After my last post, it seems like an appropriate time to bring this up. This post has been in my draft file for a couple of months. I am hesitant to post it – afraid for what is lacking in my words and concerned about the potential damage of comments as others express their thoughts.
The ideas expressed here are simply my thoughts as I consider this topic. I am not an expert about anything. I approach this from my perspective as a married middle-aged woman. Please forgive me if you find the expression of my opinion to be hurtful in any way. That is not my intention.
The final thought in my former post was about how the church can embrace people who struggle with sexual orientation. Ted’s situation puts a face on the current conflict and confusion about homosexuality in the church.
As it stands, there are only two opposing poles. There is unavoidable tension in the conflicting positions. Can this conversation be anything but polemic? There is positive movement toward love and acceptance of homosexuals in some parts of the church. What does love look like in this situation? Is it conditioned on approval?
I hate what has been done and the rejection that is communicated to the homosexual community in the name of Christianity. Struggles with sexual orientation should never be a reason for exclusion from the community of believers.
What is my stand? The only stand that I am willing to make is that as we choose to follow Christ, we enter into the ongoing process of salvation. Salvation is the process of restoring our hearts to wholeness. That process is unique to each individual and orchestrated by the Spirit as we willingly submit ourselves to His loving hand.
The sin in our lives is a symptom of broken, damaged places in our hearts that need to be made whole. We are all broken in areas of intimacy. The underlying sense of separation, rejection, and abandonment is the nature of the curse and man’s original fall. This brokenness can be expressed in many different ways, but it is often expressed sexually.
Transformation is a work of the Spirit in a person’s heart. Shame has never been an effective motivation for transformation. In fact, it is often the greatest hindrance to true freedom from the bondage of sin.
Our relationships with one another cannot be change-driven, and our relationship with the Father cannot be change-driven. As we focus on the sin in our lives, we become hopeless in our inability to will ourselves to change. Yet as we focus on Jesus, he can bring healing and change in the process of restoring our hearts to the wholeness that He intends for us.
I am convinced that it is damaging to identify and label ourselves according to sexual orientation. We are so much more than the product of our attractions and desires.
The fundamentalist christian position is repressive about the spectrum of attraction that people experience. Yet the fundamentalist homosexual position is adamant that one must identify themselves and live according to those attractions. I don’t recognize the voice of Truth in what I read from either side.
Whatever you deal with as far as attraction, are you willing to let go of the label that society insists you take? What would sorting through this look like if you simply saw yourself as male or female and didn’t attempt to define yourself according to your attractions?
On a purely physical level, there are more ways to be stimulated sexually than I have probably even heard of. The quest for fulfillment can take you many different directions. Wrapped up in beliefs about attraction and orientation are myths of chemistry and magic. The myth of chemistry suggests that the pursuit of one’s attraction is the only way to be satisfied.
What if in the upside-down nature of the kingdom, the ultimate in sexual fulfillment occurs in the act of giving pleasure to another? If the objective is the pursuit of one’s own satisfaction, perhaps we always end up off track. By using the lens of self-fulfillment, we set ourselves up for disappointment and dissatisfaction.
Let’s talk about attraction and desire. Attraction is complicated. Not very much about human attraction is actually biological. Whether we are discussing lust or same-sex attraction, attraction and desire is about personifying the fulfillment of our needs. Within this person, we imagine the fulfillment of our longings for excitement, passion, intimacy, acceptance, etc.
We need to look beyond a base chemistry level and ask ourselves about the why of our attraction. What does this person represent to us? What are the needs in our life that we believe they will fulfill?
One thing that I try to teach my kids is that they will never find their identity, acceptance, or approval in another person. In fact, it is not fair for them to bring that demand into a relationship. We have to know the love and intimacy of the Father in order to be healthy in our relationships with others.
As believers, both male and female, we are all on the journey to knowing God. Part of that journey is the transformation of our hearts and lives to the wholeness that He intends for us. Whatever a person’s struggle with sin or sexuality, we are to be a source of love and encouragement to one another, not judgment.
Homosexuality in my brother or sister’s life is sin of no greater degree than lust is in my life. Both indicate areas of unwholeness, areas of unfulfilled need, areas of hearts yet to be restored.
I know that the view of homosexuality as brokenness is offensive to some who struggle with same-sex attraction, yet I humbly believe that it is less than what God intends for us. Even though that is my understanding, it is up to each person to find their own place of conviction in the process of their journey toward knowing God.
I would enjoy hearing your thoughts. Due to the sensitivity of the topic, please be extra-considerate in how you express them.