I should probably “introduce” myself before getting all profound and vulnerable and stuff. I am a recent graduate of Wheaton College — the Harvard of Christian Schools and the eHarmony.com of the young evangelical community. Like the guy who started this blog, I am gay, and I articulate my self-understanding similarly to the way he does.
Personally, I am very strongly — verrrry strongly — attracted to the same-sex (men). Yet, I am not convinced that fostering a desire for, trying to engage in, or entering into a relationship with another man is a Bible-approved option.
Only a year ago, I was still gripped by a crippling fear of the future and a painful longing for community. I tried to put up a strong front, but I felt like I was being consumed by a hungry void.
However, this is no longer the case. During this past year — my senior year at Wheaton — the loneliness, sense of isolation, and frustration I thought would be definitive of my whole life simply left me. For the first time I can remember, my future is not symbolized by a cold, dark, empty apartment. God opened me up to relationships and experiences that transformed my frigid visions into warm anticipation. My future of serving, loving, healing and living in community with brothers and sisters is exciting. I will explain the progression of that shift in more detail later, but it was about so much more than coming to grips with my sexuality.
Here’s the thing: throughout that blessed process I was still attracted to men. In fact, for all of senior year I was nursing the most massive crush I’ve ever had. I swear, I went through the “Five Stages of Mourning” — Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance — like eight times thanks to this guy (let’s call him Sam). God was profoundly healing me in ways I never thought possible… and yet I still got weak in the knees every time I got within five feet of Sam or, you know, saw him from a hundred yards (not that I was looking for him every single time I went into the cafeteria or anything…).
I used to think God was disappointed with me every time I felt attracted to another man. It seems to be a common human neurosis to imagine God is always upset at us for something, always furrowing his brow or rolling his eyes at his stupid, disobedient children who just can’t control themselves. But I really can’t control my attractions. A woman in chapel my junior year told us to rejoice every time we felt attracted to someone, to scream out, “Yes! My body works!” I couldn’t believe her. Every time I was attracted to someone I wanted to throw myself in a dumpster and read Psalm 42 as a bitter litany.
But why? Who told me to react that way? What caused me to think my worth as a beloved child of God was so damaged by the mercurial antics of my sexual appetite? Was my sexuality always something I would have to be ashamed of? Could God ever look at me, his gay son, and find pleasure in every area of my life? Is there room in the church, in society, for me?
These are questions I want to explore in later posts, as this one is already a little long. I hope this gives you a brief glimpse into who I am and where I am coming from, and why I think this conversation is important.
I obviously still have tons to learn, but I think we can walk together in this confusing tension and glorify God as we seek to become people who love as he does. At the end of each day, that is my prayer: that every part of me would be oriented toward love of God and neighbor and used for the healing and care of everything around me.
So, to summarize my thoughts:
I hold to a conservative, evangelical sexual ethic largely identical to what was previously posted on this blog.
This discussion needs to happen in love. If we can’t manage to talk to each other in grace and humility, then we shouldn’t even bother.
I will be exploring these questions:
Does the conservative ethic have room to talk about my sexuality as something that is actually good? Do I always have to “struggle” with it? Is it wrong for me to ever be happy that I’m gay?
What does “healing” look like for those of us not actively pursuing orientation change? Am I in sin for not trying to become attracted to women?
How can the evangelical church better minister to and love both gay Christians and the non-Christian LGBTQ community?
What is the purpose of gender and sexuality? What does the Bible say about them? How are they formed, and how do they form us?
How can gay Christians with conservative ethics and gay Christians who are ok with same-sex relationships support each other? Can there be community?
What does it mean to love?
I look forward to interacting with you, and I expect to grow quite a bit through this process. So please have grace and patience with me as I continue to move along this crazy journey of life and sanctification.
– Jordan (totally not my real name. Such enigma!)