Monday, September 24, 2007

Being a Christian and Gay Stuff (post 1)

OK. So. Where do I begin?

I feel like I'm smack dab in the middle of a long conversation that God is having with me about Gay Stuff. I believe that God speaks to us through our experiences (see Play-doh analogy), and like it or not, he's been speaking to me about gay folks since I was just a little girl. I didn't know it at the time, mind you, but he was speaking. I won't detail the long list of circumstances that repeatedly (and continue) to wedge their way into the fabric of my life (I won't even mention the fact that a principal interested in hiring me before I accepted my current job was named Mr. Gay. Oh...wait...I just did. Oh well.) . I digress.

The first hurdle I'd like to jump, is the term gay Christian. Granted, I may knock the hurdle completely over for some of you just by spouting the term gay Christian. Nevertheless, here we are, and here is this definition. Can a gay person be a Christian? For me, the answer is a great big....DUH....well....YEAH. I put that out there right away so the gay readers could let out a big sigh and know that they don't need to get defensive over this post. Of course, at this point, all the strident evangelicals have veins popping out in their neck. Assuming any strident evangelicals still read my ramblings.

The difficulty for many folks, in my estimation, with using the term "gay Christian" seems to lie within that whole yucky area called SIN. Where does sin happen? What does sin look like? Can a person sin and not be aware of it? What happens at the point that a person DOES become aware of their sin? Is homosexual sex sin? Is divorce sin? Is eating too much ice cream sin? Is wanting a bigger house when there are children starving in Africa sin? Is sin all the same? Who gets to decide all this? How do we respond to sinners when we ourselves are horribly at fault? We know that no sins are bigger than others, and yet, is the human inclination to behave as if some sins ARE bigger, sin?

AGAIN....WHERE does sin happen and if we can't see some sins physically....can we really see ANY sins physically????

You all know this relates to Gay Stuff. Either comment away....(which i LOVE, BTW....if I could afford to I'd send you all M&M's for commenting).....or....wait for me to continue the rambling.....comments do affect the rambling since I really don't know much of anything.

love and grace,

p.s. unless your initials are j.b. or c.f. don't post huge long gobs of scripture and stuff or i might not read it.

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Jarred said...

Good ramblings.

I'd say more, but my own frame of reference is just too far removed from your questions to tackle them.

Norm! said...

Great start, Pam! I can't wait to hear the rest. I'm really interested in hearing where you are in your journey.

I sympathize with people who have problems with the idea of a gay Christian. Before I came out, I had a very simple understanding of the issue (gay = unrepentant same-sex behavior = sin = not Christian). Now my biblical theology is different, but I certainly understand why many Christians maintain this understanding. What I don't understand is how these same folks can explain-away prohibitions against women with uncovered heads, speaking in church, and men with long hair (yuck).

[I'm really just commenting for the M&Ms. :) ]

rbo said...

where does sin happen? both mentally and physically. yes, we can see some sins physically, ie. murder, adultery, gluttony, etc.

how does this relate to gay stuff? [or, the part where i earn my m&m's ;)]
Many, many people all over the internets have given their opinion on this matter, provided biblical references, thorough research findings, and so on, but i can't offer that. I can only speak from experience. And my experience tells me that sin, in reference to being gay, is in every way the same as being straight.

Take this:
- sex before marriage = nono. (physical sin)
- adultery = bad. (physical sin)
- lust in the flesh or mind = no go. (physical or mental sin)


the difference in the above bullets and the full list, would be the position one has on gay marriage. Straight persons would, of course have a "not sin" column in which "marital sex" could be thrown. If gay marriage is not accepted, woops, throw that one into the Sin category, and take a step back... looks like all bases are covered, and they all fall under Sin. Well crap. Now what?

Now it's his or her job to pray or decide what really matters. Lust can easily be done without, adultery is not a problem, sex before marriage, yeah, that can be avoided. Sex within the confines of gay marriage? or an equivalent lifelong commitment? Does the desire outweigh guilt? Is it really a sin if it's lifelong?

That's your choice. This is as far as my comment goes. :)

Jay said...

Even though my views of sexuality are very traditional, I think saying that there is something inherently wrong with being a gay Christian is bad form. That is one of the opinions that has kept me from embracing conservative Christianity more fully (which might be a good thing now that I think about it).

I think the words "gay" or "homosexual" merely describe attraction, but some people can't help but think they respond to behavior, no matter what you try to tell them.

kurt_t said...

Are gay Christians Christians? That's kind of like asking are Mormons Christians. It depends on who you ask.

Jesus for me is somebody who doesn't seem to have much concern with sexual morality, aside from His opposition to divorce, but I realize that's not everbody's Jesus.

I think if Jesus were to meet me in my living room when I get home tonight and start walking around my house opening closets and snooping around, he would probably say things like "What do you have here? Like eight coats? You're seven over the limit, guy. What's with the piles of change everywhere? Looks like somebody forgot to give alms to all who ask."

I don't think he'd have a problem with my relationship with Tony or the cat or the kid or whatever crazy friends might happen to be dropping by at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Sin?? I don't know about other folks but I am always tangled in my own s&@! of sin and circumstances. I guess it is an individual event (as that is how we will be judged in the end anyhow.)

Did I sin today when I grew frustrated with an old widowed woman's decision making over which fabric to choose? How many times a day do I grow weary with others and become impatient with God's ways?? Sin is pretty deeply steeped in contempt for oneself and others. It is discovered through a very personal and close examination of our own motives. It is not about gay. And it's no one else's call as it is between God and myself.

The end.

kurt_t said...

I said this yesterday, and I guess I forgot to hit the submit button, so let's try again.

The divorce issue for me brings up the point that there's a limit to how much moral code you can extrapolate from the Gospels or the New Testament in general.

When Jesus condemns divorce, he's talking about divorce as it existed in his own time and culture. He's not talking about your divorce or your neighbor's divorce or Sonny and Cher's divorce. He's condemning abandonment. He's not condemning a situation where two people say "Well, this isn't working out. Let's sell the condo and call it a day."

I think a lot of gay Christians see a similar issue with regard to the "clobber passages." St. Paul, for example, isn't condemning gay people because he had no concept of gay people as we understand gay people today.

grace said...

These comments are great! Thank you all. I'm brewing on a new post already. :)

love and grace,

oh...and thanks for commenting rbo...hope you do so much more often! ;)

Melanie said...

Hi there,

I stumbled upon this blog some time ago and enjoy reading people's insights and especially thoughts on being gay/a Christian.
Just wanted to leave a comment to say thanks to Kurt for your thoughts on divorce. I personnally am totally against some Christian's conviction that you can't divorce, no matter what. I think in many cases, staying together does more harm than good (not only for the spouses, but also for their children, in some cases).
The thing is, I never really knew how to understand these "don't divorce" passages, and what you're saying makes perfect sense to me, Kurt! I mean back in the times of the New Testament, getting a "divorce" meant abandonning your wife and dishonor, that has not to be the case.
Thanks so much for this insight, and sorry to everyone I'm kind of a stranger rambling here and not even contributing anything to the discussion...just wanted to say thanks.

grace said...

Never ever apologize for rambling here (which you're not, btw)...I've made an entire blog out of rambling! Please ramble more often.

Virtual M&M's will be forthcoming!

Anonymous said...

I would have to beg to differ about the divorce thing. To say there is no connection between then and now and Jesus doesn't care about divorce because it is different now is a total cop out. It really is sort of a bait and switch thing where some extreme situation where someone is married to a sociopath or an unrepentant adulterer is then used to say see some marriages SHOULD end in divorce. Yet most people who initiate the divorce are not married to a sociopath or an unrepentant adulterer. Most of them are like oops, we're imcompatible, we married too young, grew in different directions etc etc etc. They remove God from the equation by refusing to give God the situation and see what he can do with it. I am not, of course, referring to people who had no choice in the matter and are abandoned. Obviously if you have no choice in the matter, there is not a whole lot, at this point, that the person being offered the divorce can do. But to say that God doesn't care if someone sits there and decides they married someone too boring and totally imcompatable (so they think anyway) and that what God really wants is for them to find "happiness" by finding a "more compatible" spouse..well, that is just a bunch of rationalization to say that is so just because divorce has a somewhat different flavor now than in bible times. I think one could extrapolate that easily to the homosexual issue. The problem is that a lot of christians act as if some sins are worse than others. Heck in some circles some blatent sins are completely ignored (ever notice how many really really morbidly obese women there are in some fundie churches..obviously they missed the passages on gluttony) When sin is seen as somehow missing the mark for God's design, it does help put things in a clearer light. Most of us struggle with some form of sin our whole lives. If we conquer one, then something else pops up. I have discussed with my husband (an ssa struggler) that no other sin is suddenly normalized because it doesn't vanish instantly. No one ever tells a recovering alcoholic to quit going to AA and that drinking is normal because half the time he thinks about drinking and can't pass some bars without white knuckling it. I do believe that when people stop focusing on external behaviors and deal with the roots of their brokenness they attain much greater healing than when the emphasis is all on "fixing" the bad behaviors. And sadly, I think a lot of the Exodus affiliates are so busy trying to turn these guys into a certain image that it just reinforces the "you are different" messages that may have played a part of the original problem.

grace said...


I apologize for the misunderstanding. I can't find where I ever said what you related when you said this...

"to say there is no connection between then and now and Jesus doesn't care about divorce because it is different now is a total cop out."

I'm not sure where you came up with the idea that I said anything like that, but apparently you did, so I apologize for apparently giving my words that connotation to you. I'm pretty sure I said the opposite of that.

I also explain in the next post after this one that I don't believe there IS a "cop out" (not my words, but yours) on the divorce thing and I can't "cop out" either. I am responsible for the fact that I am divorced. End of story. far as how God relates to me, how I relate to others, and how I function within the body AFTER having been through a divorce...well, maybe you were taking all of that part of what I was saying and taking it to mean that I was trying to find a "cop out" for divorced persons.

Again, I hope you will continue to comment so that I can learn to be more clear. I'm pretty sure we actually agree about divorce, but I could still be wrong.

Thanks for commenting!

love and grace,

Anonymous said...

I was not referring to you Pam, but to a poster a few posts up that made that connection.