• More gay stuff (And why I doubt)

    April 8, 2012

    After my last post, I intended to write no more on the matter of gay relationships as they pertain to Christian faith. I felt it was a good conclusion, and I didn’t want the Gay Posts to become so numerous that no one could come along later and read all of them. I continue to receive messages, however, some of which ask questions I’d like to address, so once more at the risk of my sanity, I will take up the issue. I have created a new category, “More Gay Stuff,” so that the “The Gay Posts” can stand on their own. People who wish to read further, can do so in the new category. Incidentally, I had considered calling the new category, “The Post ‘Gay Posts’ Posts,” but I was afraid someone would mistake the bloggings therein for ex-gay articles. You will notice I have reinstated the comments feature. Be good, or Daddy will take away your privileges. Please post your comments here, not on my Facebook page.

    One of the most frequent suggestions I get in messages people send me is the notion that because I have doubts about my own position on the issue at hand, somehow that indicates a flaw in my thinking. In other words, if I were right, my mind wouldn’t trouble me with uncertainty. Some have gone as far as to say that my doubts are really the work of the Holy Spirit, dogging me until I repent of my heretical position.

    Folks, you need to know I doubt everything. It’s the result of an unrelentingly analytical nature. I question everything. Twice. Three times. And more. I’m highly suspicious of human nature and think we often settle for convenient “truths” that aren’t really true at all because it suits us to do so. With a mindset like that, I’m bound to doubt. If I held the other position on the gay issue, I’d have just as many doubts. More, probably. And as for the idea that my doubts are the nagging of the Holy Spirit: during the four years I wrote about in Losing God, was the Holy Spirit the source of my doubts then, as well? When I doubted God’s love, his goodness, his mercy, his worthiness to sit as judge–were these also the promptings of the Holy Spirit? To hear some of my friends talk, one would think that whenever I doubt what they believe, the devil is afoot, and whenever I doubt what they disbelieve, the Holy Spirit is at work. That’s very convenient, but I doubt (intended) that it’s true.

    I doubt because the stakes are high.

    I doubt because I have imperfect knowledge.

    I doubt because I cannot ask Paul some important questions.

    I doubt because I THINK.

    I doubt, and yet I must decide. In the absence of certainty, I still have to make a choice. Silence is not an option. Non-heterosexual people in our churches want to know, what does Jesus think of me? What does he want me to do with my life, with my sexuality? You have to tell them something. What are you going to tell them? I have to tell them something, even in the presence of uncertainty–normal, understandable, not-the-result-of-God-or-Satan uncertainty.

    Given how much we don’t know, can’t know for sure–what arensenokoitai means, what and whom Paul specifically was addressing in Romans 1, how one distinguishes with precision cultural commands from those that are eternal–if you don’t have at least a touch of uncertainty yourself, something is wrong. If you can tell me you are absolutely, 100-percent confident in your position on this matter, then someone has gotten inside your head, hijacked your brain, and forbid you use of it, and you need to figure out who that person is so you can get your integrity back. You’ve heard the slogan, “What’s in your wallet?” Well, I would ask, “Who’s in your head?” We all have voices, influences, biases bouncing around in our heads, and some of us have ceded our ability to think to those voices, be they of pastors, or politicians, or family members, or whoever. Please don’t say you only listen to the Bible. Nobody but you and maybe your mom buys that. The very questions we’re asking are inspired by the Bible. Many of us are listening to the Bible and yet coming to different conclusions. We need to take a harder look at why that is. The process of doing so is inherently one of uncertainty. The very beginning of that process is, “What if?” What if I’m wrong? If you can’t ask yourself that, then, again, your brain is in someone else’s hands.

    Posted in: More Gay Stuff

Recent Comments

  • Kevin said...

    1

    Love the post and I am exactly the same in that I doubt, I question, I think. And I have been deconstructing all the things I was taught in church and am finding almost all of it, all of what the modern church teaches today, is man made or taken out of context from scripture.
    The deeper questions I see on this matter is, what is sin, what is required of us besides faith? Faith in what? If we are saved, saved from what? What did all these things mean to the original audience?

    04/8/12 4:06 PM | Comment Link

  • Becca said...

    2

    Okay so I LOVE this post. You know why? Because I have one of those darn analytical brains! Sometimes I still wish I was one of those people that don’t have doubts about anything, that never question anything, but I’m beginning to value the analytical nature of my brain, in part by knowing there is at least someone with a brain like mine.

    I’m also a perfect example of someone who is not a homosexual, but has asked the very same questions about homosexuality/Christianity that you have asked.
    So there it is folks! My brain processes things in some ways similar to Matt’s brain, and I’ve asked the very same questions he has, doubted many things as he has, and I’m a heterosexual.

    04/8/12 5:18 PM | Comment Link

  • Mathis said...

    3

    I recall that Jesus in Mark 9, in response to a father’s plea to “help his unbelief” rebuked an evil spirit. I think God loves our belief and loves our questions, our uncertainties, or, in your case, your analytic brain. It amazes me that there are those who feel confident enough to judge the spirit’s movement in you. Keep persevering.

    04/8/12 7:05 PM | Comment Link

  • Micah Chambers said...

    4

    The trouble is much the same as rudimentary physics problems. If you are willing to start theology with “In a Vacuum” things work out much easier, but at some point you have to start building engines and dealing with non-laminar flows. It is easy to condemn anonymous people, but what happens when a friend or a family member experiences a seemingly natural desire?

    The more I am confronted with essentially weighting statements that “everything is permissible for, but not everything is beneficial” vs. “Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” the more I cling to a simple faith that follows the two greatest commandments (Luke 10:27). Of course I have the luxury of this being an external issue that I can disengage at my leisure. I don’t envy you Matt; but I respect you. Your public struggle is to the Churches benefit but obviously not to yours.

    04/8/12 9:29 PM | Comment Link

  • Dave said...

    5

    Thanks for pouring your heart out to include us all in this journey, we are theological zombies in need of your brains. I’ve read every word of the blog up to this point and now my action point is clear:

    “I doubt, and yet I must decide. In the absence of certainty, I still have to make a choice. Silence is not an option.”

    You’ve prompted me to make a pro-con list based on the Pascal’s Wager you presented in the previous post, meditate on it, seek God’s wisdom, decide, and live out the decision in love. As Geddy Lee would say, “If I choose not to decide, I still have made a choice.”

    04/9/12 1:02 PM | Comment Link

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