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Living with Love and Conviction

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John 17.21 comes to mind…

I know it’s not quite relevant but I did find this interesting.

Ever since being introduced to the grand world of post-Evangelical thought, my American myopic vision of Christianity was completely shattered as I started to see God at work in every truthful manifestation of the Gospel among His people. As such, I’m very appreciative of the “high church” traditions that are often met with suspicion among my other Christian friends. Roman Catholicism, in particular, has such a high lofty vision of God unmatched by anything I grew up with that I gravitated strongly toward Rome psychologically if not theologically.

Unfortunately, while I am happy to claim some who are Roman Catholics as my brothers and sisters in Christ, one who used to be a good friend, who made a big deal about being an exProtestant and being the sole bastion of Christian truth and orthodoxy, made a horrible personal impression about Catholics. (I still find it odd that he made a bigger deal about me being “non-Catholic” than me being gay. But then again, we did share similar views on relationships and marriage.) While he’s mellowed out some (no more emotional abuse toward me or his girlfriends, plus, he’s married and a father now) in the occasional times we’ve spoken, I can still tell he’s a bit zealous. Honestly, I’m jealous of him still.

So where am I going with this? Well, Aaron Taylor over at Spiritual Friendship had recently written a blog post about how the Christian faith should meet and engage the concept of eros, especially same-sex eros in a different way. SF is heavily weighted toward a Roman Catholic understanding of God, theology and how the world works. I find it an interesting and healthy investment intellectually and emotionally, even if sometimes the theological perspective is different. However, my RC friend (who converted a few years ago), has always made a big fuss over how Protestants are always divisive and full of factions and how all the divisions and different ideas injure the Church and speak against how true Christians (aka, Roman Catholics) behave.

I’d always taken issue at this on principle: distinction and difference aren’t always division and divisiveness. But in regards to Mr. Taylor’s post, the discussion that has taken place in the comments only served to confirm something that’s really only common (spiritual) sense. Here we have Roman Catholics (mostly), who seem to be individuals that are well-informed about the world and their theological views, who also seem to be people who love the Master a good deal.

And yet they’re having a (mostly polite) disagreement over theological and spiritual matters.

If one didn’t know they were Roman Catholics, one could assume this was one of the better discussions taking place in any number of Christian message boards and forums online anywhere:

A polite discourse where people are trying to wrestle with the evidence, with what they know, with whatever lenses they use to interpret that data and how to reconcile that with how the world apparently works. Disagreements flow and blossom from where one’s view is different than another’s but that doesn’t necessarily make either party wrong. It just makes them both responsible to the humble search for truth and the humbly acceptance of whatever conclusions they reach.

It’s nice that being one in Christ doesn’t mean getting subsumed into a hive mind.

I’m doing some cleaning house and organizing lately. The powerful devotion of Lent, the raucous nature of office politics and the awkward stations of trust of a church Bible study have done a lot to helping me get some focus and direction.
More updates soon, I promise!

And so the new year begins!

Wow, it’s already almost three weeks into 2014!

Like I’d mentioned some time ago, for a few hours every Friday, I spend time at church, volunteering in the little bit that I can right now: I put together and print the bulletins for our weekend services. It’s not exciting work, and sometimes I can feel a bit “shut in” away from the liveliness of the church on Fridays, but I try to do what I can.

During some down time, I stumbled onto another blog post about “same-sex attraction” and to my surprise it was by a staff member at Desiring God. Perhaps it’s a shift in the right direction, perhaps it’s an omen of things to come, but being a gay Christian embracing the traditional sexual ethic is slowly becoming “post-evangelically mainstream” if I may try to coin a phrase.

While it is somewhat refreshing in some respects, I also flet discouraged in a way as well. For a topic like homosexuality, whether one is discussing the orientation or the act, people are always going to be polarized. I’m concerned about a double standard that still seems to lurk in the shadows here.

One thread that I keep seeing, that was again brought to the fore, was that if you “struggle with SSA” then you probably have a problem with idolatry. I don’t really dismiss the idea completely – the unredeemed human heart is an idol factory, constantly trying to craft ways to dethrone the True God in some way or another.

What I do take issue with, or find myself concerned about, however, are the broad stroked that some are wont to take regarding human relationships and how idolatrous they have the potential to be.

Everyone wants to be loved, and everyone want to have that kind of mutual and exclusive love that makes one’s heart race. When viewed in the context of heterosexual couple, Christians are often not will praise the loving affections as God’s gift.

Unless there’s some abuse, codependency or overt spiritual deficiency going on. Then the charge of idolatry makes its way to the front.

However, it seems that if you’re a guy and there’s a guy whose companionship you love, admire and respect, even if physical affections never come into view, then it’s “obviously” a heart issue that needs to be rooted out and given over to Christ – like pride or jealousy.

I’m not sure if I’m more frustrated with this stance or the constant conflating of attraction with lust.

I understand that Jesus is all we truly need, the staple of our lives and the one from whom we ought to draw on for joy and fulfillment in life. But the discussion seems to go back to “If you’re gay, then you need to have Jesus instead of any human companionship.” Or worse yet, the implication that I don’t love Christ enought or don’t have enough faith.

What I don’t understand though is why isn’t that the “go-to” position for everyone generally? Why isn’t the church seriously telling young men and women – not just those who are gay – that all they need is Christ for companionship and love?

Mid-Holiday update

I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m still alive, still fighting the good fight of trusting Christ and putting sin to death. I’ve “become interested” in true holiness again and have been trying to draw closer to God, despite my own laziness and internal objections.

I’ve also reconnected with some past friends of mine. It really just makes me want to sit and ponder just how much of a gift it is from God that I still believe and trust Him. It blows me away.

There’s been a big project I’ve been working on as well. Like, really really big and life altering in the best and possibly worst ways possible… Maybe even to the point of outing myself and my perspectives to the world at large.

You can probably expect another dearth of posts until the new year begins. If the holiday season wasn’t already hectic enough, I always slow down emotionally during this time of year. Sometimes it’s full depression, other times it’s a flight of melancholic fancy that occupies my times, thoughts and heart until the sun comes back.

So if you could all pray for me, just as I pray for you, my readers, I think we’ll be in pretty good spot.

When the Gay Eclipses God

Sorry for not posting in the last week or so. Being slow-blooming, 30something trying to live for God and be productive to society in general has me somewhat strapped for time and energy lately. I could use your prayers, most definitely. In the meantime, here’s a post from Julie Rodgers that I thought would be helpful and edifying for you guys (since it’s definitely helped me out).

I find it hilarious when I mention that I have to be the token minority, and people assume it’s because of my ethnicity and not my orientation.

Running the Gauntlet

Side B sucks sometimes. It really does.

For the past month and a half, I’ve been curling up and sobbing and crying out to God from the pain of my loneliness. Every night I ask for companionship, or for hope that I would be able to walk this single path without feeling like I’m missing part of myself – ie my better half.

I suppose the wound is being rubbed raw by the fact that I still have otherwise healthy friendships with several gay individuals (both Christian and not) that are in relationships. We don’t live in a world where God has chosen to immediately voice displeasure and judgment towards His people who make bad choices. Of course, people tend to see that as aquiesence or approval…

But I see how they’re happy and emotionally fulfilled, and I’d like to grow old with someone.

Have I mentioned that I’m lonely and have a deep, deep longing to be “chosen” and loved by someone? I just keep wishing that I knew what more to do.

I guess I need to be praying about it more.

But I don’t have just irksome news to report. I am just coming back from a very inspiring talk with a couple of my church’s pastors. I’d sent them an email a couple of weeks ago. It started as a lament regarding community and fellowship and before I knew what I was doing, I mentioned I was gay. With somewhat alarming terseness, I got a response some days later about them wanting to set up a meeting to talk.

Well, this evening we had that talk.  And to my utmost relief, we talked about community and fellowship, and the topic of me being gay was given an appropriately low billing. It wasn’t an afterthought – as if to hide its existence – but it didn’t consume the time either. Instead, it was a respectful, poignant and open-ended enough to allow for additional conversation.

I’m glad to have this place to fellowship with.

What Does Same-Sex Marriage Mean for the Single, Straight Christian?

Spiritual Friendship

One of the more interesting points for me in Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and Robert George’s book What is Marriage? was their reflection on how the legalization of same-sex marriage may contribute to demoting friendship as a lesser form of love. If marriage is so important that it has to be defined as the place where intimacy is available, then friendship, by contrast, looks paler and less attractive than ever. “We come to see friendships as mere rest stops on the way back to family life,” the authors write.

In her most recent editorial for Christianity Today, “Same-Sex Marriage and the Single Christian,” Katelyn Beaty, a single, heterosexual woman (and a friend of mine) explores this point powerfully and poignantly. Writing about the elevation of marriage in the evangelical Christian world—an elevation that mirrors, in ironic ways, the wider society’s elevation of marriage—Beaty says:

[L]ocal churches have acted as…

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