So confused. :/
I guess I'll first give you a short(ish) background about myself. I'm 31, was raised in a Christian family, went to a Christian elementary, jr high, high school. When I was 12 years old, I began to discover that I had attractions to men. I tried to make myself think about girls, because I knew otherwise was unacceptable to my family, my church, and I thought to my God. I can vividly remember one morning waking up sobbing and telling my mother that God didn't love me anymore. I didn't tell her why. I don't think I knew why. But looking back, I realize it's because I felt so seperated from His Love.
Continuing on... I dated girls in high school, because I was terrified of someone thinking for a second that I wasn't straight, but never felt ashamed persuing, say, less than perceived masculine activities (ie: piano, gymnastics, art, etc.) I was never like the other boys, and knew it. I went off to college where I began to embrace my sexuality. Maybe a little too much. I completely turned my back on God, became a self-proclaimed agnostic, because I was unable to fit the things I was taught growing up with what I felt in my heart. Eventually, years later, I had a friend invite me to church, and everything came crumbling down. I felt God's love and knew that He was calling me back. Then the problem became my sexuality. Where does that go? Where does this fit, I asked myself. SO I shelved it, didn't really think about it, avoided those verses like the plague. Which brings us to today...
My mother has never supported my sexuality. She loves me, I don't doubt that. And there have been periods where her and I have had discussions and then years pass where we don't speak about it at all. Only now, that I've been in a relationship for almost a year have I felt the need to speak to her about it. And things have not been easy. I've been researching, investigating, disecting, devouring, scouring the Scripture trying to make sense of things, trying to convince her that it's not wrong. I know the verses, I know that some people believe it to be temple prostitution, inhospitality the sin of Sodom, etc. but so far it hasn't made the case for me. I hear what they are saying and, in context it makes sense, but when I really sit down and read the Bible in my hands it doesn't always gel. And trust me, I want it to gel.
I'm having a very difficult time with this, and I feel like the more I read and study the more confused I become. I've only recently started reading the OT for the first time and so much of it just, to be quite frank, shocking to me. For example, when I read in Numbers about the son of Eleazar being praised for running a spear through an Israelite man and a Moabite woman mid coitus, thus saving the whole community from plague. (And this is 2 books after Moses hands down 10 commandments.) To me it seems dangerous and contradictory. I just imagine someone today killing an adulterous couple because he claims it to be his duty, that God honors it, that in doing so he is being "passionate" and showing "zeal."
Additionally, (this is only something I've recently discovered, and I hope someone can provide me a logical explenation) I find it disheartening and suspicious that verses have been removed from the Biblical canon. I didn't believe it until I cracked open my Bible, flipped to the verse, and saw the numbers just skip. I was never told this growing up. I find it sort of infuriating. There must be a reason, an answer.
In the end, I just feel very very very confused, and, to be honest, sort of numb. I just pray daily for guidance and direction, and have confidence that God will provide a path.
So my question is: has anyone gone through similar experience? And if so, how did you come to terms?
Second: Can anyone provide any good books that can better describe what is meant in the "clobber passages." And not necessarily, the most convenient view of acceptance, but the truest. Or even better, one that contrasts and compares.
Third, I feel like I'm so desperate to change my mother's perspective (and I think in turn make things ok for myself), how did any of you convince or alter the perceptions of those you love who thought otherwise?
And lastly, (as uneasy and maybe disturbing this is to address, and not quite sure how to) as a gay man I love men, I am completely and utterly attracted to my partner physically and emotionally, yet I sometimes wonder why anal penetrative sex can, well, be yucky. And I know it's not for everyone, and I enjoy it, but I just cant help wonder if this is what God inteads. Make sense? Sorry, if I grossed anyone out with that.
Thank you all, for your time reading and any advice you can provide. I am so blessed to know that there are many on this journey with me, some further along than others, that are willing to hold out a hand.
Hello Josh. I read your post with great interest. I want to welcome you and congratulate you on coming to terms with your sexuality. It's great that you told your mom. Perceptions are very difficult to change and that is something that she only can do. Pray for her and be available to answer any questions that she may have.
Two books I recommend are 'Religion Gone Bad' and 'Stranger At The Gate' by Mel White. The first book I couldn't put down. Also, my friend has written extensively on the clobber passages. You can find his articles at www.epistle.us. Scroll down to 'authors', click, then look under articles by Bruce Gerig.
I am a transgender person who loves the Lord. I was confirmed and affirmed by him when I came out. God created you as you are and has a plan for your life. He has brought someone into your life that you love. I wish the best for you both.
I am glad that you have found the Soulforce Forums.
My experience has been somewhat like your in some ways. I was older when I came out, like many men of my generation. It is better to be honest with one's sexuality at a younger age.
My mother had a difficult time with my being gay at first. In the past few years she has become fairly accepting. She still would prefer a straight son who was married, and she would like grandchildren, but she loves and accepts me as I am.
As to the Bible verse numbering: The chapter and verse numbers are not part of the original manuscripts. They were added in the Middle Ages to make finding things in the Bible easier. There are a few places where older sections of manuscripts have been found and were added in or alterations made. The last chapter of Mark is the prime example. There also are the Greek Old Testament books which are called the Deuterocannonicals or the Apocrypha. They were in the Bible, but were removed from the Protestant Bible by Martin Luther and the other reformers in the 16th century. Still the addition or deletion of any of these passages or books really makes little difference as to the main points of the Bible.
The Old Testament is very problematic if one takes it as a guide for modern living and as a literal telling of history. The Old Testament was written for a culture much different from ours. The literature of that day was not a history as we now often read it. It was a poetic figurative telling of the stories of a people. The brutal violence of the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua and Judges are the stories collected and compiled centuries after they were written. They are written in a time when the people of Israel had been taken away into exile and were looking back on what they did wrong. God used the people of Israel and worked within their culture, but that does not mean that God accepts violence. The spread of Christianity into the New World was filled with violence and brutality as well. God used the cultures of western Europe to spread the Gospel message, but that does not mean he approved of the practices and actions of many Christians.
I do not take the Bible literally. If one does, then one spends a lot of time trying to explain discrepancies and problematic sections. I read the Bible trying to find what message God has for me in what I read.
Some good books on the "clobber passages" are The Children are Free by Jeff Miner. It is short and an easy read, though sometimes the authors stretch the point a little. Another short book that is excellent is What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel Helminiak. It is a little more scholarly. The best book in my opinion Is Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? by Letha Dawson Scanzoni. It addresses those few "clobber passages" in an understandable way without being biased from the start.
A great book on the Bible and Biblical interpretation is The Good Book by Peter Gomes. If you are having difficulties with the Bible, this is the book that I most recommend reading.
Many of us who are from more conservative Christian backgrounds have had the same difficulties as you have. In a way it is good that we are forced to relook at the Bible and our Biblical understanding. Only by questioning things can we ever grow. My faith had some tough moments when I started questioning the literal reading of the Bible, but it has since grown deeper because of that questioning.
One important part of my faith is to be in a faith community. I am welcomed and much at home in my Episcopal congregation. I hope that you have a supportive church home as well.
And as for the sex question. I do not think God is all that concerned about sex. What God wants is a heart that loves and wants the best for the other partner. Self-sacrificing love cannot be wrong. If you enjoy and love your partner, then that relationship is blessed. Yesterday my sweet dog Oso caught a mouse and was chewing on it for a long time. Then she runs up to me with a big sloppy kiss. Yes it was "yucky" but her heart is full of love and even the "yucky" kiss was was a good thing. BTW: I think the idea of heterosexual sex very yucky. :sick:
God's blessings on your journey. I am always available to talk if you so desire.
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