What is the Goal of the Post-Gay Journey?
Jay has some excellent pointers, and heterosexuality isn’t one of them!!!
Oh sure, accoding to them we’re not sinning by being content celibates, but we’re not whole either. We haven’t completed our "journey towards heterosexuality."
I got a little mad when I first read that, but then it saddened me. It saddened me to know that there are people who would sell out Christ for something as fleeting as human sexuality. Sure, heterosexuality is a beautiful and God-given gift, but it won’t last forever. There will be no marriage in Heaven, and thus, no sex. We’ll be in such perfect union with God there will be no need for any other kind of union. So I feel saddened for people who think we are on a "journey towards heterosexuality" instead of a journey towards Christ. I feel even more saddened by those in these ministries who aren’t experiencing change, and thus are made to feel like they’ve only gone "a little way down that road." Sure, they’re denying themselves and taking up their crosses and following Christ, often leaving behind years of a lifestyle that they no longer think is right yet still having to deal with the emotions it left behind, but of course they aren’t whole. They’ve only gone "a little way down that road." Give me a break.
Our hope is not in anything on this Earth. Nothing. Not our family, not our friends, not a spouse, not children, not jobs, money, cars, trips, pets, not anything. Our only hope is Christ crucified. Crucified for our sins, receiving wrath so we don’t have to. Our hope is the cross. So I have to give an "Amen!" to Ms. Gritter when she says, "How can you say we’re not offering hope – when we’re offering people Jesus?" That’s right. How can you?
And Jay then touches on a particular subject that Mike in Liverpool (you know who you are) should read carefully:
Maybe some day I will meet a woman who will rock my world, both spiritually and physically. But she won’t be some trophy wife to show how much I’ve "changed." I know I’ve changed. Sure, you might not ever be able to see some flashy example of it. What can I say? Obedience and belief aren’t that impressive-looking. Nor are they what people really want when they try out Christianity. But if they really want Christianity, it’s what they’ll get, because that’s what real change is. I was once dead but now am alive, because of my faith in Christ. I once wouldn’t have even considered all this crazy "dying to self" stuff, but now, even though it’s difficult and even somewhat frightening, I do it with joy. If that isn’t "change," I don’t know what is. If that isn’t hope, then I don’t know what is. And I’m willing to offer that hope to people, and I think Ms. Gritter is as well.
What’s Jay’s conclusion?
It’s a journey of sanctification, not towards heterosexuality. True, I’m only a little way down that road, but the good part about that is that every other living believer is as well, and I can take that journey with them without feeling like less of a Christian, and we can look towards our only hope together.
Amen brother, Amen.
Given that famous gays Stephen Fry and Dan Savage (well, he’s vaguely famous in the US) both had sex with women but noted that their *heart* wasn’t in it, I don’t think that a self-declared recovering homosexual finding a wife is all that. Certainly sexuality has a deep emotional component, and someone who pines for same-sex romantic attachment but satisfies themselves with the ability to get erections and have sexÂ a woman is not, to my mind, living up to the holy state of matrimony.
I suggest you read this comment on Jay’s blog, and DM’s entire blog for another perspective on how a same-sex attracted person can give themselves entirely to a ‘holy state of matrimony’.
I think this illustrates one (perhaps the main) reason for a moratorium such as you describe. Speaking as an outsider to the Anglican Communion, I think that were there schism, ’tis better there were a clear and informed schism.
It should not be a situation where have one side saying ‘there is no such thing as homosexuality,’ and the other saying that ‘only they love their LGBT brothers and sisters’. Or one side saying ‘people are born gay so gay sex is okay’ and the other saying ‘if homosexuals pray enough, they’ll become heterosexual.’ Or some such theologically incomplete and incorrect (from any angle) statements.
Instead, the debate should rise to the level of Jay’s post, or indeed your entire blog. Emotions and misunderstandings should be dealt with, then put aside, so that the real positions can be articulated properly, then people can decide.
In my opinion, ultimately, the debate is definitely more than about homosexuality. Even much more than about sexuality. It’s about the place of Scripture and Tradition in Christianity. But the discussion is yet to reach this stage.
A moratorium would help, even though it might not be enough. At least it will push the AC down the road a bit.
I just read this article and I have to admit I agree that Jay is on to something. Same Sex Attraction is a lot MORE than just sex. Heck there have been WEEKS when my partner and I have not had sex. However, it does not diminish our love for each other. Being Gay is not always about the sex stuff. In fact, my guess is that when he and I reach a certain age we might not even want to have sex! Hopefully thats far down the road. I guess I say all of this to point out that gay sex is NOT the focus of being gay. Yes, its a part of who we are as sexual beings but its certainly not all of it. The same could be said of heterosexual couples.
So if I read YOUR version of scripture, I can be in a relationship with a man as long as weÂ don’t have sex?!? Correct? The sin comes in when people act upon their sexual desires correct? Therefore, by this train of thought, then I can be romantically in love and have a relationship with a man as long as we dont “consumate” our relationship?
This little piece has certainly made the rounds, hasn’t it?Â This is the fourth blog I’ve seen that’s linked back to it or composed a post about it.Â I’m actually very humbled.Â I can’t believe a rant I wrote in fifteen minutes is getting attention.Â It’s not anything new for me.Â I’ve had these convictions since the beginning.Â Guess I should have written them down sooner.
It’s hard defending my views sometimes.Â I agree with Saul that this issue really rests onÂ one’s view of God and Scripture.Â Many people who have read and responded to this post can’t understand how a loving God would askÂ me (or any gay person)Â to deny something that feels “natural” or “good.”Â If we simply keep theÂ argument onÂ homosexuality, they have a point, andÂ we do no good.Â However, if we go back to the basics and help people understand that our very natural selves are totally depraved (a very unpopular argument, to be sure), we have legs to stand on.Â That’s where I think many ex-gay ministries have failed, because they keep the arguments about sexuality when really, it’s about Scripture and a theology of obedience.
Thanks Peter, and God bless you and yours.
Peter and others,
I would agree that at some level, that the current “disagreement” that is occuring is more than just sexuality.Â To be true, its still (amazingly) enough about the ordination and consecration of women as well as a whole host of other issues. HOWEVER, many of us in the GLBT Christian Community find it fascinating that until Bp. Robinson was consecrated, all of the other issues relating to “authority” could somehow be tolerated. However, when that mitre was placed on Bp. Robinson’s head–all of a sudden it becomes a battle to the death. I know many, like me feel that many orthodox christians want to claim that this is not REALLY about homosexuality but more about “Authority and Obedience” is just a way for them not to sound like homophobes. Well, quite honestly that is exactly what it sounds like.
Get ready for schism because its coming.
You make some very good points. Take my wife and myself. We’ve only done the wild thing a few times since Reuben was born three months ago!!!! Only now is he starting to get into a routine where he goes to bed between 7 and 8 and sleeps till midnight, leaving time for Mama and Papa to cook a proper meal and sit down together. I’m too exhausted once I’ve cooked and eaten to think about anything else!! Do we love each other less because of the lack of sex? Not in the slightest!!!
I think I’m pretty clear that gay sex is not what God has intended for us. The issue you raise about celibate relationships is one that I find tricky. I’m more and more convinced that human beings are designed to either be single or married (man and woman), and that both of these ways of life bring glory to God. The problem I guess I would therefore have with a celibate gay union is that the very committing of yourself to someone of the same sex means that you are placing yourself in a position where you cannot either be married (and therefore signify Christ and the Church) or single (and therefore free to do the Lord’s work). Therefore It’s not that it’s bad to commit to friendship, it’s that in doing so you actually limit the way that God *has* designed you to be.
Does that make sense?
Total depravity, Jay?
That won’t fly at all in this “I’m okay, you’re okay,” world of ours. Nobody wants to be told that they aren’t perfect in whatever state they are; and it’s been particularly bad in recent times.
It’s true that for many, the line has been drawn at homosexuality, while many other issues have been ignored. It is unfortunate that other issues were not taken as seriously by many, and understandably, this angers some. But obviously, one has to move beyond that if one is to engage in a real discussion!
Objectively, this is about Scripture and Tradition. Whether people on one side or the other are hypocritical, ignorant, or whatever, is not the issue. After all, we are all weak. We are all sinners. Talking about each others’ sins gets us nowhere.
On celibate gay unions… I invite you all to read David Morrison’s archives, where he talks about living in a chaste relationship with his friend. Words are important, and note the word chaste, not celibate, which indicates a deep friendship based on philia and agape.
Peter et al,
Thanks for all your feedback. I do appreciate the sincere effort to answer my questions. I guess I could respond with all my reasons for why I strongly disagree but then again there is really no reason to reshash this stuff. I think we know all know how folks feel on both sides of the issues we face. I will continue to read this blog and occasionally respond in hopes of keeping a line of communication open. Peace, Jack