Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Cannot Come

Dear friend,

It’s taken me a long time to respond to you because I haven’t known quite what to say.  Your change in position has unsettled and disturbed me.  I would love to believe like you—it’s very tempting—but I can’t.  How can I, after all God has done in my life?  To say that he honours homosexual union flies in the face of all I’ve lived for the past nine years.  It negates all the pain and struggle I have gone through.  Why did I engage in the battle if it wasn’t for God?  

He is the only reason I’ve made the decisions I have—to fight my same-sex desires, to persevere in my marriage, to relinquish all the love Pearl had to give me (I still miss her).  It was to follow God.  He made himself very clear time and time again.  He gave me insights about himself, about myself and about others.  How can I say it wasn’t God?  There is no other explanation.  But why would God have bothered if he honours and blesses same-sex unions?  Would he not, more likely, if that was the case, have blessed and flourished that relationship where I felt most loved and wanted?

If “love, support and help[ing] the other person grow into the best they can be” is how God defines marriage, then the lack of those qualities would be enough to end a union and open the door to one where they are present.  That’s not what God has been teaching me.  Yes, love, support and helping the other grow is something that God values.  It is who God is.  He is Love; he is our Support; he is our Helper and Comforter.  But God makes it very clear that even when these values are lacking in a relationship we are to persevere.  If stability and solidity of union is what makes marriage marriage, then why don’t we all move from partner to partner, male or female, until we find that stability and solidity?  The very act of doing so would undermine the very stability and solidity we seek.

You say that homosexuality as a sexual orientation is a relatively new concept and not known in Bible times.  If people are born intrinsically homosexual today, why not back then?  Has biology changed so fundamentally in several thousand years?

If 1 Corinthians 6:9 has been mistranslated as you suggest, does that mean that some of the other sinful behaviours might also now be allowed and blessed?  Does God bless the intrinsically greedy when they engage in greed?  

We are ALL intrinsically evil, not because God made us that way but because Adam made that choice for us when he took the fruit from the tree and ate it.  He had been intrinsically made to love and enjoy all good things and the fruit of that tree was good.  He was doing what came natural to him but it was wrong and that wrong undid the rest of us.

For those who argue that the laws of Leviticus (in which are the most blatant prohibitions against homosexual behaviour) were done away with at the cross, I point out that not all of them were.  At the Jerusalem Council that was held to determine how Jewish new Gentile believers were to be, it was decided with the Holy Spirit, that only four things from the old laws should be imposed on the new believers: 1. Abstain from food sacrificed to idols; 2. Abstain from blood; 3. Abstain from the meat of strangled animals and 4. Abstain from sexual immorality (Acts 15, 21).  We are still bound by these rules today (and yes, many Christians don’t follow them all).  

So then, what is sexual immorality?  Can we include homosexual behaviour?  I believe that sexual immorality encompasses all the sexual rules given in the books of Moses.  How can it be otherwise?  How can we say that homosexual behaviour is blessed but union with one’s mom, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or dog is not?  It’s all part and parcel of the same thing.  

Sin is sin and we are all born with the intrinsical passion to sin.  I would love to be told by God that I am free and blessed to pursue union with a woman—to return to Pearl and begin a life with her if she would still have me—but despite all the arguments of the Rev. Mel White and others, I cannot believe that this is God’s plan for me, for you, or for anyone else who longs for or enjoys same-sex union.

As I said, I’ve been wrestling with how to respond to you—indeed, wrestling with what I believe.  I had decided yesterday that today would be the day I would write, still unsure of what to say but today in church the worship leader introduced a new song she wrote just this last week:

Give me the heart that does not compromise 
Give me the strength to walk in your way 
Give me your love to go beyond the comfort. 
Peace to stand for what is right,  
A hope to see a better way. ( by Jocelyn Armbruster)

Following Jesus is not easy.  It means taking up the very thing that will kill us (isn’t that what a cross is?) and going his way.  It means persevering in the face of suffering, pain and, yes, of death of many things that seem to us to be innately good for our well-being.  It means a heart that does not compromise, a strength to walk in his way, God’s love to go beyond what feels good and comfortable and the willingness and peace to stand for what is right.  This is what I choose to do.

I love you, my friend.  You have been a mentor and encourager in my walk away from living out my same-sex desires and nothing you say or do can take away from how you blessed me in that time of need.  You have been and are my friend.  But on this new walk and belief of yours, I cannot come.  

May God be with you.

With love and affection, 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Debbie,

Your post is touching.

I love how God speaks in different ways.