Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Problem with Advice...and Sin, and some other stuff

The thing about giving marriage advice is this; every situation is different. So, while I can't imagine a situation in which I'd encourage a woman to marry an ex-gay, I do have a great deal of respect and admiration for those couples who are already married and in that situation. I'd have no difficulty whatsoever encouraging a woman to "hang in there" if already married to an ex-gay.

The overwhelming majority of wives of struggling men that I met while married to Tdub weren't aware of the struggle with same sex attraction when they entered their marriage. This, to me, is a sad reality which reflects the truth of what an astoundingly crappy disservice the church has been to gay folks in general. The church is supposed to "serve". Instead, gays and even those with unwanted attractions get beaten over the head with how abhorrent they are for being attracted to the wrong sex.

Let's just say, for the purpose of this argument, that a long lost dead sea scroll turned up where it turns out Jesus held a question and answer session on homosexuality. OK. Now. Think about that picture for a moment....or maybe two or three if it hasn't sunk in to you yet what that would look like.

My point is this. Jesus didn't operate that way. He did address people "caught in sin" or he would call people by the specific sin (murderers, adulterers, liars). But, he didn't do what a big chunk of the church does. He didn't campaign against a certain behavior or hold conferences or rallies based on wiping out certain behaviors. He seemed more concerned with the person and less concerned with the specific behavior. When he did meet folks "caught in sin", like the woman at the well, he could have a conversation with them and send them away HAPPY. I think one reason that woman was so happy was that Jesus let her know that she still had worth, even though she struggled with sin. We must be doing something wrong. I think church folks, as a general rule, get the whole sin thing completely wrong. The church does more to empower sin than the devil ever could. It's one thing to sit in a class and admit that you are a sinner, "just like everyone else," but it's quite another to have your particular sin singled out for "judgement". The thing is, ANY sin is a really BIG SIN. Sometimes I think it's my "little" sins that ARE the biggest.

I'm thinking out loud and I'm beginning to confuse myself! ha! What's my point?

I think I started out trying to make the point that it's a shame that SO MANY women end up in the situation I was in while married to Tdub. Blindsided by the fact that he struggled with same sex attraction. No woman should have to go into a marriage unaware of that fact. There are other things a woman shouldn't go into a marriage unaware of, but this happens to be my particular issue. I say that because I often have people come back at me with arguments like, "well, all marriages have struggles", or "this isn't any worse than X or Y in straight marriages". For one thing, YES, it is worse and if you doubt that please read the last 21/2 years of writing here.......and secondly, I'm not talking about ALL marriages, I'm talking about the ones where gay guys marry straight women.

One other thing....while I'm at it. I'd love to demystify the word "gay" for the fundamentalist Christian world. I kid you not, if you followed my writing in all the circles I frequent from time to time, you'd see that one must spend almost as much time defining words as making points. It's crazy. When I use the word gay, I just mean a man who is attracted to other men sexually. That's all. I don't mean an orgy-attending, HIV-wielding, substance-abusing psychotic. Just for the record.

Thanks for listening!
love and grace,
pam
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9 comments:

rbo said...

amen, sister. let's get the christ back in christianity.

Timothy Kincaid said...

Hi Pam,

I haven't checked in for a while and wanted to say HI and that I hope all is going well for you.

I know the holiday season can sometimes be tough, so know that there's someone out here thinking about you during this time.

Timothy

seithman said...

The church does more to empower sin than the devil ever could.

Let me just say that I'm so glad to hear someone else say this. You're the best, Pam!

I also appreciate you letting everyone know that not all of us gay men are out abusing drugs and having orgies. Not even all the non-Christian ones!

grace said...

Hi Rbo!

Timothy: Thanks for your thoughts and prayers...I've only had one "breakdown" so far. Sometimes it does just "kick me in the gut" from no where...still.

Jarred: You're such a loyal commenter...and I DO appreciate your thoughts about my thoughts. I want you to know that I read your blog as well...one of these days I'll get around to putting you over there on my friends list.

Mark and Patrick said...

The church does more to empower sin than the devil ever could.

This is so true. I did not act on any part of my being gay until after counseling with a pastor and beginning group therapy. It was therapy where I learned the things I was ignorant to. I accept my decision making and do own that, but at the same time, the "struggle" was made much stronger with the condemnation, group sessions and pastoral counseling.

I openly confess that my sin was being untruthful to my wife, and adultery. I was in therapy and counseling over six months before I was even able to tell here why I was going in the first place.

Thank you so much Pam for the continuation of the first post. Healing continues in a big way for me through your thoughts and writing.

Anonymous said...

Hey Grace,
Amen! Let's get the christian and model of christ back into the church.

Greg said...

Maybe, in fact, your offering a life giving suggestion from the actions of Jesus. With those scrolls we find....what if we are right? What if we are wrong? More importantly, Jesus did treat people with worth and value. They were not a product of their sin, nor were they condemned by it. He empowered them to be honest and decide what they would do. He empowered them in viewing the world differently.

I hope your voice grows loud and strong!

Have a great Holiday, my condolences for the hard moments!

kurt_t said...

Yeah, Pam, not only do I not take drugs, I wouldn't even let my kid have a hot chocolate last night when we went to see Santa at the Tilden Park Carousel. He had to make do with plain milk. Chocolate and four-year-olds, man. Dangerous combination.

So yeah, that's my crazy gay lifestyle. Driving through Tilden with my high beams on, dodging woodland creatures, looking for Santa. Wading through a sea of preschoolers and riding a wooden zebra. I'm livin' on the edge. Don't try to stop me!

And as for the main point of your post, yes, you are absolutely right. The struggle in your marriage was worse than X or Y. Or A through W, probably. Not because there was any greater sin involved than you would find in situations X or Y, but because a gay man hiding in a heterosexual marriage is like a rhinoceros trying to hide in a pup tent. Sooner or later that pup tent is going to fall apart.

MR said...

Pam,

After reading what you said here I thought you would appreciate reading what I wrote to some same-sex attracted men who wanted to find wives:

Although I know men who struggle with SSA and are happily both husbands and fathers, I just can’t remain silent on this subject. I want to tell part of my story here but I have to be careful on this. It involves a girl who would not want her story on the internet, so I will leave out some details. You see, I was once in a relationship with a Christian girl and we were starting to talk about marriage. As soon as she found out about my SSA she ended it immediately. That hit me so hard it took me years to sort everything out and learn from it. What I learned was that friendship alone is not enough to start a marriage. If my love is not deeply heartfelt and passionate enough, I just should not marry.

You are both wise not to hide your struggles with SSA from any girl you intend to marry. You need to find one who is understanding and compassionate. They do exist, but not every Christian girl is able to handle this.

Remember, above all you are pursuing God, not a heterosexual orientation.