Being a Gay Christian

Here are my struggles to reconcile my religion & sexual orientation. I used to think that being a Christian and being gay were mutually exclusive. God revealed to me that I am his child, created Just As I Am. God’s awesome gift comes with challenges, yet opportunities to share the good news to many who have rejected religion. Or who have suppressed their sexuality to keep their religion. I welcome this ministry and the unbelievable strength he gives me to do it.


I'm gay and while that does tell you which gender I want to fall in love with, it tells you nothing about my lifestyle. As you read you'll learn about that.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lead Me Not Into... Sundaes Yum

Temptation. The other day I was thinking about the definition of temptation. Traditionally its regarded as something put in our way intentionally (by God or Satan usually) to try our moral and ethical resolve. Or namely to try to get us to violate one of the multitude of sins listed in the Bible.

Parenting Skill #321 - Leave candy out where your child can reach it so you can teach them a valuable lesson when you punish them for eating it. (sarcasm alert!)

What got me thinking was a quote I read...

Why comes temptation, but for a man to meet and master and make crouch beneath his foot, and so be pedistaled in triumph.
-- Robert Browning

Interesting take. Bob must have been an alpha male. Not much room for God here... or humility. Well, here's my contemplation on temptation... through rationalization and interrogation of the conceptualization. Sorry, couldn't resist.

First off, a few of my foundational beliefs. I believe the definition my father the DOC Minister used for sin - "Sin is what separates us from God."

I believe that while there are universal sins - killing innocent people, greed, oppression among them - most of the sin we encounter on a daily basis is personal and based on our own morals and ethics. And I believe that morals and ethics are what we work out individually with God and our souls. And it's a sin if it drives a wedge in the relationship we have with God.

Okay, foundational stuff aside, the subject of temptation is something most people know in the back of their minds, but probably have given little thought to. Is the physically attractive man or woman a temptation? How about cheating on our taxes? Or even that strawberry sundae?

So lets focus on the sundae. Is the sundae tempting us? We say it is but it's an inanimate object and incapable of interacting with us at that level. So it really can't be that the sundae is tempting, but our desire to eat it that is. So the sundae isn't really the evil here (and neither is the cute shirtless guy at the beach).

Perhaps temptation lies in opportunity. But we're supposed to answer the door when it knocks. Is a diamond ring lying on a store counter a temptation or an opportunity for a jewel theif? Is making record profits off the world's reliance on oil a temptation or opportunity for oil companies and investors? Is living next door to a Dairy Queen and temptation or an opportunity?

So it must be our desire that is evil, right? I'm on Weight Watchers and a strawberry sundae is about 6 points so that means I can work it into my eating plan if I desire to (pun intended). So my desire to eat a sundae as a part of my controlled eating is not at all evil. Having sex with one's lover is a desirable desire. So desire is not of itself evil either.

So it must be acting upon desire that sullies us in the eyes of God. For if I have lusted for the sundae in my heart, it's as bad as eating it, I've been told. Well right now all this talk of strawberry sundaes is making my mouth water. But I do know that drooling over a sundae is a lot less calories than eating one. And by the way I've got the not lusting after women and coveting another man's wife parts nailed! And even eating a sundae is not bad in and of itself. We constantly indulge our desires, be it for sleep, work, relationships or what we are having for dinner tonight.

So if the thing is not temptation and the desire is not and the indulging in our desires is not, then what is?

Perhaps temptation is when we fail to live up to our own standards and goals that we set for ourselves. Acting upon a desire to eat a delicious looking strawberry sundae would be giving in to temptation if it puts me over my self-imposed calorie limit for the day interferes with my goal of losing weight.

There's also the idea that temptation means failing to live up to God's standards for us. But those aren't clear to me regardless of what some people would have me believe. People would have me quit being gay, which of course means they know nothing about what being gay is. I don't know how to quit being gay. And in spite of my pretending, I don't understand what it truly means to be straight. Might as well tell a mathematical genius to cut it out. How would she stop being a genius? I do know how to quit eating and breathing, though.

As for what God wants for me, I know some of his current chalenges for me. God has challenged me to be patient, to be a gentler driver and to stand up for what is right in the midst of people telling me to sit down and shut up. Not easy standards, but I'm progressing. The hardest part is to listen to and hear what God wants from us. An individual relationship with God is exactly that. There's no one-size-fits all standard from God. We're not all cut out to be monks. Even some monks aren't asked to live up to that monkly (??) standard.

Fortunately there is forgiveness. Just as I would not beat myself up (much) over an extra strawberry sundae, with God's grace I should quit beating myself up over other places where I have failed (which for those waiting to pounce does NOT include being gay). Well there was someone who told me that God was too vindictive to forgive me, but I think God is bigger than that.

The important thing is that I get back on the horse and do better next time. Perhaps instead of praying not to be led into temptation, we should ask for strength to set and meet our personal goals.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Personal Struggle

I typically do not write about my personal life here. But I need to write this in a place where no one personally knows me. I'm not really looking for advice, I just need a venue to download this from my soul. Prayers are welcome.

My boyfriend Eugene is a wonderful African American man whom I love dearly and thank God constantly for bring into my life. we are coming up on our two year anniversay of having met and falling instantly in love with each other. We have a long distance relationship with 250 miles separating us. As such we only see each other a few days a month. Fortunately in today's world of the internet and cell phones we are in communication almost daily.

Eugene is a happy good natured man. He, like all of us, has personal problems to deal with. Eugene's biggest problem is that he is an alcoholic. I pray constantly for his wellbeing, good judgement and the safety of those around him. He says he is safe, but I know there are times he underestimates the effects the alcohol has on him.

There are underlying reasons for his addiction which I only partly understand. The distance means I can have little direct effect on his actions. But I worry and pray.

Last week Eugene was fired from a good job because after a night of drinking, he was still legally over the limit after 6 hours of sleep. I can't imagine what his BAC was the night before. Thankfully he was home at the peak.

Now I try to be there for him as much as I can. He is being stoic about it, but I am concerned that he has not accepted ownership of this. Fortunately he has 'family' that he lives with so he can weather the lack of income. This same 'family' prevents him from being able to come live with me.

Also, I am not sure I am prepared to live with someone else, even someone I love so dearly. I was in a very co-dependent marriage and have spent the last 6 years building myself. So him moving to my home is not a likely prospect.

I feel a need to write this because of the turmoil I feel and perhaps moreso because of the helplessness. I also struggle to see God's plan here, though I welcome my part and try to be patient as it is revealed. I am not angry at Eugene, but in pain to see him suffer. I am frustrated that there are no second chances for him.

Fortunately we will be together this weekend and I long to hold him in my arms and provide what confort, strength and resolve I can.

The Bible Says...

Several years ago I had the privilege of listening to Dr John Dominic Crossan speak in an intimate setting. One of the things he said that really struck me was that whenever someone wants to discuss scripture with him he would always start by asking the person to tell him about who God was.

One think I have realized with some clarity is that a person's interpretation of God defines how they interpret scripture. Some would have us believe that scripture is static and un-interpretable. To me that's saying that the scriptures are lifeless and God hasn't provided new, updated guidance in over 1700 years.

I believe the Bible is the personal witness of people describing their relationships with God. It is a beautiful piece of living writing by inspired people who tried to capture the events and emotions in their lives. It speaks to us with different meanings appropriate to our moment in life. I believe that such writing continues today and will continue until the end of time.

For those who believe that the Bible was written by those whose hands were controlled by God, I have a simple question... why did Jesus write nothing? He didn't even insist on a scribe to record his life in real time.

But my theme here is that how one sees God colors their interpretation of scriptures.

Someone who believes in a vengeful God will probably focus on the sin and punishment angle.

Someone who believes in a God who has his chosen ones will likely focus on the gifts of the spirit.

Someone who believes in an inclusive God will focus on passages describing acceptance and forgiveness.

I think the challange we all face is to challenge ourselves to read listening for God to reveal himself to us. Whenever we say, "ah ha, I knew I was right' we're probably not listening very well. But when we say "wow, that's a aspect of God I'd never noticed before" that's when God is there reading with us, speaking to us through his living word.

Faith is a journey not a place we arrive in. Like knowledge, the more we learn, the more we realize what remains to be learned. Instead of trying to make God fit our preconceptions, we should strive to let God reveal himself to us.