• Archive of "Uncategorized" Category

    You’ve got gay mail!

    May 6, 2012 // 5 Comments »

    While I can’t respond to every email, Facebook message, etc., that I receive concerning The Gay, there are a few messages I want to comment on because I suspect they represent the broadly held feelings of those on the other side of the issue. I have edited the messages to protect people’s identities because I’m just that kind of guy, and I’ll even use bad grammar in my response for the same reason. Some of you know what a sacrifice that will be for me.

    Matt,

    Thank you for your blog. It has made me more firm in my beliefs than ever. You see, I already agreed that the [Old Testament] law is not applicable to us so that was not a hurdle for me. What gives me confidence is that it is restated in the New Testament by Paul. The theological gymnastics that you have to do to make it out to be anything else is very confirming to me.

    I know that you think I am some ultra conservative. Actually, I am known for being very open-minded. I am not repulsed by the act of homosexuality itself. I don’t think we should banish homosexuals or imprison them or hate them or isolate them or whatever else some people actually believe. I am considered very odd [by some people in my life] for believing that you can naturally have an attraction to the same sex. I get it. Matt, I believe what you are feeling. I believe it as much as I believe that [some people have] a tendency to gorge on food (a sin) or get very, very angry. I validate your feelings. They are real, but it doesn’t make them godly.

    Do you not trust God to provide for you? Is He not big enough to either give you a contentment to remain single or a desire to enter into a Biblical marriage? Is He that small and incapable? I have a friend who has been married for 20+years to the same person despite having been a homosexual before salvation. Regardless of what you want to believe, they are happy. God didn’t make my friend sacrifice happiness on an altar somewhere. Stop believing that you are responsible for your own happiness. Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

    My friend has a problem with assumptions. First, they assume they know what I think about them. “I know that you think I am some ultra conservative.” Well, actually, no, this person does not know I think that because this friend and I haven’t had a conversation of depth in years. My friend also assumes that I must not believe their gay friend who’s heterosexually married is happy. Why would I doubt that? If they say they’re happy, then I assume they’re happy. I, too, have a friend who is married heterosexually despite being primarily homosexually attracted. My friend says he’s happy. Great! That doesn’t lead me to assume that every gay man or woman will have the same experience if they marry a person of the opposite sex. In fact, since moving to Charlotte, I’ve met gay guys who either married or were engaged to women (mostly for religious reasons), and it ended terribly for the reasons you’d expect.

    My friend goes on to assume, as well, that they know why I have concluded The Gayâ„¢ may be ok. Clearly, I don’t trust God to provide for me. I see God as “that small and incapable.” Yes, here the shaming accusation is put in the form of a question only, but it’s obviously rhetorical, because in a follow up email, my friend states it imperatively:

    Matt, I am sad over the fact that you think God is limited in His ability to provide for you.  He is love, and He loves you, Matt.  He is infinitely far greater than we could imagine.

    My former therapist (reparative therapist, no less) taught me a helpful skill whenever I am presented with a shaming accusation. He taught me to ask myself objective questions, to essentially question the shame to see whether it’s true. If it’s not true, the feeling of shame evaporates because it wasn’t based in reality. If it is true, then you move into compassion mode and ask yourself why is the shaming statement true. So let’s do it. Let’s take my friend’s accusation and put it to the test. Here is an example of how a therapy session might go. (My therapist’s name was Tim, so that’s the name I’ll use here.)

    TIM: What is the shame-based self-statement?

    MATT: I have decided that gay is ok because I have given up on God being able to provide for me, to either make me happy as a single man or to provide a wife for me. I see God as small and incapable. I see him as limited in his ability to provide for me. I’m trusting myself, not God.

    TIM: Ok. Objectively, is that true?

    MATT: No!

    TIM: Yeah, how do you know it isn’t true?

    MATT: Well, for starters, I frequently pray that if I’m wrong in my conclusion about homosexuality, God will simply not provide a mate for me. That he’ll satisfy me with being single. And whenever I meet a guy I’m interested in, I pray every time, “God, if he’s not FROM you, he’s not FOR me, so show me whether he’s from you.” That’s not the attitude of a person who sees God as “small” or “limited.” Just the opposite! Last week I was talking with a friend, and I told him how being on this side of the issue takes as much or more faith than it took being on the other side, because now I have options, whereas before I had none. Now I have to trust God to send me not just any ol’ guy, but one who is compatible with my faith, and holding out for a gay man who still likes God or the church and is willing to wait on sex, AND that I find attractive–let’s just say, if I end up married, we’ll know it was God.

    TIM: Yeah, yeah! What else?

    MATT: If I had given up on God providing for me, and I were just out for my own happiness now, I’d be in a relationship right now. It’s not like I haven’t had offers. But I’m still single. I’m as single as I was before I thought God was ok with this. Nothing has changed except my view on the issue! I’m not out dating just anyone who will say yes. I’m not pining away until someone tells me, “I do.” I’m not sleeping with anyone. And believe me, if I wanted sex, I could be having it within minutes in this town. It’s that easy in a city. I know exactly where to go, and who to call, and what app I need on my iPhone. And I told a friend just last week that, while I’d like to be in a relationship, and while I think marriage ultimately would be more fulfilling for me than singleness, I’m ok either way. I’m genuinely happy with my life in Charlotte. I have a good job, good friends, a great home–God has provided for me just fine, and I’m happy.

    The session could go on, but you get the point. By examining the shame, by interrogating it, looking at it in the light of the facts, one sees that it isn’t true, is released from the false guilt, and moves on with life, sad for their friend who somehow thinks they can divine, as though they were God, what is going on in the heart of a guy they haven’t talked to in years.

    Why is it that my friend can’t simply believe that I came to a different conclusion on the issue through a process of honest investigation that was full of integrity, not through some theological gymnastics? Why must I have some ulterior motive? After all, I’ve had friends on the other side of the issue tell me they respect the way I went about arriving at my belief. They know, as much as anyone can know such a thing about another person, that I pursued the truth as best I could, not free from bias, of course, but not letting bias unduly influence me either. Again, why can’t this friend who emailed me believe the same? Maybe it’s because, for them, the issue is so clear, that the only path to a different opinion is one of insincerity.

    So what would my friend say to a straight Christian who has come to believe The Gayâ„¢ is ok? I’m talking about a person who has no dog in the fight. Someone who isn’t gay and doesn’t have a close family member who is gay. I know a couple of pastors here in North Carolina who used to be on the anti-gay side, who grew up in a rural area with all its attendant anti-gay bias, and yet they studied the issue, read lots of books, and came to the belief that gay might just be ok. And these guys used to be hard core anti-gay. One of them said to me, “We used to beat up people like you.” So what changed their minds? Obviously, they don’t stand to gain personally from a pro-gay theology. If anything, they stand to lose, in the form of congregants and tithes. This is North Carolina, after all. Obviously, they can’t be accused of trusting themselves for happiness, either, as my friend accuses me, because what difference does it make to them whether it’s ok to be gay? They’re married to women!

    For the record, I still trust God for my happiness, not perfectly, but certainly not as imperfectly as my friend who emailed me suggests. I haven’t closed any doors. If I remain single, so be it. If God sends me a woman that wows me as no woman ever has, so be it. If God sends me a man who rocks my world, yeehaw! Amen, and amen.

    Another email when I have time …

    Posted in Uncategorized