This has been a rather melancholy week for me. I’ve been challenged in my thinking by a number of people. The sad part is, these challenges seem to have led me further towards doubt and away from faith. In this post I list some of the real people dealing with real issues of sexuality, and how their journeys are touching mine.

 

I read the saga of Jay and Anginae and Nate and Ace… I admire Jay for his faithfulness, Anginae for her honesty and acceptance of her dilemma. I feel for Nate as he deals with his desire to be unfaithful, and wrestles with the occasional feeling of nostalgia for his former wife. I feel for Ace as he struggles with his own jealousy, and wonder how anyone can expect him to let Nate work through his own journey. I pray for you guys. May you all know God’s peace, live with His mercy, and grow in His love.

 

I read Joe moderates journey through numerous years in the ex-gay movement to this month when he will marry his groom. I want to celebrate with him. I see the pain of his journey, but wonder why mine couldn’t have been easier than it has been.

 

I think of the guys who I chat with… Manuel in Korea, who seems trapped by his commitment to his work and his church, and cannot even consider peeking out of his closet;  Tom in Ontario, who has his own struggle of self-acceptance and fear.

 

I think of younger guys like Brandon, so committed to the faith of their fathers, to the inerrancy of scripture. I envy their enthusiasm for their Lord. I remember the days when I was there. Was it sin that hardened my heart against seeing the truth of my condition? Or was it the truth of my condition, of my sexuality, that led to a more rational and functional acceptance of who I am and who He is?

 

I think of Eric, taking another step out of his closet towards self-acceptance and personal fulfilment. I want to celebrate with him, to cheer him on, to say, “you go, guy!”

 

I celebrate as Tarald begins to return to the Bible to find the true story contained therein of mercy triumphing over judgment.

 

I share the pain as Quinacridone considers what he is missing by staying married…

 

Yesterday I found myself reading a very insightful piece on davidinman.net, where he talks about the so-called inerrancy of the Bible. He discusses the contradictions in the New Testament, beginning with places where the synoptic gospels contradict each other (i.e. the details of what the disciples were to take with them on their journey). He then points out a contradiction in morality – namely, the appropriateness of eating meat sacrificed to idols (this practice was initially condemned in Acts by the apostles, until Paul takes it upon himself to set them straight). Why does God allow such errors, of the Bible is truly His word and not “man’s word”? Why would he tolerate the moral ambiguities contained in this book? So, the ambiguities in scripture about sexual morality become more pronounced for me… 

 

I see all this stuff happening in cyberspace, on the blogosphere: I see doubt, and heartache, and despair, questioning God, questioning the Bible, I see spiritual fervour, I see men and women seeking authenticity and seeking purity. I see some wondering what purity is. I see fear of change, fear of self-acceptance, fear of coming-out, fear of tempting God. I see loneliness and yearning for human companionship and sexual fulfilment. I see judgment. I see mercy. I see courage and compassion and boldness and humility. 

 

I see all the heartache of this journey in lives around me: in families where there is a gay son or a transgendered father. I see some convinced their same-gender attracted family member is just giving in to temptation. I see some being pushed back into the closet. But I see men and women boldly seeking to be who they are. I find it hard to believe that this is not a move of God. Just as it was a move of God to bring the church to the point of valuing equality of race and of gender, is it a move of God to bring us LGBT folks to a place of self-acceptance and away from shame?

 

But in order to see this as a move of God, I have to come to a different view of scripture, a different view of church and salvation. I have had to re-evaluate my faith. I wonder, is it possible to have any degree of certainty about these things? I really want to believe in the Jesus who came to earth to die to save people from hell and from their sins. But I find it more and more difficult to believe in a God who creates people like me, who then allows us to struggle with particular so-called sins like homosexuality, and then condemns us to hell when the struggle becomes too much to bear. The God I believe in is the Father of the prodigal, ever hoping for His child to return to him, without judgment. The God I believe in is the One Who was more willing to condemn the religious leaders of His day, the money-changers in the temple, and the rich, than He was to condemn an adulterous woman. The Jesus of the gospels is a Jesus I can follow. The God of Paul I am not so sure about.

Last weekend I spoke to a waiter who was serving coffee for a Pentecostal group having an “impartation luncheon” at a local hotel. When he went into the room, there were bodies all over the floor, and he was approached and asked whether he was going to heaven or hell. He said, “I’m just here to pour coffee!” I later mentioned his experience in a discussion with my wife. The comment she made to me during a later discussion really opened my eyes to the road I am on. She was lamenting the lack of response to her ministry, the lack of interest of “the lost” in finding salvation. She was lamenting the spiritual apathy of the waiter for whom pouring coffee is more important than his soul. There was a time when I too would have shared her concern. And in a way I still do. But I trust God. I trust him to bring about justice. And to demonstrate mercy. I trust Him to respect and honour each of His children. And justice and mercy has a lot more to do with the way we treat each other than with whether or not our private sins are going to send us to hell. Jesus came to bring a kingdom of peace and justice, to bring God’s will to earth as it is in heaven, to offer bread and forgiveness, to deliver us from evil. He didn’t go around asking if people were going to heaven or hell. He went around offering mercy and forgiveness and healing and freedom, and proclaiming an end to religious zealotry and legalism.

 

One of the things that I find challenging in David Inman’s blogging is his appeal to honesty. I am finding it hard to be honest. I can articulate on this blog where I am inside, but I cannot bring myself to tell my wife where I am. I cannot bring myself to tell her about this blog where I share my journey with the world. I have close friends who I haven’t talked to for months, afraid that they will stop me from travelling the road I am on. What am I afraid of? Is it the fear that James Alison talks about in this article ? Is it fear of judgment, or fear of being convinced I am wrong? What could be wrong with that? Am I just intent on justifying pursuing my sinful desires, or am I really seeking the truth? I believe the latter. But if I really believe the latter, then I would not fear telling others of this journey. Somewhere along this journey to me is the journey towards transperancy…

 

As I search the internet, I am finding grace and truth in places like exgaywatch, Sojourners, the gay Christian network, and liberal churches like the Disciples of Christ, the Anglicans, and the so-called emerging church. This is in many ways a surprise for me, but it also explains where I am on the journey.

 

Thank you to all of you who have chosen to journey with me.

 

 

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