Tag Archives: Gay

On Orlando And The Gospel

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I don’t normally comment on current events or controversies. I think it’s better to stay quiet and keep things in my heart until the storm blows over, at which time the moment has passed and I end up having not shared my thoughts at all. For today’s shooting in Orlando, I wanted to speak what’s in my heart out loud… or at least on a computer screen.

As a Christian who experiences same-sex attraction, I don’t consider gay folks to be my “community” (the Church fills that role in the most beautiful ways). But the gay community represents everything I most certainly would be had the Holy Spirit not invaded my heart and changed my desires (and I don’t mean my sexual orientation). In very real ways, my gay neighbors and I are alike — not only because of our orientation and some of the struggles we’ve faced as a result, but also because we’re made in God’s image, made to need Him. All of us. 

Maybe that’s why this tragedy hit me harder than others have. There’s that extra piece of myself that I see in them, and in this story. I think (I hope) loving our enemies is that easy. Finding ways we’re the same — including our greatest problem, which is sin, and our only hope, which is Jesus.

Conversations in the coming days and weeks are going to touch on parts of this tragedy — gay rights, terrorism, gun control, hate crimes, and (worst of all) politics — but we can’t lose sight of the most central and hopeful part. Jesus came to earth, he “stepped down into darkness,” as we sang at church this morning, to put things right. We’re not there yet, but it’s coming. He’s already started with his resurrection and the outpouring of his Spirit. He’s making all things new (Revelation 21:5). Amid the Facebook posts, Buzzfeed articles, and TV talking heads, I can’t lose sight of the one thing they’re all likely to forget: the gospel.

That’s why I “came out” four years ago; that’s why I launched a blog; that’s why I talk so much about sexuality and singleness and happiness. To share the truth and beauty and goodness of the gospel. To try and bridge the divide, in some small way, between the Church and the people we often see as “other,” the LGBT community. I don’t want to waste another tragedy not talking about the things that really matter.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:3-7)

Meditation On Being Gay

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Recently, I was at the zoo with my friend. We were standing at an exhibit with peacocks and peahens, among other birds. The peahen was quite pretty, with a pop of color around her neck, like a scarf, which blended into gray. But compared to the peacock — his long, vibrant feathers stretched out behind him like art, his chest puffed out in a princely fashion — the female seemed a bit lackluster. (Insert sad trombone noise here.)

“You know, in nature, males are often the most beautiful,” I told my friend. “Hey! That’s kind of what it’s like to be gay.”

Women are beautiful in their own right, I acknowledge that, but it’s men who stand out to me. My initial attraction to a man isn’t always — in fact, often isn’t — sexual. Instead, it’s an instantaneous admiration of his beauty. “An involuntary reaction to external stimuli,” as a friend once said. To put it simply, male beauty is something I notice. There’s something about the aesthetics, composition, and essence of men that appeals to me; whereas, it’s easier to glance past those qualities in women. I imagine it’s the same way (only reversed) for straight people.

Of course, I’m not attracted to every man, in the same way straight men aren’t attracted to every woman but are attracted to women in general. That’s where the word “attracted” gets a bit complicated. Same-sex “attraction” (there’s that word again) isn’t quite as sexualized as many people imagine; it’s not the same as temptation, desire, or lust, although it can turn into those things, or overlap. (We’ll talk more about this in future posts.) Our language is imperfect and limited, but I think the easiest way to describe being gay is that I’m primarily attracted to men.

With that said, I know plenty of men who are primarily attracted to men but found themselves surprisingly attracted to a woman — and then they fell in love, got married, and had babies. None of these men consider themselves “ex-gay,” as they remain primarily same-sex attracted; that is, they didn’t become attracted to women in general, but to a woman. They found one particular “peahen” that was more beautiful than the other peacocks. Oh gosh, maybe this isn’t the best metaphor…

So that’s one way to describe a gay orientation. These are just quick thoughts after a trip to the zoo, so please don’t read too much into them. And to all the peahens out there, you’re pretty too!

When Did You Realize You Were Gay?

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If you dig through my memory box, you’ll find a piece of paper decorated with hearts and a stick figure named Josh. This was a kindergarten art project where the teacher asked us to draw our best friend. But Josh wasn’t my best friend, he was just the boy who sat across from me in class. I guess you could say I was attracted to him. At five years old, “best friend” was the only phrase I had for that feeling. Of course, as a child, the feeling wasn’t overtly sexual, but it was a sign that my same-sex attraction started early on.

I don’t know when (or even if) I “became” same-sex attracted. What I do know is that I’ve been gay for as long as I can remember — before I met Josh, before schoolboy crushes became sexual fantasies, and before I’d ever clicked on porn. The reason I say this is that many Christians tie same-sex attraction to sexual immorality or addiction, as if you can’t experience SSA without also being a full-blown sexual deviant. Some people think being gay means you’re somehow more prone to sexual sin than your heterosexual counterparts are. We’ll talk more about the difference between SSA and active sin in future posts, but suffice it to say that I was gay long before I wrestled with (much less knew about) the sexual temptations I face today.

I’m not saying I was born gay — although that’s not outside the realm of possibility or even sound theology — but it’s something that reaches so far back it might as well be true. If not scientifically, then experientially. Being gay didn’t so much “begin” for me as much as it became evident. I realized from a young age that I was different from most other boys. I played with My Little Pony; they played with G.I. Joe. I preferred playing house to playing sports. On the playground, you’d find me with the girls (maybe because they had better toys). Later, those differences manifested in other ways, namely how we interacted with the opposite sex. It wasn’t until about middle school, when hormones changed how my attractions looked and felt, that I attached the term “gay” to my experience.

But this isn’t a universal narrative. Not all boys who played with “girl toys” are gay, and some of the gay men I know were (and still are) very masculine. This is just my story. Other people have different experiences, including when they realized they were gay. Among the people I know, it’s split about 50/50 between those whose SSA reaches so far back it seems as though they were born gay, and those who “realized” they were gay (or came to terms with it) much later, either during puberty or in their teens. Of course, there are also people who trace their SSA to sexual or emotional abuse, and their sexuality doesn’t fit neatly into any one narrative either.

Ultimately, the timeline isn’t terribly important to me. What matters is what I do with the experience of same-sex attraction. As a Christian, part of realizing you’re gay is asking how you will live in light of this reality, especially as it relates to God’s will for marriage and sexuality. How do I love, worship, and become more like Jesus in the midst of ongoing SSA?