If you can’t walk in their shoes, walk by their side.

In response to “Is being gay a sin?” lcamyopinion writes:

I am trying to get you, rather than make judgments about my gay friends, to walk in their shoes.

…You condemn them to a life of being alone. If they pursue their love you call it evil. You would prevent them from forming families of their own and growing old with the one they love.  You enjoy family. You would deny what you enjoy to my gay friends.

Why did you start this blog? To work out your own questions? To spout some knowledge? I’m sure you had desires for it to do some good but your words do harm. You do not love. Please reconsider.

Icamyopinion, you bid me to “walk in the shoes” of a gay person after referencing the unique challenges facing those in the gay community.  While there are areas of my life where I experience deferred hope, unfulfilled longings, rejection/condemnation, and on-going struggle with weakness, I cannot understand exactly what gay people feel exactly as they experience it.

But what I can do is walk with my gay friends and family.  And that is why I have started this blog.  I have sought to drop everything for a friend who is seeking holiness when she finds herself cornered by her same-sex attraction.  I have crossed the world with my lesbian friends who were adopting their daughter.  I have sought to be a refuge for another gay friend when he is in need.   I try to be the first

All images: Google

All images: Google

one at the door when my gay Christian brother walks into church, to be protective of him and seek to minister to him if he has need.  My husband and I strive to be authentic and trustworthy confidants for our friend who is seeking to be committed to his wife amidst resurfacing homosexual attraction.  My role is not to convince them, withhold love if they don’t respond the way I like, or to condemn.  My role is to be faithful to them.  And to be sure, I have done this imperfectly.

I hear in your words the suggestion that perhaps I haven’t had enough experience with the gay community.  Maybe not.  Maybe not as much as you.  But for much of my childhood, all of my adolescence, and all of my adulthood I have walked with my mother and her partner through life’s twists and turns.  I love them fiercely.  Since I was young, my world at my mother’s house was a world of women.  Holidays, soccer teams, their marimba band, weekend dinners, game nights- all attended by their lesbian friends.  All delightful women.  My mother and her partner attended my sporting events, plays and concerts.  Everyone at school knew about my mom- I didn’t try to, and wasn’t interested in, hiding their relationship.  I now introduce my mom’s partner as “my friend,” because for the past 25 years she has been.

Despite this, what I hear you saying is that the only way for my words to do “no harm” and for me to really “love” those who are gay is if I change the message. But it’s not my message to change. If you have an issue with homosexual behavior not being affirmed by God, then you don’t have an issue with me. You have an issue with scripture, and the God who inspired those words. You have an issue with nearly 2000 years of saints, scholars, and priests and pastors who interpreted scripture along orthodox lines on the question of homosexuality.

You say that I “would prevent [gay people] from forming families of their own” but your opponent in that fight is not me.  Your opponent is biology, which does not treat all sexual relationships the same.  And, as one commentor  on my blog put it, I do oppose adults (heterosexual or homosexual) who form a family by “manipulating a child into existence knowing full well that s/he will not be raised by his/her mother and father – those children have had something taken from them that was rightfully theirs.”  (For more on this topic see “Chaper Next“)

And the thing about the message- that God affirms our worth but not all that we love or think or desire- is that many have received new life because of it.  A friend of mine lived as a lesbian for two decades, walked away from that life three years ago and now in Christ “has lived life as it was truly meant to be in all its fullness.”  I heard three other men speak about how Christ freed them from the prison of their false identity and liberated them to no longer be a slave to their old nature (though none would claim to be free of their same-sex attraction).  Another man left a long, monogamous relationship with his partner because he saw that homosexual practice was not compatible with the Christian life.  What began as an act of the will has produced one of the most spirit-empowered people in our church.

Steve Gershom, a Catholic gay man, puts it this way:

Would I trade in my Catholicism for a worldview where I get to marry a man? Would I trade in the Eucharist and the Mass and the rest of it? Being a Catholic means believing in a God who literally waits in the chapel for me, hoping I’ll stop by just for ten minutes so he can pour out love and healing on my heart. Which is worth more — all this, or getting to have sex with who I want? I wish everybody, straight or gay, had as beautiful a life as I have.

And, just to reiterate, God does not come to me with a message of affirmation either. He accepts me as I am but doesn’t leave me as He found me.  He calls me to be willing to give up that which I hold dearest, and He makes me wait for much of what I long for- perhaps until the other side of death. This is the reality of the true Christian life (Luke 23:9, Matt 16:24, 1 Peter 4, 1 John 2:16-17). And in the midst of it all, God lavishes His love and peace on us- wondrous.

I hate the term “bigot.”  I am repulsed by the images that the word brings to mind.  Sometimes I think, “I should change the name of this blog and write about nice, safe, fluffy Christian things.”  And then I scan the blogroll and see broad and powerful brush strokes that paint Christians or gay marriage opponents with that shame-filled word in an attempt to silence and embarrass them and I remember why I started writing:

Because we can have compassion without compromise.

Because we do not have to forsake truth for tolerance.

Because we do not have to choose between loving God and loving our gay family and friends.

We can stand on the truth that God opposes homosexual practice and reach out to our gay friends, family and neighbors.  True Christianity will do both.

More on why I blog: “What is the purpose of this Blog?”

More on loving those in our life who are gay: “Why do you hate gays?”

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37 thoughts on “If you can’t walk in their shoes, walk by their side.

  1. I hope lcamyopinion makes a comment – in the meantime I would like to make a couple of observations. You mentioned a gay friend who is married and still struggles with same sex attractions. Can I suggest that this is a common thread I seem to notice with gay Christians who try and be straight ( I admit I have no Gay friends, i am only going by testimonies I have read on the internet – there is nearly always atleast one marriage break up) – you mentioned biology in your post – if your going to appeal to science then be consistant, it is a biological fact that Gay people are born different and realistically are never going to be cured. There are some who say they are but they are inevitably from strong Christian backgrounds…..and of course Gay is not kosha so they inevitably enter a life of “forced” self denial. Marriage to the opposite sex is sort of held up as proof of victory or something. I would suggest that biologically and emotionally it is damaging to try and be who you are not. Again you mention the two thousand years of scholars and saints that have spent arduous amounts of time interpreting the scriptures and all coming to the same conclusion. This is not really how it is – homosexuality as you know has only been identified and named as such only in recent history. And I would agree with scripture – same sex lust, same sex temple prostitution etc are all sins and listed as such in scripture. Romans definitely talks about people being handed over to evil passions and the whole context fits perfectly with the context and historical religions of the era – it is not talking about being gay. Full stop. As for the interpretations of the term “arsenekoita” I like the Lutheran one – Martin Luther translated it to mean masturbation.

    I know you have a watered down opinion of what slavery was about in the bible times (from your other posts) – the reality is that they bought and sold lives. This in our modern thinking is abhorrent – read Pauls words again and notice that slavery was as much a mirror of things in heaven as marriage – our saints of old all interpreted scripture to backup their views on slavery. Two thousand years of thinking is not really an argument at all.

    I admit I approach scripture from a worldly view, this causes the hairs on the back of Christians necks to stand on end, but I think God gave us minds and hearts to think and to make common sense decisions. Your decisions are based on what you THINK scripture is saying. My decisions are based on observable evidence, common sense and a hint of arrogance. Once I crossed to the dark side it all made a lot more sense. 🙂 and I don’t have to compromise anything.

    • Tapman, I appreciate your thoughtfulness and the time you take to comment on my posts. My friends’s story is not mine to share in detail but I will say that he has never identified as “gay” but rather has had to overcome great childhood scars and brokenness amidst his marriage. He loves his children, is deeply attracted to his wife, and the two of them through honestly, sacrifice and faithfulness to God and one another have given us a picture of redemption. I admire them and am proud to call them friends.

      On Martin Luther, what was his interpretation of Roman Chapter 1?

      Once again, you and I will have to agree to disagree about the interpretation of scripture on this point. And I have no qualms with calling you my brother, if you don’t mind. 🙂

      Self-denial is the natural response for seeing Jesus for who He is and taking Him at His word. We willingly lay down our greatest gifts, struggles, and treasures at His feet not to appease Him, not to clean ourselves up before He accepts us, but because He has given us everything and that is our love response to His invitation. In addition to Steve Gershom’s post above (which I hope you have a chance to read in its entirety) these gay men say it better than I ever could:

      Darrell from: http://samesexattractions.wordpress.com/
      Most of us long for a loving relationship where another person desires and loves us back. On the surface, saying “no” to homosexual practice does seem out of step with Christian grace, life and love. And if a gay person’s identity or orientation is immutable, abstinence does seem old-fashioned, unattainable, cruel, oppressive and unbearable. However, I believe living with unfilled desires is not the exception of human experience but the rule. Jesus is the model of the fulfilled human being. And He was sexually celibate. (Of course, singlehood and celibacy is not required or expected of everyone.) But an active sex life is not a defining mark that proves a person is fully and truly alive; that he or she is expressing or fulfilling a life worth living.

      Bryan Magana from: http://www.thetwocities.com/practical-theology/meditations/a-kinda-gay-qa/
      Why can’t you just be gay?
      I’ve heard this question a lot lately, from well-meaning people who hope I’ll someday embrace homosexuality, marry a man, settle down, adopt a baby, and live happily ever after. To be honest, sometimes I do desire those things. Those desires are real and intense. But I also believe they’re sinful. Welcome to the already/not yet, where Christians continue to live with conflicting desires. “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:17). Did you catch that last part? Some desires, real as they are, actually keep us from doing what we want to do. As a Christian, I want to do God’s will. I can’t be gay because I don’t believe it’s God’s will for human sexuality. For more on this, check out some of my articles on homosexuality here at The Two Cities, particularly “Forced to Be Gay.”

      Chad Thompson: Like any person who grows and changes with time and experience, some of my opinions have changed [since writing “Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would]. But my resolve is stronger than ever to remain celibate until heterosexual marriage. I believe that God changes people. I believe this because love changes people; and God is love.

      • You kinda missed my point…..anyway disagree.

        Just because there is denial/sacrifice doesn’t make it right. People who choose celibacy or enter different sex marriages while Gay are the minority, the exception to the rule. Most do this from a religious conviction that is forced on them by a religion that falsely interprets their scripture. So we damage 99% while one percent live in denial.

        Just curious how you would respond to the evidence that suggests Jesus was not celibate.

        I for one hope it is true – most go into a panic to try and defend their belief – deep down we have guilt feelings about sex, even heterosexual sex. We find it hard to accept that Jesus could possibly do something as dirty as that. Possibly answers why we have so many problems with this kind of issue.

      • I wasn’t saying Jesus wasn’t celibate, just asking you to consider how you would feel if he wasn’t.

        Walking with God may result in self denial/sacrifice but to place it on somebody else is called a burden – Jesus wasn’t too keen on people who placed unbearable burdens on others ie: You must remain celibate while I am OK to marry. For most this is a crushing burden.

        Just a quick word on obedience – God demands a righteousness far greater than that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law – not to earn salvation but because we are saved. Obedience to the law is not a matter of not doing something – it is far deeper than that. For instance if the law says “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and I as an act of will do not act on temptations to commit adultery, I might think to myself that I have fulfilled the law – this is not the case. This is merely an outward act of little significance and has no power to help us – the law never does. I would actually be hurt if my wife was tempted but the only thing holding her back was the law. Denial of this sort is like stretching a rubber band which will eventually snap. The law is fulfilled by love – when I love my wife I do not even need the law, my heart would break if I ever hurt her by even my thoughts. When I love my wife I give her cuddles and spend time with her….with no thought for reward, I simply enjoy being with her. All these things are part of obedience to the “do not” of the written law love fulfills the law because it turns it on its head into a do. God doesn’t want to lead us by principles and law – they are next to irrelevant for one who loves God and loves his neighbour.

        You ended the post that you linked to with these words; “It comes to this: Jesus died. Now it’s my turn.” I would say no, it is still his work – the transforming work that leads to a deeper understanding of love and obedience is all His work. in your post you listed a whole pile of things that to you pointed towards denial and sacrifice and “real Christianity” I would say close but no cigar.

        • Tapman, that is a beautiful explanation of love and law. Thank you. The Law points to God and shows us our shortcomings, but if all we are doing is behavior conforming without the heart, then we have truly arrived at legalism. It is a reality to which I must constantly return- to be so satisfied with Christ, to be so full of the Living Water, that I do not thirst for that which is not of Him and His will in my life. That is the relationship that bears transformative fruit, not superficial change- “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands.” 1 John 2:3.

        • There is no record of Jesus having an earthly wife, because Jesus was courting a spiritual Bride, the Church. And there will be a time when that union will be consummated after the marriage feast of the lamb (Rev. 19, Eph 5:31-32).

      • I make no comment about this guys religious experience – but like I said before – it seems that so many of these guys make public testimonies struggle for decades get caught in sin make confessions, continue with a ministry of some sort, struggle for years and make more testimonies and get caught in sin again. I would be OK with this if they were sinning – but our sexuality is a gift from God – it is not a sin to respond to natural God given desires in human relationship. You have based your view on a few flimsy bible verses about sex, and they are about sex – but they are not about the person born Gay. You then ask me to provide you with a bible verse that affirms same sex acts as if you would listen if I did. You sound like the Pharisee asking Jesus for a sign. The whole Bible screams to me that you are wrong. Go ask your mother, interview the many hundreds of thousnds of gay people whose experience goes against what you say. This is not a moral issue, it is not an issue of Biblical law, it is a human rights issue but you can not look past the sex act.

        How can you sit in condemnation of gay sex with the Bible as your weapon when the same Bible tells you a woman to remain silent in the church. These words are absolutely clear, you are to remain silent. You are not to have authority over a man – and God forbid you enter into the ministry.

        I heard some guy talking about polygamy on this site – I have often wondered about this – you can twist and squirm all you like but King David not only had many wives but also had concubines. I note the Prophets were not concerned with these “inconsistancies”. Morals vary – we like to think that there is an unchanging set of rules to go by but this just isn’t the case. Christianity was never meant to be about following rules in a bible. You only need to move over seas and the morals and ethics change in the cultural setting – it maybe comforting for us to think that the answers are simply in the Bible but this is not the case – law is not an answer. We appeal to a rock solid “moral law” in the bible that never changes – where is this law exactly? I have been reading the bible for years and never come across it. Perhaps we mean the Ten Commandments – even Jesus reduced these to two. Only forty years ago in Australia Aboriginals were not allowed to vote – not long before this women were not allowed to vote – our morals and our way of thinking is not only limited by cultural boundaries but to time. The Bible is not a law book or a map or a guide to life, where we can find concrete answers and literal bible verses to all of our dilemas. these metaphors are helpful in some contexts but all metaphors fail at some point. The Bible says absolutely nothing about Transgender or intersex people – how are we going to respond to them once we finish gay bashing?

        I’ll shut up now – perhaps I should pause before pressing comment…….naah

        • “I make no comment about this guys religious experience – but like I said before – it seems that so many of these guys make public testimonies struggle for decades get caught in sin make confessions, continue with a ministry of some sort, struggle for years and make more testimonies and get caught in sin again.”

          I have given you FIVE testimonies above of men who are seeking celibacy and holiness amidst same-sex attraction. All of whom seem to be living rich lives full of deep friendships and intimacy with God even though I don’t know if any claim “victory” in this area of their life. I find it interesting that you seem to dismiss them rather than take them at their word.

          On your statement “Christianity was never meant to be about following rules in a bible” I would cite the great commission.

          “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and TEACHING THEM TO OBEY everything I have commanded you.”

          Jesus is telling us to obey everything He commands. That would include His teaching on marriage being between a man and woman (Matt 19:4-5) and that sexual immorality (an umbrella term for any sex outside of marriage) defiles us (Matt 15:18-20).

          Regarding your statement about women being silent, the following link is helpful:

          http://www.redletterchristians.org/women-should-remain-silent/

          Again, we cannot build doctrine on one isolated passage but must take into account the whole council of scripture. In this case, we have many positive examples of God affirming women to speak, prophesy and testify, within the church, Israel, and outside of the church (Numbers 12:1-16, Judges 4:4-5, 5:7, 2 Kings 22:14, Acts 2:7, Acts 21:9, 1 Corinthians 11:5).

          You began with a negative- that women should be silent. I provided scriptures that affirmed women speaking within several contexts. Regarding homosexual behavior, you are attempting to explain away the orthodox view that it is sinful. So now it is your turn to provide scripture that “affirms same sex acts.” Please, I am listening.

          • Thankyou for your reply, I will continue obeying in the way I feel my Lord wants me to go – I for one find nothing in the Bible that tells me I should deem a persons sexuality as a sin. Our views on justice and the nature of our Heavenly Father are different. I copied a reply for stasisonline on another post – it seems to have duplicated itself – hope you can show this even though it isn’t my words.

            PS – look past the five people, sexual guilt can be real or imagined – forced onto some – yes I believe you can live a full life without sex but having said that I wouldn’t wish that on you. Not everything is answered in the Bible, this is one of those things.

    • Tapman, the claim that “homosexuality as you know has only been identified and named as such only in recent history” is often found on gay apologetics websites, so Im not assuming that it’s your own idea. But despite it being repeated time and again, its degree of validity lies somewhere between myth and obfuscation. Sure humankind knows more about homosexuality now, but does this mean that human kind 2000 years ago couldnt grasp it? No. Humankind knows more about a lot of topics than we did in centuries past. We know more about diet. Does this mean that 2000 years ago, humankind had no idea that human beings need to eat? We know more about respiration. Does this mean that the ancients didnt realise that if you didnt breathe, you would die? No. The fundamental meaning of homosexuality is that it’s about a sexual attraction to members of the same sex. It’s doesnt take fancy computer equipment to grasp that concept. There were people having sex with members of the same sex way back then, and records tell us that the topic of same-sex marriage was also raised. These things were taboo in various cultures but they were not concepts that they had not considered.

      Id also like to comment on your claim that Romans 1 is not referring to being gay. My understanding of ‘gay’ is that it is fundamentally a sexual desire for the same sex. And isnt that exactly what is stated in verse 17, IE “the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another”? Whether idolatry was involved or not, the same-sex lusts are described as shameful, and the sexual relations are described as unnatural. So it’s difficult not to conclude that same-sex lust and sex are sinful.

      • Hi stasisonline,
        Sexual sins have been around since the dawn of time – yes I agree. In modern times when homoesexuality was named it was first thought of as a mental illness. During these times Christians labelled gay people as perverts – as the Romans text suggests – “they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.” The text is clear that due to their idolatry god handed them over to something…..

        Gender and sexuality is not a choice and it is not the result of being bad – the Romans text just doesn’t quite fit – other explanations fit better. I am not going to try and convince you and list other explanations as what you believe already is going to influence what you read into this text. For me it doesn’t talk about the person who is born Gay. There is two separate issues here. We can still argue whether you believe a Gay persons sexuality is distorted by original sin and therefore wrong but to label it as a sin as per Romans 1 is not taking the text in its historical context. Perhaps if you had a child that was gay you would find this easier to understand.

        We do know more about sexuality now, and to believe that sexual orientation is a choice is reserved for people living in vacuums and christian fundamentalists. If it is a sin it is not the same as others. Being a heterosexual is not a sexual desire for the opposite sex – maybe it is for you but my sexuality is deeper than a preference for sex with women, it is not something I could possibly have chosen – it is the same for Gays.
        God knit Gays together in the womb like all the rest of us – the question is – how does a Gay person live a holy life. This is where you and I disagree. The problem is it is difficult to talk about because sexual things carry a certain repulsion about them and preconceived ideas about biblical texts cloud rational talk. Fact is – Christian Gays face trauma. You might call this denial a “cross” they have to bear, I call it a burden placed on them. Jesus wasn’t fond of people who placed unbearable burdens on others.

      • Tapman, I agree that some people do seem to have homosexual indicators (eg effeminacy) from when they are very young, suggesting that they may have been born that way. You raise an interesting point about whether this correlates with the point made in Romans 1, of homosexuality being a result of being “given over” due to sin. It’s a good point. Im not aware of a tendency for men to ever change orientation from being straight to being gay, although from life stories Ive read, it does happen with women. So I dont think we see straight people in general being given over to homosexuality today. But could it be that Romans 1 is depicting an intergenerational situation, in line with passages such as Exodus 34:6-7? IE the parents commit idolatry and as a result, the children are given over to homosexuality?

        If you are claiming that Jesus would not want homosexuals to be single, I have to disagree. I think that is exactly what he is saying in Matthew 19:3-12. Whether it’s a ‘burden’ or a ‘cross’, it seems to me that it’s what he’s advocating, unless there is some other feature of being a eunuch, that I have not considered.

        I agree with you that a homosexual orientation is not generally a choice, although there are apparently exceptions (eg actress Cynthia Nixon).

        Thanks for your response.

        • Stasisonline,
          Generally speaking people do not change from being straight to gay – straight people can have homosexual sex (and enjoy it) For interests sake google sibelian cult – during Pauls time this religion was big, involved all sorts of gender swapping, drugs and passion induced castrations. This I believe is the most likely thing that Paul is talking about in Romans. Just regarding the Matt text – Jesus accepts what he says is a hard teaching and he says that whoever can accept it should. The thing is, not all people are able to be Eunichs for the kingdom. This is actually listed as a spiritual gift and not all receive this gifting. If you can not accept it, it is not wrong to marry. There are some gay people who manage with varying degrees to maintain a celibate lifestyle – often with lapses in between. The vast majority can not do this. If they are Christian a larger percentage of them suicide. Make no mistake it is a crushing burden, particularly to a teenager. I think the important thing to realize here is that Jesus becomes the Eunich for the kingdom while I am unable.

      • Thanks Tapman. Google doesnt seem to be very familiar with sibelian cult though?

        I dont believe that being a eunuch is listed as a spiritual gift? Can you provide a reference for this?

        Ive heard of a gay Christian who suicided. But Im doubtful of your claim that most celibate gay Christians suicide. Do you have a reference for this too? I made it through my teenage years being celibate as I suspect many people do.

        • Sorry – spelling error – Cybele the great mother was what I should have written.
          I am not saying that most suicide, but it is definite that as a teenager it is more difficult to cope if people are telling you that your sexuality is distorted and sinful, you will never be allowed to fall in love – at a time when a zit is a major drama, conservative Christian views makebeing gay more of a trauma than it needs to be. (celibacy is not a trauma in itself).

          It is common sense that we affirm people for who they are and for who God created them to be. When a group of people, no matter who they are, lack dignity and self worth – pride in who they are (not the sinful pride), that community of people do not fair well.

        • Hi again stasisonline, you also asked about the gift of being a “eunich” – sorry for confusion again. The gift was for celibacy Matt 19: 9-12 says that only those to whom it has been given can accept it. Given implies a receiving. Also 1Cor7 32-34.

      • Thanks Tapman. I found info on the Cybele religion. It doesnt seem to me that St Paul was referring to it though. St Paul writes in Romans 1 that “the men … were inflamed with lust for one another”. If you were a heterosexual male, engaging in homosexual activity for the sake of a religious practise, surely you would not be inflamed with lust about it, but would rather be doing it as a sense of duty. If you were inflamed with lust about it, you would be gay or at least bisexual, by definition. My sense is that when St Paul writes of those lusts as being ‘shameful’ (verse 26) that Paul means shameful irrespective of context. IE it seems to me that St Paul is describing homosexual lust as shameful, whether it’s in the context of idol worship or not.

        You did write above that “There are some gay people who manage with varying degrees to maintain a celibate lifestyle … If they are Christian a larger percentage of them suicide.” It sounded to me that you were claiming that most suicide, so if your position now is that “I am not saying that most suicide”, it seems that you are changing your mind, which is of course fine.

        I can appreciate how non-christians might feel that conservative Christian views on sexuality make being gay more of a trauma than it needs to be. But things look different from different angles. From the conservative Christian angle, our views help reduce the trauma of going to hell! And from the angle of a conservative Christian teenager, the views may be appreciated as a valued way of negotiating a pathway through an overwhelming sexual jungle where you can find yourself getting sexually aroused by all sorts of stimuli, not all of which is even human, let alone of appropriate age and gender (EG ref. the popular movie American Pie)! I guess a viewpoint that is burdensome to one person, may be helpful to another.

        I do see some validity to your comment that “It is common sense that we affirm people for who they are …”, when considered generally. It reminds me of the need to be grateful for what you have, and of what Paul says in Philippians 4 about being content in all circumstances. Yet at the same time, the Bible and life experience both teach us that to simply accept, and to do nothing, can leave us achieving nothing. And when we are not moving forwards, we tend to move backwards, and the logical extreme of that could be to become a homeless drunk. The Bible teaches us to not simply accept what we have, but also to act, eg ‘seek’ (Matthew 6:33), to ‘go’ (Mark 16:15), to ‘contend’ (Jude 1:3). To consider less theological examples, it is wise to affirm a child’s learning disability, or is it better to acknowledge the disability and encourage the child to seek to overcome it? Do we affirm alcoholism, or do we encourage an alcoholic to avoid their addiction? I guess the affirmation needs to be of the person rather than their condition. There is a theory that many of the eunuchs in the Bible were actually same-sex attracted and single. If that’s the case, then the Bible does present gay people as being affirmed. Repentant eunuchs in the Old Testament were welcomed into the church (eg Isaiah 56) as was a eunuch who was described in the New Testament as an “important official” (Acts 8:27). I concede that affirmative churches today could try harder to affirm celibate gays & lesbians.

        Thanks for your references regarding celibacy being a gift. Yes, I see from 1 Cor 7:7 that celibacy may be seen as a gift. This raises the questions of how the gay “texts of terror” would make sense, if it’s not possible for all gays and lesbians to be celibate. And if gays and lesbians are banned from expressing their sexuality, yet cant contain themselves due to lack of spiritual gifting, then 1 Cor 10:13 would not make sense either. But is it this black and white? If you lack a spiritual gift, does this preclude ability to comply with scripture? I notice from Romans 12, that even things like ‘giving’, ‘serving’, and ‘mercy’ are gifts. Surely all Christians are expected to do these things to some extent. If that’s the case, then either everyone has those gifts, or it must be possible to do those things even if you dont have them as spiritual gifts. I also see that a “message of wisdom” is a gift (1 Cor 12:7), and that God gives wisdom if requested (James 1:4), so if lacking the gift of celibacy, perhaps God will provide it if requested? I also see that the notion of a gift of celibacy is presented in the context of heterosexual marriage, not homosexual marriage (1 Cor 7). So maybe all gays and lesbians are given the gift of celibacy, even though not all straight people are given it? Or maybe as per giving, serving and mercy, it’s possible to act in a field in which you do not have a spiritual gift? We have some unknowns here, and it’s difficult to obtain clarity amongst the various possible solutions. But it is reasonably clear from numerous other scriptures that Christian relationships are heterosexual only, so I think we should give priority to the Scriptures that we can grasp, and place these mysteries as secondary.

        You write that “When a group of people, no matter who they are, lack dignity and self worth – pride in who they are (not the sinful pride), that community of people do not fair well.” Yes, I see truth in that statement. Many denominations, including Roman Catholics, have policies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people including GLBTs, and all Christians should affirm likewise. We need to love our gay and lesbian neighbours and relatives, we need to encourage them away from the indignities of sex in public toilets etc, and we need to affirm that they have just as much self worth as anyone else.

        • Thanks Stasisonline – your response had a lot to it, I hope you continue to explore these issues. One point you made stood out for me and I feel I must comment. “Religious” sex was never performed with a sense of duty – the whole activity was always a lustful one, often in drug induced frenzies. The passions in some of their religious festivals reaching a point where males would castrate themselves. In the Old Testament similar religious practices occured in the lands that Israel moved into – note the referrences to the “high places” in OT. Israel continually visited these “high places” out of a sense of “duty”. No, even here I believe lust to be a primary motivator…linked with a strong view that fertility was all important. The Levitical laws are layed down in this context – to separate themselves from the religions of Canaan.

          I make one more note – you mention sex in public toilets – our picture of LGBT people is clouded by images such as these, I hear people say they are lustful, dirty, perverted, paedophiles, promiscuous etc etc. Yes these things are all sinful and dirty but they are also things that are a problem for heterosexuals as well. Gay people are purely and simply created differently to us – throwing all these other images in is simply not fair.

      • Sorry that 4th paragraph of mine was supposed to end by stating “I concede that conservative churches today could try harder to affirm celibate gays & lesbians.”

      • Yes Tapman, there is so much to consider.

        I still find it difficult to grasp the notion that a heterosexual would lust after a member of the same sex, even if in a frenzy. I can imagine them engaging in the act while in a frenzy, but the likelihood of them being “inflamed with lust” while doing so, is another matter.

        Can I ask what the basis is for your claim that ‘religious’ sex was never performed with a sense of duty? It seems odd that duty would not play a significant role if they are castrating themselves.

        Can I also ask why it is not fair to refer to the practice of homosexuals having sex in public toilets? You seem to base your claim on the fact that heterosexuals also have sex in public toilets. And youre right that this does happen. But Surely the ratio of sex in public toilets is something like 90% homosexual to 10% heterosexual? There is a block of toilets a not far from where I live, where homosexual sex takes place probably nightly, yet Ive never come across heterosexuals doing the same. Surely it’s not unfair to recognise the facts? I agree that it’s unfair if a stereotype is applied to all, and I doubt that all homosexuals engage in toilet sex. But many do, and if the dignity of homosexuals is to be raised as you implied was needed, then the homosexual community have got to play a part in raising it, do they not?

        • Hi again stasisonline – And hi askthe bigot – I hope you would allow me to use someone elses words in a rather lengthy reply. I read this on another blog which posed similar questions to stasisonline. If you would rather not host it I could put it on my blog….
          Regan DuCasse Bill, thank you. For taking the time. I want to impart something, that has something in common with being black and black sexuality, and where I find that what you’ve been taught to believe about being homosexual, is that falling down had something to do with your orientation. Heterosexuals fall down also. And that falling down isn’t a part of political policy, nor used as a means to place them in an inferior social position because of it.
          I understand why it would seem that among gays, there isn’t as much restraint, not the same kind of consideration of sexual responsibility.
          Consider this: when a group has no value to greater society, they are not taught, trained, supported or given the same tools in order to understand their sexual responsibility in the world.
          Gay teens are not allowed to share their feelings, or needs without risking something negative occurring in their lives. They cannot be open about relationships in the formative times they need it the most.
          Black teens, in many ways, have the same problems.
          And popular media certainly doesn’t help by overly sexing up imaging, without relationships.
          One thing in particular that’s important to point out: males don’t get pregnant. Gay sex doesn’t allow spontaneous conception. Most people, without the spectre or risk of pregnancy, tend to be a lot more active than others.
          Men are less emotionally connected to sex as females are.
          Our cultural cues, and who they direct value to, and the consequences of that, are resultant in less moral rudders, less integration with the dominant culture, and less ability to participate in the kind of social structures that help everyone know the same values mutually.
          Blacks and gays and the pathologies there, are a tragic confluence of not having the same opportunities.
          And the very thing that does exacerbates these problems, is the consciousness of religious teaching.
          It’s you and your fellows being set up to fail, and when failure occurs somewhere, then those who’d be satisfied you fail and disappear, have accomplished their aim.
          The sad part is, you agree you deserve to disappear and should.
          And they are the ones with the most political and social power to coerce that situation.
          And there are yet less and less rudders for the emerging younger gay people, and the problem recycles itself.
          I’ve argued with members of faith communities about sex ed in schools. I have mentioned that young people are mostly taught the bio mechanics of sex, but where there is a failure is helping them with RELATIONSHIP and EMOTIONAL confusion. Gay kids are completely left adrift with this, if not denied any help at all. And most of all, the parents of all children should be required to take a seminar adult level class about the same. So they are better prepared to care for the needs of their children. But faith communities want to do things in ways that are part of the problem. I got slammed for suggesting that parents can be clueless, and themselves very bad at relationships and wouldn’t be a proper guide for their children. So, I’m sorry Bill. Faith communities have had their turn, and screwed up. And badly. And don’t deserve to keep doing it without being challenged. The roots of the problems within the gay community, have cousins among blacks. And what appears to be sexual irresponsibility among blacks, is a political issue too and always has been. It was one of the factors to try and prove blacks weren’t fit to integrate, or even marry each other.
          Bill, what I know and what I’ve observed are these common and cruel denominators. What distresses me, and what I fight, is someone telling us we have no more value, or any more sexual restraint, or can make no more societal contribution than animals.
          Where we differ (sadly to me), is you agree with them and I tell people like that to kiss my ass.
          But I won’t let you or the others off the hook, that the gay young person coming up, trying to find their way, with a much better shot than you had, will have their burden (and mine) made heavier because of you.
          Bill, thank you. For taking the time. I want to impart something, that has something in common with being black and black sexuality, and where I find that what you’ve been taught to believe about being homosexual, is that falling down had something to do with your orientation. Heterosexuals fall down also. And that falling down isn’t a part of political policy, nor used as a means to place them in an inferior social position because of it.
          I understand why it would seem that among gays, there isn’t as much restraint, not the same kind of consideration of sexual responsibility.
          Consider this: when a group has no value to greater society, they are not taught, trained, supported or given the same tools in order to understand their sexual responsibility in the world.
          Gay teens are not allowed to share their feelings, or needs without risking something negative occurring in their lives. They cannot be open about relationships in the formative times they need it the most.
          Black teens, in many ways, have the same problems.
          And popular media certainly doesn’t help by overly sexing up imaging, without relationships.
          One thing in particular that’s important to point out: males don’t get pregnant. Gay sex doesn’t allow spontaneous conception. Most people, without the spectre or risk of pregnancy, tend to be a lot more active than others.
          Men are less emotionally connected to sex as females are.
          Our cultural cues, and who they direct value to, and the consequences of that, are resultant in less moral rudders, less integration with the dominant culture, and less ability to participate in the kind of social structures that help everyone know the same values mutually.
          Blacks and gays and the pathologies there, are a tragic confluence of not having the same opportunities.
          And the very thing that does exacerbates these problems, is the consciousness of religious teaching.
          It’s you and your fellows being set up to fail, and when failure occurs somewhere, then those who’d be satisfied you fail and disappear, have accomplished their aim.
          The sad part is, you agree you deserve to disappear and should.
          And they are the ones with the most political and social power to coerce that situation.
          And there are yet less and less rudders for the emerging younger gay people, and the problem recycles itself.
          I’ve argued with members of faith communities about sex ed in schools. I have mentioned that young people are mostly taught the bio mechanics of sex, but where there is a failure is helping them with RELATIONSHIP and EMOTIONAL confusion. Gay kids are completely left adrift with this, if not denied any help at all. And most of all, the parents of all children should be required to take a seminar adult level class about the same. So they are better prepared to care for the needs of their children. But faith communities want to do things in ways that are part of the problem. I got slammed for suggesting that parents can be clueless, and themselves very bad at relationships and wouldn’t be a proper guide for their children. So, I’m sorry Bill. Faith communities have had their turn, and screwed up. And badly. And don’t deserve to keep doing it without being challenged. The roots of the problems within the gay community, have cousins among blacks. And what appears to be sexual irresponsibility among blacks, is a political issue too and always has been. It was one of the factors to try and prove blacks weren’t fit to integrate, or even marry each other.
          Bill, what I know and what I’ve observed are these common and cruel denominators. What distresses me, and what I fight, is someone telling us we have no more value, or any more sexual restraint, or can make no more societal contribution than animals.
          Where we differ (sadly to me), is you agree with them and I tell people like that to kiss my ass.
          But I won’t let you or the others off the hook, that the gay young person coming up, trying to find their way, with a much better shot than you had, will have their burden (and mine) made heavier because of you.

      • Tapman thanks for going to the trouble of citing that quotation. You havent addressed all of my questions, but I do concede that these discussions can spiral into endless points, and it can become impractical to address everything that is raised.

        Googling the citation led me to find that it was posted by a ‘Regan DuCasse’, who identifies as straight, in reply to a post by a ‘struggling’ gay man who calls himself ‘Bill’. DuCasse intertwines race throughout her post, but I guess race is largely superfluous to our discussion, so race aside, It seems to me that DuCasse has 4 main points in this post:
        1. That homosexuals and heterosexuals both err, but that the response from society involves a double-standard according to the sexuality of those who have erred, meaning that only homosexuals are placed an inferior social position.
        2. The perceived lack of sexual restraint amongst homosexuals is due to several causes. These causes include the fact that unlike heterosexuals, homosexuals are not trained or supported in their sexuality by the wider society, because the risk of pregnancy is not present, because of portrayal in the media, because males are less emotionally connected to sex than are females and because of religious teaching that intentionally constructed by people in power to set homosexuals up to fail with the intention that homosexuals will disappear.
        3. Young people are taught the mechanics of sex, but not about the emotional and relational side of it. Faith communities refuse to teach those components, and they have rejected claims that parents too should be schooled in how to parent their gay children on those components. Therefore those faith communities have failed.
        4. DuCasse is distressed by, and opposes people who tell homosexuals that they “have no more value, or any more sexual restraint, or can make no more societal contribution than animals.”

        Well, in terms of #4, I dont categorise homosexuals in with animals, and I dont recall others doing so either. There may be some people who do categorise them together, but they are very rare. It’s well known that homosexuals make significant contributions through the arts and many other fields. It is official teaching of many conservative denominations that homosexuals are loved and valued by God, irrespective of sin. I think this point is what they call a strawman fallacy, or at least an exaggeration. In terms of #3, would it make a difference? Sexual drive seems to often resist logic and moral teaching (eg people claim that abstinence programs dont work), so as far as I can see, it’s questionable whether further education would have much impact. In terms of #2, she raises some good points about the differences between genders, and yes men are often not averse to playing the field, but does this excuse the popularity of sex in pubic toilets? Is it not reasonable to go somewhere more private? Also she proposes a conspiracy theory when she claims that people in power intentionally set homosexuals up to fail, so that they will disappear. I dont have much time for unproven conspiracy theories. In terms of #1, she needs to elaborate with examples and specifics, otherwise it’s difficult to see truth in her claim. In the case of sex in public toilets, Im not aware of a double-standard. I think society frowns on it no matter what sexuality is involved, but because it is more prevalent amongst homosexuals than heterosexuals, then it’s just logical that its the general homosexual reputation that becomes more sullied. That is not a double-standard.

        I sense that you and DuCasse are saying that GLBTs have a hard time, and you blame conservative religion for that. Well, I think Bill’s response to DuCasse is powerful. He writes to her “I have tried what you are now trying, and I found that it did not/ does not work. “Affirming people” only brings them deeper into the lie and bondage of homosexuality. I see this clearly in my own life and in the lives of other homosexuals I know. In the beginning coming out seems like freedom. It seems like truth. It seems like now I am finally who I am. There is a sense of relief and perhaps even joy. It may seem like an exciting new world. But this only lasts for a while. It is the same with all sin. … eventually, homosexuality exacts a terrible price. …In my own life I morphed over the years from being a moral person concerned about others to a nasty person who used others for my own ends. I went from being a monogamous person to being the cheater. I went from being someone looking for true love to an online sex addict and pornography addict. None of this happened overnight. It was subtle and did not really emerge until 8-9 years of my out and proud homosexual life. … Now some people will say homosexuals have all those difficulties because society doesn’t accept them or support them. But I lived in NYC where its completely fine, even chic, to be gay. I felt no condemnation. I suffered no prejudice. I have HIV, but honestly, if I were heterosexual and as many partners as I wound up I surely would have had herpes or something else. So why was living a homosexual life (the reason I say it is a lifestyle) bad? In essence, because the homosexual culture removes all standards. There are no guidelines. Without standards each person does what is right in their own eyes. For some that is monogamy, for others cheating, for others open relationships. Each couple defines their own standards. You can do X with someone else but not Y. You can do it with someone else but only if I watch. The list of possibilities becomes endless, because there is no standard. The Bible, however, gives us a standard. Sex with only one person. Sex only in marriage. Sex only between male and female.
        Without a standard for behavior homosexuals (myself) fall prey to our own sinful natures. Without consequences or standards we become increasingly more sinful.”

        • Hi again Stasis online – it is difficult to address all of this is in this kind of forum – not that the issue is at all complicated. But endless red herrings make it difficult. I will only make a short comment….hopefully. Sex addiction, pornography, promiscuity, sex in toilets etc etc is not homosexuality – many people have struggled with this kind of stuff. Bill was saying that this was due to not having the standard of the Bible – one man and woman. To a certain exent he is right and those standard have condemned him regarding his behaviour – that is what the law does, it condemns. The bible is clear about sexual immorality and every homosexual and every heterosexual is under the same law and stands condemned before God. The law has no power to help us, Paul is clear about this. The Gospel message – through the work of Christ is the key.

          The problem with our situation here is we are making up laws for people who are already feeling condemned by the law. A person who has sinned needs the Gospel message – we give a Gay person this and then add a new bit that we don’t give a heterosexual. Your sexuality is distorted, there is no right way for you to express your love. The Bible does not mention gay people, intersex or Transgender – we link the prohibitions of the bible to mean LGBT and this is just not the case……a bit like you have done with the toilets….you have linked dirty sex with being gay. Any way I will be late for work if I don’t leave now….

      • Tapman, certainly it’s unjust, unbalanced and unbiblical for a gay person to be told that they must remain celibate, while an unmarried straight person is not told the same thing. I suspect that some churches rate gay sex as a major sin, while turning a blind eye to heterosexual promiscuity. That’s just hypocrisy.

        But Im surprised if gay people are told that “there is no right way for you to express your love.” That is a terrible statement for anyone to receive, and it really sounds like the phrasing that gay activists use rather than the language that churches use. I would hope that they are told that if they are even a little bisexual (as Kinsey claimed most people are to some degree) that the homosexual should try to capitalise on that in the hope that they may be able to form a heterosexual relationship. But if they are approximately 100% same-sex attracted, then I would hope that they are encouraged to express their love platonically, living as a single person as Jesus did and as St Paul did, and as alluded to in Mat. 19 and recommended in 1 Cor. 7:8, leaving them with time and energy to invest emotionally (but not sexually) in all sorts of activities and people and to live a very full life. Nobody could claim that the lives of Jesus and Paul were empty or without a form of passion.

        I disagree that “The Bible does not mention gay people”. I suggest that for example when Romans 1 talks of men lusting after men, then by definition, that is a reference to gay people. Straight men do not lust after other men whether in a ‘frenzy’ or not. But if you were to say that the Bible does not examine sexual orientation, I think that claim would be more accurate.

        In regards to me having linked dirty sex to being gay, in my defence, I have stated above that I doubt that all gay men engage in toilet sex. And Ive agreed above that sometimes heterosexuals engage in toilet sex too. Even DuCasse, whom you affirmingly quote, seems to acknowledge that gay men appear to have less sexual restraint than straight men. I agree that there are dangers in stereotyping groups of people. But at the same time, there are dangers in not recognising that different groups have different characteristics. There are some traits that are more characteristic of gay men than of straight men. To deny that is to deny reality.

        Thanks for your replies, and I hope you were not late for work.

        • Thanks for discussion stasisonline – will be talking about the psychology of scapegoating on my blog soon, your welcome to drop in and have a look.

  2. “And, just to reiterate, God does not come to me with a message of affirmation either. He accepts me as I am but doesn’t leave me as He found me.” Me either … and I am eternally thankful for that truth in my life. Very thoughtful, well-written post. Thank you … and thank you, too, especially for consistently displaying compassion yet equally consistently without compromising conviction. Refreshing and much to be admired.

    • I am grateful that both the compassion and conviction are conveyed- the highest compliment I could receive and I am humbled by it. Thank you for commenting.

  3. Just a quick note to the conversation: am I wrong to assume that God destroyed Soddom and Gamorah (spelling?) because of their sins, among those sins, homosexuality?

    • Yes. Homosexual practice among other sins. I have borrowed this response from a much respected blogger after this post: http://stasisonline.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/jesus-on-same-sex/

      “I think we must remember though that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is not simply about homosexual “lifestyles”. In no Bible translation I have read, have I seen the term “homosexual lifestyles”. Rather in regard to homosexuality, the Bible specifically condemns homosexual lust and sex. I know ‘lifestyle’ serves as a polite synonym, but being non-specific has the effect of easily confusing people into thinking that the Bible condemns same-sex attracted people whether they actually engage sexually or not.

      Likewise we need to remember that the Sodom and Gomorrah story depicts mass same-sex rape. Such an activity is not characteristic of most homosexuals or their lifestyles. And although Jude chapter 1 indicates that sexual immorality and perversion was the cause of their destruction, Ezekiel chapter 16 specifically states that additional key sins in Sodom and Gomorrah were arrogance, being overfed and unconcerned, and that they did not help the poor and needy. So the cause of destruction was not simply a standard “homosexual lifestyle”. In regards to the Old Testament, there are clearer condemnations of homosexual sex, eg Leviticus chapters 18 and 20. And also in the epistles we have Romans chapter 1, and 1 Corinthians 6 etc.”

  4. The accusation that “You condemn them to a life of being alone” is overly emotive, as though they cant even have friends. I think your accuser meant “You condemn them to a life of singleness.” And if singleness was good enough for Jesus …

    • I have been interviewing my friend, a “not ex-lesbian” Child of God, for an upcoming post. The joy that she finds in the church and in fellowship with other Christians certainly doesn’t fit the narrative that she does life alone. She does life to the fullest. 😉

      PS- Thanks for joining the conversation here. I am grateful that God has granted me a great cloud of witnesses so that I can learn from other believers how to better articulate and defend God’s truth. Whether or not it was your intention, you are tutoring me and I am soaking it in.

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