Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gay Christians

I remember a time when I'd hear the term gay Christian and sort of bristle a bit. Those words sounded oxymoronic to me based on everything I'd been taught. Then, life started happening and I began to frame the things I'd been taught against the reality of what's going on around me.
It's important to me for my belief, attitude, and action to "jive". Otherwise, I feel like a little boat with no rudder, moving around in circles.

When I say I believe there are gay Christians, I'm saying that I have brothers and sisters in God's kingdom who are gay. They pray with me, fellowship with me, and if the opportunity presented itself, I'd share bread and the fruit of the vine at the table with them in the name of Christ.

In addition to all this, I'll assert that I don't believe God ever EVER changes His mind about what sin is. I believe without a doubt that the same things that are sin now have always been sin. So, it's either always been possible to be a divorced and remarried (even *shudder* 3 times) Christian or it's never been possible at all. I believe it works the same with being gay.

In my thinking, it comes down to intent. I believe there's a TON of stuff going on in our world today that is contrary to God's original intent. The biggest change in my belief about being gay and being Christian is that I used to believe gays couldn't be Christians because God didn't intend folks to be gay in his original design. Now, this same way of thinking is the very reason I've changed my mind. I still don't believe that God originally designed folks to be gay. I also believe that he designed us so that the most optimum way to live is with one other person of the opposite sex in a commitment that lasts till death.

But, because sin entered the world, God's original intent for everything....and I mean everything, got screwed up. Some gay folks take great offense at this notion because basically I'm saying that they are a product of sin. Well, I am saying that. But I'm also saying that I'm a product of sin. My sexuality, in and of itself, is laced through and through with sin. In the Old Testament days, it was vital for folks to follow long lists of dos and donts in order to remain holy in God's sight. And even then, they needed the blood sacrifice, another list of stuff to "do", to keep their place in God's kingdom. I think God went through all of those examples with the children of Israel for a reason. They are an example to us of how God works with folks within their sinful state of being. So many of those great heroes of the Bible struggled in ways that were contrary to God's original intent. In fact, there are very few of them who don't have some sort of "black eye" of sin. Yet they continued to turn their hearts toward God. God tolerated all sorts of things back then that would never make it with today's Christian Right.

I'm not saying that Christians who are gay don't have some changing to do, but in the end, they don't have any more changing to do than I have. I believe that they can turn their hearts toward God and He will take care of changing what needs to be changed. I believe that when Jesus said to lust after someone in your heart is the exact same thing as committing adultery, he meant it. Literally. This means that sin takes place in your heart, not in your actions. Yes, there are certain actions that are impossible to commit unless your heart is turned from God. However, there are situations when those actions could be committed with a heart that IS turned toward God.

I struggle with sin. Real LIVE sin. It weighs on me heavily at times. Right now, I'm struggling mightily with not coveting things that other folks have. When I see a family together or even hear my friends talking about what they did over the weekend with their husband or kids, I struggle a great deal with not coveting those things. The Holy Spirit has made me aware of this sin and I'd actually appreciate your prayers with me to overcome it. There is no difference between me struggling with this sort of sin than if I were struggling with sexual impurity. Absolutely none. If there is a difference, in fact, it is that the coveting of my neighbors' family life is actually something more real and dangerous to my life in God's kingdom than sexual impurity simply because of the possibility of its occurrence being so frequent. Fortunately, I don't have good-looking men bolting through my door trying to seduce me on a regular basis. In fact, that's never happened! haha!

I also don't have James Dobson decrying my existence, politicians comparing me to terrorists, or an entire industry dedicated to "saving" me from myself. It's just me with God, figuring this stuff out as I go along. Basically, I believe there are Christians who are gay because I'm a Christian. I figure if He'll let me in, there's gotta be a way for every one else.

love and grace,

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Dannybrou said...

thank you pam.

t-dub said...

So...I'll take the bait.

What does a gay Christian's life look like? You know, to make sure one's gayness doesn't conflict with his/her Christianity. [Note: I'm not using "Christianity" to mean "spirituality."]

Exactly what part of "gay" is OK and what part is sinful...?

Probably not where you were going with this (and I don't mean to detract from the message of your sincere, loving heart). I am, however, curious to what your view is. I know what mainstream Christians say (and you're far from mainstream and i mean that as a compliment) and I know what some in the gay movement think about it.

P.S. You can watch entire episodes of Lost and other shows online the day after they air. ;)

grace said...

Hey Danny! Good to "see" you. ;)

Well...since I don't want you telling me what my Christian life should look like, then I'm not going to tell you how yours ought to look. I'm going to let you figure that out...between you and God. You have to have the sort of relationship with Him that allows him to reveal to you the parts of your life that are sinful and the parts that aren't. And's up to you to work on that. It's not up to me to tell you what is and isn't sin.

This is what freedom in Christ looks like and it would be very easy for either one of us to abuse that freedom. And...when and if we did...we'd answer to God. There might be times when I'd need to poke around in your business...let's say if one of the kids were at risk or something like....otherwise...I'm going to leave that up to God.

grace said...

In essence...I'm going to do my best to love you just like you are and pray for God to take care of "fixing" you. Pretty much the same thing I tried to do when we were married...and I'm gonna do that with my other Christian or straight. Cause there's other people I know who do some sins...ya's not just "the gays". *lol*


t-dub said...

Let me first clarify: I wasn't asking you for advice OR for you to poke around in my you’re off the hook there. :)

My comment was more of a philosophical nature, to be a kindof shallow “devil’s advocate” … to see if there are any constraints to what makes someone an acceptable gay Christian. You are one of the rare [in my experience] compassionate voices out there and tend to give [some of us] gays (since many probably do look to people like you for guidance and compassion) the impression that your acceptance is all encompassing, that you're completely accepting of gays (and to your credit, all people) as they are. Some people want you to give an absolute. You’re wise to avoid it.

But…your comment, “I’m not saying that Christians who are gay don't have some changing to do, but in the end, they don't have any more changing to do than I have. I believe that they can turn their hearts toward God and He will take care of changing what needs to be changed.” was curious to me. Some changing to do. Hm. Kinda left the can of worms ready to be opened. (I don’t know what possessed me to open it. LOL)

However, your reply to my comment evokes the essence of what I think was missing from your original post. (Not that it matters what I think! :)) Ok. So we gays exist. This is the way we are. And
despite being this way, God loves us and wants relationship with us. As long as we are striving for that relationship(?) anything else is not anyone else’s business. [“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling..?”] Good words to live by methinks.

I know you believe we (as in “sinners” which is “all” of us) all should be loved. Period. I get (and appreciate) that you believe that being “gay” itself doesn’t create a different “class” of sinner (or, Christian, for that matter). So the absolute? As long as you’re searching for and being open to God’s will, it doesn’t really matter how you come to him--Straight or Gay. Where you go from there is a matter of opinion and personal conviction, and will ultimately be up to the Creator himself.

Maybe such attitudes adopted by more people could help gays who have lost their way (not from being gay but from giving up on God) find some hope.

grace said...

I probably could have used a "better" word than change in the post. That word is SO loaded when it comes to gay folks.

I think alot of you (and by that I really mean should be free to stop worrying about being gay and just get on with having a relationship with Christ. It's very tragic that so many gays lose their faith when they come out because the church says they love them and then acts like they don't. When you love someone, you want to know them and spend time with them and understand them. What the church offers is not' know what it is because you've experienced it. And's not.

kurt_t said...

Wow. That's a lot to think about. I honestly think I don't give a thought to sexual morality at all, except when I see something really outrageous, like rape or child molestation or something. But as far as my friends' relationships, divorces, break-ups and all that, I never think about "That one's moral. That one's not. That one's a maybe."

And I kind of think your life is the same way. And I think that's part of Christian faith for most people. I think a big part of the gospel message has to do with what you should really be paying attention to. And sexual morality just seems to be something that Jesus wasn't all that concerned with. Paul was. A little. But mostly Paul's take on the whole issue was "Well, if you really really have to, get married, but only as a last resort."

No I think Jesus wanted us to be concerned with social justice and taking care of one another in a real, material way. Like those children you were helping out.

I'll think about this some more.

Mark and Patrick said...

Pam, once again some very powerful thoughts and writing. I always appreciate your approach.

T-Dub and Pam, it is comforting to see you understand one another so well.

As I now live as a gay man and christian, I have struggled with my relationship with God since 2001.
I've never lost the hope and faith that God is patient with me. What I came to see in myself was that I allowed everyone else in my life to be or take part in my relationship with God. I placed my salvation and relationship with Him in the hands of others. I see that in hind site.

We all sin, we all come from sin. And it is our personal relationship with God that will show what needs to change in us. I hear what you are saying.

Anyway, its been some time since I've stopped in...glad I did!
You've been one busy girl! Congrats on school!!!!

Anonymous said...

Great post, Pam. Not that we'd expect anything else. ;)

And I enjoyed reading the conversation between yourself and T-Dub.

Curlz said...

Yes,...thank you. You have ministered to me. I left my Pastor husband for a woman in the church. Shocking - I know. I have been following you here and there for the past two years - your blog, I mean (smile), and your blog is aptly named. I wish more "christians" were as willful about grace. I have recently come to consider and embrace just these ponderings you have written about. It has brought me healing and,...well - grace. God knows my heart, and I feel for the first time - though I was a Christian leader / speaker for years - I am striving to know Him,...truly. I despise my own interpretation and the interpretation of the agenda driven human nature. I desire to KNOW Him, and this is my prayer each time I read His word and seek His face. He knows my heart, my hurts and my frailties. He loves me, and see's me through eyes of grace. This is not an excuse to carry on in my weakness, but a simple truth from the heart of a woman in need of love, grace, healing, growth and forgiveness. Thank you for sharing your heart. I am praying for God's provision in each area of your life. Curlz

Kat said...

Pam, I don't know you or 't-dub' at all but I find you to be a kind and generous person. I don't much like the way 't-dub' just came in and seemed to launch an attack. I'm gay, I have no problem with your thoughts on sin. I don't agree with all of it, but I recognize the attitude with which it's given. T-dub, you seem to have an edge. Forgive me if I'm mistaken, but I think you owe it to Pam to cut her ALOT of slack. You devastated her, the fact that she can forgive you leaves me awestruck.
Kat A Christian lesbian who celebrates both parts.

grace said...

Your defensiveness of me is touching...seriously..I'm touched by that...and humbled by your praise.

The thing is..I've been sort of "after" him to engage in the conversation about his faith...and he feels safest doing that here with me.

He actually called me (i missed it but he left a message) just after leaving that first comment because he was worried that it would come across the way you took it. essence...he did apologize...just privately.

Just wanted you to know that so that you might feel better about the whole thing.

Again....I feel the love coming from your desire to protect me from more hurt and I do appreciate and value that! :)

the_Tmac said...

This was a great post. I enjoy the commentary too.

I'm not sure where I stand anymore on this either...I think part of the Christian world has really profited on focusing on 'personal sin' and ignoring all the social sin that is hurting millions. I also wonder about the relevance of this if we are not going to focus on laws immediately next to this in the Bible such as the wearing of poly-cotton blends and the cutting of the beard. What do you think about all of that?

grace said...

Well, most of the gay men I know prefer pure cotton. *big dumb laugh*

The beard thing...well...that's just so loaded with innuendo in so many ways that I'll not go there. ;)

Actually, I tend to see the "clobber" passages in Romans used more against gay folk than the OT laws. And I believe those passages are speaking of something specific that is not at all specific to the lives of the gay Christians I know.

I seriously think we're all so messed up that there ain't no fixin' it 'cept for grace.

For real.

Kat said...

Sorry for any difficulty I may have caused, Pam! No harm intended. What I've often spoken about with my girlfriend is that when gay men leave a marriage with a straight spouse, there is TONS of support in the gay and gay/christian community. Sadly, there is not nearly as much help and comfort for the wife who has just been devastated. "We" in the glbt community must be there for them as well. We surround the gay partner, but the straight one is often left hanging and we must do better in supporting that person.
Sorry for the sermon, but I guess that's where my sensitivity lies. I so apologise for seeing something that wasn't there.
Hugs, Kat

grace said...

You don't need to apologize! at all!
I'm very happy for you to "have my back" like that. Lord knows there are plenty of times when I need it!

love to you!