I Didn't Ask for This
(An essay on being gay addressed to my Christian friends, or otherwise)
I didn't ask for this - I didn't choose to be gay!
I could be you! I could be, and might be, your son, daughter, niece, and/or nephew.
I didn't choose to be gay anymore than I chose to be born with a brittle gone disease or be only 4'2" tall as a secondary result of my condition.
It sucks having brittle bones, having to walk with canes and needing to be cautious with every step lest I slip and break something. It sucks being two feet too short. The doctors tell me I would be around 6'2" judging by my arms, shoulders, and build were it not for my bone condition.
It sucks being gay. It really sucks being a gay Christian. Now, try being a gay evangelical Christian with a rare brittle bone disease and only 4'2" tall!
Lest this sound like the beginnings of an endless pity-party I assure you I am merely making a point... I didn't choose any of this for myself.
God saw fit to allow me to be born the way I am physically and God saw fit to allow me to be born the way I am sexually.
It wasn't my idea to have an inexplicable attraction to Bill Bixby as far back as watching him on early tv shows as a kid.
I wasn't abused by anyone or emotionally neglected by my father as a young child (some of that came about later in life). It wasn't my idea to be more excited by the male nudity then the female during the usual young adolescent peeks at dirty magazines.
I didn't choose to feel the deep butterflies-in-your-guts love for my childhood best friend Anu. I just did.
Just like many of you reading this can recall such feelings for someone of the opposite sex as far back as you can remember, then into adolescence and beyond, so it was for me. Just that for me it was with other boys instead of girls.
I didn't choose to be gay. I just am.
Like many straight men I also went through my own phase of experimentation. I was infatuated with a girl I met in junior high. She captivated me. I dare say I was in love with her, or so I thought as much as one can know of love at such a young stage in life.
Yet all the while my heart was pining after this one particular girl, Sabrina, my mind, and by body, was also yearning for the company and affection of other boys my age. And my heart has experienced its own share of pitter-patter and heart breaks from them as well along the way.
My point is that just like many heterosexual men, and women, will have their own "phases" of same-sex curiosity or even heart felt and/or physical attraction - so too do many gay (or bisexual) men and women have their own opposite sex attractions and heart breaks along this confusing journey through adolescence in coming to understanding and accepting our own sexuality. Just as many or you, the reader, have if you would be honest with yourselves about it.
Now imagine yourself as a youth. Remember those early days of innocent puppy love and not quite so innocent adolescent yearnings... What if - just for the sake of hypothetical thought - what if those same feelings were for others of your own sex?
Can you imagine how confused you would be? Can you imagine what your parents, or your brothers and sisters would say if you were to tell them?
Can you imagine how ashamed you would feel? And how you would wonder what is wrong with you?
Can you imagine how you would feel about yourself?
How you might even hate yourself or at least about how you feel?
Now imagine yourself in a church as a young child and hearing how such a person as this is going to hell. How God hates the immoral and the perverse, the homosexual, and how the world is trying to say this sort of behavior is ok but in God's eyes and in the eyes of the church it is something to be abhorred.
Did you imagine that? Or did you find yourself rising up in defensiveness instead?
Imagine if those feelings you had, and still have, for the opposite sex were for someone of your own sex.
Let me ask you a question. Did you choose to be attracted to that first girl or boy you saw that stirred those first memorable feelings of attraction for the opposite sex within you? No? Well neither did I choose to have them for someone of my own sex. They just were.
We live in a messed up world. A world affected by sin, death, radiation, pollution, genetic predispositions, and recessive genes of all kinds. Put the right combination together and you've got a perfectly healthy baby. Put another combination together and you've got one with a rare brittle bone condition. Yet another combination and you've got an innate wiring for homosexual orientation.
I didn't ask for any of it. It just happened. And it could have happened just as easily to you as it did to me. How would you feel if this was you instead?
"But the Bible says..." Yes it does. The Bible says lots of things. The Bible tells us of a loving and wonderful God who so loved you and me that he sent his own Son to be born and die for our sins. The Bible tells us he loves us so much he did this for you and for me, so we could be forgiven of our sins.
The Bible also tells us that a woman should not speak in church. And that she should also not go into a church with her head uncovered.
The Bible also says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire (you might want to keep that one in mind the next time you tell your spouse you like that awful hairstyle she/he just got).
My point is not to lambaste the scriptures but rather to point a bit of a finger back on ourselves. We pick and choose. We claim to believe in absolutes and yet hold to partial truths.
We wield one verse or passage like a weapon of destruction and hate against others not like ourselves and yet make allowances for cultural context and realistic application for ourselves.
"But it's not being 'gay' that condemns you Ed, it's acting out on those desires."...
Yes, I am well aware that many of my beloved, sincerely beloved, Christian friends would have me choose one of the following paths rather then pursue a sinful gay lifestyle.
1) I could learn to resist my sinful inclinations and seek out a godly heterosexual relationship, much like an alcoholic or drug addict learns to resist his/ her own addictive impulses or dependencies.
2) If living in a heterosexual union is not going to work out for me than I should choose a life of singleness and celibacy, not denying my "gayness" but not giving in to it either.
There are many who have chosen one or the other of these life paths and if you hunt around online it wouldn't take you long to find such a person who would claim to be quite content and even joyful living in such liberating "victory" over their own gay inclinations.
Let me also point out though that there are many (and many more coming out in public more readily of late) who have tried such routes of "sexual freedom" and who at the time also claimed such joyous "victory", later admitting that all the while they were absolutely miserable, depressed, self-loathing, and yes even and especially in self-denial.
How many wives, husbands too, and children have been left to suffer greatly in the ensuing train-wreck that scenario of attempted "straight living" has led many into?
And while singleness may in fact be a viable option and even calling for some I assure you, "It aint for me."
Would you commend me into a "straight" relationship of inauthenticity in pretended happiness in order to meet a social norm amongst my evangelical peers?
Or as the only other biblically viable option as you might see it, would you sentence me to a life of abject loneliness?
If that is your expression of Christian love and friendship towards me than, "No thank you, please."
Do you KNOW me? would you really wish that upon me for the rest of my life?
I'm not looking to run around from guy to guy in wanton sexual promiscuity, anymore than many of you were before you found your own soul-mates/spouses.
I just want the opportunity to be free to love and be loved.
Like the great Nat King Cole standard song says, "The greatest thing you'll ever know is just to love and be loved in return".
Would you deny me that in the very name of Jesus?
Dear brother/sister in Christ, I honestly believe that in this day Jesus himself would not deprive me of that opportunity. Why would you?
Now that sounds like blasphemy to some of your ears but please quote to me all the times Jesus spoke out against the homosexual.
I believe in the inspiration and authority of scripture but I have been, for many many years of my incredible Christian journey, a Christ-centered evangelistic preacher of the gospel and this does not conflict with the message of God's love and salvation revealed to us in and through Jesus Christ.
And I will not apologize for my conviction of the supremacy of the Gospels in hermeneutical interpretation and ministry, as it has served me and my ministry very well, with God's incredible and gracious blessing being most evident, throughout the many years of ministering to and amongst non Christians and believers alike of many varied denominational and nondenominational ilk and affiliations.
I've already touched on the cultural context and hermeneutical issues that many are free to disagree with me upon. But do not deny me my faith, my place in the Christian community as your brother in Christ, nor deny me the right and freedom to find a godly loving partner.
What else can I say? What more can I plea?
As a good and caring Christian minister and friend suggested to me not too long ago, when I spoke to him about the frustration of discussing and debating the issue of my sexuality with my fellow evangelical friends, "Why not just ask them to love you Ed?"
I think that's really good advice.