Thursday, August 20, 2009

Q: "If it's ok to be Gay, it's still wrong to have Gay sex, right?"

This is an argument put out by those who push the whole "celibate Gay" idea.
It's supposed to be a more "enlightened" and even "compassionate" way of dealing with Gay people -- admitting, for example, that we are indeed "born this way" and aren't making a conscious, willful choice to be Gay, but still "saving" us from our "bad inclinations".

Some even say that being Gay is like being an alcoholic -- somehow not our "fault", and something we'll have to "struggle" against all our lives, but still something we have to "stop acting on".

Unfortunately for the Gay people who fall for this idea, it's simply false, all the way around. And despite the good intentions (one hopes) of those who push this idea, it's still intensely damaging to Gay people -- just in a more subtle (and therefore perhaps even worse) way.

Let's look at all this more closely.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say, "Thou shalt not be Gay" 

In fact, the Bible just doesn't mention Gay people very often at all, as compared to straight people.
Now, some use that to "prove" that God doesn't care for or approve of Gay people -- that we aren't somehow considered part of His "norm". But think about that: the Bible doesn't talk about women or Gentiles as often, either. And it doesn't mention many other cultural and tribal groups (like the Native Americans, for example, or the Indonesians) at all. In fact, most of the Bible is only talking about the lives and doings of ancient straight Hebrew/Jewish men.

Does that mean that modern people, women, Gentiles, Gay people, Native Americans, Indonesians, and any other kind of people not specifically talked about (or talked about a lot) in the Bible aren't part of God's "norm" or His plan? Or that we only have some kind of "secondary" or "lesser" role to play?

Ridiculous! And NOT supported in Scripture, as GOD gave it to us in its original languages and contexts. Yet it's certainly an idea that unrepentant human hearts would invent to set themselves above others, and made worse because they act as if it's all the Lord's idea!

But you see, most of what's described in the Bible is not a glory-story about a certain kind of human being. Instead, it's a long, repetitious tale of wickedness, of God-rejection pretending to be God-living, of self-centeredness and greed and lust and murder and oppression, all meant to illustrate for all the world that no human being (even among the spiritual, economic, and political "elite") saves even himself, much less anyone else. 

God's purpose in the Bible is to show us how to get and stay right with Him. And that most often involves NOT living and thinking like most of the straight Hebrew/Jewish men described in the His Word -- nearly all of whom were considered (by themselves if not also others) to be God's spiritual "elite", yet who were continually guilty of, among other things:
  1. worshiping other gods;
  2. combining God-worship with pagan worship;
  3. pretending to love and live for God while loving and living first and foremost for themselves;
  4. willful disobedience of God's direct commands;
  5. being disrespectful to and abusive towards God and neighbor;
  6. ripping off and economically abusing their neighbors;
  7. pretending to follow God's law but re-inventing His meaning, adding to His commands, and ignoring what they didn't want to hear;
  8. murdering those who spoke God's truth, those who had what they wanted, those who were vulnerable to them in some way, and just those they didn't like;
  9. having sex with each others' wives and their own family members;
  10. having sex with and making their wives sleep with animals;
  11. rape (of both men and women);
  12. burning their own children alive for (hoped for) material gains;
  13. making war for profit;
  14. political intrigue;
  15. bearing false witness against and lying to others;
  16. obsessing after material wealth, control of others, and worldly "success"...
...And so on and so forth until one has to wonder about people who use a few isolated scriptures to supposedly "prove" how "evil" Gay people are – but then completely ignore the thousands upon thousands of scriptures that by the same ridiculous logic would "prove" how much more evil straight people are!

The point of the Bible is to help us see how much we need God – NOT to get us to reverence a certain kind of human being over another.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say, "Thou shalt not have Gay sex" 

There are a few passages that, when interpreted falsely, or twisted completely out of context, or just plain re-written, make it "appear" as if Gay sex is condemned. 

But there just aren't any real passages (meaning, passages as GOD gave them to us) that condemn Gay sex (or straight sex) per se. 

Does that mean "Anything goes"? Absolutely not! See, the Bible does have condemnations of sex – but only when that sexual activity is tainted by lust, or by idolatry, or by both. 

Think about it this way, through this short, imaginary exchange:
Are strawberries bad?
No, of course not.
How about chocolate covered strawberries?
Maybe white-chocolate covered strawberries?
Nope, nothing wrong with any of that.
Well, what about if someone becomes so obsessed with strawberries that they can only eat, think, and breathe strawberries all the time, so that things start to go wrong with their physical, emotional, and even spiritual health? Or what if someone becomes obsessed with NOT eating strawberries, so that they spend their lives in fearful avoidance of any situation that might even mention strawberries?
Or, what about if someone is actually allergic to strawberries, but they keep eating them anyway because it's "cool" and "empowering" to be a "rebel" and do things they aren't supposed to do?
Or, what about if someone uses strawberries to hurt people -- throwing and even mashing them all over people to ruin their clothes and humiliate them, just because it makes the person feel good to cause other people emotional and even physical pain?
Or, what about if someone starts to use strawberries as part of their religious worship, setting strawberries up on alters, praying to and bowing down to them?

I think we would ALL agree that these last four things are all VERY wrong.

But I don't think any of us would say the answer or "fix" for any of these things is to rid the world of one or more kinds of strawberries!

Yet that's what some people do with sex -- and what even more people do with Gay sex. 

They are like people who like strawberries, but don't like chocolate-covered strawberries. And in response to their particular "produce orientation", most people would just say, "Then don't have chocolate-covered strawberries!"

But these strawberry-only folks believe people are only right when they are just like themselves -- even though nothing in God's creation really says anything even close to that. So they invent political and religious movements to convince the world that those who like chocolate-covered strawberries are "perverse", "unnatural", and even "evil". And they even invent medical and psychological "therapies" that claim to "heal" people who like chocolate-covered strawberries and make them "strawberry-only" people, instead.

Truly, if such people weren't causing such horrendous and completely irresponsible spiritual, emotional, and even physical damage to the "chocolate-strawberry" people of the world, we'd just write them off as people with a silly, self-centered, control-freak problem!

But then there's the other side -- the side of people that can be perverse, unnatural, and evil:
  • Some people – both straight and Gaydo become obsessed with sex, so that sex is all they can think about, and all they live for (some people have the same problem, but express it in being obsessive about not having sex -- but it's still sexual obsession). And it's not a surprise when their physical, emotional, and spiritual health suffers. Sex and the pursuit of sex becomes their main identity.

  • And there are other people – again, both straight and Gay – who willfully engage in sexual acts that are counter to their natural sexual orientation because they feel "good" by intentionally being "bad" – even though it hurts or dishonors them now and in the future. These people may also do drugs, rape (men, women, and even children), participate in pornography, and break the law, all just for the "thrill" of doing things "counter" to what's "normal" or "acceptable" to decent society. Living evil becomes their main identity.

  • And finally there are some people – once again both straight and Gay – who make sex a part of their "magic" spirituality, just as the pagans did thousands of years ago. Being more "powerful", "wise", "wealthy", and so on through using supernatural means becomes their main identity.

And obviously none of these ways of being are ok. To be spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy, our main identity must be in Jesus Christ – and not in what feels good to do or not do with our bodies, or in what pleases our worst sin-nature, or in what gratifies our desire to control and acquire in the material world.

But again, here's the important point: in all these sinful ways of being, sex itself is no more the "bad guy" than strawberries were in our imaginary example.

Rather, it's what we DO with sex, how we understand it within the larger context of our lives and God-created human nature, and whether we control our (sexual and other) desires or they control us, that truly matters. 

Everywhere in the Bible it says you are responsible to God -- to produce good fruit for Him in the field He's assigned you to work 

Neither Paul nor anyone else in the Bible ever wrote to condemn Gay people living full, whole, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and yes, even sexually healthy Gay lives. The shackles that other sinful human beings want to burden us with belong to those other human beings – not to God.

But all people – straight and Gay alike – are responsible to conform every part of our lives to God's way – including our sexual lives. Nothing in the Bible says, "The rules against adultery, fornication, and so on only apply to straight people." And – despite what some Gay and Gay-friendly straight people may argue - the sinful and anti-Holy-Spirit exclusion of Gay Christians from so many straight "churches" and fellowships does NOT excuse us from living godly lives.

So, what does all this mean?

It means that every ideal put forward in God's Word is to be our ideal – whether we are straight or Gay; male or female or intersexed; masculine or feminine or inter-gendered; of any racial identity; of any cultural identity; of any tribal identity. GOD's ideals are truly to be OUR ideals! [Matthew 5:48]

And among those ideals are:
  1. Recognize that since Pentecost, God no longer lives in places built by human beings, but within our bodies. Therefore, honor God with how you use and treat your body [Acts 17:24-25; 1 Corinthians 6:17-20]

  2. If you are truly called to live a single life, then live your life in a joyful, celibate manner, giving the time and energies you would otherwise spend on family to showing other people the Gospel, helping the needy, and so on [Matthew 19:11-12; Luke 2:36-37; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35]. However, keep in mind that simply being so emotionally unhealthy that you are afraid of getting involved with others, or avoiding intimacy because "the church" says you "have" to, are NOT the same as truly being called to a single life (instead, those things mean you're being called to find emotional and spiritual healing and growth!).

  3. If you believe you are called to a single, celibate life, but are continually "pestered" by sexual desires that lead (or seriously might lead) you beyond your self-control, then prayerfully and seriously consider that God may not have given you the gift of celibacy after all. In that case, it would be more pleasing to God for you to be in a committed, sexual relationship than to "burn with passion". [1 Corinthians 7:7-9]

  4. If you are in a committed relationship, take it as seriously as God does! Stick with it, share yourselves with each other because you belong to your partner just as s/he belongs to you. Don't sexually deprive one another except for short periods of time when you've both decided to give yourself to extra work for the Lord [Matthew 5:32; Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, 10-16]
And finally, whatever the life-circumstances you find yourself in, work the mission-field God's assigned to you. Being single or married, straight or Gay, Jew or Gentile – none of those things means anything towards what really counts (though there are plenty of confused and falsely-religious people who want to waste your spiritual time and energy worrying over them!)

No matter who you are, or what God's created you to be, what really counts is keeping God's commands, ministering to and evangelizing those around you, and being filled (and remaining filled) with God's Holy Spirit! [Acts 10:1-11:18, 15:1-31; 1 Corinthians 7:17-40; Galatians 5:6; Colossians 3:1-17]

No comments:

Post a Comment