Attending a Roman Catholic grade school for eight years exposed me to a fair amount of Bible reading. I felt that I had a basic knowledge of my faith and an adequate understanding of God. As I progressed through my teen years, I could not reconcile my same-sex attractions with the God and religion that I had learned about during those years in school and in church. Confident that I had not brought these attractions upon myself, and certain I’d never made a “choice” to be gay; the awareness of who I was contrasted with who I believed God to be, resulting in an intensely painful inner dissonance of sorts, leaving an escape from religion as my only path to sanity.
In returning to my faith a few years ago, it’s becoming clear to me that despite reading the Bible as a school age boy and despite loving Jesus and knowing about God, I hadn’t had an adequate understanding of Him. I lacked a solid relationship between myself, the creation, and God, my Creator. I placed a heavy emphasis on the here and now, with little outlook toward an eternal life with God. Religion was about obeying rules, being good, and going to church. God wasn’t alive and available to me in the vast and intimate way I find Him now. He was a man in a judgment seat far away, and He was a book written thousands of years ago. The thought that God, Creator of the heavens and earth, was interested in having a relationship with me was not something I recall even considering in my youth.
Obeying the rules solely for the sake of being obedient is something I’ve never been too adept at. Sure, those rules that I generally agree with as “good” are relatively simple to obey. It doesn’t take the understanding and intelligence of a genius to know that this will be a better world if I don’t murder, steal, lie, hurt others, covet, etc. But what difference does it make to this world whether I fall in love with a man or with a woman? What negative bearing would my love and commitment to another man have on the other citizens of this world? Surely, I believed, this was a stupid and arbitrary rule imposed by God for no good reason. And one which not only was I unwilling to obey, but felt unable to obey even if I were willing.
So what of my affections? And what interest does God take in who I love? My understanding of God’s prohibition on homosexuality has evolved somewhat over the years. I no longer see my propensity to seek love and affection from other men, or my desire to offer those things to other men as something which runs contrary to His will. I have freedom in Christ to form the closest of loving bonds with other men, but in doing so, I’m still called to pursue holiness and purity. And in that regard, those relationships which I choose to hold most dear should advance my lifestyle of celibacy, not detract from it. In separating sex from love, God gives me great freedom to pursue companionship and belonging among my Christian brothers.
The common teaching on homosexuality would have you believe that my sexuality is “disordered” in some way. I can’t say that I am a fan of being labeled as disordered, but maybe it is. If you believe the Bible teaches, as I do, that in all ways sexual, one man is designed to be with one woman, and out of two is made one flesh, then yes, homosexuality is disordered when it is pursuing sexual relationship with someone of the same sex. But in the case of one who has same-sex attractions but pursues celibacy, would his or her sexuality still be considered disordered? Maybe. But then too, mustn’t all present day sexuality be considered disordered as well? In labeling lust as akin to adultery, Jesus sets the bar high even for the heterosexual person. Further, God prohibits fornication, sex between people who are not married to each other. This being the case, I would contend that the most, if not all humans are sexually disordered. Viewing pornography runs rampant as does sex outside of marriage. Adultery is common, as is the struggle with lust, by men and women alike.
I would grant that, in my estimation, God’s word would seem to label me as a sexually disordered person because of my struggles relating to same-sex attraction. The mistake that many seem to be making is in assuming that the label of sexually disordered lies solely with those who are like me. God’s decree that all forms of sexual expression be contained within a marriage between one man and one woman seems to be a thing of rarity. Perhaps in 2014, we must admit that because of sexual passions gone wild, all sexuality in man is disordered, heterosexual and homosexual alike. At the very least, before pointing the finger at those who are same-sex attracted as a special class of “sinners”, all men should examine themselves and all facets of their own sexuality in light of the standards set by God.
In a world with chaos and disorder abounding, what a great God we have. A Father who knows all our self-serving and self-defeating ways, yet in His mercy, crushed His Son as cover for our transgressions and gave us a Light to show the way home.