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.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sexual Sin

One of the biggest hangups for the church for the past 2000 years has been sex. Even secular society's ideas about sex have been permanently defined by religious history. We have so screwed up our thought processes that we cannot rationally discuss the subject within the church and with our own children.

Yet it is a basic biological function while at the same time being a gift from God, perhaps one of his greatest gifts. Yet it comes with much confusion, complexity and manipulation.

First, I don't have all the answers; I probably even have more questions than most.

Second, I don't believe there is as simple a definition for sexual sin (or any sin for that matter) as many profess. Even Bible literalists don't always agree. Some say sex is only available for those who are married while some add the requirement that it must be for procreation and others even would remove any enjoyment of the act from the realm of holy sex.

Somewhere deep in our collective psyche we even have this concept that all sex is bad, a tool of the devil and only barely acceptable when used for procreation. We are not even allowed to lust in our minds. Some believe that children are born from a particularly offensive sinful act for which immediate baptism is the only antidote. Jesus and Paul advocated complete celibacy as a pathway to the ultimate relationship with God, though acknowledging that it's hardly appropriate for everyone.

On the other hand, we have people who believe that pre-marital sex is ok, that extra-marital sex is ok, that same sex activity is ok and that multiple partners is ok. There are many ideas as to what level of sexual activity God condones and many will tell us the others are wrong and condemned.

When it comes to gays, conservatives have built a wonderful catch-22. Sex is not permitted outside of marriage. Gays are not allowed to marry. Therefore if you want to experience this wonderful gift of God's you have to conform to their idea of what is proper. Just be celibate because while God loves you, he abhors that you might find some joy and companionship in your life. Nice.

There seems to be this redefining of Jesus's words that a man shall leave his parents and marry a woman as an 11th commandment. The word is shall, not must.

There are several important foundational concepts that form each of our particular beliefs. Obviously being gay affects my ideas, which offends more people than pre-marital sex it seems. I don't recall the Supreme court ever having to legalize pre-marital sex.

The first foundational idea is that sexuality is a great gift from God. It is one of his primary means of bringing couples together to begin with and of deepening their love and sense of one-ness. One writer described it as nothing less than a foretaste of our union with God in the hereafter.

Sexuality is in my opinion one of the best gifts we have been given. Unlike most animals, sex for humans is not restricted to fertility periods, is most enjoyable, can be misused, can bring us into closer communion with one we love or be the source of much mental anguish.

One almost has to wonder why God gave us such a complex and hugely powerful gift with only the barest of guide on how to use it. It's understandable why people have put so many restrictions on it. We have more social constraints of sex than we any society has ever placed on guns. Yet the most intimate of acts can be harmful, even deadly.

God didn't give us jealousy, STDs and sexual violence to punish us for having sex. He gave us sex knowing the dangers because what we learn from it can far outweigh it's dangers. Just like we don't consider death in an accident a punishment for our children carelessly driving the car we gave them.

Through their restrictive ideas about this one complex gift, many churches have alienated countless numbers of people. More so, these conservative attitudes have created a mystique that is abused by our society to sell products and entertainments. Sex sells.

With a zero tolerance attitude toward sex, dialog is closed. Members of churches are excommunicated. Gossip reigns. People are left with nothing to guide them. They are written off and told it is God's will.

The second foundational element that pertains is one's concept of sin. As I've said before, the definition given to me is that sin is anything in our lives that separates us from God. It's a fairly simple concept really. What aspects of our lives do we proudly show to God? Which ones would we prefer to hide? For it is in the hiding that we miss out on God's grace and love.

Sin is an extremely personal thing and there are really few one-size-fits-all sins. Thou shalt not kill has many meanings. For the conscientious objector, for the soldier, for me. Is stealing wrong if you are feeding your family? Is lying wrong if we build up someone's self-confidence? God even blessed Abraham's adultery and forgave David's.

For my father, alcohol is a sin, yet that is not a standard he implies all should live by. Even my mother is exempt from his standard for himself. For some religions, dancing, movies, even the showing of a female ankle are sins.

Rather than worry about some list where we are measured and require others to live up to, we should worry about the things that obsess us more than God. It's a form of idolatry. And in today's modern society there are many and hidden ways to have god's before God. For some it is wealth, other's power. Some even put the Bible before God worshipping it above all else. And for some, there definitely is the idol of sex, either in their obsession with getting it, their tearing down of those they feel are living in sin or their obsession with denying sex to others.

Now I'll tell you my ideas on sex and sin today, the 26th of January in 2009. Obviously I don't think gay people having sex is inherently sinful. I also don't belief that sex in a marriage for procreation is automatically sinless.

Yes, it's relativism. I freely admit it. And anyone who says they aren't relativistic is deluding themselves. Read the Bible objectively and none of us comes out unscathed. There's not one Christian who doesn't rationalize something that doesn't fit their life. And we are so good at not seeing it that we assume the relativism doesn't exist. We keep so busy pointing out other people's violations that we fail to see our own.

Be still and know. Listen to that still small voice. God doesn't need to boom from a pulpit. God didn't even need to write a book. We humans needed that because we are so poor at listening to the quiet voice.

So back to sex. What is my standard? Where do I draw the line? I think sex should be in the context of a loving relationship. It should be an act of love. It should be something we can lift up to God and celebrate with him. And to me love is what lifts up both people. Sex that demeans another, sex that is selfish - for me that's where sin lies.

Yes it a standard that fits my life. And I, like others use it as a yardstick to judge others which is wrong.

All I can say is it is the yardstick that God and I have come to terms with just as valid as celibacy is for the devoted priest. Hardly universal, though I think it's a good one in today's world.

Have I violated my yardstick. Yes. And not necessarily in the ways you might think. I was physically faithful to my wife during our marriage and even during our separation. Yet that yardstick imposed by others was violated by the lust in my heart. But God kept me safe by making sure I was in a relationship where I was deeply loved until I could learn to love myself. I seriously doubt I would be here today if he hadn't watched out for me. I did not love myself in my youth and that is the most dangerous place to be, especially with the power of my sexual awakening. I know I would have looked for love in all the wrong places as many do.

So sex to me is an aspect of love, the ultimate sharing between two people. But it's not just the love of and for another than makes sex a holy thing. It requires a healthy love of myself.


Blogger BentonQuest said...

Two great posts in a row!

Thanks for your thoughtful consideration of the subject. Your musings help me to think and consider the situations. Keep it up!

5:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a gay christian but a christian I am and have been struggling my entire marriage based on the two very things you mention Gods word and love. I have been a faithful wife for 10 years and although i love my husband I fight a battle daily to be with a man i think I should have been with from the start. I am confused but dare not entertain the action because of Gods word. I admire your passion and your courage to see through the mans interpretation of Gods word; something i wish i could manage to do. It is tortuous and I have given in to living in torture i know thats not what God wants for me...

12:38 PM  
Anonymous xero9200 said...

I am very much in disagreement with your ideas. The Bible clearly says homosexuality is a sin. But you should not care what I think, but what God thinks. Here are some of my thoughts:

"There seems to be this redefining of Jesus's words that a man shall leave his parents and marry a woman as an 11th commandment. The word is shall, not must"

Shall is definitely a commandment. Yes, I would argue that God commands people to get married. An exception would be if singleness is beneficial to one's ministry. You are simply playing with words when the meaning here is clear.

"Thou shalt not kill has many meanings. For the conscientious objector, for the soldier, for me. Is stealing wrong if you are feeding your family? Is lying wrong if we build up someone's self-confidence?"

In the New Testament, Jesus defined sin not as the outer action, but as the motive in the mind. The actual commandment is "Thou shalt not murder", not kill. (Interesting here how the word shall stand up just fine). Murder is the personal taking of innocent life, whereas it might be morally acceptable to kill as a soldier. When talking about stealing/lying its about the motive. Yes, its generally ok to lie if your building self confidence, but not at the expense of something else. It's all about what's going on in your mind.

How would you explain the following verse?

Leviticus 18:22 - "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable."

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found it most interesting that you used no scripture to back up your claims, but simply your own opinion. It seems to me that God is not working through you, but you are considering yourself to be God.

You should not base your assumptions off of other people's opinions, but off of the Bibile.

1 Corinthians 6:18
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

What is sexual sin?

Matthew 5:28
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Hebrews 13:4
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

—Romans 1:26-27

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality... will inherit the kingdom of God.

Romans 13:13
Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery ...

And what can be done if you have committed sexual sin?

2 Chronicles 7:14
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Gay Christian said...

To Anonymous no. 2 - See my reply in my Nov 24, 2009 posting.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Dancaster said...

A brilliant essay. As a gay man still struggling with this internally after more than 10 years, this gives me a lot of wonderful things to think about. Maybe I don't have to have a gaping chasm in my spirituality in regards to my confusion on sexual morality. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Dancaster said...

A brilliant essay. As a gay man still struggling with this internally after more than 10 years, this gives me a lot of wonderful things to think about. Maybe I don't have to have a gaping chasm in my spirituality in regards to my confusion on sexual morality. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

6:12 PM  

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