The very first thing that I want to say is that I'm not, or at least I try not to be, cynical or jaded, though many people have told me that they wouldn't blame me for being so. In fact, many people (and again I promise I'm not bragging or anything) tell me that they're surprised when I open up to them about hard things. They're surprised that I don't have my life all together and figured out in a neat and tidy package. Part of that is because I also consider myself to be a fairly busy person, but even that can be considered a mask that I put on. And that is the purpose of writing this blog. I want to challenge everyone that I know to be real and raw, to throw away the masks that we hide behind and show people who we really are, regardless of what that person looks like and what that person has had to go through or has not had to go through. In my opinion, being real never ends badly.With that out of the way, like the title of this blog states, I consider myself to be another anomaly among many. No, I'm not being melodramatic, and no, it's not an oxymoron. So why?
I consider myself another anomaly among many, because I am a Christian and I am gay.
Let me explain:
For many years now, the church has shifted around various topics that become the focus of the epoch. For a while it was divorce. For a while it was abortion. For a while it was purity. For a while...you get the picture. Right now, the hot button issue in the church that has people vicariously enflamed on both sides of the debate is the question of how sexuality and faith are supposed to interact. Though this has been an issue in the church in the past, it has only recently become the debate. After all, who hasn't heard of Westboro Baptist Church at this point? While I believe whole-heartedly that it is a great thing that the church has decided to finally speak up about sexuality and faith, the problem is that the waters have become very muddied, as is common when a new issue that people have not had to wrestle with before comes into the spotlight. There is no clear cut answer right now, and there is no definite right or wrong. Various believers have researched for years and years on this topic and come up with drastically different answers and interpretations of Scripture. So who's right? Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for you either.
So what's the point of me writing then?
The point, and the source of many of my frustrations, is that there simply isn't enough information out there yet for people who are like me, people who genuinely love Jesus and are trying to figure out how their feelings and what they believe are supposed to intermingle. The problem for me is that the majority of people who are talking about and trying to speak into this issue aren't doing it well.
Let me explain that too: I deeply appreciate when anyone tries to speak into this issue, because it helps me further what I believe in and decide whether or not I agree with their views. The problem is that about 85% of the articles and talks and arguments that I have read were written by straight, married, misunderstanding people. While I applaud their efforts and honestly am thankful that they have chosen to even speak up about such a controversial topic, it is really difficult for me, or I believe anyone who is gay, to take their opinions seriously, even if their arguments and intentions are good (which I believe they are), simply because they haven't had to deal with the struggle that we go through personally. They don't have to deal with the stigma and the sideways glances that we get just for being who we are. They don't have to deal with the loneliness and the feeling that no human is ever going to love them, or that they are not allowed to love another human of the same gender because it's wrong. They don't have to deal with the feeling that their desire to be loved is wrong. They don't have to deal with an entire institution (or at least parts of it) telling them that they are extra sinful just because of who they are (which is a lie by the way; everyone is broken; everyone is sinful by virtue of being human). They don't have to deal with the fact that the same institution is somehow blowing their struggle way out of proportion and lambasting them as worse sinners than everyone else because of something that they can't change about themselves (trust me, we've tried). And finally, they don't have to deal with feeling hated by the very institution that is supposed to love them unconditionally. Now, I will say, again, what I said at the very beginning of this first post. I am not jaded. I am not cynical. I am not bitter, and I am not blasting the church, as much as it sounds like I am. In fact, I love the church. How can I not? I'm still a Christian. I still love Jesus, and I still love going to church. I don't plan on walking away from my faith or from the church just because an institution of fallible people has made some mistakes in handling an issue.
So again, what's the point?
The reason that I'm writing is to speak into the void of the seemingly unspeakable. There still aren't enough people talking about this, especially people who are going through it themselves. I mean, how are we supposed to relate to a straight, white, married pastor with a picturesque family trying to talk to us about what we're going through when we all know that he hasn't the slightest idea of what it's like? The issue of sexuality and faith is still sort of marginalized, and I believe that the church is trying to find a one-size-fits-all solution to a problem that comes in many different sizes. This is still almost a taboo topic that doesn't get talked about as often as it should, and I believe that this isn't going to be something that the church can simply issue one decree or one ruling and then that will settle the case for everyone. On the contrary, I think that we (yes, I'm including myself in this as well) as Christians need to be less lazy and approach this the way we should have from the start: with love and treating people like people. From what I've seen, the church has treated this issue very much like an issue and is missing what is at the core of that issue, and that is people. At the center of every controversial issue, there are people, real, living, breathing people. That is the reason that so many adamant opposers of same-sex marriage have changed their minds after a son or a daughter or a grandson or granddaughter or niece or nephew comes out. The reason for that change is because their eyes were opened to the fact that this isn't so much an abstract issue as it is a people issue. The only way that we're going to win this nation back to Christ is by taking the same approach to the Gospel as the 1st century church did, by meeting and engaging people in a meaningful, intentional way. I strongly believe that this is the only approach that we, as Christians, can take if we want to make a lasting impact. We need to engage people one-on-one on a case-by-case basis that causes us to form relationships and care about people instead of simply laying down a hard and fast rule.
So, that's what I'm going to be writing about.
I know that there are a lot more people out there like me and I want to talk about it. I will be adding some contact information at some point so that if anyone wants to get in touch (confidentially, of course) they can.
I want to speak into the void of the seemingly unspeakable so that others know that they aren't alone, that they're another anomaly among many.
Remember that Jesus loves you every day and that you are NEVER alone.