“…is it possible?” This seems to be the question that goes along with being a homosexual and being a Christian. This question confuses me. Because, to me, this question reads, “Do I exist? Do I love even though I love and live with someone of the same sex?”
When any spiritual question is unclear, I clear my mind of gunk and I turn to God with all of the love in my heart, soul, and mind that I can muster. I turn to scriptures for answers but as all Christians know, sometimes that can just leave you with more questions. Questions are beautiful, but when you want to be righteous, you need at least a partial answer. God can give you that when you ask. When you ask and seek something with love in your heart, God gives you an answer.
When I was 19, I almost drank myself to death because I didn’t want to believe who I’d really fallen in love with. This was the kind of love that made me doubt that I had ever loved before. This love almost killed me because I drank myself into an oblivion to make it go away. I tried desperately to keep my relationship with a man together, but broke it off when I realized staying in the relationship was a selfish act when I could not give him my whole heart. Alcohol abuse consumed me because I did not want to be a homosexual. One day, I was walking in the garden and a peace washed over the turmoil I’d been experiencing for an entire year. I had to come out. I had to come out for those that were not strong enough. I had to come out and be a good example for all of those attracted to the same sex; I had to show the world that I was and could be a person that could love the same gender and still be a good person. That summer I came to Christ. I believe God was with me fully in both of those moments. Since then I have been at peace at the most grounded part of my being. God is still with me and I walk with God every single day.
This morning I was listening to a podcast by William Lane Craig called Reasonable Faith. The title of the podcast was, “Can a Christian be Homosexual?”. Craig argues that yes of course they can, the sin is in homosexual acts and not in being homosexual. He uses the example that having sexual urges in the homosexual persuasion can be part of your nature or nurture, and those aren’t a sin, but if a straight man were to have sex with another man, that would be a sin as much as it would for a homosexual to have sex with another man. I feel as if I hear that argument a lot. To me, it’s really silly– “No no no…you in yourself are not a sin for who you are of course! But acting in the way that emanates who you are…that is the sin. You see, if I acted that way, it would be a sin, too!” Except that you can act the way that you are and love whom you love (assuming you love women) and…that is not a sin? You can act and love as your are but I acting as I am is a sin?
The reason this argument bothers me is not because I am insecure about how I stand as a Christian. It is because it makes queer people everywhere think that they cannot be a Christian anymore when they realize that they are gay. It is alienating some of God’s children from God who loves us boundlessly and endlessly. It is keeping them from feeling as if they can have and bask in God’s grace. This is not true and this is one of the things that sickens me. They do not think that they can reconcile God and their natural self. This is not the case. That is why I am writing this. The issue, to me, is with Christian culture and Christian influence and not with actual scripture or the spirit of Christ.
Loud voices in mainstream Christianity can’t drown out all the love. John Shelby Spong, a bishop of the Episcopalian Church said, “I am always amazed at how the Bible, that portrays my Lord embracing the outcasts, touching the lepers, welcoming the Samaritans, not judging the woman taken in the act of adultery, and inviting ‘all of ye,’ not ‘some of ye,’ to ‘come unto me,’ can, in the hands of a few distorted people be turned into a book of hatred, violence and judgment.” William Sloane Coffin, chaplain at Yale, said– “In reality, there are no biblical literalists, only selective literalists. By abolishing slavery and ordaining women, millions of Protestants have gone far beyond biblical literalism. It’s time we did the same for homophobia.”
What Craig and so many other biblical literalists are doing is leaving out the context of the Bible which is exactly that which brings it alive. Craig, in his podcast, acknowledges that Paul didn’t know everything that we know these days about the psychology of homosexuality and that’s why he didn’t make the distinction between “homosexual acts” and “homosexuality”. Would it be so bold to venture to say perhaps, building on this and given that Paul’s knowledge of homosexuality did not contain the idea that it was inborn or from a young age, or that it was more than just lust, that he referenced it in a different context and if he had written Romans today it would not have listed that example next to “greed” and “wickedness”? If he did understand what it was when he wrote that, why would he have listed it with those other examples? All I see is the word “inflamed” and “lust”. This is not how it is for me with romantic love for the same sex, nor is it always lust and inflaming desire with heterosexuals. I don’t think Paul knew that nor did the people of that time (and they probably didn’t listen to the homosexuals if they told them otherwise). How, then, with our new understanding of homosexuality, does the context transfer to mean that homosexuality is immoral if we are born that way/that way since an early age? If it is not about lust, but about love? Is love not the greatest thing? Since when was being as God made us a sin? Those are the better questions. Not, “can I be gay and Christian?”
This is why I can answer that last question in the title with a resounding “YES”: I’m on my knees every night asking for forgiveness for my imperfection and thanking God for clarity. I am so far from perfect–but this is enough. This is enough to make me a Christian no matter who I am. Even if I was sinning for being with another woman (but I don’t think that I am) asking for forgiveness and seeking God with all the love in my heart is more than enough to have God’s grace. I came to Christ after I realized my attraction and love for women: and I have cultivated the Christ in me ever since; the “sin” of homosexuality does not seem to have inhibited that at all. The Christ in me inspires me to be good and not to sever my healthy and nurturing romantic relationship. I would like to think I’m a good person. I don’t make much money but what I do make I donate a continuous portion of to charities, spend it on gifts, and direct my purchasing power toward local economy and sustainable enterprises. I am as kind to people as I can possibly muster. I try and sleep enough so that I’m not grumpy. I think about Christ all the time. I think about how I can improve all the time. I am in a healthy, monogamous relationship. I don’t cheat on her and I don’t even flirt with anybody else. I live in a small, modest living space. I buy my clothes from thrift stores whenever possible. I make a lot of things myself so that I don’t have to consume. I don’t drive a car more than once a week. I walk to work to lower my impact on the planet. I love the people the persecute me. I pray for them. I turn the other cheek with men yell at me when I hold my partner’s hand.
So yes. Yes you can.