There are several comments I hear repeated about my gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender friends. I could stand at a podium all day to dispel myths, clarify issues and question biased thinking. it usually can be
reduced to three points that non GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) people get stuck on consistently. I can say hundreds of thousands of words on the topic of the gay community, and GLBT Christians specifically, and the words will not penetrate the thinking processes of many people. The wall of I-have-already-decided, and often, ignorance, is already well constructed and the gates tightly shut.
If there is no to little understanding in the three key issues, the conversation wraps in circles, tangles in frustration and dies in anger. Here is what my GLBT Christian friends want straight Christians to hear. If you cannot at minimum understand that there may be some authenticity in these statements, you will in all likelihood be cutting out quality relationship with your homosexual and transgender relations. Simply reduced:
- Translation. The Bible has 5-7 verses that are associated with same sex behavior. Not one of those verses refers to mutually loving relationships. Not one. Every instance refers to sex in the context of idol/cultic worship, rape or violence, prostitution or abuse.
- Transformation. You can indeed be a gay Christian. Profession of faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior followed by fruits of the Holy Spirit are indicators. The Bible says “whosoever” clearly.
- Creation. People are born straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (with a range of variation in this one). No one chooses orientation.
My blogsite CanyonwalkerConnections.com helps in looking at each of these statements in greater depth. If you cannot get beyond considering the possibility that there could be some validity of these statements, the likelihood is quite low that you will enjoy healthy, respectful and loving relationships with your GLBT friends and family. Of course, there are exceptions. The reality is however, that by denying anyone of these
possibility of truth in these statements, you are indeed discounting the person at some level.
How many times have you said “hate the sin, love the sinner”. I don’t need to run that through Snopes.com to know this is not even in the Bible. A more accurate Bible summary would be “love and serve each person and hate your own sin”. If your stance is as follows:
- homosexuality is strictly condemned in the Bible
- if one is gay, they cannot have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ
- being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is a decision
then you are the barrier to forming and maintaining your relationships with GLBT people. If I viewed you as unacceptable within my standards, discounted the most basic part of your being, spirituality and faith as broken and told you that you must no longer talk to me about your partner, how closely do you think our lives would intermingle? As a mother, I know that the greatest gifts to my children I offer are love, acceptance and security. All the other stuff is fluff. These are the things of relationship: love, acceptance and security.
In considering your relationships with GLBT people especially family members:
- are you loving (the Jesus kind of loving as in I Corinthians 13:4)?
- do you accept GLBT people for who they are, not who you want them to be? We are not even permitted to tell The Potter that we are dissatisfied with the way He made us. So, what gives? We get to complain that someone else is not who we want them to be?
- have you distanced yourself from GLBT people because you are uncomfortable? We have lost the importance of the Biblical directive to be hospitable. The first qualification of a church leader is . . . ta-da . . . hospitality. Are you welcoming? Or have you created distance? Please don’t lay this at the feet of “them”. If you continually treated me as if there were something broken in me, I will stay away.
Each of the verses of sections or Scriptures that are used in the discussion of same sex behavior and the Bible are looked at in detail in the blog. Please, invest some time to perhaps see a point of view that you may not
have previously considered. Lots of reading and listed resources are available on the rest of my blogsite.
According the research at the Barna Institute, 60% of GLBT adults say their faith is “very important” in their lives. And, 70% of GLBT people consider themselves to be Christians. The final number may challenge the “can’t be gay and Christian” group greatly: 58% have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in (their) life today.”
We each have our own assessment scale of what authentic Christian faith may look like. At it’s simplest definition, it is a profession in and surrender to Jesus Christ as the payment for our sins . Jesus becomes the role model and we grow in exhibiting the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The Red-Letter Jesus ups the ante in Matthew when He says “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me. Then they will go away to eternal punishment, the righteous to eternal life.” Add to that the directives of Isaiah 58 to “loose the chains of injustice” and “spend yourself in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed”, and we are held to a whole new level of what the evidence of our faith looks like.
Before you pick at the menusha of someone else’s position in Christ, grapple with and inspect your own fruits as evidence. If a GLBT person says they have put their faith in Jesus the Mighty Liberator and you see fruits of the Holy Spirit in their lives, then treat them as you would any other sorely flawed believer. Focus on getting the Matthew and Isaiah things working in your life and stop quoting verses at them. They are your brothers and sisters in Christ. They are not stepchildren to God; they get the full inheritance. Please, respectfully treat them as such.
No I cannot show you the “gay gene”, nor can I show you the heterosexual gene. Uncommon or minority does not mean wrong or deviant. GLBT people know as early as 5 that they are feeling things differently than those around them. By puberty, most are more aware and trying to find answers and reasons. Their attractions are set before one thought of sexual attraction ever hits their genitals.
Science is beginning to show us differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals:
- Male birth order. The more sons a woman has, the higher the likelihood is that he will be gay. Homosexuality is in roughly 3% of first sons and the number increases about 1% for each subsequent son. The suspicion is that there is a maternal immune response to foreign substances caused by male fetuses. This is not true for female fetuses. With each pregnancy, the maternal antibodies increase and may prevent the male fetuses’ brain from developing in a typical heterosexual male fashion.
- The brains of gay males are more closely related to that of a straight women and more dissimilar to that of a heterosexual male. Go look at the science on this for yourself; Google “gay male brain”.
- Fingerprint patterns. The fingerprint patterns of gay men are similar to those of heterosexual women. Fingerprint ridges are complete by week 16 and the suspicion is prenatal hormones are the influencer.
- Left handedness. Homosexual men have a 39% more chance of being left handed than heterosexual men. (I wondered why I seem to have so many left handed gay friends!)
- Hearing. Lesbians have a more male-typical cochlear ear anatomy. Their ear structure is between the typical male and heterosexual female.
True, no gay gene, but, people do not make choices to change the prenatal hormones they wash in as a fetus, nor do they redesign their brains, nor add ridges to their fingerprints, nor do they switch the hand with which they write or change the structure of their ear bones. The scientific evidence is certainly there to substantiate pre-birth differences, and, the body of knowledge and evidence is growing.
I will say that I do believe there are a small number of cases where early sexual abuse may have distorted the intended orientation. To make this the standard reason for being gay is destructive on so many levels. The occurrence of sexual abuse is just as high in the heterosexual population. Yet, we continually repeat this distortion and lie and impose guilt and shame on the backs on parents of GLBT children.
You are probably thinking, “But I know of a person who was gay , is now straight and is married with children. So there! It was a choice, he repented of his sin and lifestyle and is now straight, the way God intended him to be”. Common retort. We may indeed each know this “someone”. Sexual attraction is on a continuum. Oh that life would be as simple as black and white.
- Since the late 40’s, the Kinsey Scale has been a way of assessing sexual attraction. If you have no sexual attraction to the same sex, you are a 0.It goes all the way up to a 6 where there is NO sexual attraction to the opposite sex. Can 4’s and 5’s experience some level of attraction to the opposite sex? Yes, some. Can 2’s and 3’s experience some attraction to the same sex? Yes, some. In that space between 2 and 5, there are variations and even bisexuals who can be attracted to either sex. The “someone” we each know, in all likelihood is in that 3 or 4 range or maybe in the 5 range and struggling a lot , or
- they may indeed be healed of sexual abuse that shifted their orientation. Again, if you feel compelled to place all your GLBT friends that you want to fix into this category, go back and read the above again until you get what I am saying.
- That “someone” may be living a lie as a heterosexual to conform to societal, familial and spiritual pressures. Think this is far fetched and uncommon? It is quite common in the 40 to 70 year old range of many of my GLBT friends. (They younger generations are coming out sooner and not getting trapped in this disaster.) They get married hoping to “change”, or they need to conform for acceptance, or they want a family. How do they do the sexual intercourse part? A whole lot of fantasizing. They often do indeed love their partner romantically, but not sexually. Both parties lose out and most often, the marriage and family falls apart. These are called mixed orientation marriages. A good resource to read is “The Other Side of the Closet” by Amity Pierce Buxton.
Check out the site of some of my friends at Ex Gay Watch and Box Turtle Bulletin for stories and information from people who have tried the reorientation or reparative therapy route to stop being gay.There is excellent insight in these sites from people who experienced it first hand.
A quick word on behalf of my transgender friends—please read my post entitled “Can Size 14 Heels Keep You Out of Heaven?” There is another level of understanding needed when considering transgender folks. .
Briefly, for the GL and B people, the issue is sexual attraction. For the T community, it is about gender orientation. I know this is complicated for straight Christians who need to assign everything into tidy lists that they understand. Good thing God is not limited by our minds or creation abilities. I would have made it all much simpler, but far less interesting. Actually, no I would not. I really like the differences now that I have some level of comprehension. My life is quite colorful.
Well, that is the short list of “please hear me”s of the GLBT Christian community. Visit my website and poking around at articles of interest to you. You can interact with me, but I would strongly encourage you to interact with you GLBT family member or friend. Ask them their story and listen. We have for too long imposed our neat, tidy and biased story on their lives. They can tell you when they knew they were gay; they can share with you the path to accepting their orientation and knowing of the waiting discrimination They will tell you about the struggle to stay connected to God the Loving Father when the other sibs kept pushing them away and telling them there was no room at the Table for them. They will tell you about the one they love from the depth of their being. And when they do all this talking because you are finally listening, listen some more. There are stories and sharing that has been pent up for years when you would not/could not/did not give ear to them.
The GLBT community is about 18,000,000 strong in the United States. They are not the majority, but they are our friends, co workers, relatives, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers. If they are brave enough to trust you by being open, then listen. Discrimination is ugly no matter how nicely you may wrap it in a Bible with gold leaf pages. We have used a Book of Love to hurt. I pray that you will hear me for them and that you have the courage to humble yourself and consider that you may not have been correct or informed. They are loved and accepted by the God that created them. I know many of us have had very good intentions when we interact and speak “the truth in love”. We do not want to see anyone go to hell and be separated from God forever. That is honorable. The way we have gone about this concern is quite twisted. And considering the GLBT community that will not even come into our congregation doors because of our bad behavior (did you catch that our bad behavior), try loving and serving. People rarely get argued into the Kingdom of God.
I hope you see this “love the sinner, hate the sin” is a smokescreen for fear (for that is the opposite of love) and discrimination; it is not even in the Bible. Just stop it. Please. Find your own words for what is going on inside you. What is causing the fear? If you are wrong about this, will your belief system collapse? Is it too scary to not understand and not have all the answers? When I see people treating others poorly, I know the problem is not between them and the target, it is between them and God. What grace work do you and God need to do?
I hope you will take some time to see if maybe there is some worth to what I am writing. A few hours of your time to repair relationship, to act like Jesus to someone, or perhaps to see the injustice. Where can you find a bargain like that? Drop your swords, drop to your knees and open your hearts. Listen, learn and love.
I will be creating a space on Facebook with a discussion area. Maybe we can begin some intellectual Christlike dialogue? I dig it when I can differ with someone and we do it respectfully. Ultimately, face to face, heart to heart and humble spirit to humble spirit is where this will be hashed out. If I can be of assistance to a group of you, contact me and let me know.
Holy Spirit wisdom, peace, mercy , compassion and grace to you and in you, Kathy
All the pictures in this blogpost are from my GLBT Christian friends. You’ll meet these wonderful people on a Street of Gold one day.