My Interview with a “Not Ex-Lesbian” Child of God

Several months ago, I invited my friend to write a post on how the church can encourage those who experience same-sex attraction.  This weekend she allowed me to ask her a few questions.  Here is a portion of our interview:

How do you self-identify?

I identify as a child of God.  I do not identify as ex-gay, ex-lesbian, or ex-queer.

This is a huge question in and outside of the church.  I think Belovedwe need to honor people and call them as they want to be called.  If you identify as queer, I am going to acknowledge you as queer and not lesbian.   In the same regards, if you are a Christian and part of your story is as “ex-____”, I will honor that.  However, for those within the church who do identify as “ex-gay, ex-lesbian, ex-queer” I will first, in love, challenge their self-understanding to first see themselves as a child of God.  I don’t want to get caught up in semantics, but it is so easy to adopt an identity as a no-longer-something that trumps our new identity in Christ.  My pastor likes to say that our story can explain us, but it doesn’t define us.  Being an ex-gay can explain you and be a big part of your story, and a testament to God’s grace, but as soon as it defines you then you are still under its bondage.  I think that’s important to say.  As for me, I don’t identify as ex-anything.

While being attracted both emotionally and physically to other girls is not a part of my identity, it’s a huge part of my story, so it’s going to come up a lot.  When I am talking with people outside of the church I will sometimes talk about being “ex” something in an effort to communicate in terms that they understand.  I do this sometimes because the world doesn’t understand a distinction between having something and owning it. When people ask me if I’m a lesbian or if I’m gay, I ask them first, “What do you mean?”  Because if I just say “no” assuming we have an understanding about identity then that shuts down what could be a conversation about Jesus or redemption.  If I assume that they’ve made a distinction between attraction and adopting an identity and are asking if I’m attracted to women over men and I say “yes”, it’s just as much an untruth as saying “no”.  The only solution here is to agree upon what we mean when we say “gay” or “lesbian”.  People are always intrigued by my counter question.

When did you first become aware of your same-sex attractions?

Become aware or accept that they were real and not just in my imagination?  (Long pause)  As early as age seven or eight.  When did I actually accept it?  Probably around age 15. I denied it to myself for so long and suppressed and hid my feelings so deep that I thought that I could change myself or bury myself in girlness and I would start liking boys.  Yeah, that didn’t work.  And the secrecy tore me to pieces.

What are your ideas about the factors that contribute to sexual orientation?

I think that is a legitimate question.  What I don’t think is a legit question is “Are you born with it” or “is there a gay gene.”  I really don’t think it matters.  In my case, I think the factors that contributed to my attraction was not having strong connections with older women or female peers.  I had this deep and distinct feeling that I wasn’t the same “mold” as them.  Once I hit puberty, I fell into a long bout of brutal depression that went untreated for many years and I started believing lies about my friends, such as “I am not like them,” “they don’t like me because I am different,” and “they are the standard of what a girl is supposed to be and I don’t meet that standard.” There’s really no defense against that when you’re ten years old.

Did they actually say these things to you?

No. I say confidently that what I was hearing were demonic lies which my own voice would echo.  It came down to me emotionally rejecting and distancing myself from them before they could reject me.  It was a kind of self-protection.  I’m going to feel better about myself by having the control to reject them first, and it was a fabrication that I bought into for many, many years.

How long have you been a Christian?

This is a hard one to answer.   I grew up in a Christian home.  I first really wanted Jesus when I was thirteen.  It’s not like I didn’t know what the Bible says about homosexuality which was one of the hardest parts when I really wanted to be close with, emotionally and physically, these girls that would have accepted me and were of my “mold”.  I knew it was wrong but I wanted that belonging so bad.  It felt excruciatingly unfair.

What has been your parent’s response to your same-sex attraction?

Coming out.  I call it “coming out.”  Can we talk about that first? I think it’s an important point to hit.  What I did was come out.  I came out of silence and out of hiding.  I came out of denial and complete isolation. I stopped lying to myself.  There really is no difference.  Coming out is making it known.  I want believers who struggle with this to come out.  Not like the world’s “say it loud and say it proud” but come out and recognize it, make it known to your community, and then figure out how to walk through it.  And that is risky.

So how has your community responded?

Some have responded well and some have responded very poorly.  An example of responding well: one of my friends, when I told her, looked me in the eye, and just held me.  And that was so necessary especially at that time where I was just coming out and wasn’t expecting to be touched.  An example of a poor response: unfortunately my parents would fall in that category.  They were very passive and hands-off and very awkward about the whole thing.  They never brought it up, but when it did come up, they would always refer to me liking girls as “it” or “your struggle”.  And that brought a lot of shame.  When people refer to my “struggle” as “it” and use very ambiguous language it makes me feel like I have that-which-must-not-be-named.  When people use euphemisms, they may feel a little less uncomfortable but it comes at a great cost to me.  Anyway, back to my parents.  My mom cried and hasn’t talked with me about it since.  I have forgiven them and I love them very much.  Other poor responses have been looks of disgust, physical distancing as though I’m contagious, and excessive emphasis on “I love you, AS A SISTER” to the point that you might as well have a DTR (defining the relationship) talk, as though they are expecting me to proposition them.  That’s incredibly painful.

What would you parents supporting you look like?

I want them to acknowledge that I am attracted to women and not men.  And to accept that for right now, that’s where I am. I want them to listen to me.  I want them to accept and embrace my story, everything from my experience, to my feelings, to my love for LGBTQ people, and that I long for them to meet Jesus.  I want them to accept that I have a heart for this community of people because I’ve been there; I have been head over heels for a girl and know how “right” it feels.  But despite how “right” it feels in the moment, I’ve also tasted something that is sweeter, that being life in Jesus Christ.  I don’t want the LGBTQ community to be alienated by the church.  I want them to be able to walk into a church and be loved and accepted and not have to be defensive.  Yeah, I want my parents to understand my longing for that. I don’t want my parents to try and fix my story, which is something they try to do because they are uncomfortable.  That’s potentially damaging- to say that what I’ve experienced isn’t legitimate or not as big of a deal as it was.  That’s one of biggest challenges with my parents right now.

How has the body of Christ hurt you in this struggle?

It has in a lot of ways.  The biggest way is in its silence.  And that’s completely excluding the very outspoken select few who are loudly condemning homosexuality and who get lots of air time in the news, on Youtube, etc.  As if pride wasn’t as deadly.  Excluding the vocal haters, the church’s silence is damaging.  Same-sex attraction, homosexuality, queerness (all depending on what we agree these terms mean) need to be something that’s talked about in the church, because if we are silent it becomes foreign and alien.  It becomes different from the other sins we talk about.  Also, people don’t know what to do with it.  If leadership isn’t talking about it in a balanced and loving way then believers take their cues more from those who are outspoken and condemning rather than their leaders.

How has the body of Christ encouraged you?

I haven’t met a whole lot of people who have gone before me, who have wrestled through this and come out on the other side using it as means to draw others to Christ.  In a sense, I kind of feel like a path setter and I think people understand that.  And many friends have joined me to help figure out what that means and what that looks like.  Whatever that means there is still a constant in all equations and that is Jesus.  I want people like me, and people who are totally engrossed in the homosexual world, to be freed.  To find Christ and find that freedom.

I have had some friends who have been so full of grace and who have said things to the effect of “I have never had to walk with anybody who has struggled with this before, and I don’t know how to help you but I am willing to do whatever you need.”  I know that I can call them when I am struggling with a specific temptation about some girl and I can be honest with them.  I feel very blessed by those friends.  They don’t panic, they don’t see it as part of my identity, but they don’t doubt that it is something that I legitimately struggle with, and that comes up a lot.  In some ways, people have checked in with me and that has been touching.  When I was attracted to a co-worker and in the heat of the battle, they would call or text: “How was your heart at work today?”  “I prayed for you and found this scripture that I thought might encourage you.” They would say things like “How did it go today?  Do you want to talk about it?  Was your mind dwelling on truth?”

What I hear you saying is that if you know that someone cares then you really do want them to ask how you are doing with this temptation.

Yes, but not to an excess because that’s making it a bigger deal than it is, like that’s all there is to my identity. But I want my friends to check in because they recognize that this is a real part of my life.  I think it’s important that other people broach the subject because if I’m the only one who brings it up, then in a sense it still feels like alienation.

When it comes to me bringing it up, it is really affirming when people acknowledge that I am telling them something meaningful.  If someone just sits in silence I interpret it as, “why are you talking about this again?”  Just simple responses like “ok, I hear you” and “can you tell me more about that” communicates that they love me are not disgusted with me.

Why don’t you just run off with that girl at work?

Well the first answer is because she’s straight; however, let us assume for a moment that she’s not and is equally attracted to me.  Why not run off together?  Because every experience of me giving in to my temptation (on whatever level that may be) has only ever lead to hurt and grief and separation.  But that is the case with any and every sin.  Every sin ends in hurt, grief, separation, and spiritual/emotional death.  And that is why homosexuality is no worse a sin than lying which also leads to the same: hurt (the reality that someone close to you has lied), separation (the untruth has put a chasm of distrust between you two), and death (someone has to die as a result of that sin: ideally, Jesus.)

But isn’t there the same potential for hurt, grief, and separation in an opposite sex relationship? Completely.  So where’s the difference?  My relationship with Jesus cannot coexist with a relationship with a girl.  Jesus draws out my identity as feminine where before I denied and insisted that I was not feminine. He draws out my desire to be what he has designed me to be and therefore I cannot pursue a girl and pursue Christ.  Not because of a set of rules but because when my heart wants Jesus that much it doesn’t want a relationship with a girl. God doesn’t want me to have a relationship with a girl because he loves me and knows what leads to death and what leads to life.  The only reason I’m not a lesbian right now is because there is something in my heart that wants and trusts Jesus more than what I long for and desire in the moment.

Are you satisfied with this life in Christ?
If by satisfied you mean feeling satisfied then my answer is: No, not always.  I don’t always feel free.  I don’t always feel like a complete person or that a life clinging to Christ is what I really want.  But all of those not satisfied feelings are only for right now.  I believe that Jesus is the most satisfying love whether I feel it in the moment or not.  I believe that when I’m tempted most to lust after a girl, despite how good it feels, it will only lead to pain.  When I am most tempted one comforting thought to hold onto is that Jesus has something better for me.  He has promised to take care of me, and in that I am satisfied in the deepest part of my heart.
**Note: This Child of God has given us all a precious and costly gift – herself.  Responses and questions for her are welcome.  She will respond below as the gravatar “thebigotsfriend.” But if you submit a comment that is harsh or hurtful, I’m going to delete it faster than you can say “What the…?”**
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64 thoughts on “My Interview with a “Not Ex-Lesbian” Child of God

  1. Thanks so much for your honesty and vulnerability. This will be a really helpful interview to send to others and spark conversations; you’re so right that the silence of the church can be so damaging.

    • Thanks for the comment, Claire. That is our prayer- that the church will be stirred and equipped because of this Child of God’s words and heart.

  2. This is GREAT!! Thank you SO much or sharing!!! To be totally honest, I run into HUNDREDS of straight people who are more vocal and outspoken about supporting homosexuality than actual people struggling with the lifestyle themselves. And sadly, over half of them are Christians, or claim to be Christians.
    Do you believe that those actively proclaiming to be Christians and yet are in 100% support of the homosexual lifestyle are actually more damaging to someone truly finding Jesus…. or do you believe they play a role in at least making Christianity look appealing in some form?

    • This is a good question that is really important. Thanks for asking!
      To start, when Jesus calls someone, He’s going to get them. I don’t believe that I can stop Jesus’ love and truth from penetrating hearts and saving people, but I do believe that I can cause confusion, pain, and be a hindrance to that process, if that makes sense. To say it another way, I can get in the way of Jesus saving people but that doesn’t stop him, which is why I think the most important thing in ministry is to get out of the way.
      For a Christian to promote and support homosexuality in the name of love shows that this Christian doesn’t actually know what love is. Love is not a feeling; love is a decision. And it is only grace when feelings of love follow that decision to love. The pinnacle of that model is Christ on the cross. I would be hard-pressed to believe that when he said in Luke 34 “Father! Forgive them for they know not what they do!” that he was having warm and fuzzy feelings inside toward those who were in the moment murdering and mocking him. The decision to love somebody means that pain will ensue.
      It’s popular to be a Christian and support homosexuality because the world will like you for it, but in that decision to support homosexuality you are not loving homosexuals at all! In that, you [‘you’ referring to the figurative ‘you’] are more concerned with being accepted by the world than for the freedom and new life of the person who’s accepting you. To support and encourage homosexuality and at the same time claim Christ is the most unloving and selfish stance you can take.
      I love homosexuals. And that’s why I’m coming out and talking loud and proud about Jesus. I’m not popular for “rejecting and suppressing my sexual orientation”. In the worlds eyes I am in denial of my lesbianism and am an oppressor and enemy to other lesbians and gays. But you know, by the grace of God alone, I don’t care and am not discouraged by the labels and accusation against me.
      He loves me. I have never felt more loved in my entire life.
      Thank you for bringing that up! Did that make sense? I’m happy to continue dialoguing with you if there is more.

  3. I don’t know if you’ll view this as ‘harsh or hurtful’ and in need of deletion, but I find it immensely sad that someone believes, and is being encouraged to believe by others, that something so natural as biological response to other people can be a ‘sin’. Does the Bible say anything about lesbian relationships?

    • violetwisp, there are many natural biological responses to other people, that are sinful. Jealousy, murderous thoughts, and adultery all fit into that category. Christianity teaches that inclinations that are natural, are not necessarily good, as is apparent to someone in the woods who comes across a (natural) hungry wild grizzly bear!
      The Bible negatively refers to lesbian sexual activity, in Romans chapter 1. The Bible seems to support close female friendships (eg Ruth and Naomi), but not so if it gets sexual.

      • “Jealousy, murderous thoughts, and adultery” tend to have only harmful outcomes. People can live happily without hurting others in lesbian relationships. You are making a ridiculous, cruel and irrational comparison.

        You may wish to continue your Bible devotion to Romans chapter 2, as did this kind person:
        “in context, Paul was telling us that we are without excuse if, for example, we condemn homosexuals. because we are foolish gossips and heartless braggers, which are sins of the depraved, or useless. mind. (Interesting, the Greek word translated with the horrible sounding words ”reprobate” and “depraved” means “useless.”)”

        Paul did NOT write Romans 1 to prove how wicked gays and lesbians are. He wrote it to urge us all to stop all the judging and condemnation. If you insist on using Romans 1 to prove how evil homosexuals are, then “You are without excuse,” because your judgment is “inexcusable” (KJV). There is no excuse for judging one another. We have been warned.”

        http://biblethumpingliberal.com/2011/05/21/clobber-passage-romans-1/

      • How do you know that the activity referred to in Romans 1 was negative because of the nature of the acts (lesbianism) as opposed to the context of the acts (temple prostitution and Roman orgies)? Heterosexual prostitution and heterosexual adultery are negative because of context, not because of their nature.

      • physicsandwhiskey, how do I know that the activity referred to in Romans 1 was negative because of the nature of the acts (lesbianism) as opposed to the context of the acts (temple prostitution and Roman orgies)? There are various reasons, including:
        1. There is a distinction made between cause and effect in verse 26, where the effect is referred to separately to the cause. The effect is described as an exchange of “natural sexual relations for unnatural ones” (NIV, verse 26). Also it says the men did the same thing, and describes them as having “committed shameful acts” (NIV, verse 27). Verse 24 is framed similarly. IE the references to the lust and sex are specific, and are framed in the negative.
        2. The statement that God gave them over (NIV, verse 26).
        3. Sexual relations between members of the same sex is referred to elsewhere in the Bible in a negative light, eg in Leviticus and 1 Corinthians 6 where they are listed outside of a context of temple prostitution, as sinful in their own right.

    • Hi violetwisp, regarding Romans 1, Paul begins in verse 18 what he continues until in chapter 3, proving the sinfulness of mankind. In chapter 2, Paul begins now to speak about the Jewish community, because they were “theoretically” God’s people still, If Paul would have simply gave the sinfulness of mankind alone without confronting them they may have became conceited. The theme however goes something like this, Rom 1:18 “Paul begins his explanation of the universal sinfulness of mankind, he continues this throughout Chapter 2 and into chapter 3.

      For Romans 1, I wrote an article for it to provide some helpful insight.
      http://totaltruth.net/2013/04/03/homosexuality-in-romans-1/

    • Hi violetwisp,

      Thanks for taking an interest in this. To answer your question, yes and no :).

      We as Christians are in no way to judge those outside the church because of their sin. And certainly we should never ever look down on them, sadly many do :(, thats bad. I love and heed the words of Paul in Titus 3:1-7, ” Remind them(The believers) to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for ALL MEN. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

      That is a beautiful passage that reminds us that we once were not in Christ, and it is only by God’s grace that we are. That leaves no room to be puffed up in a prideful spirit and cast judgment on others outside the church.

      However, to judge someone doesn’t mean to tell them something is sin, nor is judging someone telling them what Romans 1 says. If the Bible says it, there is nothing wrong with believers expressing the truth within, however it must be done with love and gentleness. We want all men to come to Christ, and we strive to let people know the truth so that they may come face to face with reality. For a little more about that topic, see my blog about why we as Christians do what we do. http://totaltruth.net/2013/04/05/why-do-christians-do-what-we-do/

      We desire to speak truth into people’s lives, which means sometimes telling someone they have sinned, etc. This brings a person to grips with reality, lets face it violet, we are all sinful. I sure am.

      The Bible calls me out on a number of things that it says is sinful.

      To judge, in that sense is to have a critical, prideful, arrogant spirit about yourself that casts down others because of their sin, lifestyle, etc. It is to be confident about our own morality, and therefore viewing others as worse than yourself.

      Paul is saying in 2:1, “because God’s wrath is revealed against all people, and because all people have been given knowledge of God, therefore even the person who judges is “without excuse” before God.”

      Paul defines why judging others makes them without excuse. In a nutshell, ”

      So as long as one remembers, judging someone isn’t telling them their sin, it is because they become guilty of the same exact things as well. God is fair in His judgment of mankind. The moralist who dare thinks he is better than someone who is terribly immoral is dead wrong. They will be judged just as much.

      However, within the church Christians are supposed to judge rightfully, read 1 Corinthians 5 for Pauls good explanation of this. Also see Galatians 6, and Matthew 19.

      2. OK, to just touch base on the second part of your question. No, “homosexual marriage” is not mentioned in Scripture. Our view would be the fact that the act of homosexuality is mentioned, and it would encompass possible marriage as well.

      Let me lead us into some parallel thoughts. I am in NO WAY going to compare homosexuality to these sins, I only wish to convey a point.

      1. Child molestation is not mentioned within Scripture. However immorality is condemned, this would encompass that.
      2. Men beating their wives are not mentioned in Scripture, but anger and bitterness is condemned, this would encompass that.
      3. A school shooting isn’t mentioned within Scripture, but murder is condemned. This would encompass that.
      4. Human sex trafficking is not mentioned in Scripture, however God stands against injustice, immorality, this would encompass that.

      The list could go on and on, but I am hoping you might see my logic. Just because something is not “specifically” mentioned, it doesn’t mean it isn’t sin. Therefore we conclude, since the act of homosexuality is mentioned as sin, this would encompass a “monogamous, consensual, marriage” as well, because they would be committing the act of homosexuality.

      Also, please try to understand, this is not “judging” people. This is simply stating what the Bible says. Man could never be saved lest he be made aware of his own sinfulness.

      If I were to see someone stealing, I would confront them, I wouldn’t stand back and let it happen, because it would be wrong. The same logic applies for any sin.

      With sincerity of heart, give attention to the article I referred you to if you have time :).

      • “This brings a person to grips with reality, lets face it violet, we are all sinful.” I would have to disagree. You can read my views on sin at this link:
        http://violetwisp.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/sin-again/

        I see you are doing your best to justify your personal interpretation of the Bible, but as many other Christians have many other interpretations, I would suggest the rules from your deity aren’t very clear, and it’s unwise to brand something a sin that isn’t ‘specifically’ mentioned, especially if the outcomes of the behaviour do no harm to others. Child molestation, domestic abuse, mass murder and sex trafficking all have absolutely horrific negative outcomes and are at their very essence harmful. The fact that you had to mention such atrocious crimes shows that your argument is far from logical.

    • A psychological response, yes. Biological Response? No proof of that yet. Homosexuality may occur without artificial stimuli but that does not mean it is biological or natural, i.e. congruent with nature. For example cancer is not part of the natural order for cellular development but it occurs without artificial stimulation. Statements made based on false assumptions just confuse the issue. We define MANY psychological responses, or at least actions taken as a result of them, as improper and/or unhealthy. For example, acting on the psychological attraction to children is in no way acceptable in society. Not equating the two, just using it as an example.

    • Hi violet,

      Thanks for replying. I see we have two perspectives, one of us relies on natural methods for determining sin, the other(me) relies on Scripture.

      I guess we will simply have to disagree here :), thanks for the link.

        • Thats untrue my friend, but when such strong pre-suppositions are at odds, I believe spending my time debating as to the truth about sin is beyond my capabilities at the moment. I have research to do to obtain my degree :), as you can read down the comments section here, you’ll find the use of logic is very much God’s desire. God made us as rational beings, though rationalism isn’t infallible, God is.

          Just remember, science is not God, God is. It is possible for 2 scientists using the same evidence and rational capabilities to come to two different conclusions. Why so? Presuppositions. So call it what you desire, I simply submit to you I don’t have the time to do this at the moment. However, over the summer I will be able to!

          I believe homosexuality is harmful, it will take time to prove this, which I have none, but others on this site are doing a fine job.

          Anyone with even little intellectual capabilities knows that sometimes it is better to “agree to disagree.” And so, such a statement above because someone doesn’t have the time to devote to this discussion at the moment shows your motivation is your own ego.

          I wish to devote myself currently to doing what is “most beneficial” to my own personal vocation, which at this moment is my studies.

      • I maybe haven’t been clear. My sole motivation for participating in conversations like this is the desire to see an end to discrimination and the propagation of ideas that harm people. I use facts, logic and empathy as my tools in this endeavour. Your motivation appears to be providing yet another interpretation, to add to the many millions already out there, of an old book that people believe was inspired by a deity that we can’t see: one of several popular and invisible deities that claim to hold the ‘correct’ truth about life. Apologies I am unable to hold your opinion in higher regard.

    • It may be beneficial not to provide accusations or statements that are entirely untrue and nonfactual, if you wish to provide “helpful” insight. “millions of interpretations” is also an untrue statement. I’ll give you a task, which you’d never be able to prove. Gather up all those “interpretations” of the “old book” and sum them up, with the final point of such a passage as Romans 1:24-26, and then make a statement of “millions” of “differing” interpretations. Making such statements are what I like to call a “blanket emotional stance.” One that relies on “presuppositions” that do not rest solely on fact, but assuming there are, and assuming they all are different. I’d like you to prove that statement.

      No doubt there are differing opinions, but to state “millions”, I highly doubt it.

      Also, I appreciate your desires to eliminate discrimination. I do too! I hate discrimination, and those who “discriminate” are wrong. You assume that because anyone is against the act of homosexuality they are “discriminating.” I am against a lot of things, does that mean I discriminate against them? I simply provide what I deem as a plausible interpretation, I would never treat a homosexual wrongly or be harsh to them. I would provide them the same treatment as I would another man right beside me who has been faithfully married to his spouse all of his life.

      Providing harsh or illegitimate treatment to an individual because of their “sexual orientation” would be wrong. However, if marriage is clearly defined, and accepted as being between man and woman, then not providing the ability to marry to 2 individuals of the same sex is simply what we as a society should do. Call it discrimination, but that is simply illogical.

      If you truly rely solely on “fact, logic and empathy”, then only provide “fact, logic, and empathy.”

      • “I would never treat a homosexual wrongly” – telling someone that they can never have the life partner of their choice because you believe their nature is ‘sinful’ is wrong. If you promote that heterosexuals can have a partner corresponding to their natural proclivity, but homosexuals shouldn’t, you are promoting discrimination against one group of people. It’s cruel, it’s judgemental and it’s based on *your* interpretation of a book that lots of your fellow Christians view differently. There are 41,000 Christian denominations, each with their own interpretations of the Bible. Within each of these denominations are individuals who have their own understandings of the text they read. I stand by my assertion that there are millions of interpretations.

        I should add that I am dismayed that you are seeking to ‘prove’ homosexuality is harmful. I think this just highlights a serious problem with your point of view. Perhaps a Freudian slip, but I think it would be more appropriate for a serious researcher to be investigating outcomes of various lifestyles and making unbiased evaluations. Your statement suggests that confirmation bias will be an issue with any findings you have.

        • Friend, I do understand you are from the outside looking in, so to speak. Because there may possibly be 41,000 denominations doesn’t mean there are 41,000 interpretations of Romans 1. Generally speaking, the differences would be minor. However there would be substantial agreement within the denominations. I am curious as to how many ways there are to interpret Romans 1:24-26? A million? I believe that’s an overstatement. I am fully aware there are differing opinions, but there would be “millions” of people who would agree with one interpretation, and there may be millions who agree to another. However to say there are “millions” of interpretations is not true.

          • The appeal to orthodoxy is a shallow one – millions of Christians believed in racism, millions of Christians believed in slavery, the crusades were fueled by a desire for orthodoxy – all no doubt felt good about their positions because the Word backed them up in some way. Thanks for comment I will look up totaltuth and see if you are lying.

        • “A Freudian slip, also called parapraxis, is an error in speech, memory, or physical action that is interpreted as occurring due to the interference of some unconscious (“dynamically repressed”) subdued wish, conflict, or train of thought guided by the super-ego and the rules of correct behaviour. They reveal a “source outside the speech”. The concept is thus part of classical psychoanalysis.” sigh

  4. This is an immensely important, insightful and powerful article. She has captured in words what many people cannot articulate, and what people don’t understand they frequently lash out against. I applaud her for her willingness to be incredibly vulnerable and honest with your great questions. If we all had the mindset of Jesus when talking to people struggling alone, true Christianity would be much more on display.

    This sentence particularly resonated with me: “If leadership isn’t talking about it in a balanced and loving way then believers take their cues more from those who are outspoken and condemning rather than their leaders.”

  5. I find it so sad that the church preaches against people accepting who they are created to be – yes I know you can find happiness being single and in Christ – but this is not for everyone. So many have found love in permanent relationships and enjoy God’s blessing on them as well 🙂

    • Tapman, if God is the creator, and he created people to either be in heterosexual relationships or to be single (as seems to be the options presented in Matthew chapter 19), then violations of that pattern are violations of what they were created to be.

      • Hi again – stasisonline – I wonder how hurtful your words sound to an intersex person whom God created with ambiguous Gender. What is a heterosexual relationship for them? What if one has a Penis and ovaries could they marry a woman? Intersex people are distressed by all this insististance on the creators order of things because they don’t fit in that order – they are violations…or was it abominations.

      • The issue I see with this particular approach is that it isn’t applied in other scenarios. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that God created people male and female with a design of heterosexuality. Does this mean that a person whose sexuality turns out different (due to genetic error or gestational environment or whatever) would be sinning?

        God created eyes to work a certain way, but using Braille if you’re blind isn’t a sin.

        Ultimately, it comes down to the question of whether sexual relationships outside of heterosexual marriage are sinful. But Matthew 19 doesn’t establish that. Matthew 19 is a commentary on the legality of divorce in the Jewish culture.

      • physicsandwhiskey, youre right that deviations from God’s design are not always considered to be sinful, eg a blind person using Braille. I was not claiming that we determine what is and is not sin based simply on God’s design. Rather I was responding to Tapman’s suggestion that some people are created to be gay. The Bible does not teach that it’s sinful for a blind person to find alternate ways to read, but it does teach that Christians should not engage in sex with members of the same sex. That may be considered by some to be an inconsistency, but it’s just the way it is. We all accept inconsistencies in life – even atheists do.

        I agree with you that Matthew 19:1-12 is primarily a teaching on the legality of divorce in the Jewish culture. But if you are claiming that a given speech can only contain a single lesson, then I disagree with you. When the Bible teaches about Jesus walking on water (Matthew 14:22-33) was the only lesson that Jesus can walk on water? Are we supposed to ignore the lesson on doubt leading to failure (verse 30, 31)? Are we supposed to ignore the disciples conclusion that it was a sign on his divinity (verse 33)? If in Matthew 19, Jesus simply wanted to state that divorce was forbidden, he need not have said verses 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12. Matthew 19 shows us Jesus understanding of what Christian marriage is, IE that it is inherently based on two genders coming together to reform the one flesh that existed before Eve was created from Adam (verse 5).

  6. Very neat read. I especially liked the part about self-identifying because that covers a lot of people. Ex-anything does define you, when it should be a secondary thing.

  7. I would never use the term “abomination” about any human being. Our behavior can be an abomination before God, but not our very selves (including our bodies). As the wife of a man born with a craniofacial anomaly – and the mother of a daughter born with the same anomaly, as well as an additional one that required repair to a portion of her reproductive system – I would say that those born physically intersex have experienced the imperfection of life on Earth in a very personal way, which is obviously no “fault” of their own or anyone else’s. The goal would be to bring about healing for that condition to the extent possible. It is no more “normal” – just because the person was “born that way” – than the gaping holes in my husband’s and daughter’s lips and mouths were “normal”, nor the fistula that joined my daughter’s lower bowel to her vagina rather than her anus. Our daughter was adopted, so we have no idea whether the cause of her birth defects was genetic, environmental, or perhaps a little of both. There was no history of cleft lip/palate in my husband’s family, so we can only guess that there was something environmental within the womb during the earliest stages of his development. Our biological sons are unaffected.

    It has not been proven that same-sex attraction is entirely an inherited trait. But from the Christian view, it wouldn’t matter, because both revealed truth and natural law inform our consciences as to the purposes and proper expression of human sexuality. I would hope that a better understanding of the origins of same-sex attraction (and my personal suspicion is that it’s at least partly genetic) would create greater empathy and compassion. But that’s something Christians should be doing anyway – no excuses.

    • Hi Beth – it is only conservative Christians that cast any doubt as to whether homosexuality is something you are born with – and i do undestand why – because it does resemble the prohibitions in scripture. If we can be gracious to intersex but not gay people I think this reveals the shallowness of our thinking – a focus on genitals – Gender is more complicated than a flap of skin.

      • I agree that it reveals a shallowness of thinking to fail to be gracious to any group of people. I disagree, however, that it is a settled issue for all but “conservative Christians” that homosexuality is completely inborn. Perhaps that isn’t what you meant – but to suggest that this is completely proven is false. There are many complex human behaviors/tendencies that have a genetic component and also appear to be influenced by one’s environment as well.

        The point is, for the orthodox (little “o”) Christian, it doesn’t matter. There are inclinations we are born with, as well as those we acquire, that must be mastered in order to live an authentically Christian life. Saying that something is “natural” fails to speak to whether it is holy. Father Richard Simon (who writes under the self-deprecating blog pseudonym “Reverend Know-it-All”) explains the Christian view of marriage this way…

        “Christians do not marry because it is natural. They marry because it is supernatural. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is great, but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” (Eph 5:31-32) A mystery is a secret by which the invisible realities of the kingdom of God are made visible. In other words, a man and woman don’t marry in the Christian sense, in order to satisfy desire, or to avoid loneliness or even to have a family, though we believe that the possibility of family is integral to marriage. They marry to incarnate, to make visible the love that Jesus has for His bride the Church. People should look at a man and woman and be able to say, “Now that’s how people should treat one another! That must be how Christ loves the Church!” Our purpose for marriage is supernatural so when you say “same-sex marriage” to believing Christians, they just scratch their heads.”

        The woman interviewed for this blog post is a Christian. There is nothing “sad” about the Church teaching people that they should not accept themselves as they were created to be. I’m not even sure that’s an accurate characterization of what the Church teaches anyway, at least not the Church teachings with which I am familiar. God loves every person infinitely, perfectly and without qualification. But if our response is to love Him in return, then it will change who we are and what we choose to do.

  8. Tapman, perhaps you can help me understand something from your above reply. Where do we find any reference to persons being “violations” or “abominations” in the preceding (or any) article (on this blog)? Also, regarding those with an “ambiguous” gender ~ where actually you probably mean anatomical sex ~ could it not be said that, perhaps, you are making an exception to the rule, the rule? And that because a universal (common) principle does not apply in each and every particular case, you are for that reason alone fallaciously discarding that principle?

    • Sounds to me like you have been reading gagnon. Gagnon didn’t make sense when he said something similar either. There is no logic here maybe I am misreading you

  9. Tapman, I suspect my words dont sound particularly hurtful to intersex people. At least no more hurtful than their standard experience of being reminded that they fall outside the experience of the majority, for example when using public toilets or competing in gender-based sports and needing to choose between male and female. Many of us have times or elements of our lives that are outside the norm, and it can be uncomfortable and can feel lonely. While it’s not nice to bring on that sense of hurt by needlessly highlighting the situation to such a person, I think we need to recognise that if we attempt to never mention awkward points of difference, we would find we are largely left unable to communicate at all. Would it even be possible to have a world where we:
    – never mention visual beauty for fear of causing hurt for those who are blind
    – never mention children for fear of causing hurt to those who have miscarried
    – never mention money or spending for fear of causing hurt for those who are poor
    Hopefully you see my point.

    Im not aware of intersex people being considered abominations. Im not aware of clear biblical directives for intersex people. Assuming that no such directives exist, my guess is that it is not unchristian for an intersex person who has no dominant gender, to marry whom ever they wish.

    • You said an intersex person could marry whoever they chose. Can you not see the inconsistency in your thinking.The reason we find it acceptable even when it is penis penis is because we can see a physical anomaly with the person. Intersex are the I in lag to – our opinions are thus governed by what we see – the genitals. This is shallow thinking. If you can be so gracious towards the intersex but not the gay it is only because you do not believe biology has created an anomaly, someone different- we want to label them sinners for living out who they are

    • Auto correct can be a pain – In my reply I said Intersex are the i in LGBTI – I say this because this group of people all have a Gender that is different/atypical – it doesn’t fit. If there is no prohibition about intersex marrying why do you think there is one for Gays?

  10. Well I could be wrong. Maybe a Christian intersex person who has no dominant gender, shouldnt marry at all? I must emphasise that Im not aware of clear biblical directives for intersex people, and accordingly the question of marriage for them has no clear answers Im aware of. Such a person should pray about it to try to determine God’s will in the matter. Based on my knowledge of Scripture, Im doubtful it would be sinful for such a person to marry either gender. And if it’s not a sin, then maybe it’s fine.

    But my guess is that most intersex people would consider themselves to be more of one gender than the other? If that’s the case, then I suggest the Bible indicates they should marry the opposite gender. Let me also clarify that I dont consider gender to be a matter of “a flap of skin”, but to include the anatomical, chromosomal, hormonal and psychological elements of gender. EG a person who is in every way female except that they perhaps have a penis, would in my mind be basically female.

    Yes, I recognise that what I could be perceived to be inconsistent by saying that gay marriage is unchristian but intersex marriage is an unknown. However, this is simply reflective of the Bible portraying gay sex as sinful, but being silent (as far as Im aware) about intersex matters.

      • The Bible refers to gay sex multiple times; Leviticus, Romans, 1 Corinthians … To reject the standard translations and interpretations multiple times over is extreme. I note that when we previously attempted to discuss the details of some of these passages, you exited the debate without responding fully to my critique. If you are maintaining your claim that pagan worship stirs heterosexual men to lust after men (Romans 1:27), then I suggest you need to provide proof, and explain why it is that we never see heterosexual men inflamed with lust for other men today. You also need to provide good reason why Leviticus and 1 Cor dont mean what most translators say they mean.

        • Stasisonline, I was not ignoring an argument – there are so many comments posted that one loses track – I have answered this question atleast once. If you don’t think Temple orgies were not a lustful experience there is little I can do to convince you otherwise. Men addicted to sex take little persuasion to lust – threesomes today seem desirable by our society – and yes man on man action happens within the heterosexual community. What a heterosexual man can not do (this is my opinion) is find a man romatically desirable. The Jewish people who had the Temple worship, the same who had witnessed the Power of God would not destroy the “High Places”. I personally think a lot of that was because of lust. Of course they also believed the sex act to have spiritual power and improve fertility hence the prohibitions and the Levitical call to separate from the Canaanite religions. Cameron one of the most active Gay haters talks about the “boringness” of heterosexual sex, even he can see the attraction men have with something a bit different. So yes I think the actions of the men mentioned in Romans 1 was Cybelian temple worship and it involved lust, drug, alcohol, orgies, anal sex……and on certain festivals, castrations so that they could serve as Temple prostitutes. Perhaps this is what Paul is referring to when he mentions the punishment they receive in themselves? The term used in the Cor passage is ambiguous so if I give you what I think it means you will surely google it and find one you prefer. The word homosexual was only added in , in 1940’s. It was most commonly translated as “abusers of themselves with mankind” or masturbation. By itself not a great one to be gay bashing with. Sodom and Gomorrah are clearly more about sexual violence, particularly the well documented practice of Forced anal sex to intimidate and humiliate. I think the only verse you have that could be construed…if you wanted to, as relating to homosexuality today would be the Leviticus passages but I would be careful using these laws as we already ignore most of them.

      • Tapman, Im saddened that you are inferring that those who interpret the Bible as portraying gay sex as sinful, are “gay bashing”. To misattribute violence like this, suggests you are embracing the rhetoric of belligerent activists at the expense of reasonable and rational discussion. Certainly bashers exist, but Ive seen no sign of them on this website, and to imply otherwise is I would think to bear false witness, and to trivialise the experience of those who do suffer bashings.

        I would not be surprised if pagan temple orgies involved lust, as you say. And yes I believe that sometimes heterosexual men engage sexually with other men. But what I find very unlikely, is your argument that heterosexual “men abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another” (Romans 1:27). That verse for example, does not correlate to a mixed gender threesome and does not make sense unless it refers to men with homosexual attractions.

        On the one hand you say that the Corinthians passage is ambiguous, but on the other hand you say that the only Bible passage that could be construed as relating to homosexuality today would be in Leviticus. Are you not contradicting yourself? If the Corinthians passage is ambiguous, surely it could be construed as per the Leviticus passage? And given the Greek word (arsenokoites) in the Corinthians passage being a compound word formed of ‘male’ and ‘bed’, even a doubting Thomas can see that it likelihood of it alluding to some sort of male sexuality, is high.

        In regards to your claim that the Corinthians passage was commonly translated as masturbation, can you please provide a listing of any publications that translated it this way prior to the 1940s turning point that you referred to? I assume you dont make this statements without being able to back them up. Various Bible commentaries prior to 1940, described the Corinthians reference as sodomy, which was widely understood to mean male to male sex, eg John Gill’s and the very popular Notes by Albert Barnes. Id be surprised if any Bibles have translated it as masturbation.

        • Thanks stasisonline – we could argue back and forth what we think the context of Romans 1 to be, what I said is what fits best for me. There are other options. About the accusation of bearing false witness – emotional abuse is violence and often just as damaging as physical abuse – emotional bashing is what I am referring to here. Again, your welcome to comment on my blog – I think I have said enough here.

  11. Reblogged this on TOTALTRUTH.NET and commented:
    This article made me burst in tears. It is such a beautiful picture of the love in Christ abounding through such a beautiful heart that loves Jesus! I am so thankful for this interview, it is humbling, challenging, and absolutely encouraging. Praise the Lord for her boldness, her desire to make this same exact thing happen for others struggling, and willing to take the risk of being vulnerable in order to love Christ more. God’s grace is overly and abundantly abounding, I wish I had her courage. This article is humiliating for me personally because of how often I suppress my own struggles, I don’t struggle with homosexuality but I certainly struggle with a lot of other things.

    Beautiful, just beautiful. May each of us be motivated to be a community of sinners saved by grace in the fight together!

  12. We could debate the meaning of Scripture ’till the proverbial cows come home. We’ll never “prove” the sinfulness of homosexual acts to those unwilling to accept an authoritative interpretation of the Bible. That’s what all these arguments seem to boil down to, both for those who would describe themselves as Christians and for those “on the outside looking in” – the issue of authority with regard to the interpretation of Scripture.

    So I would like to turn the argument around somewhat. Prove to me that homosexual acts are objectively good. Not just that they satisfy the desires of a certain percentage of the adult population (so do pornography, prostitution and masturbation, just to name a few – and while many would argue that these also are “harmless” (assuming free consent), “common” and “natural” expressions of human sexuality, what good are they?). Nor that it “doesn’t hurt anyone”. That’s an argument for not outlawing a particular behavior – not for enshrining it under the law.

    People are free to choose whichever life partner (or partners) they wish. But what objective good exists in homosexual acts? They are neither biologically complementary, nor potentially fruitful, nor a representation of of that which is normative by any objective measure.

    What the Christian should strive for is not just avoiding obvious sin, but embracing goodness, truth, holiness… This goes way beyond simply “not hurting” anyone – though as Christians we must acknowledge spiritual harm as well…

    One can argue, on the principle of “fairness” that the law should recognize same-sex relationships in the same way it recognizes heterosexual ones. Sounds lovely – but from a legal standpoint it’s not as clear-cut as many who embrace this view would have others believe. And it will necessitate other redefinitions of marriage, to the point that the word and institution will have little or no meaning.

  13. Thanks- I left a lesbian past behind too. Has it been easy? No. Decades of no. But has it been worth it, to have a clear conscience and relationship with Jesus? Absolutely. Here are some unintended consequences that our culture is moving toward- eg the scrubbing of all gendered words from public vocabulary- no more mom and dad or husband and wife. And the erosion of marital norms like exclusivity and monogamy. https://www.facebook.com/notes/shepherd-penn/on-gay-marriage/180490215437377

    • Hi Shepherd Penn, the stuff you have linked to does make the reader worry – that is called fear mongering – I am not saying that is what you are activeley doing, but it makes the reader fearful of what is going to happen. As far as monogamy goes I would like to see Christians learn about relationship because at present for all the religious talk we fair no better in keeping our marriages pure than pagans. If you look at the situation with fear goggles on it all looks scary, just like it did when they began allowing inter-racial marriages. Remove the fear and you are able to read it more objectively. Will it change so drastically if a marriage certificate has the labels parent 1 and parent 2? Perhaps we should put abomiantion1 and abomination 2 on Gay certificates. No I think it is time to welcome Gay people to the party, they need monogomous, stable marriage relationships as much as we do. There are many activists on both sides that say horrible things, the link cited the words of one such lesbian activist. Can we really blame her for being angry for all the church has done to them? As far as our own activists, what is our excuse?

  14. I don’t feel good about telling everyone. The church my mom wants me to go to is a jamaican church…culturally they will not welcome this. They’re going to chastise me. I don’t want to come out to everyone. I’m scared.

    I also had a friend. I thought we were a Jonathan and David but when I told her about my sexuality, She started saying “no, you’re not! You have a new identity in Christ!” Yes, I do. But I’m also…you know. It was painful when she did that. And now our friendship is not the same. I feel as though I cannot be closer to her anymore and she hasn’t called much. It just hurts because I thought we’d be such good friends. What am I supposed to do now, you know?
    I bought a rainbow ring…I wear it freely when I’m alone. It gets a little risky when I wear it around others, but It makes me happy. I like the ring very much. At least, what it represents.

  15. Pingback: Exodus International Shuts Down- Now We Must Step Up | asktheBigot

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