18 9 / 2014

"Homophobia and the closet are allies. Like an unhealthy co-dependent relationship they need each other to survive. One plays the victim living in fear and shame while the other plays the persecutor policing what is ‘normal’. The only way to dismantle homophobia is for every gay man and lesbian in the world to come out and live authentic lives. Once they realize how normal we are and see themselves in us….the controversy is over."

Anthony Venn-BrownA Life of Unlearning (via gay-son-of-a-pastor)

See… Milk said the same thing.  The only way is authenticity.  Just do it when you’re ready.  Do it when you can do it safely.

04 9 / 2014

I read an article on Desiring God called Orienting on Homosexual Orientation.  Spoiler alert.  It sucked.  Pretty much the first 10 paragraphs were the most convoluted way to say “There’s a difference between sexual attraction and attraction that is emotional, spiritual, intellectual, etc”.  The whole reason the author, Nick Roen, goes to such pain to distinguish between the two really bothers me because it’s so shaky in pretty much every way it could be.  SO I want to talk about it.

As you’d expect from this blog, the author’s suggestion is to “kill” any sexual attraction and sexual desire.

"But what of the exclusively intense non-sexual attractions that are often experienced within a homosexual orientation?"  Yes, what about them?  You know these attractions, y’all.  Guys, it’s that fraternity brother who you love because he gives the most loving hugs and encouraging words of affirmation.  Girls, it’s the girl in your Bible study who inspires you to work on parts of your character and personality.

So what of these, Nick?  ”[They’re] not inherently disordered… However, it becomes tricky because the sexual and non-sexual attractions are often experienced simultaneously…”  GASP!

Nick says we have two options, guys.  The first is to NOT HAVE ATTRACTIONS.  BAD ATTRACTIONS, BAD!  ”Never pursue any sort of friendship with anyone toward whom an attraction is experienced.”  He admits that this is “not preferable.”  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME.

His second option—-are you ready, guys?  I don’t think you’re ready—-his second option is to just “deal with them accordingly.”  I’m not exactly sure what he’s getting at, to be honest, so thankfully, Nick used the last 100 words of his 1,268 word post to explain.  And this is what he says, “…there is the potential to proceed in a wholesome way.”

GUYS.  GUYYYSS.  THERE IS POTENTIAL FOR GAYS TO HAVE WHOLESOME FRIENDSHIPS WITH PEOPLE OF THE SAME SEX.

Don’t get too carried away just yet… he just said potential.

<Sorry I’ve just been dripping with sarcasm in this post.>

On to the seriousness.  The big problem I have with this entire approach is that Nick readily admits the terribly bleak view this requires of PEOPLE and of relationships.  It paints sex and attraction as some unholy, uncontrollable, fleshly fetter.

Straight people desire sex.  That’s a good thing.  Out of control, it’s called lust.  Straight people can be attracted to people.  That’s also a good thing. Out of control, it’s called… wait.  What is it called?  Well, it’s probably bad, too.

But when gay people desire sex, it’s sin.  When gay people are attracted to people, we’re gonna complicate the definitions and splice attraction into segments to figure out when it’s bad and when it’s not.  You need a magnifying glass to know what’s what… and when that doesn’t work, just get the crystal ball out and start guessing.  Remember:  better safe than sorry.

The reason this rhetoric is so harmful is that it’s not in the Bible anywhere. It’s people trying to out-smart sexuality and figure out how to make it sinful.

03 9 / 2014

So, it’s worship wednesday.  And I had a thought earlier this week.  I can’t seem to enjoy or like any new worship music.  As in… everything I’ve listened to that’s been put out in the past year-ish… I don’t really think is any good.  At first, I thought it was a phase Christian music was going through.  Because no, I don’t need my worship music to be electronica.  I don’t club enough to find Jesus accessible in that genre.

And this week, I thought, “What if it’s me.  What if the sad, pathetic state of my relationship with God and with the church is a reflection of my feelings about (and more specifically, my need or desire to enjoy) new worship music??

See, all of the old worship music I can listen to and connect with spiritually.  It still transports me to a place where I can kneel in worship, in my heart and physically.  But maybe that’s not just because it’s “better” than all this new stuff.  Maybe it’s because I’ve experienced all this music during times when I was spiritually thirsty, because I’ve had really powerful moments spending time with the Lord while this music was playing.  Maybe that type of associative effect has more play on my enjoyment of worship music than I want to give it.

I honestly don’t know.  What do you guys think?

02 9 / 2014

mostdontknowit:

I came out to my parents on Friday. I never thought I would ever do that. Basically I haven’t really been talking to them much. They yell and try to argue where I am peaceful and try not to argue. They also say lots of things that can be hurtful. Generally I have a thick skin. But from parents,…

WOW.  GO READ THIS POST.

I’m really proud of this guy.  I’m seriously impressed by the comfort he finds in his convictions.  Like… think on it for a second.  He’s heard these incredibly hurtful things.  And they hurt.  He feels the sting.  And that’s a good thing.  But he also knows his convictions.  He knows what is true.  And he is allowing those truths to be more powerful and more real to him than the hateful words of his parents.  I’m pretty sure that right there is Jesus’ hope and truth delivering you from pain and suffering.

Also, I’ll say it again.  I’m here to chat, mostdontknowit, if you ever need.

02 9 / 2014

I dated a guy for about the month of November.  Every so often, I think about him and still wish we were together.  :/

29 8 / 2014

If there’s one thing that I hate, it’s when a Christian person writes publicly about living a gay lifestyle and then leaving it to pursue a heterosexual relationship.

Because typically, this is what it sounds like:  ”I was living up everything that meant to be gay. I slept around, I was a gossip, I got drunk all the time, and I didn’t care about God.  Then, my life came tumbling town, and everything was a mess.  And I met this wonderful opposite sex person, and now we’re dating, and I’m going to church, and I’m praying and reading the Bible, and we’re doing the relationship God’s way instead of my way.”

And the pastor who inevitably shares this on social media is just saying “wow this is so brave.”

No.  This is crap.  Because your Prodigal Friend* doesn’t have the maturity nor the intellect to differentiate which stuff in his life is sin and which stuff in his life is not sin.  And his friends, the community he’s surrounded himself with… they only have second-hand knowledge of sexuality that has only been affirmed because of the bubble they’ve put themselves in… and so this Prodigal* is re-learning his experiences through the warped lens of Christian Fallacies.

And then the Christians who share this crap. “Oh, God is alive and well in our church. He is moving. There are miracles. Read John’s story of deliverance from homosexuality.”

No.  Your dude is bi (sometimes) and was making some pretty dumb life decisions because he didn’t know how to maturely address his attraction to the same sex.

THIS IS UPSETTING.

*  I use prodigal not to mean wasteful, but more as an allusion to the prodigal son story… so specifically meaning prodigal to reference that “returning to grace”

27 8 / 2014

I just realized that I make such a big deal about “gay christian”… and I scroll through the tag on tumblr all the time.  But I really probably need to be following the “trans christian” tag because trans* is something I know very, very little about.  And that’s just not okay.

I watched the SITC LBGT panel, and I got to hear from Alex. It was amazing, really. And then someone commented, “I want to know Alex’s birth name.” and the replies to that comment… they just got to me. I had no idea that asking someone their birth name was offensive.

25 8 / 2014

fineasinfp:

I POSTED MAYBE A LOT OF GAY CHRISTIAN SPAM TODAY

She reblogged me. Like 827 posts or something. ;)  Thanks! I feel loved.

22 8 / 2014

Anonymous said: I would guess that you're right, the pool you're talking about has a pretty extremely defined social construct surrounding physical contact between persons, however "Americans" in general are getting less & less physical so there's a societal element there as well, but I'd still place most of the issue with individuals feeling personally uncomfortable because of their own fears and insecurity. Be yourself, be awesome! God is the love emanating from you, and that love will change minds and lives.

I agree.

This love is provided by God. Loving people—of your own accord—is draining. When love is coming from your own self, it requires reciprocation or eventually you’ll run out of love to give.

Love—coming from yourself—only makes sense to offer to others when they deserve your love.

I think that, as long as I am seeking to be more Godly, the love I will give will feel more like God’s love.

21 8 / 2014

Anonymous said: If the whole world were listening to you right now, what would you say?

derekbinsack:

I would say that being gay is one of the hardest things anyone could possibly go through in their life. I’m sure if you know someone who is gay you could understand a little, but you don’t. And you won’t ever and that’s totally fine. There are some days that you love being gay and wouldn’t change it for the world but then there are others where you get lonely and wish you could have a wife and kids. So what I’m trying to say is next time you see someone you know is gay, just give them a big hug.

I was like, “i can kinda agree with this.” and then I read the last sentence.

#RELATABLE.

21 8 / 2014

I’m wondering if any of you have ever been called out for hugging people too much.

I give hugs freely.  Definitely more than most anyone I know.  I’m just over here like, “No, this is normal. America is weird. See, around the world, people hug or kiss to say hello and goodbye.”

I think I’ve written before about how, when I die, I want to be remembered for how I was quick to love.  That people, when they think about their interactions with me, they just go, “I felt loved. Like it didn’t matter who I was or how close I was to him, he just loved me right away. No reasons. No conditions. Just because.”

Maybe I’m not good at showing love to people - or - maybe “unjustified,” unconditional love is so unsettling… but I’ve heard mini-lectures about three times now from people really close to me who I trust, and their message was either “it’s strange that you hug guys” or “it makes them feel uncomfortable.”

I’m wondering if that discomfort is because these guys are conservative and afraid of emotion. I wonder if it’s homophobic, or, rather, that they think I’m being all lustful about it, and that creeps them out. I wonder that because… the only people they ever hug are girls, and when boobs are right up against you, you can’t help but think about them. (Sorry to burst your bubble, boys, but there’s no tingly sensation running through my veins and no synapses firing “go in for the kiss!” because I have a little proximity to your limp dick, which, by the way, is still separated from view by two layers of clothing, and thus, well hidden.)

I wonder… since when did hugs cause you to put up your guard?

Have any of you had this experience or been given this talk?

12 8 / 2014

Andrew Martin spoke those words in the movie Bicentennial Man.  Martin was of course played by Robin Williams.

I remember watching this movie as a kid.  I only saw it once, but I loved it. It was just profound to me, probably because of my age at the time.  But I read these words again, and I thought… wow, what an incredible truth for the gay Christian.

In fact, I’ve probably blogged about it before.  The fact that I, for so very long, have been certain that I am gay and in love with Jesus for a big reason, and I am still around because we’ve yet to accomplish it.

06 8 / 2014

I’m on grindr.

When I downloaded it, I was talking with this guy a couple of states away who I really liked a lot. I downloaded it to see what it was like and to make gay friends.  And because it would be an interesting conversation with the guy… haha

Two years later, I’m still on.  I use it to talk to people and to make friends.  There’s the occasional sexty conversation because some dude started it, and I didn’t stop it.  There’s the rare meet-up.  And the even rarer meet-up that tries to turn sexual.  Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.  It’s not what I want, but it happens.

But I want to address sexual ethic.  When I came out to my Bible study leaders, they were awesome and supportive.  They encouraged me to remain sexually pure, which is something that’s important to me.

My friend Jeff called me a few days later. “Let’s get coffee.”  My Bible study leaders had called Jeff, who is gay (& went to Bible college & was in law school), and basically told him to get coffee with me.  During that conversation, he told me he was sexually active, and he encouraged me not to be a prude when I am in a relationship.

I met Jason and Bryce through grindr.  They went to Yale Divinity School.  Bryce identifies as a born again Christian, and he works for the “Big C” Church.  For a while, they had an open relationship; they welcomed other participants in their sexual activity, and they allowed one another to have sex with other men.

I’m not sure how much Chip’s faith is a part of his life, but he was shocked when I told him I was a virgin.  (We grew up in the same church, but he is about 7 years older than me and has moved away.)  We talked a lot about my sexual ethic, and he shared his perspective as a sexually active man. His advice was that I should be willing to top and to bottom, (as opposed to being a specific role).  He suggested that when I do for the first time, it should be something I’ve planned out with someone very special, where we both have been exclusive to one another. He said, “Then, go get tested, wait for the results, and then let your first time be bareback.”

Today, I talked to someone who later identified as bi and in the closet.  His profile says he’s looking for “Chat” and “Right Now”, meaning he wants to have casual sex, No Strings Attached.  He even specified that he’s “looking for friends and fun.” We talked, and I found out he went to a Christian college.  I also found out that he leads worship.  In fact, he is going back home before Sunday morning to do just that.

Honestly, I’m not surprised that gay Christian men are pursuing sex.  So are straight Christian men.  But most gay Christians have searched the Scriptures and made them their own.  Most gay Christians can tell you backwards and forwards so much of the Bible, especially those relating to personal faith identity, especially moral teachings.  We have, by the nature of our circumstance, had to wrestle with the actual concept of morality, and what makes something moral and something else immoral… and relied on Scripture to guide us in that understanding. I’d say by most measures, (the majority of) gay Christians have a solid understanding of Biblical texts, certainly exegetically, and for some, hermeneutically.

Bryce is a Yale-educated Bible scholar, and he KNOWS his stuff.  Jeff is a pastor’s kid and went to a very conservative Bible college; he KNOWS his stuff.

The more I explore the vast expressions of Christianity, I encounter incredibly varied doctrines.  I’m okay with the idea that the Bible can be interpreted totally differently by two very educated people.  The 15 year old, baby Christian in me is clamoring for Jesus and purity above all else.  The 26 year old Christian in me is asking, “Why can’t sexual ethic also be open to interpretation?”

Honestly, I want my first time to be with someone I see myself with for the rest of my life.  Partly because of the romanticism of it all, and partly because it’s what I agree with Biblically, and partly because I think it’s just right for me.  But I don’t really have a problem with sex or people having sex.  I think I just have a problem with the casualness of sex.  And that bothers me whether you’re a Christian or not.  So how did I get to this place where I’m not really holding Christians to a higher standard?

04 8 / 2014

"In 2004, only about 1 in 10 evangelical Christians supported gay marriage. Just 10 years later, almost a quarter of evangelicals support gay marriage, including a near-majority of evangelicals under 35, according to the Public Religion Research Institute."

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.