SSA

why i don't like the term same-sex attraction

As usual, I know that this probably won’t be a popular opinion, which is exactly why I’m writing about it. I want to be able to talk about the things that are seemingly unspeakable, at least for “respectable” Christians. Now, to be fair, a lot of people don’t like the term gay, and that’s totally fine. When I came out to my parents, they adamantly voiced their opinions against that label. I think at one point they outright told me that I wasn’t gay. I think I probably made some sort of face at them, but then decided not to say anything more about it because it didn’t matter. It was okay. Regardless of what they wanted to call it, that’s what I was: same-sex attracted, gay, whatever. It all really means the same thing.

What I want to talk about is why I personally don’t like the term same-sex attraction.

To me, that hyphenated three word term just sounds and feels too clean, too sterile, too medical. It screams, “I have a condition!” It screams that there’s something wrong with you, something that needs to be fixed, and I don’t like that.

I don’t need to be fixed. I don’t have a disease or a condition. I don’t need to be healed.

What I need is Jesus, and that doesn’t mutually entail that I will be changed. And that’s okay.

All of that being said, I also understand where people are coming from when they prefer to use the term same-sex attraction. They don’t want to associate themselves with sin. They don’t want to tarnish Jesus’ name by putting an adjective in front of the word ‘Christian.’ And there are a multitude of other good reasons that people don’t call themselves gay Christians. I totally understand that.

But I also want to give you some of the reasons that I do say that I’m a gay Christian.

Contrary to what some people will argue, I do believe that being gay is part of your identity. And some will say that you shouldn’t ever identify with a sin, because we don’t say ‘I’m a lustful Christian’ or ‘I’m a lying Christian,’ but I think we can all agree that being gay or struggling with same-sex attraction, whatever your preferred terminology may be, is so much different than those other things. It affects the way that you see the world, and it affects you on a day to day basis. It honestly colors every single moment of your existence in my opinion.

And again, some people may say that I’m identifying too much with my core sin, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think that I’m being real and honest with myself.

In my experience, a lot of people who choose to use the term same-sex attraction are people who are really dissatisfied with their sexuality. They want it to change and they wish that they were different. And it honestly is a struggle for them every day.

And in my opinion, I think it’s because they’re trying to change a part of who they are. There is nothing wrong with being gay or being attracted to people of the same sex. There isn’t. It isn’t sinful. God didn’t make a mistake with you. He knew that this was going to be the way that you are from the very beginning, and He doesn’t need you to change who you are.

For this reason, I think that people who use the term same-sex attraction are trying to push away a part of themselves. It seems to me like they’re trying to distance themselves from their “sin,” and I think that’s where the agony comes in. Because let’s be real, whatever you happen to call it, it’s really the same thing. If you’re gay or same-sex attracted, you’re a guy who likes other guys or you’re a girl who likes other girls. That’s the way that it’s going to be, and using a different term just seems to be a way of subtly denying who they really are, something that can make dealing with that even harder than it already is. How can you expect to work through your life and situations that may arise when you can’t even admit to yourself who you are because it sounds dirty or worldly or sinful?

For me, being able to say that I’m a gay Christian was honestly one of the most liberating things for me, and I think that God is okay with that, because He sees the heart. It enabled me to really face my sexuality and everything that came along with it. It also enabled me to see more of God for who He is, realizing that He still loves me no matter what, that He doesn’t need me to change who He made me to be in order to follow Him.  It doesn’t matter that I like guys while most other Christian guys like girls. That doesn’t matter to Him. I mean, being straight doesn’t matter to Him. God is not a sexual being. Gay, straight, bisexual, it doesn’t matter to Him. What matters to Him is our hearts and our intentions and our faith, because nowhere in the Bible does it say that being a Christian also entails being straight. Take a look. It doesn’t say that anywhere. Being gay and being a Christian are not mutually exclusive.

Finally, I think that using the term same-sex attraction can also boil down to a pride issue. I think that it takes a lot of humility to be able to say to yourself that you’re a gay Christian. I think it takes more to tell your Christian friends that you’re a gay Christian. Why?

It’s precisely because of the negative connotations and the stereotypes that spring to mind when Christian people hear the word ‘gay.’ They think of a life where everything is oversexualized and all you care about is sex, and that’s so far from the truth for many gay Christians. A lot of us are just like everyone else, we just happen to be guys who like guys or girls who like girls. But that’s still the picture that people tend to see.

And I also totally understand wanting to make sure that people know that isn’t the lifestyle that you’re living or that you’re not doing those kinds of things, but I would hope that if you’re close enough to someone that you’re telling them that you’re gay that they would already know that. I would hope that they wouldn’t make assumptions about you just because they’ve received some new information.

Thus, I think that in some cases, using the term same-sex attraction can be a way of putting ourselves above “those” gays, the ones that engage in “the lifestyle” and all of that. And I think that’s wrong. You are not above those people just because you are a Christian. You are not above those people just because you’re “fighting it.” You are in the same place as those people. You are not better than them and they are not worse than you. Period. I think that this is something that the church in general has to realize and really get through people’s skulls, because I think that this is a problem that originates in the church.

The modern church makes out homosexuality to be the mother of all sins, as if there’s nothing worse you could do than to be gay. They talk about it like “those gays” have a bigger problem to deal with than the rest of us. They talk about it like they are subhuman and beneath all of us Christians because they’re “living in sin” day in and day out, and honestly that kind of talk disgusts me. It’s horrible and unbiblical, and I think that the church needs to get out of that mentality as soon as it can, because it’s harmful for them and for the people that they’re talking down to.

Jesus never considered Himself to be above anyone during His time here on earth, and He was above them. He was literally God. He had every right to act like He was above them and to talk down to them, but He didn’t. He never talked about Himself like He was better than the people. He never isolated Himself from “the sinners.”

In fact, the exact opposite was true. Jesus was the one who had dinner with the tax collectors. He interceded for the woman caught in adultery. He was the one who was compassionate to the other criminal who was dying beside Him on another cross. Can’t we be more like that?

So, I realize that this post caught a little longwinded and veered a little off path, but that’s okay. These are the things that are coming from my heart and things that I believe God has been teaching me. But that’s why I don’t like the term same-sex attraction. I think that it makes it sound like we have a disease we need to be cured of. I think that using it prevents people from really coming to terms with their own identity with themselves and before God, and I think that it enables us to put ourselves in a place above other people, other broken people in need of Jesus.

I know there will probably be strong opinions on both sides of this, but I still want to know what you guys think. How do you feel about the term same-sex attraction? Do you use it? Why or why not?

w i s t f u l

Not to post something really melancholy again, but the whole situation surrounding Valentine's Day got me in a really pensive mood last night, and the way that I always remedy that is by writing. It's something that I love to do, whether it's short stories, (attempts at) poems, letters to no one, or just a stream of my consciousness directed onto a page. It always helps me sort through the whirlwind of emotions that I'm constantly bombarded with, and a lot of the time it will give me some perspective on life while also giving me a good chance to just reflect and turn some less ideal situations into more wistful ones, in a good way. Plus, I just really enjoy the act of writing, the sensation of the ink or pencil lead flowing onto the page so smoothly. It's therapuetic to me. So that's what I've got for you again today: a piece of writing and a song:

Dear No One...

It's days like this that I wish I had someone, days when everyone is out with their someone and I'm sitting here in my room just thinking about what that might possibly be like. I guess I don't even really know what to imagine. But maybe by the time the graphite on this page has been smeared unreadable I will. Maybe. But that maybe feels really far away, an eternity away if I'm being honest with myself. I just wonder how high my high score of Valentine's Days sans a someone will get before then... I can't even imagine what that would be like, having a someone. Maybe it's an impossibility. But I can at least dream about it, can't I? I can dream about having someone to hold and someone to hold me, someone to write me notes and letters just because, someone to watch shows and read books with me, even if he doesn't like them, just because I do, and someone for whom I can do the same. And yes. I wrote 'he.' There's actually not an 's' missing. That's the day I'm waiting for, trying to imagine right now, sitting in my room by myself on Valentine's Day with needtobreathe on, the day I have someone who never tires of listening to me, someone who I can sit with and listen to without feeling like I need to say anything at all, someone to give me long hugs when I need them, someone to spend quiet mornings over tea with, someone to go on walks and roadtrips with, someone with whom I can comfortably sit in silence with, someone who gives me that emotional, surreal feeling, like it can't possibly be real. And it isn't yet. That's why I'm still waiting, waiting for someone I never have to worry about, someone who wants to talk to me, someone who challenges me, someone who makes me better, someone who makes me smile just because I'm with him, someone to hold my hand, someone to catch me off guard with a kiss on the cheek, someone who's just different enough that I keep learning new things about him, someone who will cook with me while music is going in the kitchen, someone who will sit with me at the piano and sing for fun, someone who will stay with me when I'm sick, someone who will do random, spontaneous things with me, someone who my friends and family will love, someone who I can love, someone who will love me, someone who will pray with me, someone who will read the Word with me and point me toward Jesus, someone who loves Jesus himself. And there are a million more things that I could say that I'm waiting for, a million things that I'm so impatient for, but until then I'm waiting, here in my room on this 2015, Saturday Valentine's Day.

So that's where my thoughts went last night. Any of you feeling the same way? Because I feel like that a lot. Anyway, here's that song I promised. I'm really not quite yet on the same level of contentedness and satisfaction that Tori Kelly is, but I still like the song. Haha.  Let me know your thoughts on any of this. I love talking with people.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njmCUJ94lUM[/embed]

p a r e n t s

So, I realize that I haven't written a whole lot of original content thus far, just commenting on and responding to various articles. I promise I will get to that. I've just been reading a lot of things leading up to and through the process of starting the blog, and I have encountered a lot of different people writing a lot of different things that I both agree with and disagree with. I think it's a good description of someone's beliefs when they articulate what exactly they believe and what they do not, which is what I have been doing so far. So today, I have another post which stems off another article that I just read recently. This post is addressed to any parents that might be reading this blog or this post. The article that I'm going to link to below is one of the best that I've read. It describes one pastor saying all the things that he will do if he has gay children, and I think that it's heartwarming and encouraging for all of the LGBT Christians out there. I think that it provides a nice contrast to all of the straight, Christian parents and pastors who would love nothing more than to continue to berate Christian young people for simply being the way they are. And yes, the comments at the bottom of the post, if you choose to read them, are disheartening and difficult to read, perhaps even angering, but I think that the point is that this pastor and dad is willing to speak up about this even though he knows full well that his opinion will probably not be received well, which is precisely why I'm sharing this with you. I'm all about people speaking up for what they believe, especially if their beliefs aren't popular. Here's the link:

http://www.faithit.com/gay-children-4-promises-christian-parent/

Alright, this article is pretty short, so I'll try to touch on at least the four points that are brought up as well as some other things that caught my attention while I was reading. The first thing that I want to mention is that I'm very thankful that this pastor has had many interactions with LGBT people in his life. I think that's incredibly valuable for anyone who is in a leadership position in the Christian sphere, especially when those interactions are with LGBT people who have had bad experiences with the church. I really appreciate that he addresses the fact that it's difficult to be a gay Christian kid in the church, because it is! There are a lot of different opinions on whether or not being gay and being a Christian can coexist, and many of those opinions are not positive. I'm just really glad that he acknowledges the struggle that gay Christians have to go through even while they're trying to be a part of the church.

It's difficult to be a gay Christian kid in the church.

For his first point, the biggest thing that stands out to me is that fact that he promises not to be ashamed of his kids, at least that's what he seems to mean at the core. He states that having a gay child won't be the dirty little secret that his family guards above all else, and I think that's incredible, because it reiterates indirectly that being gay isn't something to be ashamed of, something that's important to remember, especially in Christian circles. Just like him, my opinion probably won't be very popular, but there's nothing wrong about having a homosexual orientation. God doesn't love you any less because you're gay, and He certainly didn't make a mistake in the fact that you're gay, and it definitely isn't a choice that you can be ridiculed and torn apart for. I'm so glad that this pastor isn't willing to sacrifice his kids for the comfort and acceptance of others. That's parenting done right. How are kids supposed to be able to go out into the world on their own and endure all the hate and criticism that they're going to experience from others when their own parents don't accept them and love them all the same regardless of their sexual orientation that they certainly didn't choose? Just like the Christian community as a whole, I believe that the responsibility of parents is to love their kids unconditionally while pointing them to Christ. God will take care of the rest.

God didn't make a mistake in the fact that you're gay, and it isn't a choice.

Secondly, I really like the intent and the attitude that is behind his second point. The promise to pray for his gay children is an important one to make, even though it seems to be almost trivial compared to what other parents might do when they find out that one of their children is gay. To me, the reasoning behind this is the same as in the other points and the article as a whole. This dad and pastor is aiming and striving to love his kids unconditionally no matter what, and that is his focus. And again, I absolutely love that he isn't praying for his kids to be "normal" or that God would make them straight. This is such a powerful model for other Christian parents of gay children to keep in mind, because when you pray that God would take away or change your child's orientation, what you're really saying is that there is something wrong with them that needs to be changed. What kind of message is that to be sending to your kids, especially kids who are already probably struggling with this identity means for them and what it means for their lives? Again, it's not the responsibility of parents or even Christians in general to try and change other Christians who also confess to being gay. That's not a part of the Gospel message that was given to us in the Bible. Changing of orientation, if that's even going to happen, is only God's responsibility. Thus, I also really appreciate this dad's prayer for protection for his kids, especially the prayer that ungodly treatment from others wouldn't prevent them from continuing to seek the Lord. That is a very real thing that happens in churches all over the country. Gay Christian kids commit suicide or leave the church because they feel so unloved and judged by a community that is supposed to be the embodiment of Christ's love on earth.

He isn't praying for his kids to be "normal" or that God would make them straight.

The third point of his article is the most important one in my opinion, because it encapsulates everything that he is trying to say and also the mission of Christians in general. My favorite idea that he gets across is that the sexuality of his children is basically irrelevant in regards to his love for them. He says that he won't love them despite their sexuality or even because of their sexuality, but simply because they are his. That is a beautiful picture of what parental and also unconditional love is supposed to be. You love someone simply because you do. This also ensures that those children will be open to talking with their parents regardless of whether or not they are gay, and that is an important relationship to have. As he says, his children might doubt a million other things in their lives, but they will never doubt that he loves them, because he will make sure of it. And that's all he is supposed to do, love them and point them toward Christ. Anything after that is up to God. Even if his children walk away from the Lord or live in a way that isn't pleasing to the Lord, he will know that it's in God's hands, that he did everything that he could. And I think that's another good perspective to keep in mind, especially when dealing with older children. It's not the parents' responsibility to control their children and dictate everything about them. As they get older, their parents need to promise to love them unconditionally, but then release them to make decisions for themselves, whether they be good or bad. That sounds like a characteristic of uncaring parents, but in reality, everyone has to learn things for themselves. Everyone has to make their own mistakes and everyone has to encounter God on their own, otherwise their faith will never truly be their own.

Everyone has to encounter God on their own, otherwise their faith will never truly be their own.

Finally, I can't even begin to express how much I appreciate this author's take on homosexuality, because I think that even the idea of being gay is something that most straight people can't even fathom. They don't understand why a boy would be attracted to another boy or a girl attracted to another girl, but that's simply because they themselves aren't straight. An oft asked question, but a good and thought-provoking one at the same time is: Did you choose to be straight? I didn't think so. And I understand that many people will attest to the fact that it seems unloving and highly unlikely that God would create someone and make them gay knowing that it goes against what His word says and the general Christian conventions, but I also strongly, firmly believe that God does not make mistakes. In the same vein, I believe that God is sovereign over all things, which by extension would imply that He does indeed make people gay from the start, and I think that the verse that the author quotes and interprets is used properly and the interpretation correct. The Bible states that God knew every one of us even before the foundations of the world were made, which means that He knew that some of us would be born this way, that we would not choose it, and He made us that way anyway. There is nothing wrong with that. After all, everyone struggles with different sins in their lives, whether that is selfishness, pride, greed, lust, or anything else. For gay people, it just so happens that what they will have to struggle with is their sexuality, which is not wrong in and of itself. The Bible never says that it is wrong simply to be attracted to the same sex. It only states what is right and wrong to do sexually, something that it address for people of all orientations. The reason for this is that we, as Christians, are all called to live holy lives and strive for holiness, and that path is going to look a little different for everyone. No one has the exact same path to follow in their pursuit of God and His will in their lives, and for this reason we cannot expect any two people to approach life and its struggles the same way. And this also applies to gay Christians. After all, I don't recall anywhere in the Bible where it says that holiness entails being straight, thus I don't think that God will "cure" all professing Christians of their orientations that differ from the norm. That's because there's nothing to "cure." Being gay is not a disease, not something to be ashamed of, not something that makes you more sinful or dirty than everyone else. It's another aspect of yourself that you must align with the will of God, just like a straight person would have to align all aspects of themselves with the will of God. It's no different. It's just going to look a little different for Christians who also happen to be gay.

So to any parents reading, keep these things in mind, should the occasion arise. Remember that it's not your responsibility to convince your children of any particular way of thinking and that it's not your responsibility to change them. Your only responsibility, and the responsibility of all Christians, is to love unconditionally with the love of Christ and point them toward Him. After that, it's all on God. It's out of our hands, because we don't control other people. Only God can change their hearts and minds if that is His will, and He loves them to the ends of the earth.

So again, never forget that Jesus loves you, more than you could ever imagine. He doesn't need to change your sexuality or your attractions for you to serve Him. He will take you and meet you where you are, and He will walk alongside you on your path to holiness, whatever shape or form that journey may take.

a c c e p t e d

Hmm. I still can't seem to figure out how to get these links to properly embed in my posts...oh well...I'll just continue to post the URLs old-fashioned style and what not. The link below is to a video that I just watched today, one that I think is very powerful.

http://www.faithit.com/christian-woman-present-much-powerful-approach-homosexuality-pray-gay-away/

In this video, Julie Rodgers talks about her own struggle with homosexuality, and I really like the very real, honest way that she approaches a topic that many others would shy away from. One sort of funny thing that occurred to me while I was watching the video was how many times she actually says the word 'gay' and the phrase 'I'm gay.' I think that many of us can probably resonate with just how hard that can be to say out loud, not to mention giving an entire talk on this subject.

I want to try and keep my thoughts on her video brief so that you're able to take in all of her thoughts, which are sort of an alternative to the way that Vicky Beeching handled her coming out as described in the last post that I reblogged. Obviously, I'm not going to go out and say that what either of these women does was more right than the other or that what one of them did was wrong, mostly because who am I to judge? I do want to commend both of them though, for speaking up for what they believe and talking about homosexuality and the struggle with same-sex attraction in such a down-to-earth, authentic way.

In my opinion, one of the most powerful moments of this whole entire video is when she gets to the part about her realizing that she doesn't need to change to be accepted by God, that she doesn't need to be "healed" of her same-sex desires in order to be a Christian. I think that is such an important point and aspect of the meshing of Christianity and sexuality that I cannot stress enough. It pains me every time I hear or read a story about a person being condemned for their sexuality or forced through gay conversion therapy, because I don't think that's what we are supposed to be doing as Christians.

There is nowhere in the Bible that it states that you must be straight in order to be a Christian.

The reason for this is that there is nowhere in the Bible that it states that you must be straight in order to be a Christian or that you must be straight in order to be saved or that you must be straight before God can use you. That is complete nonsense. I whole-heartedly believe that you can be a Christian and you can be gay and that God will not condemn you to hell just for being attracted to people of the same gender. In my opinion, it is only when you act on those desires that you sin. Simply being attracted to someone of the same gender is not sin in my mind (and I'll go into the specifics of what I think about that in a future post, because it is rather complicated). However, that hasn't stopped several different denominations or pastors from denouncing people just because of they way they find themselves attracted to other people.

Simply being attracted to someone of the same gender is not a sin in my mind.

So, watch this video of Julie Rodgers. Think about what she has to say. Think about what she believes. Then think about what you believe.

As I've said before, the two goals I have for this blog are the following: I want to make sure that no one feels like they are alone in this struggle; you are just another anomaly among many. And I want to talk about these issues since they aren't talked about very often in a real, analytical, non-judgmental way, to speak into the void of the seemingly unspeakable.

To that end, I will share what I think about the topic of homosexuality and same-sex attraction as it pertains to Christianity and meshing with faith, but I don't want anyone reading this blog to believe something solely because I said it. I try to backup whatever I say with Scripture, but the truth is that the Bible doesn't say a whole lot about this topic. So I guess that a third goal of writing this blog would be to encourage anyone reading to formulate their own beliefs and have reasons for them. I'm not trying to tell anyone what to think. I'm sharing what I believe in the hopes that it will help people figure out what they believe about this topic. I want people to think about hard things and interact with other people without being judged.

So remember that Jesus loves you always and that nothing can separate you from His love. Everyone is broken and everyone sins, and no sin is greater than any other. So come before Jesus where you are. He loves you.