Sunday, July 31, 2005

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

It's been so long since I really liked going to church. I've been checking out this gay friendly church, The Tab, and so far its been so refreshing for me. Set aside the issue of being gay - this church is full of life. The people are so friendly; the teaching is evangelical; the worship is genuine - and i like myself more when I'm around them. I don't say that out of conceit or vanity - it's just that for so long, the guilt and shame of my struggle always left me with a disgust for myself. I never really loved myself and so I always found it difficult to fully connect with others at a typical church. But here it's different.

The message this morning was about the second most important purpose of our lives which is to love our neighbors as ourselves (the first and primary purpose of our lives being to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength). I've heard the core message in this plenty times but the way the pastor articulated her understanding of it was awesome. I know that God loves me which frees me to love Him back. But I also know that I am a conduit to display and facilitate God's love for others through me. I often block this flow of love from God to others when I get stuck in my own self-loathe. I can't possibly love others fully when i'm not loving myself properly and in a healthy way. When i'm in that mode, the love that i exude towards others is less than the kind that God intended to transmit to them.

Exploring this journey of trying to figure out if being gay is a sin or not and trying to figure out how my same sex attractions effects how my faith is lived out can lead to being overly self-focussed. The introspection and research is necessary but through it all, am i humbling myself before God and really loving people around me? I find myself going through the motions of life and work and even church sometimes. In what ways can I really show God's love towards people I see every day and perhaps take for granted? The question of whether or not its okay for me to love another man can actually cloud the broader but more important issue - how will I love all?

If I will contend that being gay and Christian isn't primarily about sexuality, then i ought to show love outside the context or consideration of gayness or straightness. All are deserving of God's love - including me! If i can't love a guy in a non-"gay" way, then maybe i don't deserve to love the same guy in a romantic way. Let's see if I can actually live this out!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Hope of Having Children

I woke up in the middle of the night (rather about 5 am this morning) and had a thought. If i choose to accept that having a monogamous homosexual relationship is not a sin, does that mean that I won't ever be able to have natural born children of my own?

I've always wanted kids. Before this whole journey - rather quest for truth and resolution - I had a certain hope. I had the hope of a family. I've always hoped that God would change my desires, send me a woman whom He prepared just for me - a wife, and that we would have children. I even had names for them. My oldest son would be Matthew Brian. My second son would be Nicholas Andrew. My daughter would be Melissa.

Am I giving up on this hope by pursuing this journey? If I embraced a relationship with a man, would i be happy with him without children? (Granted we could adopt but i'm talking about that hope I had of having my own children - to pass on my namesake). Can I really be happy with a man? Could I even be happy with a woman? Would it be fair to her? The last thing i would want is to follow in my father's footsteps and marry a woman, have children, then end up in divorce because I really wanted to be with a man the whole time. Is that fair to the children? It wasn't for me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Thinking About My Dad

I was thinking about my dad today. He lives in Hawaii. Our whole family used to live out there back in my elementary years, but then after the divorce I moved with my mom to California. For just about a decade, my relationship between my dad and I was rough. I took the divorce pretty hard and I suppose he took me choosing my mom pretty hard (at least from my perspective). We were pretty distant emotionally and I was pretty bitter. As i grew up, I learned to be independent of him - i didn't need him.

Things changed three years ago when I told him on the phone that I was gay. It seemed that the distance between us shortened and he became really supportive. This was a time in my life when i really needed support so i allowed myself to receive it. Just a few days prior to making that phone call, I found out from my mom that my dad is gay. I guess, me telling him about me finally gave us something in common - in his eyes. (He has never spoken to me about himself - being gay that is. In fact, I only have my mom's word for it because he's never indicated anything to me.) It's okay though, i suppose. I'm sure he'll tell me when he's ready. In the mean time, i like the fact that we talk positively to each other.

Anyway, I was thinking today about how i was really angry at my dad after my mom told me (before i spoke to my dad). I could finally blame him for me being gay. He made me gay. He "passed" it on to me. I know things are good between me and him now, but there are still times when i think that i don't want to be like him. Growing up, i never wanted to be like him. I wanted to be a real father to my kids. And maybe part of me, also doesn't want to be gay like him either.

But there's another part of me that wants to explore what its like - not just the being with a guy part - but the lifestyle of being with the person you are interested in or care about or even love but also having that fear of the wrong people finding out. I suppose a part of me may begin to understand my dad better. It could answer alot of the questions I had growing up about why he was so emotionally distant from us - even before the divorce.

Growing up with these struggles, i know what its like to not be able to connect with other people. I never feel like I fit. Since I never fully embraced the gay lifestyle (because i got saved at 16 years old), i don't feel like i fit with gay people. Naturally i don't feel like i fit with straight people. With this struggle, there are times when i don't feel like i fit in the church because of all its stigmas, judgments, and beliefs about "those" people. I also don't feel like i fit with asian people (i'm filipino) because of some racist experiences i had which made me hate my own culture. Being asian, i don't feel like i fit with white people either. What the hell? Where am i supposed to fit? (I'm over-emphasizing a bit - of course i don't feel all these things completely today because God has done awesome things to help me heal through things. But there are remnants of all these dynamics in me still).

Maybe this is another reason why i'm feeling like i connect at The Tab. These are gay people who really love God and have made God a part of their lifestyle just as they have embraced the reality of their sexuality. I envy the fact that they have resolution about whether or not its a sin. I want resolution too. Whether i come full circle and believe confidently that it is a sin, or if i believe confidently that loving monogamous relationships isn't what was referred to when the word homosexuality is used in Scripture....I just want resolution. I want to own it. Maybe then, i can feel like i'm moving forward with a message.

Monday, July 25, 2005

You've Got Something On Your Face

I went with the small group to Bolsa Chica for a bonfire tonight. I had alot of fun. I really like the group dynamic. Everyone is very friendly and I feel comfortable with them. I still think it's a shame that a typical person from a mainstream church wouldn't ever give them a chance to get to know them as fellow Christians because of their assumptions about "gay christians".

Right after sunset, we could see the silhouettes of the downtown buildings of Long Beach. As a group we prayed for the city. It was surprising to me to see them pray for the city and really care about it just like the other churches I've been connecting with that do the same thing. I also found out that they even prayer walk the city in much the same way that we led other churches in the city to do. Once again, I'm realizing, that these people are not simply "gay christians". They are christians who are gay. Sadly, many people in the Church will never see that distinction.

Being gay is just a non-issue for them. They worship Christ and study the Word and encourage each other without having to emphasize their "gayness" because it's just not an issue. They have resolved in their own minds that loving homosexual relationships is not what was referred to when the word "homosexual" is mentioned in Scripture, thus it's not a sin. Without that baggage, they feel free to approach God as they are.

The mainstream church seems preoccupied with what they view as the gay people's sin that they refuse to see them as brothers and sisters in Christ. Could the mainstream church's judgment of these gay believers be deemed as sin? Is their judgment just as condemnable? Couldn't they be judged by gay Christians as the snobs in the Family (of God)? Doesn't it seem pretty arrogant of the mainstream churches to presuppose that their interpretation of Scripture is completely right and anyone who interprets it differently is just twisting the Scriptures or are just plain wrong and going to hell?

Denominations disagree about whether or not a person is "once saved always saved". Denominations disagree about child baptism. Denominations disagree about the speaking of tongues. Denominations disagree about the day in which to worship. Denominations disagree about whether or not women can teach or be a senior pastor. All of these disagreements come from varying interpretations of Scripture. It's like the Church is full of Pharisees who just won't see the bigger picture regarding the authenticity of a person's profession of faith simply because they are gay.

Here's a distinction that i was noticing tonight at the bonfire. The other church that i'm a part of occassionally has bonfires at Bolsa Chica too - in fact, just a few weeks ago we were there. My "straight" church is so completely afraid of praying or teaching the Word at something like this - the idea being that this "outreach" time is not really "church" and so its safe to invite friends to it so as to trick them into being around other Christians. This "gay" church (i hate calling it that) is the opposite. They unashamedly pray regardless of who is around and what guests are there. They proclaim that Jesus Christ is the only Way to be saved - that one must be born again. They taught the Word out of Hebrews 10 and had open discussion about how each person as part of a family in this small group can really be an encouragement to each other as a church.

The mainstream church can be so clueless sometimes - hypocritical even. What makes them think that they are so much better than these other Jesus-proclaimers who are also gay? As if they don't have their own sin to confess and deal with before God? They focus so much on the speck in the gay believer's eye that they don't even notice the crap that's all over their own face! Stinks even. Here's one thing about these gay believers - they hold less "secrets" in their personal lives than straight believers. Straight believers can be pretty "closeted" about their sin.

I've been told that the pastor of The Tab is pretty approachable so i'm going to try to set an appointment with her just to get to know her a little and where she stands regarding core salvation doctrine. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

I'm No Superman

[Note: Scroll down to see Five For Fighting's "Superman" video on YouTube plus lyrics below.]

I know that this exploration that i'm going through has pretty serious ramifications if it turns out that I embrace a belief about homosexuality that isn't mainstream. God's been using me in significant ways, I'll admit, and I know that its such a divisive issue. My fear is that any of this exploration will negatively effect the ministry.

It's a lot of pressure. Really. I'm not trying to be, nor am I asking to be anyone's spiritual leader. And i know that i don't necessarily have to be anyone's spiritual leader in the capacity that i'm in now. But after my lunch with a friend yesterday, that pressure was just magnified. I kinda felt pissed because of the way he spoke - he can sometimes be ultra intense and highly over-spiritual and I felt like he was imposing an incredible standard on me that i can never uphold. I'm all for God using me in any way that He wants...but I don't want to be a Moses. I don't want to be a Joseph. I don't even want to be a David. I can't be a super-Christian nor do I want to be. I can't change the way I am or feel. Sure i care about what God's doing in the community, but I'm way more concerned about what God's doing in me - right now at least. If He's going to use me, He'll use me - as I am....not when I'm perfect and not when I'm straight.

I heard a song that articulates how I'm feeling about all this....

"Superman" - by Five For Fighting

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
I’m just out to find
The better part of me

I’m more than a bird...I’m more than a plane
More than some pretty face beside a train
It’s not easy to be me

Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
About a home I’ll never see

It may sound absurd...but don’t be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed...but won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
It’s not easy to be me

Up, up and away...away from me
It’s all can all sleep sound tonight
I’m not crazy...or anything...

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
Men weren’t meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

I’m only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me
Inside of me
Inside me
Yeah, inside me
Inside of me

I’m only a man
In a funny red sheet
I’m only a man
Looking for a dream

I’m only a man
In a funny red sheet
And it’s not easy, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm...
Its not easy to be me

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Internal Frustration

I had lunch with a friend today and processed through a lot of stuff. One of the frustrations for believers who "struggle" is beyond lust. It's the issue of the attraction itself. Whether or not a person is homosexual or heterosexual, both sides can agree that lust is a sin. But what about being attracted to someone of the same sex. I'm not talking about the normal recognition of an attractive person. I'm talking about looking at another man (in my case) and experiencing that physical reaction in my body - even before any lust or fantasies take place. Lust is something I can resist. I can resist taking the second or third look. But i can't resist that first look and preferring him. And even that is what the mainstream Church deems as sin. So my dilemma is not simply with the sin of my actions, but with the sin in my being.

How am I supposed to change my preference? It's not like it's been a choice. If i had a choice, wouldn't I prefer to be "normal"? I read today that for those who are in Christ are a new creation. Okay, i can believe that. But how did God create me? Did He create me heterosexual or homosexual? Did God birth these things in me? If He did, did He do so only to tell me that such things are wrong? If He didn't, am I broke and just need to be fixed? Changed? Do I need to be exorcised of a demon?

My friend says that I have two choices really. To be a eunuch or to be married (after having had my preference transformed by God). If not the latter, then the former. Is God calling me to be a eunuch? Celibate? Is that the inherent message to all in the homosexual community? That if God doesn't change you, then you are called to be celibate?

But at the same time, there's not much room to appease the homosexual community without compromising and saying that a person can be both gay and saved. I realize the word "gay" is a loaded term - I mean in a monogamous homosexual relationship. Am I called to be celibate and simply refusing the idea? Granted i'm not in any kind of physical relationship with anyone - guy or girl - but is my rebellion against celibacy? Even if i am called to celibacy, i need to know what the message is for others. Are they called to celibacy? Are they called to be transformed? Are they called to monogamy? I can see how the enemy can slip in with deception and compromise. But still - with all these questions - i need to know....before figuring out if it's right or wrong - i need to know where it came from. Was i born gay or was i born straight?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Mockery of God or Difference in Paradigm?

Okay so I spent some time with some "straight" friends that are clearly hostile towards homosexuals. They didn't know that I was exploring and sorting these things out. One friend does know about my background and "struggles".

They were talking about a church called "Gateway" in Hollywood that had clear signs of being a healthy and even "anointed" church. There were awesome things of God happening there but the pastor had sinned homosexually. He had also seduced about 7-8 guys in the congregation. Major controversy when it all came to light and it pretty much blew up. In their discussion, I heard a few things that made me ponder some of my previous thoughts about The Tab:

*Homosexuals claiming to be Christians but actively in a homosexual relationship (whether monogamous or promiscuous) is simply a mockery of God. It's the enemy mocking what God ordained to be orderly.

*It's a paralleling of two kingdoms - God's holy men in healthy relationships vs. The enemy deceiving men in unhealthy relationships.

*The church "Gateway" was a very close representation of what's genuine. It looked like a healthy church but really it was only a counterfeit. There were several people at this church that didn't realize what was going on - even mature and discerning believers were deceived by this pastor's hidden sin.

*One of the signs of "Gateway" was a lack of humility in the pastor. There was a celebrity type attraction of people to himself.

*The anointing was so close to a genuine anointing.

Okay, so with all of these statements in context to my last two posts about The Tab, it sounds scary. Is the Tab just a very close counterfeit? Are they counterfeit believers? That's hard for me to believe, because after spending time with them, they seem like they genuinely love God. However, I can't judge what's in a man or woman's heart. But i can say the same about a heterosexual church too.

It makes me afraid because I don't want to be deceived. I want to pursue truth and light and then own it for myself. These thoughts mentioned above - could they be tainted with a disdain for homosexuals? In the early part of last century, did "white" churches speak the same way about "black" christians? Could they be tainted with a previously set paradigm that homosexuality is a sin - period and without exception?

I am also involved with a house church network - which views what "church" looks like differently than traditional institutional churches do. The traditional perspective of what the church is says that it brings people into the church building. The organic perspective for our house church network is that church can happen anywhere the people of God gather - whether in homes, parks, bars, coffee shops or buildings. That's a different paradigm based on what people interpret as the word "church" and how it is expressed.

Could people be having a centuries old paradigm that when "homosexuality" or "effiminate" is used in the Bible - then its talking about all forms of male-male sexual contact? Could a new paradigm being suggested by these "gay" christians be that those words "homosexuality" or "effiminate" when referred to in the Bible actually have a historical and cultural context that is referring to male prostitutes or pederastry (adult men with young boy) or rape or some sort of deviant behavior?

I know that the opposition to the organic paradigm of church by those with the traditional perspective speak negatively about these Christians that meet in places other than a church building and don't even meet on Sundays. Is there a parallel to the way the "straight" churches oppose "gay" christians because of a difference in paradigm or a difference in interpretation?

For me, i still need to resolve the issue of whether or not homosexuality is a sin. But after meeting people at the Tab, its hard for me to think that they aren't Christian because they are in a committed gay relationship. What makes them not a christian? Is it because they are in sin? There are straight people in sin but call themselves born again christians. God forbid that i would be deceived though simply because they "look" like any other Christian. I don't want a counterfeit - I want what's real. But I do admit, that I feel way more free at the Tab than I do in my house church.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Visit to The Tab's Small Group

I went to one of the small groups that The Tab offers during the week. Each group is going through Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life". I've heard about it plenty of the times and was never really interested in giving the book a chance. Even though I was super tired after a long day of meetings at work today, I still decided to go to the small group to see "what's up".

I went with an open mind and with my radar on for any red flags. Just like yesterday at the church service, my first impression was very positive. In fact, i listened very very closely to what was being said and how it was being said. I was extremely shocked to realize that every conversation sounded just like any other small group i've been to - except this group sounded like mature believers. Every word they said was Christ focussed - giving authority to the Word as Scripture. In fact, i was very impressed by the contributions that people had to the discussion. There was no emphasis on the gay lifestyle at all. In fact, there were times when I forgot that some of them were gay. The conversation really sounded like the kinds of things discussed at a "straight" group. Now sure, physically by looking at them, you could tell they were gay. One guy was very flamboyant and spoke with what I call the "gay accent" in the tone of his voice - but every word that came out of his mouth was that of a mature believer.

Every person there was welcoming and accepting of me in the group. I also was noticing that I sensed more life in this group than I do at my "straight" house church (which i'm feeling is super dead right now spiritually). The people in this group spoke with fresh enthusiasm and they knew the scriptures. But more than that, they spoke out of love for the scriptures. I found this to be very surprising.

The one and only thing i noticed, which was very subtle but i caught it because i was paying so close attention, was that when the leader read scripture, she always said "God" instead of "Him" or "Father". I know this is something i'm going to have to look into - but at first glance, at least the leader wasn't saying "she" or "goddess" or "it". She did say Christ and Jesus without any substitutions. But "God" seemed like the most diplomatic term to use in that context. I wonder if doing that emasculates God is some way....hmmm? Anyway, this was the only thing odd that i noticed (except for the fact that they were gay).

Another thing that I noticed was that they acknowledged the evil of mysticism. I had heard several times prior about this book/movie called "What the bleep are we here for?" I heard that it had new age-ish content. Well, the leader brought up the book/movie and totally acknowledged the deception of its teachings which talked about everyone being God and that we couldn't possibly offend God if we were all God. I liked that she and everyone else denounced such mysticism, but i found it ironic that many of them are in homosexual but monogamous relationships and don't feel that to be offensive to God. Main stream christians would say that their homosexuality is offensive to God.

As i thought about it, i realized that they all don't make a big deal about their homosexuality because they don't see their monogamous relationships as sin. Because of this, its a non-issue. I think that's why I kept going in expecting an overemphasis on it in both the church service and in the small group, but instead they carry on just like heterosexual christians do. I doubt heterosexual christians are conscious of the fact that they are heterosexual while worshipping or in church. That's the way these people christians who were gay. They call themselves Christians. They talk like Christians. They proclaim that Jesus Christ is the only way, truth and the life. They believe that you must be born again. It's just that.....they are also gay.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Visiting a Gay Friendly Church

Okay, so i visited a church here nicknamed "The Tab" (as they refer to it) this morning. I wanted to stay open minded but I wanted to keep my radar open for any "red flags" - any distortions of Scripture. First off, i'll say that i got a very good first impression. I was expecting to see an over-emphasis on homosexuality. As we arrived, the people were very friendly and welcoming. The worship time had already begun and the songs were familiar. At first, i found myself distracted quite a bit because i was preoccupied with looking around, watching people, seeing who was there and how they were acting. Then i realized that me doing this was distracting me from worship. So i refocussed myself and closed my eyes and began to worship Jesus. As i worshipped, i realized that (at least from what i could perceive) they were also worshipping Jesus. The worship "time" may have run long (about 45 minutes) but as best i could tell, they were genuinely loving Jesus. It was Christ-centered worship. Granted many of the people were obviously gay couples, but i began to realize that I can worship regardless of who was with or around me. I also realized that i cannot presume the sincerity of their worship merely based on the fact that they are gay.

Can a gay person really worship the Lord? Does the Lord accept such worship? When they sing from their hearts to God that "You are holy, You are worthy, You are God" - is their worship invalidated because they are singing it with their "partner" standing next to him or her? Is it much different from a heterosexual person worshipping with the same words standing next to the person with whom he or she is in a sexual non-wed-lock relationship? Anyway, the worship at The Tab seemed genuine to me.

After worship, the pastor's partner gave announcements. She had this awesome Scottish accent. She encouraged everyone to plug into a ministry school that they were having. She didn't say anything about homosexuality or anything. She sounded like any other pastor promoting their program.

Then the pastor began to speak and relate with the congregation. She was humorous, sensitive, and relatable. Their church is going through The Purpose Driven Life in their small groups and so the morning message was about fulfilling the purpose of our lives. In a nutshell, she said that our ultimate purpose in life is to glorify God. In many of her anecdotes, she referred to a past story in her life or with her partner - in much the same way that a pastor talks about his wife - but the core message of the anecdote always pointed to God or the point she was making about glorifying God.

I listened closely - really closely. She didn't say anything that any other pastor wouldn't say too. Her words and her message spoke of the love of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins through Him. It was all evangelical - just like every church that i've been to. It was completely Christ focussed. At the end, she gave the typical opportunity to accept Christ as Lord and Savior - just like many other evangelical churches i've been to.

After the service, we stuck around to meet and fellowship with people. I met alot of very nice and cordial men and women. Some straight but mostly gay. They were like any other church i've been to except that they were comfortable with having "partners". I inquired more about their small groups and talked some about where i was at in my process. One person told me plainly - all the answers to our questions can be found in Scripture. He said that the Bible is the Word of God. It is true. It is right. It is infallible. He encouraged me to continue in it. He pointed me to Christ. He didn't try to justify a lifestyle based on an obscure interpretation of a single verse or anything like that. He just proclaimed that Scripture is God's word and that I can trust and believe it and in Jesus. Sounds like any other "straight" church i've been to.

From what i gather, everything i perceived was just like any other church - except for the gay people. In fact, perhaps one other difference that i noticed was that I felt free-er to worship the Lord here than I have felt in many "straight" churches. The Tab didn't seem like a "gay" church. It was simply a church with gay people.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Exploring Truth

It's kind of scary. I've been a Christian for just about 13 years now. Pretty much a conservative Evangelical background. I believed that "homosexuality" was a sin the whole time - no question about it really. So now that I am exploring the question, i'm kind of afraid of what it means - or even what it may lead to. I don't think i'm doubting my faith per se - but two years ago, if i caught myself thinking this way i'd accuse myself of compromising truth. I'm not even saying now that i don't think it's a sin, i'm just holding off on coming to a conclusion about it until I process through it. I've never really done that before. All i want to do is be able to own whatever I believe about it rather than just saying its true because its what the main stream teaches.

I'm going to visit a church tomorrow that has a lesbian pastor who has been in a committed and monogamous relationship. I hear that this church broke off from an even more liberal church because it "compromised" truth by excusing sinful lifestyles (something like that). I'm told that this church is evangelical so i'd like to see it for myself and possibly discern for myself what they are teaching. I'd also like to see how this pastor reconciles the homosexuality issue with her faith. I've heard positive things so i'm going to keep an open mind going in without establishing a conclusion either way.

What does homosexuality mean?

The Church would say that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin. I'm wondering - what does homosexuality mean? In the context of which those verses were written - the references in Leviticus, Romans, and where ever it addresses the issue - is it referring to what we assume it means? Some people have said that it's talking about any type of same sex sexual interaction. Others say that it's talking about deviant sexual behavior between the same sex - rape, indulgence, molestation, etc... Yet others say that it was a sin only for that time and culture.

I believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. No doubt. However, I'm exploring our interpretation of it. It is common doctrine that homosexuality is a sin. But when we say homosexuality - and the Bible refers to homosexuality - are we talking about the same thing? We already know that there are several forms of the word "love" in the greek. There are separate words for different kinds of love - unconditional love, romantic/sexual love, brotherly love. When we read "love" in the Bible, we may interpret it with our own baggage or lens. Could we be doing the same thing when we read the word "homosexual" in the Bible?

Friday, July 15, 2005

Increased Grace

I try to start my day at work reading the Bible (its okay because i have the flexibility and freedom to do that here). In John 5 I read about that guy who Jesus healed on the Sabbath. He was previously lame and could not walk and so after Jesus healed him he was walking around with his mat (which you weren't supposed to do on the Sabbath). So anyway, the Pharisees kinda scolded him for carrying his mat - neglecting the fact that he had been healed. The guy who was healed didn't know at the time that it was Jesus who healed him. I'm skipping a bunch of details but one of the things that Jesus told the guy afterwards was that he should stop sinning before something worse happens to him.

I also read through Romans 5 that talked about how we have peace and joy through Jesus and that we have been reconciled to God. Because of Jesus, I am at peace with God. It goes on to explain how through God's grace, I receive eternal life. It says, "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

I've had my times of consequences due to my sin - in fact, at times, i'm still living through the wake of my past sins. I'm thankful for the gradual but continual healing that I receive from Him. I'm thankful for the forgiveness He's given me. I'm very thankful that He's allowed me to move on with my life. These two passages remind me that there are consequences to my sins and that I am brought near to God - at peace with Him - because of and through Christ. I'd hate to screw up again but it's nice to know that if/when I do, then He won't give up on me. How does this relate to my sexuality though? Would I be abusing God's grace by engaging in a homosexual relationship? I know its debatable but I suppose the thing that needs clarity is - Is being a homosexual a sin or is it certain types of homosexual behavior that is a sin?

Sin seems to be a verb not a noun. If i'm gay and being gay is a sin - does that mean that I "am" a sin? Wouldn't it seem logical to say that I do sinful things? There seems to be that distinction that the Church doesn't reconcile for us completely. They say "love the sinner not the sin" but for many gay people - it sounds like the Church assumes that being gay is a sin that we choose every time. For me at least, it's not that simple. Begs the question once again - is my being gay biological or not? If that question can be reconciled, then maybe I can make sense of the whole sin issue.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

About Me

My name is Eric and i'm a 34 year old male, Christ-centered, gay, filipino, near-sighted in one eye, overachieving work-a-holic, detail-oriented visionary, outgoing introvert living in Southern California who thinks about stuff WAY too much.

[Note: My age has been updated. LOL, my photo has not.]

My Faith:

I've been a Christian since 1992 - my junior year in High School. I love God. I believe and have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, the Son of God. I believe that the Bible is God's inspired Word. I believe that we are called to live out our faith - not simply to go with the flow of religious routine. He's a very personal God and I interact with Him daily. For more on my paradigm of "Church", see the links in the section in the right side column.

My Struggle:

I'm gay...sort of. Depends on who you ask and what definition you're using. I've experienced same-sex attractions since 2nd or 3rd grade. I lived a secret life - hidden from loved ones - for pretty much all my life - save these past few years.

I know what it's like to struggle with my faith and my sexuality. I know what it's like to feel completely alone in the Church. I know what it's like to go through the typical cycle of being tempted, trying to resist, giving in, "sinning", feeling guilty and shameful, eventually turning back to Jesus for forgiveness, then being tempted again. It's frustrating and i'm tired of it.

My Journey:

I want peace between my faith and my same sex attractions. Can I have a partner? Do I have to be celibate? Do I need to be changed? Is there no hope for me?

I came to the realization that what I used to believe about homosexuality being a sin came from a place of being uninformed. I believed it simply because it was the only thing I was taught and I intentionally denied myself the opportunity to hear anything remotely "gay Christian" related. After realizing this, it raised the question: Do I really believe that being gay is a sin or do I believe it because that's what everyone else around me seemed to believe and teach it? Everyone's got a different viewpoint. If I'm gonna own my beliefs, then I've gotta take a step back to explore each side and discern for myself in study and prayer.

What does it look like for me to live out my faith being the man that I am?


I started this blog in July 2005 and have grown quite a bit since. I don't struggle now the way I used to when I first started this blog. I feel like I have reconciled my faith and my same sex attractions. Now, the question is:

"What does it look like to be both gay and Christian?"

Read my testimony as of January 2006 to see where I've been, where I am now in this journey, and where I'm going.

Read my ex-gay survivor story here.

Read my posts relating to my paradigm of 'Church' here.

Also start with the July Archives to see how I started this process! You can always check out the "Hot Topics" section on the right side or further down you can check out the "Catch up on what you've missed" section to see all the categories of things i've written about.

If you are visiting for the first time or haven't done so yet, be sure to check in here!

Torn between the two

Okay, here's my first post. I've been processing through this stuff for a long time now. Here are some questions that I want to explore. These feelings, desires, and attractions that I have for other guys - is it something God gave me when He created me? I have to believe He knew what He was doing when He first thought me up and decided to say, "Yeah, I think I'll make him." Nature vs. Nurture. Whatever. I don't know. That's one thing i want to explore. As it is now, i believe its both. It's easy for a heterosexual to say that this is all unnatural but for me I feel it in the very fiber of my biology.

But i also believe that I was "born into sin" and that when i made the decision to accept Christ as my Savior, I chose to deny myself, pick up my cross, and follow Him. I hold to the verse in 2Corinthians 5:15 that says, "And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again." I believe that He died for me - that's a no brainer. And i do want to live for Him. My question is: How does "living for Him" effect my "biology for Him"? Does denying myself mean denying my biology? Am I called to celibacy? If i am, what is God's intent for all Christians who experience homosexual desires? Would God really be calling an entire population of believers to celibacy? That's the thing I can't get around - even if i determine for myself that I will be celibate - is that the message for all homosexual would-be believers? Just some raw thoughts i'm processing - i'll post more later....