View Full Version : Must we choose?
02-17-2009, 05:58 PM
I sit here in turmoil. I am gay or I have identified myself as such, at most it is one of my identities. Yet, I talked to a dear friend and become confused. It's like I want to love and obey God. Yet I'm still gay and based on the theology of my upbringing, I cannot be or do both. A seemingly wise friend says that being gay, drinking excessive alcohol, and cursing are viewed as sin. We cannot be of Christ and participate in these "appetites". I didn't think being gay is an appetite. And if it is, then I guess I should be celibate as well. Does this conclusion cause me any happiness or joy? No. I want to be married someday, whether legally or just ceremonially. I want to have a family with my wife. I want to live life and enjoy each other's company. I want all the things a heterosexual person would want. Do I really have to choose between you and my sexuality? Has it come down to this? Will this be the deal breaker of our friendship? If I can't be a Christian and be gay, which is more important? If I have to choose, which do I choose?
If I can't be a Christian and be gay, which is more important? If I have to choose, which do I choose?
First off, Squirt, you don't choose to be gay, you just are. You can choose what you do with your life.
There are an awful lot of folks who are living in sin -- straight and gay. You don't have to choose sin. You can choose life instead. Once you choose life, you will still be gay. It's part of who you are, part of the person God made you.
Your longing for a life mate and a family are all part of the human experience, whether you're gay or straight. It's normal to wonder who that person is going to be and when will she appear.
As far as being Christian, search your heart and soul. If Christ is at the center of your spirituality, you're probably Christian already. You don't need approbation from a bunch of outsiders, but it is kinda nice to find a group of Christians who support the whole you, including the gay you. A lot of us here at Soulforce consider ourselves Christian, and we support you 100 percent.
A personal aside: I've long thought that he choose us, rather than the other way around.
Second aside: I thank God daily that he made me gay. I'll try to unpack what that means to me if you want.
02-17-2009, 08:48 PM
You do not have to choose between two aspects of who you are.
The idea that you should have to choose between them is a falsehood, a mistaken belief put forth by those with a very limited understanding.
No choice involved. The entire premise is an illusion.
02-17-2009, 10:15 PM
So- you don't think of being gay as an appetite. So the problem is not your orientation.
Maybe t's time to look at the furniture in your head- that is- your beliefs. Are they helping you to be a more loving and peaceful person? If they aren't, then maybe it's time to adjust them, even get rid of them. Replace it with something better.
That said, it can be hard to let go of beliefs that one has had for a long time, only because one can become so identified with them that it can be hard to think of one's self without them.
But guess what? Being gay isn't a belief. It's a reality. Beliefs? They can change.
But don't fear. There are lots of folks who understand that being gay, and being a person of faith, is not a mutually exclusive thing. You aren't alone.
02-17-2009, 11:08 PM
BenL, I would love for you to unpack that thought a bit more. You may either post in this thread or send me a private message. Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement.
02-18-2009, 08:41 AM
I've struggled with this before. To live for yourself and your own wants is considered selfishness...and on top of that, is homosexuality really a sin? Why must you choose between God and who you are. Yeah I say "who you are". If you've watched "Prayers for Bobby" - he says "What I am". Part of you, attractions, and what you think is the way God made you. Why would my loving, forgiving, God that cries with you, God that laughs with you make you choose him or the highway?
So these are my jumbled thoughts. Thanks for the posting :)
02-18-2009, 01:15 PM
I'm a transgender person and I was faced with the choice of how this who affect my family and faith. When I admited to myself that I am a crossdresser and transgender all the tensions and fears dissipated. God embraced me letting me know that I am His child.
Being transgender is inborn. So is being gay. It's part of who you are. No one should force you to choose because they do not have your best interests at heart. I accepted Christ into my heart because I was a sinner, not because I was transgender. If you have done this praise God!
Squirt, I'm so happy that you are desiring to be who you are. I will be praying for you.
02-19-2009, 10:55 AM
Many of the ancient laws of the Bible were based on superstitious thinking in a world where people believed the earth was flat, sea monsters ruled the oceans, and witches flew through the skies. The belief that these ancient laws are valid in 2009 is irrational thinking.
Homosexuality is not a sin anymore than eating shellfish is a sin.
02-19-2009, 12:15 PM
You picked a good place to ask this. :p
Top menu bar on this page, hit Resources, then What the Bible Says.
Being gay is not a sin.
02-19-2009, 01:01 PM
A woman loves you. And anyone who says otherwise, well, just do not let them try to tell you who you are. You are a beautiful child of God, God loves you, and you have a right to find happiness in this life.
God made you to be loved, and to be happy. It is never a sin to love, or to be loved.
If I were a lesbian, I would make a pass at you, in a mille/micro/nano/peco/femto/ato/zepto/yocto/second. (ask your math teacher), Bruce Chris
Second aside: I thank God daily that he made me gay. I'll try to unpack what that means to me if you want.
For years I fought the idea that I was gay on two levels: socially, I didn't want to be gay, I wanted to be "normal"; spiritually (morally?), I didn't want to be gay, because I thought God didn't want me to be gay.
Over a period of time, I came to understand that being gay was central to who I am. It isn't the only thing that defines me, but my definition is incomplete without it. When I first accepted that, I railed against God for making me gay. I wallowed in a bit of self-pity, poor me. I left the church and thumbed my nose at God.
But I never was able to get God out from under my skin.
Then it started to occur to me that maybe God wanted me to be the way I am. All of me, including being gay. Naaah ... but hold on. That would make a lot more sense for me. I wouldn't have to wage war against myself anymore. That's one advantage. Were there others?
Frankly, yes. The suffering that comes with being gay -- and I don't mean to be a drama queen here -- means that I am more sensitive to outcasts and people who are put down, having experienced both of those realities. It means I'm able to see the face of God in more human faces than the ones who dictate who's Christian and who isn't.
It was a short step, in thinking if not in accepting, to acknowledging that being gay can be a God-given strength and not a burden. And for that, I thank God every day.
Those who don't see God as being so involved in my struggle would probably call it growing up and coming to a full sense of myself as a human being. They're right, too. We all have to deal with the life we're given.
02-27-2009, 12:26 AM
Some Christians focus too much on externals. Drinking, swearing, piercings, tatoos, card playing.... people who are so quick to condemn these things it seems to me tend to be indifferent to what's really important, that being one's inner state.
Some of the best Christians I've known have been known to say the *f* word and enjoy a good glass of wine.
As you've found, there are many here who believe there is no reason one cannot be a follower of Christ (or a person of faith) and lgbt. There are competent biblical scholars who will say the same. God has better things to worry about than two women falling in love. I believe that the divine being blesses love, in whatever form it may come.
02-27-2009, 12:33 PM
I spent a lot of time, some years back, reading books written by women theologians.
Yes, there are such things, and you will find some smart cookies among that bunch. Most of these women theologians believe that God accepts GLBT folk.
And no, very few of them belong to conservative churches. Many of these churches will not allow women to study in their seminaries, or get ordained, and certainly not PREACH, FOR GOD"S SAKE!
Catholic women who write books about their church do so strictly on their own. Catholic women are usually not allowed into any formal position of power. So a few years ago, some of them both in Europe and the US began forming their own, non-Roman, Catholic church, complete with women priests and bishops. Ratzinger, er, Bennie, promptly ex-communicated the whole lot of them, including the male bishops who ordained them! Google "Womenpriests".
These organizations are run by people men who are very threatened by the very idea that anyone for one moment might think that anyone other than them could possibly be created in the image of the Almighty.
Anyway, in the introduction to many of these books, the women authors will tell us that their beliefs come from many sources. There is the Bible. There are the beliefs and teachings of their own denomination, and often those of other denominations. There is their relationship with the Divine, and how they feel that their prayers have been answered. There is their own thought and reason, and there are their own experiences in this life. (Women's experiences are especially discounted by the Theo-Misogynists(T-M's) who run their churches, of course.)
And then there are the findings of science. (God created the universe, and has Graciously allowed us to discover much about it. Science is a GIFT from God.) Some of these T-M's are unwilling to admit that anything of any religious consequence has been learned by science since Galileo. (Evolution? No Way!) The Earth may revolve around the Sun, but as long as the World revolves around Them, they don't care.
In March of 2007, I sent you a scientifically based article about all of the many different ways that our sexuality, gender, and anatomy may be formed before we are born. The article was so long that I had to break it into two pieces, as the PM system could not handle over 5000 characters in a single PM. If you like, I can re-send it.
The whole point of the article was to make sure that everyone reading it would come to learn that there is no such thing as simple, absolute, binary gender!
(O.K., End of rant)
Here is a list of women theologians who have written some wonderful books (And this is only the tip of the iceberg)
Anything by Carter Heyward, she is awesome. Especially "Staying Power", and "Touching our strength: The erotic as power" (And oh, yeah, she "plays on our team".)
Rita Nakashima Brock
Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, who also writes about transsexual Christians
Two Theological heavy hitters, Rosemary Radford Ruether and Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza.
(I've forgotten dozens of names, here)
I suspect that a lot of these women "play on our team"
And of course every book has a bibliography, which will lead you to another 200 authors (Warning: This stuff can be highly addictive!)
I especially recommend the book about the (First !) Re-imagining Gathering, which occured in Minneapolis, in 1993, and was billed as a gathering of Christian Feminists. Over 2000 women, and a few brave men gathered for the 4 day event, in the Convention Center, no less. The Theo-Misogynists were up in arms about that one. "You CANNOT be a Christian and a Feminist!" they screamed in unison. (Sound familiar?) (Many women from mainstream denominations who came lost their jobs over this)
EDIT: I stayed up late last nite reading, rereading really, most of the book.
This book consists of over 100 chapters, each one an individual account, written by a different participant of the Gathering. Many of these experiences were nothing less than personal epiphanies to the women who wrote them.
"Re-Membering and Re-Imagining", by Nancy Berneking and Pamela Carter Joern
So enjoy! And you do not have to chose; God has chosen YOU.
Peace and Love, Bruce Chris
02-27-2009, 01:59 PM
This sounds really interesting. I've been studying theology and apologetics for many years, and I've never come across anything like this. I'm going to see if I can get my hands on some of those books.
03-01-2009, 08:19 AM
This is meant to be a continuation of the above post. I found it to be extremely moving. It is one woman's personal epiphany.
She is apparently the first out lesbian to address the Gathering as such. She says:
"I introduced myself, and explained that I work with CLOUT (Ed: Christian Lesbians Out Together), an ecumenical movement celebrating the miracle of being lesbian, out, and Christian. Then I said "We are keenly, painfully aware that the world is not safe for lesbian women, and that often the least safe place is the church. We call upon all of you -- whatever your sexual orientation -- not to leave this holy place without wrestling with these questions: What does it mean for us to be in solidarity with lesbian, bisexual and transsexual women in this decade, and how can we together re-imagine our churches so that every woman may reclaim her voice, her gifts, her loves, and her wholeness? Acknowledging that my white skin may put me in a place where there is less at stake in coming out, I invite every lesbian, bisexual and transsexual woman who is willing and able to come forward and join hands, encircling this platform, facing out."
As soon as I issued the invitation, women in every part of that great hall left their tables and started moving toward the center of the room. At least 150 women circled the stage 3 rows deep and spilled up onto the platform. I intended to ask people remaining at their tables to stand up in solidarity with us. but when women began to stream to the center, a roar went up from the crowd as people rose to their feet and gave the women a long and thunderous ovation.
It was glorious pandemonium. From where I stood on the platform, I could see tears running down the faces of many who stood at their tables. People were cheering and waving their arms. The women who circled the stage faced the cheering people, clasping each other's hands and raising their arms in a triumphant gesture of pride and strength. I reminded all of us that there were women standing at their tables who wanted to be in this circle, but who did not yet feel safe enough to join us. We sang a song together, and then the room erupted in more applause, hugs, and tears.
I want everyone here (especially Nikki and Squirt07), who feels moved by this to respond to it. I know that I am.
Love, Bruce Chris
03-01-2009, 10:33 AM
Thanks Bruce for bringing this thread up again. Your recommendations are right on target. The only person I think you missed was Mary Hunt a well known woman theologian who is also out as a lesbian.
I have been blessed to be at a very progressive parish where women get to preach several times a year. I'm an out lesbian, and the new pastor, has again invited me to preach. I preached for a number of years back 8 years ago, but the pastor who came in silenced me for the entire time of his "reign."
It is indeed difficult at times, but it's very important that our voices are heard.
03-01-2009, 04:37 PM
I have been blessed to be at a very progressive parish where women get to preach several times a year.
EDIT: Mary Hunt was one of the attendees, and one of the contributors to the Re-imagining book
At my church we almost always have co-celebrants, male and female. Of course, at my church, an amazing number of people have had some seminary.
We also have a male and female co-moderator at church council, except that if one is trans, we waive the rule.
It's a Beautiful Day, Bruce Chris
03-04-2009, 07:06 PM
Yet, I talked to a dear friend and become confused. It's like I want to love and obey God. Yet I'm still gay and based on the theology of my upbringing, I cannot be or do both. A seemingly wise friend says that being gay, drinking excessive alcohol, and cursing are viewed as sin.
I don't doubt your friend cares about you, but your friend doesn't speak for God.
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