretty much given up on churches in general, as I have yet to find one that TRULY practices what it preaches concerning the LGBTQ population. My relationship with God is deep, very personal, and like you, something I take very seriously. Though there are times like Sean's, when I've felt nothing - not one iota that God was there for me, which makes it very difficult at times.

Thanks for these insightful posts, JoeBlow. I know they aren't typed up in a half-hour of your spare time. Your dedication is awesome.

Peace <3