I appreciate your teaching on homosexuality – walking a line I often can`t always articulate or even fully grasp in the Tug of War with Biblical Truth and modern culture. I still struggle with asking anyone to remain celibate. It`s a lot to ask. For now, I for one am just grateful to acquire more real people in my life who are lesbians and gay so the whole thing can be taken out of theory into Love in action.
This is such a difficult discussion for many, myself included, as we all have gay friends, and gayness is front page news every day. This is doubly difficult when loved ones either struggle with same sex attraction or are deeply convinced this is a civil rights issue and being on the “wrong side of history” is the newest unforgivable sin.
If so, this is a “sin” we Christians will steadfastly continue to commit, simply because we surrender to a wisdom higher than our own. On my own, I’d go with the flow. I don’t care to make homosexuality illegal, and I don’t care to want to proscribe it as another form of sexual expression – if that’s what a person wants to do. But I’ve taken my cues from a better Mind, one that I believe invented sex, so the core of my commitment to believe homoerotic sex is inherently “disordered”, lies there. Him, I’ve learned to trust.
But note, the “lifelong celibacy” requirement for gays turning to Christ, is not quite the dire picture we imagine. We imagine it’s dire, only because we have bought the whole package of what “gayness” is from a confused and defensive gay culture. Namely this idea that orientation is some inviolable, sacrosanct biological wiring that has no bend, no flex, no morph-ability.
Look, all arguments about “born gay” aside, the truth is people who have certain sexual preferences can choose to have sex successfully in ways that don’t align with those preferences. Some people prefer masturbation to copulation, but choose to not self-sex because they come to believe it’s a violation of a higher design, that sex was designed to be interpersonal; an intimacy building activity between persons, not narcissism.
Likewise, some people have been in heterosexual marriages for years, had children, then come out of the closet, announced they were gay the whole time, and left marriage and children behind. Whatever is true about their orientation, their actual experience (repeated by millions of gays) is that they were perfectly capable of heterosexual sex. Was it what they preferred? I guess not, but they CAN engage in such sex as they did so in the past.
And so, for the sake of Christ, lawful sex is readily available for the person with same sex attraction as it is for anyone else. It’s only in our current climate of torturous adherence to self actualization and constant self fulfillment that we could think a person eschewing one kind of sex for another because they believe it better for them, for others and for society in the long run, even if they prefer it less, is a terrible, immoral act.
It used to be that rejecting sex that you preferred for “lawful sex” that honored God and blessed human society was considered noble. Not any more, I guess. All that to say, a Christian struggling with same sex attraction is not cursed to a life of celibacy, unless the only sex they would ever consider engaging in, is homoerotic. Then, yes, celibacy is the only way to honor God with their sexuality.
But as I said, they can choose to participate fully in God’s sexual design, even if they harbor other desires. And let us not forget the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and good Christian counsel that may affect the “strength or direction of sexual desires” – contrary to popular dogma.
By the way, EVERY Christian who wants to walk faithfully in Christ does some of this “rejecting of sexual preferences”. No one is “oriented” to always do sex God’s way. No one. So the homosexual is not in a unique position. Sexual preferences (and that’s all an “orientation” is after all) are quite literally legion. God’s sexual design is singular.
Now, is it less a stretch to discipline an unlawful heterosexual desire into God’s design than a homosexual desire? Perhaps. But Jesus did predict that the path of the disciple would at times strain the bounds of what we think is humanly possible (Matthew 19:26) And let’s face it: everyone finds some parts of God’s sexual design agreeable and other parts less so. Most playboys are perfectly happy with the “Hetero” aspect of Christian sexuality but have a huge internal, physical preference problem with the monogamous part, or the permanent part. Some homosexuals are agreeable to the monogamy part, but clearly struggle with the heterosexual part.
It’s only because we bought the culture’s packaging of this issue that we think the Christian position on sexuality uniquely targets or is uniquely onerous for gays. It does not and it is not.
By the way, I love your attitude to be relationship with people who are gay and to be Love in action. Way to go. May God show off both his grace and truth through you. People need Jesus, not because they are gay, but because they are sin-separated rebels – a condition which predates sexual outworking. When we see all people that way, gayness fades to the background and God’s mercy can take center stage.