Saturday, October 07, 2006

My Personal Theology Regarding Gayness

This is in answer to some questions asked in the comments to a recent post. Rather than type a lengthy response to what are some great questions, things worth rethinking and reevaluating from time to time, I decided to take a moment, or several, to address it right out front here.


I am still confused on the "Ex-gay" "post Gay" thing. Do you not believe someone can be set free from Homosexuality as people like Exodus do? I thought I read that you feel humans were not designed by God for homosexuality, is that correct? So you can see my confusion, if humans are not designed for it, how do you help someone who wants to be "as God designed" without offering freedom from it?

The best way, for me, to reconcile these questions is to put them in the context of any other behavior/attitude/spirit that I would consider sinful. Let's take greed. This, in my opinion, is a MAJOR problem. The sin of greed brings pain to millions. It has reeked havoc with nations, societies, families, and individuals. It continues. Many struggle with it at levels much greater than others. It is not part of God's original design for humanity and when His kingdom is fully restored it will no longer be an issue for any of us. It is not an "icky-poo" sort of sin in "church" society and can rule with reckless abandon in a person's life, even as they attempt to live faithfully as a Christian. It's easily hidden, for most. Would I be able to offer someone a program or course of action which could completely free them from greed? No. Can God grant someone complete freedom from greed? Of course. Does it appear that He often does that? Not so much. It looks more like folks can become very close to freedom from greed and yet must constantly manage their natural desires by living faithfully and walking as wholly as possible in the Spirit and with Christ.

The next, most obvious question, is; how do I respond to persons who struggle with greed and how does the church body respond to those who struggle with greed? My answer is....you guessed it....with GRACE and LOVE. What if there were people who struggled with greed and either didn't know they did or didn't recognize their greed as sinfulness? How would I respond to that? Hmmm.....this, is the 64 million dollar question for those of us in mainline churches, is it not? Do we "put them out"? If they desire leadership roles or teaching positions within our body, in which they would be unabashedly practicing greed amongst us and teaching that greed is acceptable....then yeah....I gotta say.....you're gonna have to go find a body that believes like you do and be a leader and a teacher over there. But, if you want to come and fellowship, commune, worship, and live amongst your fellow strugglers of various and sundry other sins....come on! If they are struggling with greed, and working towards wholeness from greed, believing that greed is not God's design for them and attempting to live faithfully within that greed.....then lead, teach, serve....do it all. I'll be here to lift you up, support you, listen to you when you fail miserably, forgive you, and LOVE you. And I expect and need the same from you as I journey and struggle.

This is all my personal take on the matter. It's based only on a bunch of experiences and my own reading, study, and prayer. It doesn't attempt to decide and sees no reason or need to decide, who's IN or OUT when it comes to eternity. I'm pretty sure that's why we have the whole sheep and goats story in Matthew 25.

I hope that's helpful.
love and grace,
pam
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12 comments:

FeatherIron said...

Grace, that was a great answer!

Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Hi Grace,

(I hesitate writing this comment. I can't imagine what you and your son are going through right now. While I admit that I was curious about your views of the ex-gay and gay thing, I figured this is probably the worst time of your life to ask you for your thoughts on this. But since you posted your thoughts and seem open to honest feedback:)

While I appreciate your answer of grace and love, I have to admit I'm disappointed in your understanding of same-sex attractions. I'm not sure why you need to change the context to to consider the morality of same-sex attractions and the church's response. Those of us who have struggled with same-sex attractions don't have the benefit of changing the context.

Being gay is NOT like being greedy or like any other negative behavior/attitude/spirit. Frankly, I can't think of a comparable sin. It's not a negative character trait or addiction or weird fetish. It's simply part of being.

I believe God equipped all of us (who are blessed with intact frontal lobes) with discernment and a conscious (or holy spirit). Acting greedy, lustful, or any acting out of any other struggle feels contrary to our Godly conscious and our greater calling. While there are certain parts of the supposed 'gay lifestyle' that are sinful (lust, pride, vanity, selfishness, etc.), having geniune love for another person isn't like greed or any other negative behavior/attitude/spirit.

Grace, while I appreciate your honest sharing of your thoughts about this, I suspect that it may be too soon and you may be too close to this issue to understand it (is that an unfair criticism?). Maybe you just had a bad post, but as someone who went through the ex-gay and Christian struggle for several years, I don't relate to what you described in your post at all.

Robert said...

Pam,

I liked your post. I thought I might also chime in on featheriron's question as well.

Can someone gain freedom from unwanted same sex attractions? It seems to depend on the individual who is seeking treatment. If there are sexual attractions to the opposite sex, even if the individual identifies as gay, therapy can often cultivate those heterosexual feelings. However, if the individual solely identifies with same sex attractions, the chances are slim that there will be any significant change in the person's attractions. The individual's resolve to rid him or herself of gay feelings, or the strength of that person's religous convictions, are not the determining factors as to whether the therapy works or does not work.

Robert

grace said...

Norm!,
That's okay. You don't have to relate to it for us to be friends. At least as far as I'm concerned. This isn't the first time I've posted this sort of thing...and really, I only put it in a different context/framework to make it more easily understood for folks who don't have the capacity to understand it any other way. We don't agree on the sinfulness of homosexual acts. That's the bottom line here. AND, futhermore, the bottom line for God, according to Matthew 25 may not have much to do at all with the arguments we have here on earth about what is sinful behavior and what is not. Does that help you at all?

Robert,
Thanks, as always, for your input!

love and grace,
pam

em said...

Norm: Regarding your comment, I think you're missing the fundamental piece of Grace's perspective. She believes that homosexual acts are not God's plan. And since she believes that homosexual acts, lying, pride, arrogance, or whatever are all not faithful acts, I'd suppose she knows that each one has quite a different response in the actual outworking of dealing with it. Each one presents its own challenges.

At the same time, the response is all the same - flee sin, pursue faithfulness...

I would say that her response as someone who believes homosexual acts are not faithful would be quite in line with those who have committed themselves to a life of resisting SSA. You're not in that situation, which might explain why you don't identify, perhaps?

Just thought I'd share what I saw as a fundamental difference in each of your perspectives. Basically, she's not commenting on the sinfulness or faithfulness of homosexual acts. She is commenting as one who has decided that homosexual acts are not worshipful.

Anyway, I'm sure I have outworn my welcome on my posting!!! haha

Great post and discussion! :-)

Brady said...

Hey Grace,

Thanks for the post, I think you put your view out there very well, and it was good to read. And, I think your description is great for someone with your view on the issue (on the gay is sin side). It shows compassion and does a great job of "grounding" a society that often sees being gay as a "bigger sin" than so many others. It's so easy to concern ourselves with the sins other people commit and ignore our own sins, and your post brings that all into perspective.

From another standpoint, though, I disagree with the comparison. And, this isn't a disagreement of world views (gay is sin vs. gay is not sin). See, my disagreement lies in the sins themselves. I'll have to use myself as an example here to make my point clear.

So, as you may know, I have no attraction to the opposite sex and never have. I have tried, a lot, but it just hasn't happened. Not only could I not have satisfying sex with a woman--I couldn't physically have sex with one at all (sorry to be graphic).

So, I'm left with either having no close romantic relationship at all or having one with the same sex. The option is not date a male or date a female--it's date a male or don't date at all, ever.

For me, while the greed analogy works well for some folks (and serves a good purpose for part of the issue), it in some way diminishes the struggle of the sin of homosexuality. Asking people to compare being gay with greed may not allow them to really see how a gay person, while trying not to sin, is being asked to deprive themselves of one of the most important emotions that humans experience (romantic love). For me, the emotion of love and all that comes with it is an emotion that lots of people take for granted, and when being gay is compared to another sin, it's easy for non-gay folks to overlook what a huge request they're asking of gay folks. Never to love--now that's a lot to ask.

Ok, so that's my take on the issue. I hope it makes sense...

TCS said...

well, Grace, I don't know why but all your recent posts have not come up in Bloglines. So I'll have to check my settings. Looking foward to catching up.

Robert said...

All of this discussion about sin seems to be grounded in semantics as to what sin actually is. People often equate sin with being bad, wicked, or wrongful. While those are sins, my understanding is that the word comes from the ancient Greek term for "missing the mark." If we look at our imperfect world, our imperfect relationships, and our imperfect selves, it is easy to see that the world is sinful. While people may strive for perfection and sinlessness, they will fall woefully short of the goal. It is a noble battle, worthy of being fought, that will always be lost by the imperfect.

grace said...

Robert,
Exactly! (are you sure you don't want to be a christian??? hehe!)
Following this line of thinking, and the fact that all sin is equally abhorrent to a holy God, it's easy for me to operate with compassion and love towards any other sinner. The truth of the matter remains that I am weak and sinful, still yet, many times in ways that possibly haven't been revealed to me or that I'm choosing to ignore for the moment. I'm no better than any other "sinner" even if their sins are of the more "high profile" variety. It continues to be about how we treat others....at least that's my view of it.

Angie said...

It just does my heart good to see the kind of respectful dialogue you draw, Grace. I know your name is Pam, but sometimes Grace is just more appropriate! :-) Honestly, I've gained something from every commenter here... and these are the conversations many Christians are missing out on because they are so very closed. That hurts me, b/c I wear the name Christian... but God help me if I ever fit into that sort of mold that seems to be too prevalent in Christendom.

The way I see it there will always be a chasm between these two fundamental ways of believing... Homosexuality is complex and a unique experience to every person who lives it. Among those who live it, there is disagreement.

So, to make love and understanding the goal is so right to me. People will still crave the black and white answers... either/or... right/wrong. Must be nice to live that easy life!

I've talked a lot here... not sure if I've said very much. Made more sense in my head!

Bottom line: I love me some Grace!

FeatherIron said...

Amen to that. I love that we can "talk" about this here. Not agree always but talk in love, not in hate.

Yes, we miss the mark all the time. The bible even says "if we know good to do and don't do it we have sinned".

The bottom line is study the bible, pray, ask questions and be a "sheep" like Jesus described in Matthew 25. God is faithful, test Him and He will show you His love.

grace said...

Angie and Featheriron:

Awwww....you guys are just the best!
love,
pam