Thursday, October 27, 2005

Learning to Unlearn

I feel like i've said this a billion times (practically) but I really do think that challenging my own previously held beliefs about faith and God and homosexuality hasn't weakened my beliefs but rather revealed them - shaped them even. Yes, I do feel much more comfortable looking in the mirror and being okay with the fact that I am a gay man, but also that I am a gay man that really does look fondly at God. I am a gay Christian.

For so long, I hid either one or the other about myself. To some people, I was Christian but definitely couldn't reveal the fact that I was attracted to other guys because there was usually a hostility towards those "immoral and corruptible" people. To some people, I was gay but definitely couldn't bring up my faith because there was usually a hostility from people that was more directed at the "Church" than to God. And so now, it feels good to explore what it might look like for me to be both - gay and Christian.

Since being this comfortable about my sexuality is very new to me, I'm still discovering what it even means to be gay. I know that the person I am is more than just my sexuality. But I can't deny it either if I want to honestly explore the person He created me to be - the person He intended me to be. I know that the Bible says that I am a "new creation", so what does that look like being gay? What does that even look like being straight? I don't think it's a gay/straight issue. I think that being a new creation involves loving more genuinely in every relationship - not just the romantic ones. That's what i'm beginning to understand. It's not about who I express love to sexually, but it's about how I express love to all people.

These are some of the things that i'm learning to unlearn. Love not lust. Relationship not manipulation. Acceptance not condemnation. Exploration not assumptions. Covenant relationship not ceremonial presentation. It's not about learning alternative truths. It's about a completely different shift in the lifestyle of my paradigm. It's about living out the realities and truths of my faith, seeing how my life is affected and shaped by them, and allowing myself to live in the gray areas. I'd rather do that than simply going through the motions of religion and proclaiming either black or white issues. I want to unlearn the pride and arrogance of assuming that I know it all. There are things and ideas that I don't have all the answers to - and those are the things I want to explore with God either in front of me (as I follow Him) or at my side (as I fellowship with Him). That is my journey.

Allowing myself to explore what it means to be gay and Christian isn't about freely indulging in sexual sin. Rather, it's about me having the freedom to explore life as the man I am, being seasoned by my faith, and being shaped daily to be a man more like Christ.

5 comments:

*Christopher said...

Eric,

Sounding an awful lot like Holy William Stringfellow here. You should check out his writings. He was of a more Evangelical Anglican persuasion, gay, a lawyer for the poor, partnered, led the fight for women's ordination in the Episcopal Church. Karl Barth once called him the finest theologian in the U.S.

Read:

here

See bottom of this post for a Word document copy of his address to Integrity in 1979.

Paul said...

Good for you.

Christians are responsible for how we interpret scripture - what verses we pick out to emphasize tells a lot about how much we get the message, imo.

In the sixties, many ministers were selecting verses to support continued discrimination against blacks.

The churches will all catch up with you on this eventually.

Elizabeth said...

I just decided to stop by and express how much I love the way you write about love and everything. You inspire me! Thank you

In Christ,
Eliza (a fellow gay Christian)

grant Lundie said...

Eric,
Your thoughtful words echo my sentiments exactly. My journey of self acceptence has if anything brought me closer to my God and the central teaching of love for one another. The agony and angst of feeling different and seperate does nothing more than alienate and drive gay men away from a loving commited with God and each other.

As 1 Corinthians 13 so aptly teaches us - the way you love your God is a perfect model for how we should all love one another - gay or staight. I for one am convinsed that a loving, compassionate and merciful God is not only supportive but also encouraging of me having a 1 Corinthians 13 relationship!

It is our responcibility to educate the Christian and non-believer. What better way than to lead by example?

Genius said...

I personally (maybe partly because I am from Aotearoa and not the USA) think it is a bit odd to elevate sexuality to the status of somthing that defines you.

For example you may be a person swears "by god!" or who says lies (basicaly everyone) but such people dont usually say "Hi I am Bob, I'm a blashpheming lier" or if it is not a sin a general preference like "hi, I am bob, I am a potatochip-lover" would still seem strange.

I dont mean this as a "we shouldnt have to see this" point of view I mean it from an entirely internal perspective asking "why is it that this defines you?"