Nineteen. In, Mostly ‘Out,’ & The Spaces Between. Part III

The first step in all of this meant admitting my total helplessness to restore myself or to be this awkward super Christian thing I formerly let people and even myself believe I was. As Brennan Manning or Donald Miller would both echo in their books, (Ragamuffin Gospel and Blue Like Jazz respectively) it is better to be a beggar at the door of God’s mercy than to live in rich man’s delusion.

I had been the “pharisee,” I had been the “sinner,” and now I was coming into an understanding of myself as a child of God in a way totally unexperienced up until that point. As it turns out I think we’re all a bit self-righteous at times, a bit rebellious at times, weird at times (most of the time) but all the more immeasurably loved by the Father. Amazing grace they call it and more than just saying that, singing that, or accepting that just as an idea it was becoming more and more of a transformative reality. I had been asleep and God came and woke me up. He woke me up and laid out the next steps of the path.

So after all this wooing and all the milage made I had the opportunity to transfer to Columbia International University which in its conservative approach to the Bible and lifestyle choices made me incredibly nervous… but I was just compelled that this was where I needed to be to start grappling with what I was finally able to reference as “same sex attraction.”

[…Which I’d like to just pause and laugh at because , well, that’s a really formal and impersonal phrase for something that hasbien (don’t act like you didn’t know that was going to get thrown in here)…and is incredibly informal and deeply personal. ]

August of 2010 rolled around and it marked my first exposure to group therapy and accountability partnership. I was received by a school and a congregation that made it clear that this fight was not my own. I was shown that God’s primary vehicle for waging war against my struggles, doubts, and insecurities was going to be His people…His Church and this was just as alarming as it was enchanting. 

There was room for me at the Table. And I became acquainted with the strangest and most beautiful sense of belonging .

Since this time I have stumbled along this funky …but very narrow path of sanctification, experienced defeat, known triumph, and been delivered of so much the confusion and shame that characterized the days of this former life. I’ve learned that there are no unique or ‘worse’ ways that we fall short but rather we’re all these peculiar hypocrites in transition…people who are no longer who they used to…but aren’t quite yet who they are going to be. I’ve learned that whether or not my impatience, my indulgence, my pride, or my ‘gay’ gets prayed away …I am nevertheless empowered to live a life free of the chains and identifying powers those things used to have on me.

I am learning what Philip Yancey calls “God’s alchemy of Redemption,” that God’s power is precisely in and through weakness, NOT in the absence of it. I am a daughter, a rascally one I’ll say though…of the Father and through all of life’s questions I am being  sustained by His promises. So whether ‘healing’ means that my ‘orientation’ changes, I form one specific attraction for a male spouse, or I live my life in celibacy, I am not my sexuality & neither are you, and  I count it privilege to be a part of the depth, height, and width of God’s true love. 

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot

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5 thoughts on “Nineteen. In, Mostly ‘Out,’ & The Spaces Between. Part III

  1. Um. How many people are going to Hell?

    All the Episcopalians, perhaps, with their gay bishops? More and more accepting Lutherans?

    I pray that you will realise that God made you lesbian as part of the human community, all with different gifts. If the lesbian says I am not part of the body because I am not straight, is that not like a foot wanting to be a hand? (I am sure you catch the St Paul reference).

  2. I wanted to give you a link. This one: http://lattertimesnews.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/wheaton-college-down-the-drain/

    Some graduates of his old college have said that they will no longer persecute people like us, and he thinks it is “down the drain”. He hates you. He really does. He hates anyone who will not persecute you.

    So, which “Christians” do you want to align with? Haters like the one in that link, or the Christians he condemns?

  3. First of all I want to extend my respect and appreciation for your thoughtful interaction. I am always so delighted (regardless of perspective difference) by the discourse that is generated from the exchange of something as simple as a personal story:) To respond to your initial question (although I think that might have been rhetorical) about Christians going to Hell on the basis of their position on homosexuality (for or against revision theology) I want to apologize if any of my writing indicated I or the evangelical church held that position. From my understanding, it is the unrepentant who ultimately experience eternal separation from God – that is those who would maintain their autonomy in this conscious life, rejecting the authority namely the lordship of Christ. My error in this said ‘former’ life’ was simply such; I made my decisions and pioneered my way on the basis of ‘what seemed right in my own sight’ and used the Bible to proof-text those positions. In other words my life was not characterized by the attitude ‘because I am a child of God I am going to live my life accordingly,’ rather it was ‘I am going to live my life accordingly so that I can try and be a child of God.’ Instead of coming before the Lord and the authority of His Word I just kind of did my own thing and pined for justification after justification of that. I would never go so far as to say ‘anyone and everyone who has adopted Revisionist theology is living outside the Lordship of Jesus’ but rather in my own personal experience that was the way it just happened to unfold.
    The second idea I wanted to respond to was the notion that by rejecting the gay lifestyle that I am trying to assume the roles, life circumstances, or giftedness you would find in a straight identifying person. It is true that I by and large consider a homosexual disposition to serve as an impediment in my daily surrender to Jesus but more than just a “struggle” I perceive it much like Paul’s thorn; that is a ‘gift’ in which I have the opportunity to see continual provision, continual sustenance, and a continual outpouring of the peace in soul we read comes from God alone. I have the opportunity to identify with Jesus in self-denial, in affliction, and in offering my body as a living sacrifice. This is not masochism, this is not torture – this is privilege and something I learn to realistically count as joy. I didn’t arrive at that conclusion from my community (Actually my faith community has at least 5 or 6 close friends who assume ‘Side A’ in this debate and are consistently encouraging me to maintain their position as well) I arrived at the conclusion from the overarching principles for life and doctrine we find in the public ministry of Jesus, Paul’s, and especially Peter’s epistles. I arrived at the conclusion from hours of prayer, solitude and fasting. Did I consult Godly counseling, absolutely but those settings were surprisingly free from dogmatism or coercion. Most of what was said in those settings was only reaffirming what I believe God had already whispered over me.
    Now when it comes to the “Evangelical idolatry of nice, simple rules” so that we can understand and be Good in all situations, I totally agree that this is a common misinterpretation and false proclamation of the gospel. I agree that this has resulted in the persecution of gay people, of women, of people of ethnicity , and so on and so forth throughout Church history but from my research and experience these were all positions that Christendom at large did what they could to be a stop to. Do I know dozens of Evangelicals who insult the image of God they were made in by rejecting the achievements and insights they could gain from the social sciences? Yes. Unfortunately, yes. But this does not mean that all people who approach the Bible conservatively are painted the same red. I believe that a part of being called out of darkness is that we’d all develop a true empathy for human need of all shapes and sizes and that includes but is not limited to becoming sensitive do the identity and emotional issues associated with homosexuality. It means loving and understanding where people are coming from before we initiate the conversation of ethics and moral codes. It means more than just a theology of homosexuality we would develop a robust theology of sexuality, a theology of intimacy, a theology of salvation, of sin, and of creation as a whole. It means that we’d see hearts instead of behaviors or lifestyles and that is exactly the love, respect, and dignity I’ve been treated with by my faith community.
    The last bit I wanted to address was that sassy blog you sent me a link to. His position seems to be a popular one referenced by many in the gay christian community when reacting to the traditional view. Unfortunately he is not responding with the kind of orthodoxy or orthopraxis my own church as well as others connected to the Evangelical Theological Society & or The Gospel Coalition maintain …but rather a more Fundamentalist, Right-Winged, politically-driven, may I say ‘pharisaical’ position. So does he hate me? I don’t actually know the author, nor do I think he is really aware of all the factors that played into the whole OneWheaton dobacle so I can’t be certain if that’s the word I was use to describe our relationship…Regardless the answer to your question about “where I would like to identify,” the answer is “not with him,” but it’s also not with the party who advocates the embracing of an active gay lifestyle either. Perhaps there is room for a third-category?

    1. I find that moving and perceptive.

      I wanted to share an interpretation of the broad and narrow way: the narrow way is not the One Right Christianity, and the broad way everyone else; rather, the broad way is the way of attempting to conform to the Normal, and the Narrow way is that idiosyncratic way which fits only You.

      I wish you well. I leave with more respect for side B than I had before.

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