Churning (pt.3)

Its been a little while, so in effort to  remind you where we left off; I was just starting to have doubts about my view of homosexuality, and I was beginning a relationship with a man named Dane. The love he showed me had begun to soften my views.

I’d like to say everything was peachy keen during my time with Dane.  That everything came together and worked out great. It didn’t.

My parents sensed something, so after they inquired I told them what had been going on. They said I needed to cut Dane off immediately, and they were willing to spend any amount of money to send me to a camp or a rehab that could convert or suppress my attractions. I wasn’t ready for that, and being that they were leaving for the next 3 months, they didn’t press the issue.

But I did take what my parents said very seriously. The whole experience unsettled me and I had to confront the tension that had been racking inside me since I had been with Dane. During this time I was also in the midst of financial trouble and the threat of having to quit school because of it.

One evening I had become distraught over the mental  and emotional battle that was raging inside. I sat on the edge of my bed and cried out to God, for him to give me peace about something, anything.

Once again I felt something speak to me, it said, “it’s ok to be gay”.  As I heard it I felt calm flow over me. At the same time though, I was instantly skeptical, tossing it off as simply my own desires, but I did jot down the experience in my journal just in case.

Around this time one of my friends sent me a link to an interview with a guy who called himself a gay Christian. After reading it, I slowly started to consider the idea of being gay *and*  Christian, which up to that point had not even crossed my mind; obviously anyone claiming to be gay Christian was just bending the bible to their whims. But I decided to look into it because it seemed stupid to outright reject an idea without at least hearing its proponents, and I had certainly heard plenty of its detractors.

Also around this time my relationship with Dane came to an end, in part because he was tired of me shunning him off like a shameful burden. This motivated me to really search out my beliefs on homosexuality  so that I could treat Dane respectfully instead of  with wavering hesitation.

I started to read a number of books; in one a married gay Christian man changed his beliefs on gay relationships, and yet remained faithful to his wife and marriage vows. Another looked at scripture and brought up questions and alternative interpretations to the six verses often used to show the “depravity of homosexuality”.

I was consistently praying and seeking God about the whole matter, and it felt to me that the holy spirit was consistently confirming the direction I was headed. When my parents arrived home from their trip, I let them know that I had decided not to turn from homosexuality, but rather I explained how I felt God embraced healthy homosexuality.

I don’t very much blame my parents or siblings for what happened next; they were as understanding as they could be. Rather, I blame the hostile and fearful Christian culture we had all been a part of.

My parents allowed me to live with them for a little more than 6 months before asking me to leave the house. During those 6 months my younger brothers became cold and distant because they were upset with me; I had betrayed everything we had been taught.  There were also numerous debates and arguments with my parents (with whom I had always had a good relationship) but what it came down to was that my family couldn’t possibly reconcile my experiences with how they viewed the bible.(I did have one supportive family member, one of my older sisters who has always had a somewhat more liberal bent.)

My parents once mentioned how fellow Christian friends of theirs were amazed that my parents could tolerate having me in the house. Whoever these folks were, I (or my possible actions) was obviously so disgusting to them that they were shocked my parents could stand me (!). One (now former) good friend of mine completely cut me off from his life saying that, “I am Biblically obligated to discontinue fellowship with you until you choose to recant [the homosexual] lifestyle”. Others have become distant and no longer talk to me.

Once again, I am not upset at these people personally, but I am disheartened by the cultural thinking that is behind it. You know, that disgust and vehemence towards gay people that many of us grew up around. I’ve been able to experience much of the fruit of that attitude, and it’s not good.

With time, things have become much better between my brothers and I, and  with my parents. We still disagree, but the issue is not central in our relationship.

So even if you really believe that homosexuality is wrong, what are ways we can help Christian culture walk away from its often hostile attitude towards gays? While you’re thinking about that, I’ll be pondering it as well.  Lend me your comments; I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Part 4

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