Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Closet or Old Habits Die Hard

As you may know, I am "officially" all the way out of the closet, to both my family and my church.
You may not know, however, that this is rather more complicated than it sounds.

Anyone can tell you that after keeping something secret from people, or even just certain people, beginning to reveal that secret hardly "rolls off the tongue" no matter how much you would prefer otherwise. The well-ingrained instinct to smile and nod, make non-committal noises, or even outright lies leaps first to both our thoughts and actions. Before the conscious mind ever gets to interject, the habitual behaviors have already occurred, the old lie continued, the truth concealed once more, the friend deceived unnecessarily.

It's easier when you know it's coming, and it's easier one-on-one, but today was neither. While the choir was waiting to process into church, we often whisper to each other about our past week's activities while the children get their time with the priest before the service starts and they head off to Sunday school. After I mentioned being the only male in a certain group of friends in a different circle of my life, an older soprano (and a wonderful person I'm proud to call "friend") said "Ah! Well, that's not so bad, right?" conspiratorially laughing at the otherwise normal suggestion of my good fortune to be surrounded by women.

Full Stop.

So why's this so important? So she thinks I'm straight, and has every reason to think so: big deal. My sexuality doesn't effect her, right? Even if it did matter, I can always bring it up some other time, right?

Well, yes... and yet... still no. The problem isn't so much the information, it's the omission of it. She's a great person, and I'm sure would have no problem with my orientation in any way. By not having told her, and the others in my church, I have lied to them. True, it may be in a small way in the grand scheme of things, but it's still there. I have lied through omission, not correcting people when they assume my straightness, permitting them to misunderstand me when one word would have brought them into closer relationship with me. I really do not care one rat's ass whisker if some random schmo on the street knows that I like guys, but these are my friends. These are people with whom I sing and worship at least twice a week. These are people that I care about, and they care about me, people I've been trying very hard to build community with. And in that kind of community, there aren't secrets. Ok there are secrets, and plenty of them, and plenty more things that just don't matter... but this does matter. It matters to me to be understood correctly, to feel that the person I am being in this community is the real me. It matters to them, as sexual orientation is a major issue in the greater church today. And that moves it out from the category with "how often my sister and I fought as kids" or "my favorite color" or "how messy my apartment is" and into the category of "things you ought to know about me, because they effect large portions of my life, and my life and yours are connected in this community".

And so, when I don't say something, when I don't correct someone when the opportunity presents itself, I am putting up a barrier between us: I am saying "I am ashamed of this", I am saying "I don't want to be known by you", I am saying "we are not in full community". And that is sin, against myself, and against them, and against God who said we should be in community with one another in love.

And so coming out to my fellow Christians has been with the intent of finally bringing down that wall between us. A wall that only the most perceptive of them might ever even know is there, but is there nonetheless. A wall that I build higher and stronger every time I let it remain, brick by brick, increasing the likelihood of injury when it does come down.

When I responded to that soprano, that's exactly what I did. I smiled and nodded, laughing accordingly, letting her believe her sentiment had meaning for me. And I couldn't take it back. By the time I realized that there had been my chance to grow in relationship with her and the few others within earshot, it was gone and I had lied again, when I had promised myself not to do that anymore. *thwip, splat* the bricklayer places another brick... *thwip, splat*... *thwip, splat*
I couln't then pipe up, the moment was gone and speaking up then would have made it so awkward and have accomplished less than it ought to. *thwip, splat*

But it's ok, I suppose, because I will be given another chance, soon I hope.

*thwip, splat*

In Christ,

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A post in a Christian chat

I will resist bashing the heretical Catholic doctrine of "Original Sin" (the leading Biblical understanding of which is that we inherit a sinful tendency or temptation, and Christ did as well, which we could, but fail to resist where Christ's successful resistance made his willing sacrifice able to atone for our sin).

However, this thread has just crossed into a very important apologetic and theological pitfall. Merely because Christ has atoned for our sins, does not give us freedom to sin. Merely because Christ allows us to be free of hellfire and punishment for our sins, does not mean that sin is allowed.

Our God is not a god of fear, ruling creation from a high throne and doling out punishments upon wrongdoers. That was never God's plan, though such things were used by God when we were "children". Christ's death and resurrection changed things for us, as a father changes things for his maturing children. The father has not changed, nor have the real rules, only our understanding of them and the maturity we are expected to have gained.

No, our God is a god of Love. And it is love that is supposed to drive our actions: our love for our God, and our love for our neighbor. The fear of hellfire has been removed, and out of sheer love from gratitude we should then swear our undying loyalty and obedience. Moreso, out of sheer love, we should love that which our God loves, that is, our fellow humans. This is the True Law, the heart of God.

It is the heart God most desperately desires for us, the children and heirs of God.

LoveIn Christ,

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Eating Chinese Food (Coming out to Gram)

Eating Chinese food

Making small talk

Grandma orders spicy food

‘cause the townie ladies never do

Gram, I have something to tell you

no that’s not right

I order the seafood dish

‘cause I’m on a diet

Gram, there’s something I’ve wanted to tell you…

no, that’s too long

We talk about the weather

She asks about my other sister

and I tell her she’s getting hitched next year

Gram, I like guys!

no… that’s just crazy

We talk about my father

and yes he’s still a loser

Gram, I’d like to invite my boyfriend over

no, I don’t have one of those

We get our food

We talk about how good the restaurant is

and I sip my much needed glass of wine

Gram, I had another reason for coming up to visit you…

no, she’s eating now

I look at my plate and take another bite

I take another sip of wine

Gram, I don’t know how to tell you this…

no, that’s just way too true

We talk about me

I get up and go to the bathroom

more to calm down than to get relief

Gram, there’s something else I wanted to talk about…

no, that’s too awkward

She mentions how messy my car is

and I say it’s usually much worse

Gram, I…

no, she’s talking again

She says I need a girlfriend to clean for me

wow, she’s old fashioned

This is it, this is my opening

Actually… I need a boyfriend, Gram

I’m gay.

I already knew honey,

and I love you anyway.

Argument for Christian Homosexual Marriage

Argument for Homosexual Marriage:

  1. There are no unambiguous condemnations of homosexuality in Scripture
    1. And no condemnations at all of loving, committed homosexual relationships.
  2. Though marriage is described in terms of heterosexual relationships, those descriptions are not innately exclusive to heterosexuality.
    1. Marriage is clearly indicated as the only holy context for sexual activity between people.
    2. There is no direct establishment of homosexual marriage.
    3. The definition of marriage both in Scripture and society has always been an evolving, emerging one.
  3. Science tells us that sexual orientation cannot be meaningfully altered,
    1. and that attempting to do so is not merely ineffective, but harmful.
    2. Though it is within God’s power to change any aspect of a person, it is the experience of homosexual Christians that God does not choose to do this in most (and perhaps all) cases.
  4. Believing Christian homosexuals do not feel called to lives of celibacy.
    1. Some do; this refers to the fact that there is a majority (or any at all) who do not.
  5. Jesus tells us that the basis of all of Scripture and its Laws is love.
  6. By 3., it is unloving to ask homosexuals to attempt to change their orientation.
  7. In relation to 4., it is unloving to ask homosexuals not called by God to celibacy to be so.
  8. Because of 5., we must interpret all Scripture in such a manner that love is clearly the cause and goal of the interpretation.
    1. "Love your neighbor as yourself" means that, in cases that one does not have personal experience, one must put oneself in the others' places to understand how "love" might be expressed to "you, the other".
  9. By 6., 7., and 8., we cannot ask homosexuals to change, nor to be celibate against their sense of God's calling.
  10. By 9., and 1., we must conclude that there is a Godly place for and active, loving, committed homosexual relationships.
  11. By 10., and 2a., and despite 2b., we must conclude that the Godly place for homosexual relationships is in (homosexual) marriage.