introducing Jordan

Hey there!

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’m gay.

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.

Peace.

– Jordan (totally not my real name. Such enigma!)

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5 thoughts on “introducing Jordan

  1. Hi Jordan, thank you for the post. I literally just had a discussion with my friend about this yesterday. While I am straight, I have many friends even family members who are gay, and I have always wondered about my view on it. I am so happy for you that you recognize the most important thing is to orientate every part of yourself to love God. I very much look forward to your future posts!

    • Thanks, it means a lot. I hope you can be a source of encouragement and safety for those you know who are attracted to the same sex.

      With something so complex as sexuality, it can be so easy to lose sight of the greater picture of making Christ the center of everything, every last part of my self. Reminding myself of that reality daily helps keep me on track and sane (to a degree :p). Blessings!

  2. Thank you. Christian discussions about homosexuality are sorely lacking your civility and honesty. I graduated from Wheaton in 2011, and I’m really proud of you guys for doing this.

  3. Wow, I loved reading this blog. I was referred to this post by my brother, Matt, who is a senior at Wheaton. Before I share my views, let me say I am not in touch with the LGB community, so if any of the terminology I use is incorrect or offensive, I apologize. Feel free to correct me in any way so I can learn. Also, I am not a theologian, I am an engineer. My thoughts are based in logic, scripture, and a lifetime in the church, but I have no fancy references or research on the topic.

    I’m a heterosexual christian male and I’ve always avoided thinking too in-depth about homosexuality in the church. I’ve never known where to stand on the genetic/choice issue, but I now believe it is not a choice. I’ve always believed it was wrong to hate members of LGB community. As I thought about homosexuality in a non-unique way (just like any other sin (in no way am I trying to minimize the issues challenging the church and society in general)), I realized just how ridiculous it would be to hate the LGB community. Hating a man for being attracted to another man would be the same as hating me for being attracted to pornography. If I were to walk up to any one of my christian friends and proclaim an addiction to pornography, I would be welcomed with open arms and supported with love and prayer. I hope someday christian members of the LGB community will feel a similar sense of love and support. As for homosexuality being a choice or genetic issue, I agree with the writers of this blog in that homosexuality did not exist until after the fall, when sin, pain, suffering, and sickness were all introduced into creation. God did not create man to be sinful, but because of the fall, man is born sinful. Similarly, God did not create man to be sick, but babies are born with illnesses every day (one of the writers mentioned down syndrome). And now I will touch on the “God created me this way, so how could it be wrong to have a same-sex relationship?” statements. I have a fifteen year old cousin who was born missing a significant section of his brain. He suffers from seizures and his mother and father must change his diapers and feed him through a tube that was surgically inserted to give access to his stomach. I am not familiar with the details of his condition, but it is tragic and it renders him all but an invalid. Do you think God would have created intentionally to have such a hard life? Of course not, his condition is a result of the fall. I will make the leap paralleling his medical condition to being born with a homosexually-wired brain (as the writers have mentioned briefly, science has shown people are born with it). I am not saying being sick is a sin like homosexuality, only that they are comparable in that neither of them existed until after the fall. I believe God did not “create” anybody to be homosexual, but it is a result of the fall. Because God did not create homosexuality, he can still condemn indulging it among his children.

    So, thank you for writing this post. It has forced me to narrow my position on the subject, and I hope the church takes a hard look at the subject as well and extends love and support to the LGB community.

  4. Thank you for opening this conversation and for being so vulnerable. Blessings to you in this new undertaking, brother. I have a dear friend who is a follower of Christ and identifies himself as gay. His identity lies in the first (a crucial point in this discussion, I believe, and once which you have demonstrated clearly in relaying your own experiences), but he still struggles greatly with unpacking the second. He actively avoids situations which he knows will increase temptation and has resolved not to act on it with another person, which he believes the Bible clearly teaches is sin. He watches his heterosexual friends fall in love, marry, and have children, and of course he continually questions, “Why? How? And for how long?” I found that I could relate with sexual temptation as well as the temptation to seek an identity in an area other than Christ; still, I could not relate with the specificity for which I longed. I could only reference Hebrews 4:15 – ” For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was WITHOUT sin.” Depending on how we interpret this, either Christ was tempted within the category of sexual sin and possibly just heterosexual lust, or He was tempted with homosexual attraction, tempted to lust after another man. Yet His reliance on and loyalty to the Father was so vital to His identity, work, and life that, in the power of the Spirit, He did not allow sin to compromise that. I do not know how specifically this verse applies to each temptation, but my friend, our brother, found much comfort in a new understanding of compassion from Jesus Himself. Thinking about Him that way shocked him, actually. I think it will shock us as well, and give us hope when we feel inadequate to relate. If the church were to imagine her Lord as sympathizing with weaknesses in this way because of His own experience (which led Him to the cross as He watched our sin ruin our fellowship with the Father, a point we must not compromise), it could dramatically change her approach to the LGBT community within the Body and beyond. It will force her to seek the heart of Christ and follow His example, whatever the cost.

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