This is a point I’ve been trying to make for quite some time; Julie pins it down well.
Some of the thoughts in this post came from my reading of this article. I highly recommend it. The article’s author and I don’t share the same theological affinity, but I think there are some wonderful things he expresses in his post.
When it comes to dating women, I’m not terribly experienced. I’ve never been in a dating relationship per se… but I have taken two women out on dates. I’ve been turned down flat by two others. I’ve never dated a man.
I’m about to start my third year of seminary and am taking the summer to read and think. I opted not to take any summer classes–I’m convinced that my never taking summer classes prior to seminary is why I actually enjoyed school at all, so I’m testing that theory. So far, so good. 🙂
One of the things I’m thinking about is whether or not God is calling me to be an unmarried minister. I really don’t know, so I sought out some advice from close friends who have told me that one way God’s will is revealed in these situations is to date. That’s more than a little scary for me, honestly.
When I was in Junior High through college, I didn’t have any young cousins. There’s just me and my brother, who is only four years my junior. I’ve never been around a ton of kids, so they mostly scared me. I’ve always been the guy to have friends who are older than him and the idea of relating to people who were younger was scary.
But the more I’ve worked with kids, the more I’m open to having some of my own. I’ve had friends who have elementary age children. I’ve worked as a music teacher in an elementary school…and kids need godly role models who are men. Sorry ladies…not that what you do isn’t important, but it makes me sick that more guys aren’t involved in children’s ministry and elementary education. I think I was in Junior High before I ever had a male teacher, with the exception of my gym teacher. I certainly didn’t have a male Sunday school teacher until the same age. Why is discipleship of children women’s work?
Thomas Brooks’ book Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices talks about various ways the Christian is dissuaded from the life Christ wants him or her to live. One such idea is to present God as made up entirely of mercy, to the exclusion of other things which can be said about him.
One way the Christian can fight the urge of our time to view God this way is to consider that the people of God who have gone before didn’t consider God’s mercy as an excuse to sin. The psalmist wrote,
3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness.
4 I do not sit with men of falsehood,
nor do I consort with hypocrites.
5 I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked.
–Psalm 26:3-5, ESV
Someone recently asked me what about Dan Savage’s comments were false. I don’t have time to catalog all of them here, right now, as I’m in a full-court press toward finals week. However, I’d like to tackle one now.
“People often point out that they can’t help it with the anti-gay bullying because it says right there in Leviticus, it says right there in [First] Timothy, it says right there in Romans…that being gay is wrong.”
How is Dan defining “gay bullying”? I’m going to step out on a limb here and say that this is at least directed toward those who maintain that marriage is only legitimately engaged in by two adults who are of different genders. But is that bullying just because a restriction is placed on a certain behavior?
To bully someone is to “use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.” Insisting on heterosexual marriage as an institution to the exclusion of others is not, by the very definition, bullying. It’s nice rhetoric, the type that politicians and right-wing crazies use often. If we can demonize the other side, it is thought, we can win the culture war!
On April 12 & 13, 2012, Ron Belgau and Justin Lee spoke at Pepperdine University on the issues of LGBT issues in a Christian context. This is an important discussion for the Church to have. We need to teach and exhort with humility and not be afraid to say what the Scripture says. The explanatory blurbs below were sent to me by Ron Belgau and were originally published in the program for the event at Pepperdine.
This morning, an Australian pastor I follow on Twitter asked me two questions about homosexuality because he’s going to be talking about it to his congregation. So I dashed off this email prior to hitting the gym this morning.
1. As a Christian who has same-sex attraction, what are some of your challenges that you face in your daily life?
Because of my orientation, I develop crushes on guys. This should be no surprise, since guys have crushes on and are attracted to girls all the time…and girls, the same with guys. Two things happen: internally, it’s hard to escape condemnation, especially when the guys I’m attracted to are godly men and that’s one of the reasons I like them in the first place. Externally, it’s difficult to be open about just the reality of the crush situation because I fear that it will push away men in my life who will fear that I’ll crush on them at some point, instead of trusting that I can sort it out in community and with God’s help in my sanctification.
I’ve been bullied by other Christians in a couple of ways. Once, I was slandered by a fellow church-member who thought that by telling the world on my mother’s facebook wall that I was a homosexual and that I’d lied to the elders in order to teach Sunday School and lead worship on Sunday mornings that somehow he’d scored a victory for the truth. The reality was that the elders had known I was gay but celibate and had allowed me to serve and lead because of my repentance. But since I’m not “out” everywhere on Facebook to all of my friends, it was hurtful. The man never did apologize and the elders didn’t take action. I left that church, of course.
First, I haven’t fallen off the radar completely. I’ve been swamped with reading for my Covenant Theology class, as well as learning Greek and doing my first outline for Sermon Preparation and Delivery. Pretty stoked.
I’m also a reader for another student (meaning, I read their assignments onto an mp3 file and then send it to them). It pays pretty well and it’s a class I’ll have to take in the future, so I’ll have read most of the materials for those classes when I get there. Pretty excited about that, actually. But what that means is I fell behind in reading a little bit this week and spent 8 hours reading, 2 for the other guy, 6 for me…just to get caught up. Then I came back from class today and read for over 2 hours for the other guy. Now I’m taking a break from Greek to write this.
But another distraction has arrived. Amazon just sent me the copy of Washed and Waiting by Wes Hill. I couldn’t put it down and spent an hour this afternoon reading it. It warrants its own post, but allow me to quote from page 42 (which is, of course, the answer to life, the universe, everything):
A sexual orientation is such a complex and, in most cases, it seems, intractable thing; I for one cannot imagine what ‘healing’ from my orientation would look like, given that it seems to manifest itself not only in physical attraction to male bodies but also in a preference for male company, with all that it entails, such as conversation and emotional intimacy and quality time spent together.
I began seminary today with summer Greek. I’m not completely freaked out, but I’m sufficiently motivated. I’ve been studying flash cards I’ve made with vocabulary and the Greek alphabet, so I figured I’d take a few moments to look at a Jonathan Edwards dissertation concerning The End for which God Created the World. It was recommended to me by a fellow Greek student, so I thought I’d give it a look. I’m reading out of the 1860 printing of the 1834 edition. It’s a rewarding experience to read a classic in an older edition, but for the sake of my notes, I’ll be paraphrasing most of what I read. Continue reading