Sunday, June 23, 2013

Stressed by Exodus' Decision

I'm stressed by Exodus International's announcement that they're shutting down. Exodus is the largest Christian organisation whose ministry has been to help those who don't want the same-sex attractions they have. Alan Chambers, the president, has also come out with a big apology to the gay community. In essence, they still agree that homosexual behaviour is a sin but have rethought the whole idea of a person being able to be "ex-gay." 

For myself, I've believed that it doesn't matter: 1. whether a person is born gay or not or 2. whether same-sex attractions can be eradicated or not; we are responsible to obey God and do his will--in both behaviour and attitude. Apparently, up until now, Exodus' stance has been to try to eradicate the desires, making people heterosexual and insisting that homosexuality is the result of things that happened in childhood and thus implicating (and circuitously blaming) parents for their homosexual children's tendencies. 

I agree that Christendom has a lot to answer for in the way homosexual people have been treated. There has been a lot of judgmentalism and self-righteousness and I've been guilty of this. Homosexuality has been singled out these days as the Great and Terrible Sin of the Age when other, more socially-acceptable-but-as-or-more-abhorrent-to-God sins are raging rampant in our churches. I think of greed, for example, which is endemic to the Western culture. Or self-righteousness, which seems to be the hallmark of Christian conservativism. 

However, I'm finding more and more Christians I respect who seem to be changing their views on homosexual behaviour, implying or saying outright, that gay marriage is not an abomination to God; that a loving, monogamous marriage to someone of either gender honours God. And I find I am thrown for a loop. It's like the ground has been pulled out from under me and I don't know where I'm standing. Was all the pain I went through as I wrestled with my own same-sex attraction issues pointless and for naught? 

It is true that we need to examine our beliefs and constantly be checking them against Scripture to see if they are biblical or not. There was a time when honest, God-fearing believers truly thought that owning slaves was the right, godly and biblical thing to do; they had the Scriptures to support their view too. There have been a lot of doctrines that have changed over the centuries as people have interpreted the Scriptures in different ways; think of Galileo who was excommunicated for believing the earth was round! That was heresy back then. 

So how do we know that our interpretation and/or understanding of the Bible is accurate? Pro-gay Christians have some compelling reasons for interpreting the (very few) passages on homosexuality the way they do. Conservative Christians do too. So do those who believe that a woman's hair should be covered, that a woman should not be a leader in the church, that women were leaders in the early church, that men must have absolute power over their women, that men must love their wives sacrificially, that salvation is secure, that salvation can be lost.

In the matter of homosexuality, who's right? I would love for it to be the liberals. When I think of life after my husband (and chances are I'll outlive him), what's most appealling to me of all the scenarios that come to mind, is to share the remainder of my life with a woman I love. The only reason I won't is because I believe God says no. But what if he doesn't? 

As you can see, I'm kind of messed up at the moment. Perhaps that's for good, though. Yesterday, before all this came up, I had decided that I need to get back in the habit of reading my Bible when I go to bed. I'm in the New Testament right now and as I read, I'm filtering all these questions through what I'm reading. For instance, the NT is clear about sexual immorality being a sin so those who argue that the commands in Leviticus were done away at the cross have to answer to the decision of the Jerusalem Council in Acts (14 or 15, I think), where the apostles, along with the Holy Spirit, decided that there were only a very few of the Jewish laws that Gentile believers must follow (or things they must abstain from): eating food offered to idols, consuming blood, sexual immorality (and another related to blood that I can't remember). So God obviously puts sexual immorality as a more important issue than, say, the mixing of wool with linen--another Levitical directive that pro-gay theologists like to point out is not relevant for today.

Anyway, I could go on. Coming regularly and frequently to God's Word, I think, is going to be the only way for me to sort through the confusion. Thanks for listening.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are understandably distressed by the conflict between your sexuality and what you believe to be is sinful in nature. Truthfully, hearing your story breaks my heart.

Its certainly true that many Christians are changing their view of homosexuality (The United Church of Canada being one). In fact, there are more and more denominations that not only accept LGBT people as members but as clergy as well. The times they are a changin'..

I personally believe that the opposition to homosexuality is part of our current political climate. Remember the pre-civil rights era when Blacks were persecuted and the belief that they were inferior to Whites was justified in the Bible? Now the focus is on homosexuality, but I firmly believe that with time it will pass and Jesus' true message of love and compassion will overcome.

We are all the products of our environments. Perhaps if you surrounded yourself with fellow Christians who accept same-sex attracted people as they are, and those who themselves have had the same struggles, you may eventually change your views. Have you considered joining a church with a more egalitarian stance on such issues?

I personally believe that Christian faith and being same-sex attracted/homosexually identified are not antithetical. Jesus loves you and wants you to live a life of love, compassion and hope.

I wish you all the best in your journey.