Friday, August 12, 2005

An Honest and Honorable Faith

Gay. It's ironic that a word used centuries ago (in Old English, Old French, and perhaps German) that meant happy, merry, or full of joy and now coined to refer to homosexuals (as early as the 19th century) doesn't much describe me. Being gay in the new use of the word doesn't really make me gay in the old use of the word.

It's not that i'm not happy. I have been happy. It's just that being gay isn't typically what makes me happy. I'm joyful when i worship God. However, my experience of being gay in the Church has been pretty desolate. For over a decade in the Church, it's been a lonely life of not being known. But being gay doesn't fully describe the person I am.

I am a Christian. I believe and have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. My faith is in Him and so He shapes the person I am. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-Control. These are the things that more accurately describe me. These are the things that shape the way I interact with other people in this world. But does it change my sexual orientation? Or does it simply change how I interact with others sexually?

From promiscuity to commitment. From lust to love. From meeting my needs to meeting our needs. As a gay Christian, I can still bear the fruit of the Spirit. Am I judged by who I love or what I love or how I love? Is not a heterosexual judged by the same standards?

This journey for me isn't about wanting to be gay and happy. I'm quite confident that it's entirely possibly to be gay and just as lonely. I suppose i'm more concerned about discovering how I can live out my faith honestly and honorably. To live out my faith honestly means that I cannot deny a component of the way I am. To live out my faith honorably means that I can express love in all contexts in a way that expresses something sincere and genuine.

Can a heterosexual Christian do the same towards me? Can a straight "brother" honestly and honorably love me as I am? If God knew what He was doing when He created each of us, is it possible that He allowed me and others in His Church to be attracted to the same gender as a way of refining the Church's love for each other? Could it be that God's opposition to homosexuality in Scripture was to the way they were 'not loving' each other - expressions of broken intimacy in lust.

It's a lonely experience for some gay believers in the mainstream Church because some straight believers don't love us properly. Can a straight person love a gay person like me, not because I'm gay but because God first loved me? God's love for me is unconditional. So why is the mainstream Church's love towards me so conditional?

8 comments:

stevesf said...

Eric, as one gay man to another, I want to share a piece of advice with you. You are not going to want to hear it. You will think its rude and unchristian. However, it is neither, but simply the voice of experience, telling you the most true and important thing I know, and is intended to promote your happiness and growth as a human being. It is not something that any of the people you are actually listening to are going to tell you, but it something I know you need to hear and reflect on.

Here is that unrequested but heartfelt advice:

YOU NEED TO GET LAID.

It will make it much easier to get on with the rest of your life.

Angel said...

I'd say yes, it's possible, for a straight Christian like me to love a fellow member of Christ, (and really, anyone, not just Christian)regardless of sexual orientation.

Hang in there Eric....your blog is truly thought-provoking.

David Wiens said...

these are some penetrating questions, many of which get to the root of the way the church/christianity treats not just homosexuals but any segment of the population who it ostracizes for 'doctrinal' purposes. thanks eric.

stevesf,
i'm curious to know what's behind your advice. not that i'm disputing it, but what exactly about eric's getting laid will help eric in his pursuit of 'truth and holiness' or an 'honest and honorable faith'? in short, what thought resides behind the advice?

cheers.
dw

stevesf said...

David:

Read his blog, for you-know-who's sake. The poor kid, he's angsting over it continuously - is it right, is it wrong, am I, am I not. He needs for one moment to feel the exhiliration of being a sexual human being.

How will it help his search for "truth and holiness"? Go reread Walt Whitman and you'll know.

Of course, I think his salvation would be to fall mindlessly in love, but until he gets the "getting laid" part out of the way, that's probably impossible.

GCN Justin said...

Stevesf, if having sex were the magic cure for spiritual questions, there wouldn't even be ex-gay ministries. Those groups are filled with gay men and women who have had sex for years, with numerous people, and who feel incredibly guilty about it all. Shame on you for not respecting a guy who is honestly seeking truth, no matter the difficulties.

Eric, thanks for giving voice to the feelings of many thousands of gay Christians in the world who are still in the closet and/or wrestling with what it means to be gay for a believer. You are a gem.

--Justin

sfsteve said...

Shame on me for encouraging him not to end up like one of those screwed up miserable self-loathing characters who show up at ex gay meetings? I don't think so. Learning to enjoy one's sexuality may not solve all of life's "spiritual issues" but it makes dealing with them a helluva lot easier.

Ron said...

Eric,

I am moved each time I come to your blog. In your latest post, you asked a question: is it possible that He allowed me and others in His Church to be attracted to the same gender as a way of refining the Church's love for each other? There is an answer to that, which would have to be no. He is returning to a church that will be without spot or wrinkle. Let's face it; we all live a double life. We all desire to be like Christ in the spirit, but we walk a different life in the flesh. Paul struggled with the same thing. And he admitted that it was not him, but sin that dwelled in him. He made no excuses for his sin, and I will make no excuses for mine. Likewise, I will not justify its existence either. Remember when Jesus said that He desired that we be either hot or cold, but certainly not lukewarm? God is an absolute God. He is loving, but He is just.

Eric, it is not my intention to try to change your mind, but to simply answer some of the questions that you have. I cannot change anyone; that is something that truly only Jesus can do. Keep writing, and I will keep praying for you.

P.S. I have never had the privilege of meeting stevesf; however, I must say that I disagree with his suggestion. Any type of sexual relationship outside of marriage is a sin, and as Paul stated, you become one with whoever you have relations with. Part of living a disciplined life is learning how not to yield to fleshly desires. This is how we strengthen ourselves spiritually. Giving in to worldly passions makes us no different that unbelievers.

Mark said...

It's a question I've been asking myself too.

If the mainstream church can pastorally accomodate couples where one or the other partner is remarried, why can't they handle me? I'm not asking them to change their theological position. But I do ask that my theological position be respected and that my intimate relationship be respected no more or less than a remarried persons.