This Chrisitian Song Might Be the Best Argument for Gay Marriage

Broken Together

So there’s this song by the Christian band Casting Crowns, it’s a about a marriage and the couple in it going through struggles, finding that marriage isn’t a “Fairytale dream”. Below is the song and the lyrics; I bolded the part that really stood out to me.

What do you think about when you look at me
I know were not the fairytale you dreamed we’d be
You wore the veil, you walked the aisle, you took my hand
And we dove into a mystery

How I wish we could go back to simpler times
Before all our scars and all our secrets were in the light
Now on this hallowed ground, we’ve drawn the battle lines
Will we make it through the night

Its going to take much more than promises this time
Only God can change our minds

Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together

If you can bring your shattered dreams and Ill bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we’ll last forever is broken together

Never Meant To Be Complete

One of the main dissenting opinions Christians have of gay marriage centers around the idea that a man and woman are the ideal partners God put together. Anything else is a false image of a true marriage where a man and woman find their wholeness in God and each other.

While this sounds appealing, right here in this song is revealed a truer nature of marriage; two broken people coming together and loving each other in their brokenness:

“Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together”

While here on earth, none of us will ever be perfect, so maybe we aren’t “meant to be complete” as the classic narrative seems to tell us. We are coming together and choosing to love one another, and through that relationship we find joy and strength; a reflection of how God embraces us in His love even though we are complicated and broken.

A common misconception many Christians have of gay people is that a homosexual couple can’t really love like a heterosexual couple can love; gay love is twisted and broken and therefore wrong (or really just lust).

Got it

Yet here in this song we are reminded that nobody is perfect, no (human) love is perfect, “The only way we’ll last forever is broken together”. So if no marriage can be perfect, why do we have all this argument about what an ideal marriage is? If someone thinks their straight marriage is fundamentally better than a gay one, are they really focusing on the right things? Can they measure love?

I am not married, so I can’t fully speak to all the intricacy of marriage, but I do know that I want a marriage, I want to find a partner to build a life with, to be dedicated to, and to bring good things into this world.

Marriage is not perfect sacredness, it is a broken sacredness that every couple lives out daily.

Can gay people like me come together in their brokenness? Can they choose to love like the couple in this song? I think that they can love, and they can be beautifully “broken together”, working through the difficult times of choosing to love even when everything feels off. Just like what happens in any other marriage.

Marriage is not perfect sacredness, it is a broken sacredness that every couple lives out daily.

Lust or Love?

Oliver Sacks, well known neurologist and professor, is a gay man. Over the years after a number of heartbreaks, he gave up on finding a partner. He was content just doing what he loved and that was enough. In his new book he explains that at 75 he met a man named Bill and they developed a friendship that grew into more, while Sacks was in the hospital from some injuries, Bill came to visit him.

Oliver Sacks Photograph: Nicholas Naylor-Leland
Oliver Sacks Photograph: Nicholas Naylor-Leland
From Sack’s book:

“He came to see me and (in the serious, careful way he has) said, “I have conceived a deep love for you.” I realized, when he said this, what I had not realized, or had concealed from myself before — that I had conceived a deep love for him too — and my eyes filled with tears. He kissed me, and then he was gone.”

“There was an intense emotionality at this time: music I loved, or the long golden sunlight of late afternoon, would set me weeping. I was not sure what I was weeping for, but I would feel an intense sense of love, death, and transience, inseparably mixed.”

Does that sound like banal lust? Like Sacks is just giving in to his desires and hurting himself?

It certainly doesn’t to me, and those who don’t believe gay love is equal to straight love have to wrestle countless stories like this.

While marriage can be hard it is also wonderful and rewarding. Marriage is not life completion for perfect people. Marriage is for the broken and redeemed, the hurting and the healed, “Broken Together” brings this out, and that’s why this beautiful song is one of the best arguments for gay marriage.

*Folks sometimes bring up the idea that marriage is for procreation and raising kids. LGB people can have kids too. Gay folk can have kids through adoption, surrogates, or previous marriages. Check out the two dads who have adopted and currently raise 12 children.

*If you have a story to share about a gay, straight, or even mixed marriage, please share with a comment!

Expel the Wicked from Among You

So with all this turmoil with World Vision and their code of conduct allowing and then not allowing LGBT, it brought up something that, to me, the church has really ignored; gluttony. I am ashamed that World Vision has no provision in their hiring practices to prevent a glutton from serving in their organization. World vision needs to have a code that doesn’t allow people who are overweight to work for them. The bible clearly condemns gluttony, never once do you ever read an affirmation of stuffing your body and overflowing with excess. The bible does not mince words;

“Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” Phil. 3:19

Ehud slaying the fat king Eglon.
Ehud slaying the fat king Eglon.

In fact the bible  talks about how your body is a temple  and that taking good care of it is important (1 Cor. 3:16-17). If World Vision allows overweight people to work for them, they are basically affirming a harmful culture of excess, and in an organization whose purpose is in part to feed the hungry! Not only that, but seeing overweight people in the workplace will only make it seem more acceptable for others to be the same, subtly changing the culture to one that finds something the bible is clearly against, as acceptable!

“Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.” Prov. 23:20-21.

Me, obviously fit, healthy,  and non gluttonous.
Me, obviously fit, healthy, and non-gluttonous.

I have never struggled with gluttony, and we all have our own struggles. However to blatantly allow such an obvious acceptance of sin in a Christian organization is completely disgusting. Until World Vision changes its conduct and does not allow people living a gluttonous sinful lifestyle to work for them, I can’t in good conscience support them in any way. “’Expel the wicked from among you.’” 1Cor. 5:13

And if you are a Christian who struggles with gluttony, please get help. There are many loving organizations to help you become a healthy, whole individual again.

 

*If this post made you feel gross and upset, that’s a good sign! This is a satire, no one should ever be attacked or shamed in any way, especially in the way this post does. However this is the exact same rhetoric that the church uses about LGBT people. Be careful the words you say and where your beliefs lead.

So You Want to Homeschool…

Thinking about homeschooling? As someone who went through elementary, middle, and high school, as a homeschooler, here are some of my observations and advice.

Homeschooling can be great for younger kids, if you are up for engaging your kids most of the day, everyday, you can have many adventures and learning experiences.  Field trips, cooking, reading aloud, going to the park, random vacations can all be yours! Of course, you’ll also need to make sure your kids are keeping up with their studies, and if any of them start falling behind, it’s up to you to find a way to pick them back up, whether that be tutoring or new teaching methods.

When I homeschooled, there was a good bit of book learning; I’d spend about two hours a day reading my textbooks and doing exercises in them. Because I was very self-motivated this worked out great for my mom who merely had to check on me now-and-then. My younger brother was a bit of a different story, he had more  trouble and needed regular guidance, eventually, my mom felt private school was the best thing for him. So, keep in mind each kid will be different and may have completely different academic needs.

Stay social. Growing up, my mom had me in all sorts of supplementary programs for homeschoolers; 3 days a week,  in the morning for 2 hours from 1st to 8th grade I attended science classes at the local charter school. I also went to an electives focused school on Fridays from 9 till 3 (made some of my best friends here). On top of that Thursdays were PE class through PE+Plus, a program for homeschoolers. Nearly everyday I had something that was getting me out of the house and interacting with kids my age. I think this was very valuable and I am so glad my mom had me in these.

Math! I don’t know what it is, but most homeschoolers I knew and know have a math deficit (especially compared to their writing skills which are often top-notch). Don’t neglect the math, especially  8th  and beyond where algebra and the like become important. I regret not taking to time to really learn my math well, would have been helpful with tests like the SAT, and also, as far as the job market goes, math/science focused majors often earn a lot more than the humanities.

So there you have (some of) it. Let me know if you have questions or are interested in hearing more. 🙂

Loving a gay person 101 (pt.5)

So my last posts were a bit dark, depressing maybe, and it’s probably because that time was dark for me. But dawn started to creep through the horizon.

One of my best friends became a stalwart supporter for me. My sister was also wonderful because she understood the family so well. These two accepted me where I was and were able to ease the heavy stress.

Through a church I got connected to a mentor and counselor to help me through my coming-out and beyond.

LGBT folks from DU helped set me up with housing for school when my parents wanted me out of the house.

And even before I came out to my family, I came out to my house church ( a home group that met every week). I knew that some of the folks in my house church were probably not sure how they felt about it, others were supportive. But together they all gathered around me and accepted me for who I was. There was no condemnation; they listened to my story, embraced me, and rejoiced in my freedom.

The actions of my house church were integral to my continuing with the Church as a whole; if I had experienced a backlash, I’m sure I would have left the church and not have come back. In fact I may not have even come out to my parents.

A few posts ago I asked, “what are ways you can help Christian culture walk away from its often hostile attitude towards gays?”  Others have asked me “If I don’t believe its ok, what can I do to show love?” I think some of the stuff I mentioned above is a start. I also wanted to share this coming-out story with you that I found here:

Mrs. H. was a woman in her seventies and a member of my church. She had taught me Sunday School, sung in our choir, directed countless Christmas pageants, visited hospitals and nursing homes as a pastoral visitor, served in outreach and led Bible Study. I looked up to her as the epitome of everything holy and Christ-like. When I came out as a seminary student, and word got back to my church community, the only person whose response I worried about was Mrs. H. For me, Mrs. H. “was” the church. Would she be horrified? Would she be disappointed?

I was so fearful of her rejection that when I went to church with my family on Christmas Eve, I avoided her completely. When she walked past my pew in the choir procession, I did not look up and carefully avoided eye contact with the choir throughout the service. At the end of the service, as the choir walked back down the aisle past my pew, she handed me her bulletin, on which she’s scribbled a note. As the congregation sang “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, I unfolded the note and read: “Dearest Danny, I have a great deal to learn about gay people and how this all fits with my faith. I hope you’ll be able to help me with that. But I do know a few things: God is love. God loves you. And perfect love casts out fear. So never be afraid to love or be afraid that I’ll stop loving you. Merry Christmas to you, your family and if there’s anyone special….him too.”

Had it not been for that little hastily scribbled note, I may not have remained in the church, much less become an ordained minister – but Love made a place for me – as Love always does.

That is love, that is beauty, that is what I think the church should strive for. And to those of you who have reacted like Mrs. H. Thank you!

How have you seen people react to yourself or others coming out?

Prophecies (pt. 4)

This next story is one you can take or leave.  At the very least I find it interesting, other times I find it quite meaningful. It requires a bit of background:

Back when I was 18 I was a student leader in my youth group, there was a prophetic seminar going on at the church, so one evening each of us student leaders had the opportunity to be “prophesied” over for 10-15 minutes.

I remember sitting down in the room with 2 women and a man. They had a tape recorder and after praying for a bit they began to speak the things that God was apparently showing them. They then gave me the recorded tape of what they had prayed, and I listened to it and wrote it down in my journal. Periodically I would go back and read the prophecy or listen to the tape. The words vaguely related to my life but never really clicked. Sometimes I would try to make them fit, “Is this what that prophecy meant by balcony?”, but they never did.

Fast forward five years, remember those arguments with my parents I told you about? There were a number of them I got into after I came out and told my parents I thought I could be gay and Christian. Like many Christians they said it was dangerous, that I would eventually walk away from God. That I was headed for a really terrible life and possibly even hell. They wanted me to reign in my attractions and just get with it!

Because I had always held my parent’s opinion in high esteem, there were a number of times after those arguments where I would fall apart and weep in my bed. I would wonder why God was making me go through this and doubt if I was heading in the right direction.

One of those times I asked God to confirm what he had showed me about my homosexuality. Was it really ok? Was I really headed for goodness? Or was I headed for hell?

Later that day I found myself looking through my old journals, hoping they could point me in a direction, or comfort me with nostalgia. I stumbled across the (at that time) five-year old prophecy. I read it, and about halfway through chills started running up my spine;

“A warning for the future, not for anything you have done wrong. I see people trying to put burdens, yokes, on you, trying to conform you to a certain image. They will be people who profess Jesus. They will do these things because they think it’s right, but there is a religious spirit about it that will cramp who you are…(Galatians 5:1)  The enemy wants to take your freedom,  it could be pharisaical. Could look like something God is doing. Ask for discernment. Lies can take your joy.”

In case you are wondering Galatians 5:1 says, “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.”

After reading that, I very rarely doubted my direction.

Maybe it’s just coincidence, I mean, the above passage could apply to many people in a number of circumstances. But at that place in my life, it seemed to be just what I had asked for and needed to hear. It also pertained to one of the most important steps in my life, and if there was a God, and if he was going to give me a prophecy, giving me one confirming one of the most challenging decisions I’ve ever made seems like a smart move.

Of course, it could also just be happenstance, albeit an interesting one.

I’m not sure what my parents would think of this, I never told them because I’m pretty sure they would cast it aside since it doesn’t conform to the way they see God and the scripture. It would just be false to them; deception. For those of my readers who also disagree with my view, maybe this doesn’t mean anything to you either. Or maybe you don’t really believe in God or the usual conception of him. Whatever the case, cool! I hope you got something out of it, or that your This-American-Life side of you was entertained. : D Let me know what you think.

Part 5

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

You shall know them by their fruit (pt. 2)

Remember when I said I didn’t ever want to hurt another kid like I hurt Travis? Well, I failed; I ended up hating myself, calling myself the stupid terrible person. I hated my attractions,  my un-masculine features, but most of all where I was headed. Living in the place where I was constantly fighting and condemning my sexual and emotional desires was utter darkness. Even now when I think back on those times I become anxious and my eyes tear up. I don’t know if it was because I had terrible self-discipline, or because it was inevitable, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from acting on my attractions for forever.

I realize now much of the fuel for my self hatred was the teachings I had learned from church.

Just like my friends and I thought we were being clever and full of justice destroying Travis, the church has so long felt it has been championing love and righteousness by its crusade against homosexuality. But, the teachings about homosexuality espoused by most conservative Christians had me hating myself and wanting to die. That doesn’t seem like love to me.

I am glad to see many straight Christians recognizing this disparity and changing the way they approach gay people, it can very refreshing. Often it’s also very confusing, many seem to say, “Oh we love you, we want you to be part of us,” then cringing as the queer folk walk up, “Uh, just please dump your spouse and become celibate, otherwise you can’t preach teach or lead, and also we are afraid you might go to hell if you don’t,” awkward smile, “but we love you!”

So, knowing that the radical opposition approach has only caused devastation, Christians are trying to find another route, the problem is it’s very close to the same message of rejection as before, it’s simply slathered in butter-Jesus frosting.  Many Christians don’t want the gay man or woman as a part of their congregation, they want a neutered version they can understand, one that doesn’t make them question the way things have been, or are done.

One major difficulty for many Christians is that the traditional interpretation of scripture has long shown homosexuality to be wrong. Jesus says we can know people and teachings by their fruit, what has been the fruit of the traditional teachings of homosexuality? What is the fruit of other interpretations?

After my decision not to commit suicide, I had no fight left to resist my attractions, and I began to see and taste the fruit from both sides.

Because I felt that homosexuality was wrong, I pursued contact with other gay men secretly. I figured I would get a taste, see how bad it was for me, and then go back to resistance. A lot of gay men enter the gay world this way, and it encourages a surreptitious culture of hooking-up. If and when these men do decide to come out of the closet, they do so having learned habits of sexual pursuit rather than a relational pursuit.

That was what I unfortunately dove into, but even though I went in search of sexual gratification, something else began to work in my life.

After a few months of cautiously exploring the gay hook-up world, I met an older man, Dane, and we clicked. We began a tumultuous relationship, tumultuous because every day I spent with him I would feel guilty and shameful afterwards. But I kept going back, and I don’t think it was simply because I was lust filled and rebellious (or whatever else gay men and women have been called).

Looking back, it was because Dane showed me love; it didn’t matter what I did he was always ready to listen, comfort, and hold me. He would tell me I was beautiful and I would cry because it began to pierce the place in me where I felt  like the ugliest man known to God. Dane was constantly speaking truth into my life and lifting me up. I began to start seeing myself as loved rather than loathed, and precious rather than worthless.

As time went on cracks began to form in my beliefs; if what Dane and I were doing was so wrong, why were good things coming out of it? Why was I starting to understand what it meant that God was a loving God? Why was I starting to learn how to love myself?

Part 3

Confused by something? Disagree? Leave a kindly comment .:)