31 7 / 2014
"I had my first sexual experience with a guy when I was 21, in 1978. I didn’t feel comfortable having sex at all at first, but by the time I was starting to, the epidemic was already getting underway. In those days — the early ’80s — I pretty quickly became terrified to have sex at all. Could you kiss? What about blow jobs? Fucking felt too fraught to think about. What could you do? It really froze my budding sex life in place. I’d missed the wild days of the 1970s, or rather, I just caught the very end of it. And that terror stayed with me for years. And now, it’s a completely different world. We were, basically, terrorized into using condoms. You were a bad community citizen if you didn’t. And of course, those of us who adhered to the “condom code” did not get infected, thankfully. But the price we paid was that sex was always — always — accompanied by great fear and second-guessing. I think many men of my age cohort think, If we could use condoms faithfully, why can’t you?"
David Tuller, in an article over at Buzzfeed by Saeed Jones.
Reading stuff like this makes me think long and hard about how much shame I feel for our community, that we don’t connect to one another in really meaningful ways to learn our own history, to grow in wisdom by learning about others’ experiences.
27 6 / 2014
Many of you probably read Kevin DeYoung’s piece called “Five Questions for Christians Who Believe the Bible Supports Gay Marriage." To put it quite plainly… it was not very nice toward gay Christians. And honestly, I had a difficult time figuring out how to best respond to each of his points. But I only had to look to others.
Here’s a really well-reasoned response. Check it out.
27 6 / 2014
One of my favorite internet strangers came out today as a gay Christian. He’s side b…
That part out of the way, he’s beautiful, smart, and I really wish I had a chance with him.
16 6 / 2014
It’s crazy to me how adamant Christians feel they have to be about their beliefs.
This could be a good thing though. Instead of being adamant about controlling peoples’ personal lives, let’s get adamant about ending war, demanding that we all be good stewards of Good’s environment, and eradicating poverty off the face of the Earth.
Those are goals. Those are actions. Those are not beliefs or opinions.
Being adamant about your beliefs often prevents you from being a good listener. Because your goal is the continuation of your own beliefs, you’re only concerned with taking in knowledge that affirms your own. You cannot and do not seek out actual learning, only confirmation for what you already know.
Having resolve for doing good is great. Being adamant (refusing to be persuaded or to change one’s mind) about your beliefs is silly. Why do you and your opinion HAVE to be the right one?
I’ll tell you why. Because there are some beliefs that you MUST have in order to be a Christian… in order to get to Heaven. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Having a true conversion? So in order to do that, you have to believe, and not just believe, or believe kinda, or think “yeh that probably happened”, but you have to BELIEVE, believe in the very deepest depths of your soul that without any doubt that you are a sinner, and Jesus was the substitutionary atonement that allows you to connect with a perfect, heavenly Father.
Well, if that makes you a Christian… maybe believing ALL the stuff in the Bible adamantly makes you a GREAT Christian.
No. No, it doesn’t.
What makes you a great Christian is being like Jesus and following his commands.
Give away all your things to the poor. To “Go, therefore,” and share Jesus. To love unconditionally.
15 6 / 2014
I came out to my sisters four years ago. Before I came out, we were three perfect Christian kids. Which was amazing since both our parents aren’t born again Christians… at least we don’t think they are.
I was involved in every church thing you could imagine… I led Bible studies, was in leadership for a youth-run service for the high school ministry, was a member of the welcome team, and when drama and worship team needed someone to fill a gap, I responded to the call. I was there, and I wanted to be serving Jesus in any way I could.
My sisters were much the same way. Involved in church and Bible studies, attending anything they could.
And then I came out to them. October 2010. And I knew that they would have the same response that many Christians have. They would be adamant about their beliefs, unwilling to truly listen to my story and experience and opinion. Whatever I would say, they would only hear, “I want to live in this particular sin because it makes me happy.”
When what I really said was, “I’m not sure what God wants for my future, but I know that He wants people to know that this is what I’m dealing with. And for now, that’s all it is. It’s me living in intentional community with other believers and sharing about what place God has me in, no matter what my beliefs or relationship status may ever be.”
And today, four years later, my sisters still only hear “I want to be gay because it makes me happy.” And what they think is, “Of course it makes you happy. It’s sin, and sin feels good. So of course you want to believe the things you believe.”
Earlier tonight, my youngest sister and I had a debate about homosexuality. It sucked. It sucked because she wasn’t listening. But it also sucked because I haven’t seen any change in the way that she processes her information and opinions. It’s all still the same crap. She’s regurgitating the same bigoted beliefs and same vitriol that we’ve heard for the past 40 years in common Christianity.
And I just don’t get why she is so adamant about the Bible being the ultimate authority when 90% of what she’s saying is not about the “Clobber passages.” If you want to discuss homosexuality and ONLY rely on the Bible, then don’t mention anything to me but those passages. Everything else, I agree with. Everything you want to say about the entire rest of the Bible, I wholeheartedly feel the same way you do.
Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve… because God needed us to populate the earth.
God’s design is for marriage between a man and a woman because—hello—that makes sense. It’s kind of a bedrock of society.
But it doesn’t mean that homosexuality is sin. It means all those other things are right. But just because those things are right does to make this one wrong. And if you want to debate the sinfulness of homosexuality, then you better go right to the passages that talk about it. AND understand that the entire rest of the Bible is *not* an argument against homosexuality. It is an argument for the status quo.
And I don’t disagree with the status quo. I like it just fine to be honest. But I don’t think it requires that homosexuality be sin.
15 6 / 2014
It’s crazy to me how adamant Christians feel they have to be about their beliefs.
04 6 / 2014
My friend shared this video, and I wrote a 500 word response. I messaged back and forth with him for an hour, and I re-wrote my entire comment.
Check out the video, specifically up to 4:10.
My response was LONG. It was my typical retort. If you watch the video, I bet you could guess exactly what I would have said:
He talks about design, but he doesn’t answer the question “Is it sin?” and that’s the question he has to answer.
But here’s what I chose to post instead:
Responding to the video, I think it’s really smart that Christians readily mention the differences between having same sex attraction, identifying as gay, and entering into a same-sex relationship. It helps us remember that we’re talking about people and not an issue, and that those people are in a variety of places with their sexuality. It also helps us to realize that this discussion is likely more complicated than we’ve thought it was… And it probably helps us be a bit more welcoming in our churches.
I really appreciated talking to [the guy who posted it] about this one on one. We both found “definition #2” about identity to be really interesting. Here’s my thought. In general, all of the various concepts of self that we have are aspects where we might try to create community based on that shared quality. I’m a male and identify as a male, so what better thing to do in college than fraternity? I’m a Christian, so I join Cru to be in a community of believers. I’m a good student, so I’m in the Honors College to be in a community of scholars. I like sports, so I form an intramural team. We do this with soooo many aspects of our self that it’s only natural for people to do the same with their sexuality. The Church encourages sexuality-based community, too! Men’s Retreats… especially those for young men… how much of the time is spent on dating, general friendships/ relationships with women, marriage, and being a man of sexual integrity? Most of it. Sexuality—no matter what it is—remains a core part of the human experience because it affects the way we approach relationships with other people.
So why change my entire approach? It was because I had already vented, that’s one. But more importantly, the post had only gained one comment. And I figured… if I make this about a discussion on sin and homosexuality, I’m going to start a debate. I’m going to look like I’m picking a fight. But I don’t want to do that.
So I read the only comment that had been made, and I responded to it. And then I decided that response should be the second paragraph, and it needed to be reworked so it wouldn’t sound like I am writing just to disagree with him. My first paragraph needed to respond to the video. Just my response. Nothing else. And I relied on the conversation I had had with the guy who posted it. Importantly, he said, “[the reason I posted it was to] begin to change people’s definition of gay…”
So that’s what I wanted to talk about in my response. Not the debate about what is sin and why homosexuality isn’t sin and why Scripture doesn’t say what people think it says.
03 6 / 2014
I’m reading Al Mohler’s response to God and the Gay Christian.
He goes from ‘If you believe the Bible doesn’t speak about homosexuality because its authors had no understanding of sexual orientation (that there is anything besides straight)’
'Then you must believe that the Bible does not have the authority to reveal sin, and that we cannot know why Jesus died. And the Gospel itself is at stake.” (pg 18-19)
He makes that jump in three short sentences. In forty-four words, Al Mohler went from ‘If you question the author’s cognition on sexual orientation, you question the GOSPEL ITSELF.’
03 6 / 2014
The weirdest thing about being a gay Christian is that being gay has made me become more Christ-like than most Christians I know.
This is so true it hurts.
I feel like I can use this phrase sincerely. It hurts me to think that this is true.
Most Christians I know are great at being Christians. In fact, they’re insanely good at it. But I wonder, at times, how much their hearts are like Jesus’. I think they’ve gotten so good at being Christians that they’re distracted from being like Christ by spending their time trying to be like his people.
I’m the first to admit I am horrible at being a good Christian. But I think I’m pretty good at being like Jesus. And I the parts of me I can look at and go “yes, this looks like Jesus” I can attribute directly to being gay.
02 6 / 2014
Many of you have probably seen this article shared on social media. “Some Things To Consider If You Think Being Gay Is A Sin” went viral. In five days, it has amassed 100,000 shares on Facebook alone.
My favorite point the author, Ben Corey, tries to make? He says, of Matthew Vines’ new book, even if you don’t end up agreeing with him, his book should help you realize that many Christians have come to believe that homosexuality is not a sin without having to take the Bible à la carte.
Amazing! People who read the Bible and come to a different conclusion than you did, and they didn’t have to ignore what it was saying!
"…At a minimum, he has helped to show there is an alternative biblical understanding which should firmly place this issue into the category of “secondary theology” where Christian charity should leave room for disagreement without declaring who is in, and who is out."
It’s crazy to me how segmented the church has become over the past two thousand years. All because people couldn’t handle a little difference of opinion.
I think denominations are a good thing. I think denominations help more people connect to God. But the part that upsets me is that people get overly concerned about if you fit in to their church and their doctrine or not. Why can’t we share the same Jesus AND the same Church? Just because you’re Episcopal and I’m charismatic doesn’t mean that we can’t share the same space of worship. Clearly, Heaven is going to bring us all under the same proverbial roof anyway.
The author makes the point for me: just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I have to be relegated to a different building with a different community of believers.
About two weeks ago, I spoke to a student at a very, very conservative seminary. And this was my exact plea. That interpreting the scriptures on homosexuality become secondary theology. Whether he’s right or I’m right, there’s no reason for this cultural war and no reason that we can’t welcome people with different opinions to worship in the same church without worrying about who interprets which way. That’s another story for another day.
15 5 / 2014
Do you all watch any of the gay youtuber couples?
Will & RJ, Mark & Ethan, Christian & Jake, Trent & Luke, Vinny & Luke, Matthew & Nick… etc??? Who do you watch & why?
I’m curious. What do you think about single gay youtubers? What about the couples who post videos? Why do you watch them?
How do the videos and the couples make you feel?
11 5 / 2014
penguinreeses said: I recently came out as gay to my parents, at the young age of fourteen. And they didn't take it well. They believe it's a choice, wholeheartedly. They tell me I'm making a selfish decision to ruin their dreams for me to have grand kids. They backed up their statement by comparing it to pedophilia, beastiality, and necrophilia. Any advice?
None of the things they compared you to are limited to homosexuality, as John Corvino mentioned in this video. That not only includes the detestable acts to which they compared your orientation, but also having children. Many more young people today than in previous generations don’t want kids while some still do. Their orientation is neither here nor there.
Isn’t it funny that you’re the teenager but your parents are the ones acting like kids? This happens a lot. They say things they probably don’t mean, but they usually come around. But in the mean time, you could ask them to show you how easy it is to change your orientation by demonstrating; if they can become gay for a week, you’ll become straight.
Anyway, my best advice is time. In time, they’ll likely come around. They’ll see that you’re the same wonderful person you always have been. Until then, don’t let the negative comments get to you. I know you’re young, but in this situation, you have to be the adult and take the high ground.
I want to give you, penguinreeses, a bit of advice. I really disagree with Enrique’s analogy in the middle paragraph. While I think, on the surface level, he’s quite right, the analogy is a poor choice. And I don’t think he actually means it to be interpreted beyond the surface. Here’s what I mean.
For you to think your parents acting like kids is not the right mindset for you to have—-the mindset is disrespectful to your parents (even if they are wrong), and it’s honestly misleading. Most importantly, I would NEVER want you to think “mom is acting like a 14 year old because she thinks I’m going to hell, and I’m having to take the high road and act like an adult.” You don’t want that negativity in your heart. You don’t want, in a moment of anger or when emotions are running high, to shout back at your parents, “why are you acting like kids? you’re saying the stupidest stuff.” And honestly, you really don’t want to tell your parents, “Oh, if it’s so easy to fix, then maybe you can set the example. Go ahead and be gay for a week and see if you can help me be straight.” That’s not a spirit of compassion or of grace.
Your parents aren’t acting like kids, they’re acting like they believe they’re supposed to act. Your parents didn’t take your news lightly, even if their response sucked and was full of stupid.
Your parents are responding in the way they think is best for you. Now, they’re clearly wrong. But that’s because they’re misinformed. That’s not their fault. They just haven’t learned what they need to learn. Maybe, for your dad, it’s all about facts and research and hearing from credible pastors and scholars the arguments that explain how homosexuality is an acceptable orientation, its expression is not inherently sinful, and affirms same-sex relationships. Maybe for your mom it’s very different. Maybe for her, it’s emotional. Maybe she needs to see that you haven’t changed, and that you’re not going to change. Maybe she needs to know you’re going to be safe, and that you understand that being a sexual minority is difficult—-that life is more difficult for you—-but that you’re ready for it because you have really close friends and family who are going to get you through it.
What you need to learn is *why* your parents feel the way they feel. The very core reasons. And THEN start to address those. But IN EVERYTHING, be like Jesus. Be patient and loving, slow to speak and slow to anger. Be gentle and forgiving and humble. Show gratitude and reverence. And because you can’t do it too much… be patient.
I’ve worried about the tone GCI sets in their letters, often, they administer advice without showing any grace or compassion for the party not present (in this case, it’s the parents, in another, it could be the former exodus international or something else.) I support their cause, but I feel like grace can be done in a much more loving way.
Most of the Anon answers come from me, Enrique. I consider what I’m asked in a methodical manner and give my input. I’m not always going to be right —because I’m not God— but I’m always here for you all. Other times I may misunderstand the question. For this reason, I reblog any opposing views, such as this one.
Now I stand by my analysis, but I also want to bring opinions other than my own. Your support will enable this as I endeavor to expand our community to YouTube. I’m working on getting guests for YouTube videos, so we can give multiple points of view on some of our questions.
What do you think about this question? Add your point of view!
OK. First of all, penguinreeses, if you read this, I want you to know that I am so sorry your parents are behaving the way they are, and that I really hope you are safe. If you aren’t, please let the people of tumblr know. In my experience, my tumblr community has always been wonderful at helping out people in bad situations. You are loved, you are not alone, and your faith can help you through this.
I am very troubled by the advice comingouttothechurch gave. Being a Christian does not mean being a sponge for abuse. ”Turning the other cheek” is a concept that has been bizzarely distorted through translation and time (try here for more on this). Jesus was not some milk-toasty panderer. He was actually pretty damn snarky, and he is most noted for fighting back against oppression with fierce love and fierce intellect. It is so deeply unfair to put the onus for this whole terrible situation back on a kid being verbally attacked by their caretakers.
If I’m troubled by Enrique’s advice at all, it’s because he appears not to consider that this might be a more dangerous/volatile situation than he assumes it is. I don’t know penguinreese’s whole story at all, but for a lot of Queer kids, our parents do not actually accept us with time. It is emotionally abusive to say such terrible things to one’s child, and often homophobia denoted physical abuse as well. The first thing you should ask a kid messaging you for advice is: are you safe? Do you think your parents will hurt you? Cutting comebacks are not what’s needed here.
But here’s the bottom line. It is just wrong to ask a Queer 14-year-old child to take the burden of their parents’ ignorance and bigotry onto their shoulders. penguinreeses, it is not up to you to be the gracious one in this. It is up to you to know that Jesus loves you too much to let you cut yourself down to make room for your parent’s bizzare fears. They should know better, they are adults, and you do not have to make them feel comfortable in their intolerance in order to be a good Christian. Jesus did noome to make us comfortable, he came to discomfort us, that a better world might be possible.
Thank you! I think you covered some flaws in my reasoning as well as that of comingouttothechurch. One thing though. When I publish a response publicly, that does not mean I didn’t have other dialogue with a person privately.
Furthermore, please remember that I am but one person —we have other contributors, but I handle all questions myself— and answer every single one of them (and it’s a lot!) while also holding down a job and doing everything else I do. Until I find a way to sustain income blogging and vlogging, I will be limited in how much help I can provide. But I do and will continue to do everything I can for you all. —EM
I really appreciate what sketchbookradical had to say. I agree. No person needs to subject himself to an unsafe, dangerous situation. And, in that instance, you should seek outside help.
While I disagree with her interpretation of that particular passage, I still don’t think she gives you advice on how to respond—-what she suggests you actually do. If I had to identify what actions she suggest you to take, it would be to stand up to your parents and show them both fierce intellect and fierce love. But if I were in his situation, I wouldn’t know what that looked like.
1) I think Jesus was snarky, and he did show fierce love and intellect. It would be cool if penguinreeses did know exactly what to do for this.
2) ”You do not have to make them feel comfortable in their intolerance in order to be a good Christian.” I agree. You don’t need to make them feel comfortable in their intolerance. And you won’t. Being your exact, true self—-gay and in love with Jesus—-being both at the same time will make them very uncomfortable. ESPECIALLY if all they can see is how much you are reflecting the character of Christ in ALL your activities. But do not try to stir up dissent in your home until your parents see that same-sex attraction is not sin just because your parents are being bigoted.
3) I am suggesting he should bear the burden of his parents’ ignorance, and I full well agree with you that it’s unfair. Yes, he may continue to receive abuse. And maybe he will have to be a sponge for abuse. (I didn’t get the sense that this was ongoing torment… that it was instead their intellectual response to the situation.) But we find in the same exact passage to turn the other cheek that we also pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5, Luke 6). He doesn’t say “outwit them” or “debate them until you win.” (Although we see that Jesus did that often throughout the Gospel stories.) In fact, the Sermon on the Mount starts with blessed are the meek and the merciful and the peacemakers. Even further, we can take a look at what Paul says in 1 Peter 2:18-21. This goes exactly against the interpretation that turning the other cheek was a way for a slave to stand up righteously against his master. And beautifully, Peter makes it even more clear: ”When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (v 23).
Pretty much the entire New Testament, especially the epistles, talk about suffering on behalf of Jesus. (For passages that I think can particularly reflect this situation, see Romans 5:1-5; James 5:7-11; 1 Peter 1:3-9)
Yes, I think you should be educated and be capable of having a thoughtful, but gracious response to your parents opinions. ”Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience…” (1 Peter 3:15’16).
I would like to end with the benediction that Peter uses in 1 Peter 5.
"…In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”