I got a couple of questions from a friend on Facebook, and I wanted to fully answer them in an online post: partially because a lot of people ask these questions, and partially because they illustrate some of the assumptions we make in approaching these questions. I didn’t mean this to be as long as it is: but I wanted to be complete. So it’s divided in three. The other parts will be posted separately.
> How do you know its ok with God that you are gay and that its
> right for you to be married?
Now, of course, this question has to be answered from the Evangelical Christian perspective from which it originated. The second half of this, for me, is easier to answer. According to a “theology of marriage” that could be developed by almost any Christian, sexual relations are not activities that should be experienced lightly. They have an impact on the parties involved that are physical, emotional and psychological: particularly in our culture. Therefore, I believe that such relations should be experienced in a loving, mutually supportive and growing relationship. I believe this is what God believes is “right” for us as human beings. We should not open ourselves to the vulnerability of sexual experience in any environment that does not meet those conditions. Therefore, no matter who I have chosen to “copulate” with, we should copulate in a relationship that we both believe is mutually supportive and encouraging: and safe. In our culture, we call that kind of relationship a “marriage”. It provides not only emotional and physical support, but legal and social as well. It is a relationship chosen not only by the couple, but by society in general. Not only am I agreeing with my spouse that this relationship will endure, but that agreement is stipulated with the rest of the people I interact with. I have friends, but I don’t “date” any more, and everyone needs to know that.
As far as God being “ok” with being gay, there are three parts to my answer.
First, I did not have any choice in the matter. Believe me, growing up in my time and space and culture, I would have done anything to not be gay. I tried. I was married for ten years (to my ex-wife): and at no time during that marriage did I “fool around”. I knew that I was attracted to men, even though I did not self-identify as LGBTQ and did not consider myself part of the gay community. When my wife left me and filed for divorce, I decided that I had done everything I could to try to “be” straight, and it just wasn’t working for me. So in that sense, there is no question in my mind about God being “ok” with my attractions; I can’t avoid it. Everywhere I go, there are men I am attracted to. If I wanted to not be gay in this sense, I would have to lock myself in a monastery and never see anyone again. In the words of Matthew 5:29, “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” And that would not remove my attractions, it would just eliminate the visual manifestation. They are part of me. If God accepts me, he must accept my attractions to men.
Secondly, in the strictly evangelical offering, I’ve done a lot of biblical study on the subject. I trusted my leadership until my divorce, at which point I determined that there was something wrong with my previous understanding. My ex-wife was one of the most Godly women I knew, and if she wasn’t able to continue our marriage, no-one would be. So I looked at all most damning passages, this time accepting the difficulties that had always nagged at me: and they set me free. I’ve written about some of them; my perspective on Romans 1; and the weaker brother and homosexuality. I’ve read several scholarly books on the subject, most recently “What the Bible Really says about Homosexuality,” by Daniel A. Helminiak, a Catholic priest and theologian who is also gay, and whose perspective parallels my own. I plan to write more on the subject, with the sole caveat that I write as I have time, and what I see as being most potentially beneficial. Since most people approach the Bible with their minds already made up regarding what they want to find, I find few people willing to listen to other perspectives. So other subjects have always seemed more pressing, and more profitable.
Being OK with being gay (1)
This was part 2 of this series.
Being OK with being gay (3)