Sunday, August 28, 2005

Life Goes On

This is worth reading.

http://randythomas.info/2005/08/27/you-were-never-really-gay/

I continually thank God for people like Randy who have the courage to speak publicly and make this ministry their life's work. It's not that people MUST change, it's that change IS possible. It IS possible because of God's intent and design. People don't choose to be gay but there ARE alternatives. Furthermore, while change is possible, it's not probable, meaning it is easier not to seek change and it "feels" more natural to stay the same. This is true of any struggle with any sin. Just because a temptation doesn't vanish entirely doesn't mean we aren't victorious over sin. Furthermore, just because we slip and fall sometimes, it doesn't mean we aren't victorious. Thank goodness for that!

There's a verse....and I can't find it. "There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is destruction." Something like that....I can't find it, darn it. One way this plays out for me personally is that it often feels good to gossip or talk ugly about others when I'm with a group of girlfriends. It feels good. I'm good at it. It's fun. And yet, it's wrong. When I'm operating in a Christlike spirit I wisely avoid situations like this, no matter how "good and right" it feels or what part of my natural man it feeds. It's bad for my spirit. And my spirit is eternal.

Thanks again, Randy, for all you do.

grace

9 comments:

Randy said...

Thank *you* Grace for your encouragement.

Brady said...

Hi Grace,

I agree with you that change is probably possible for some people. But, at the same time I worry if claiming (or even implying) that change is possible for all people is really constructive.

Having somone that does not want to be gay be able to change to straight, is great. But there are people every day trying to change too that never are able to. The message that change is possible, without any caveat, i feel endangers those that try hard, but are unable to actually change. They end up feeling like failures.

For those gay people that are unable to change, surely there is hope in Jesus. But the hope often is hope that he will allow this person to endure this struggle forever. And while the sin of homosexuality is often compared with other sins, to me it seems quite different. A gay person that tries to change but cannot is not simply trying to avoid gossipping or lying. He has to face the realization that he will never fall in love, have that life companion, have a family, etc. It's a pretty ominous task, but in the end it is one that should be acknowledged, lest people that try so hard to change are tricked into thinking that it will happen rather than the fact that it might happen.

Thanks for your time.

grace said...

Brady,

First of all thanks visiting and commenting on my blog! I write it because it's good for me but for some reason it does feel good to know that someone's actually reading it, you know?

I do sympathize with what you are saying about those who've sought change without success. I guess the point where we disagree is the all-inclusive sort of way I talk about change being possible. And I can also see how that message can be harmful or discouraging.

I'm wondering what statement I could make that would make you feel better. I'd love to have a dialougue about that.

I think the real answer to all of it lies in relationship. When we have relationships with people we can talk openly about our beliefs without offending. When we just spout generalizations (which happens in the media all the time) then we offend and cause more harm than good.

I can't see myself changing my belief that change is possible for all. I will say that the actual change may not be that they become sexually attracted to the opposite sex but rather change their expectations of God's purpose and plan for their life. I'm pretty sure that's about the same thing you are saying but maybe not.

I also agree with you that while the sins are the same in God's view it IS quite a different thing when it comes to gaining freedom from sin. In that way, all sins are not equal. I recognize the ominous task before a person seeking freedom from unwanted attractions.

And yet, in some ways, sins like gossiping and lying can be even more spiritually dangerous than the "biggies" because they are so common, accepted, and more difficult to recognize in oneself.

I will be thinking more about all of this and probably write a post about it. Thanks for talking to me about it and for your gentle and kind way of doing so.

Brady said...

Hi Grace,

Thanks for the response. I know it feels good to know people are out there reading your writing. I've actually read yours a few times, and I can see the love and compassion in your heart.

You asked what statement you could make that could make me feel better, and then you went and said it! Here's what you said,:

"I will say that the actual change may not be that they become sexually attracted to the opposite sex but rather change their expectations of God's purpose and plan for their life. I'm pretty sure that's about the same thing you are saying but maybe not."

I think that statement is clear and accurate, and has far less potential to harm those that are trying to change or don't want to be gay. Mainly because it lays out that the outcome of becoming straight may not happen for all, so people can know what they can expect.

As you pointed out, we obviously have different views, but it is always good to be able to talk openly about them. On my blog, i talk a lot about politics and homosexuality. The bent has lately been one of trying to point out why I believe much of the generalizations and rhetoric about gay life don't do much good for openly gay people as a whole. I admit, this has taken on more of a life of its own recently, but the deeper I dig, the more angry I get hearing from some groups how terrible gay people are, rather than a more compassionate and honest message about how gay people are still children of God that are sinners all the same.

My current situation is that I am gay (as I'm sure you've guessed) and I have lived most of my life hiding that, not acting on it, and trying hard to avoid it. I came out not all too long ago (after literally years of anguish, contemplation and prayer, and my life has become more positive and all around happier since. I went from being a fairly depressed person (that admittedly hid it well) to one that is more open and happier. I think not trying to hide these feelings, and finding someone in my life that I love with all of my heart really helped. Surely that is not the story for all, and some will say I am being misled, but it is hard for me to discount how far my life has come since before I decided to come out.

Anyway, thanks again for responding. I may have led this discussion a bit astray, but I felt like some background would help.

grace said...

Brady,

It makes my heart sad for you that you've spent so many years hiding "you". This is the prickly sort of situation we find ourselves in when our differing sides get crossways; the fact that your sexuality is not readily seperated from your identity. Most Christians have little or no sympathy for that. I believe that's a key place where we miss the mark in loving each other.

I agree wholeheartedly with you that hiding is detrimental to your well-being. It's the hiding and constant feeling of shame about the struggle that continues to give it so much power over those who do struggle. And yet, the fear of coming out is perpetuated by Christians who can't figure out how to love those who struggle. It's a catch-22 sort of thing.

I believe that my love for anyone must not be contingent on their acceptance of my message. It doesn't change my message or my love.

It's way early and I'm not even sure this is coherent!

off to work!

Robert said...

Brady makes some points that I can relate to. I am gay and out at work and with my family and friends. When I was in the closet I was MISERABLE. I have had intimacy with men (casual sex and a long term relationship), but I think what has given me the most pleasure is being honest about myself and not having to spend the energy trying to be careful as to what I say and do. Sex became almost an after-thought (now I am not doing it and have no present intentions of restarting).

Sexuality is so different for each person. It is not just orientation, but also the other little things that "push our buttons." Even the intensity of the sexual experience is different for each person.

It sounds as if Brady has come to understand the pleasure and relief that honesty can provide someone when they stop keeping their sexual orientation a secret.

Brady said...

Hey Grace,

Sorry, swamped at work here. Thanks for your response again. I agree with most of what you said. However, I wouldn't say that my identity is not capable of being separated from my sexuality (or vice versa). Simply because I think this puts too much emphasis on the sex side of things.

I think the problem is more that many people don't realize how much their own sexuality is part of their lives. Sexuality is so much more than sex, and I think often think of gay people as wanting sex rather than really wanting the same things out of a relationship that everyone else wants.

I hope you have a good night.

grace said...

Brady and Robert,
I still think this is a key place where we(not you and me but gays/vs.christians) get crossways....the sexuality/identity thing. I do understand that you are capable of identifying yourself outside your sexuality.....I don't constantly think about my gay friends as being "gay" when I'm with them ....BUT...it's the "gay" part of their identity, and the need to affirm that, which causes the issues I'm talking about here. Don't you agree?

Robert said...

Hi Grace!

It is really hard to say. Identifying oneself as "gay," "straight," "bisexual," "transgendered," etc. depends on the person involved. For some people in this large group there is a political aspect to their sexual identity (oh, I could tell stories, but it would fill up your blog ;-)). For me, there was no political or social reason I selected to identify myself as gay other than that I really am exclusively attracted to men. I could not even consider having sexual relations with a woman.

Your husband, for example, is not "straight" within the meaing of the Kinsey scale, but I doubt that he would identify as "gay." In fact, by virtue of the fact that he is married to you and has children, it would seem that psychologists would identify him as "bisexual," but he may not identify that way either.

I think that the issues of marriage, adoption, living together often touch upon sensitive areas because, for so long, it was illegal in most states for men to have sexual relations with one another, let alone to couple. Your friends probably have a collective understanding of this. It often amazes me but, in my relatively short life span (40 years), the county I live in has gone from making the association of 2 or more homosexuals illegal to providing domestic partner benefits. Times do change. ;-D

On another note, Christians themselves have different views on homosexuality, marriage, as well as other issues. I have never put any litmus test on friendships based upon political or religious beliefs. Many of my friends and coworkers are, in fact, evangelical. It does not sound like you or your friends do either.