Homosexuality (yes I'm going to go there)

Over on our facebook page I have been sharing pictures and stories that have been coming across my feed today. In spite of everything else that’s in the news it seems that the pages and celebrities I follow are all talking about homosexuality. And I think that’s good. It needs to be talked about. And continue to be talked about until it’s not something that needs to be talked about anymore.

Of course the big story on this front is the marriage of well-known actor Neil Patrick Harris (of Doogie Howser and How I Met Your Mother fame – among others) to his long-time partner David.

And I, as a Christian, couldn’t be more…. happy for them. Yes. I am happy that one person that loved another person was able to have a warm and loving ceremony to celebrate their love. The world didn’t end, lions didn’t lay down with lambs, the walls didn’t start bleeding, and life as we know it continues to go on.

But in the religious circles I run, there is outrage. “Horrible example!” they say. “Abomination! I will never watch his stuff again!” they say.

Why? Why are so many Christians and churches so outraged by homosexuality? Why? They point this this obscure text or that one and say “See? God hates gays!” And whenever  a story like this comes out we see that so many in the church are just like the Westboro Baptist folks they claim they are not like. The only difference is they don’t show up to funerals with signs. Other than that they agree pretty much 100% with their message that “God Hates F**s”.

(For a really good approach to these verses from the Bible, check out this article: Clobbering Biblical Gay Bashing)

What is my take on all this?

Is Gay a choice? Is it something that can be “prayed away” or changed? Is it something that you can just ‘not be’? What should we, as Christians, do about it?

Some say the answers are easy. I think, maybe, not so much. (I am in no way shape or form very knowledgeable on this topic. But I have friends and I have kids and I have talked about this with them, so what I present here is things that have been said to me.)

I think that there are people that  are born gay. They are always attracted to the opposite sex. (Same is true for bi-sexuality). They just are.

But I also think that there are some, because of the conditions of their life or maybe a traumatic event, or who knows what, that are born ‘straight’ but become gay. These are the ones you hear about that claim to have been ‘healed’ of it or “found something they like better” in the opposite sex or a million other stories like that. Not all, but some.

And it gets more complex from there. Human sexuality, like almost every other issue in the world, is not black and white. It’s not even fifty shades of grey, it’s complicated and multicolored and messy. To try to push one group or another of people into some box or make them match some definition of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is just…. well, wrong.

But we also need to be aware of those, ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ that feel confused about their sexuality. As I said because of circumstances or events or other things, some might need help. They should be directed to specialists (and not anti-gay specialists, human sexuality specialists) to get the help they need.

And yes. We should pray for them. But not for the gay to “go away”, but for them to be who they were created to be, no matter what that is. For them to be their true self. In fact, we should pray that for everyone.That is what our Christian response should be to homosexuality, or any human condition, for the people involved to be their true selves.

But what about all those verses from Moses and Paul and everything?

Well, what about them? The Bible isn’t a sex manual. Nor is it a manual on “how to make people live the way you want them to”. The Bible is PERSONAL, it’s a message to YOU, not to other people through you – at least not on the issue of sexuality (or what they should eat or how they should dress, etc.) If YOU feel compelled to not be gay, then do something about it. If you feel compelled to not eat shellfish or have four tassels on your skirt, then by all means, then do what you think is right. But the Bible wasn’t written for you to force other people to follow what you think it says.

One thing Bible reading people need to stop doing is STOP BEING SO OBSESSED WITH HOMOSEXUALITY. Seriously, there are hundreds, thousands, millions of other issues that need attention. Not the least of which is the fact that almost 8 million kids right here in the US don’t have enough to eat. Or thousands of wounded and hurting military veterans need medical and psychiatric care. Or women all over the world in abusive and dangerous relationships. There are so so many way more important things we need to be dealing with instead of worrying about who is kissing who.

One final thought.

Arguably, Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. And most certainly he never said anything DIRECTLY about same-sex relationships. What He did say is probably much harder to deal with than the verses about homosexuality. “Love You Neighbor As Yourself”.

That night I dreamt about how we treat people…

I don’t ascribe much meaning to dreams. I don’t see them as being a “message from beyond” or foretelling the future or any such thing as that. But sometimes dreams have such an emotional impact that we carry them in our minds to our waking life.

I had such a dream last night. I knew, even as I was still dreaming, that I needed to share it in one of my blogs. This one seemed to be the best fit as one of the antagonists in the story was a religious type. And I think the lesson is one many religious types need to hear (though will probably ignore.)

In reality I’m a big guy. Six foot three, over 250 lbs. I shave my head and wear a scraggly, graying goatee. I walk with a cane. I share that because in the dream none of that was different. I was still me.

But in the dream I was also a cross-dresser. Ok, so that’s a little weird. I have no conscious desire to do so in reality, but in the dream it was very important to me to dress like a woman. I wore a wig over the bald head and some kind of turban thing. My dress was silk or satin, off white. A formal kind of thing. And I didn’t shave my beard. So I was a tall, fat, bearded lady.

And I just went about my business as normal, as if this was something I do every day.

Ok. So really weird. But I haven’t gotten to the story yet.

I had friends that were also cross dressers. Or transvestites. I’m not sure which we were, if we were just guys dressing as women or guys that wanted to BE women. But we went shopping, for accessories, bags and purses and things like that. We bought some things and were walking down the street to… somewhere, I don’t know. In the dream it was a city scene, not one that I remember from reality.

We walked by a post office where a guy was sitting on the curb. Just a “regular” guy. Blue jeans, denim jacket, Jesus Freak t-shirt, ball cap with a cross on it. (Ok, so not so ‘regular’ obviously a stereotype, and a psychiatrist might tell me it’s an amalgam of something or other….)

So we guys-in-dresses are walking by this red-neck-Jesus-Freak. He jumped up and started yelling at us. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but as I’m writing this the dream is starting to fade and I’m left with the impression that it was the typical religious “get right with God ye spawn of Satan” kind of thing that tends to get hurled at guys that wear dresses.

But the thing that is sticking most with me from the dream is this: My friends and I were walking by, ignoring the preaching, when he grabbed me on the shoulder.

This part of the dream was so real… I can still feel the hand on my shoulder. Strong, violent, frightening. He spun me around, in spite of being shorter than me, and the look in his face was not that of a Christian that cared about my eternal soul, but rather one of anger, of deep, black, murderous hatred.

It was a moment frozen, this part of the dream. My antagonist didn’t say anything, just held my shoulder in a painful grip and looked at me with such black hate…. him with his ball cap with a Christian cross on it.

The scene then broke. A new figure appeared. Things are really getting fuzzy at this point, so I don’t know who it was supposed to be in the dream. The hateful guy was gone and my friends and this new person were gathered around me, I was shaking. This new person just held me. I remember saying to them “I need to choose, I need to either be a man or a woman, not a bearded freak.” “No,” they said, “you just need to be you.”

And I woke up and started writing this.

My thoughts seemed so clear when I woke up, but it’s all blurring together now. Is this something I need to examine in my own life? Or is this a message meant for others? Or is it just the sausage I ate before going to sleep?

I still feel the hate, the fear, the sorrow. The feelings are hard to shake. Have I made others feel this way? Was the religious guy really me shaking a finger and scowling with murderous hate? Or was he a representation of something more, of the religious ‘machine’ as a whole? Either way I was made to feel the anger and hatred.

So now I’m going to get preachy.

Why do we, religious and especially Christian people, insist on trying to control how other people live? I mean, yes, we see in the Gospel that there is a way that we should live, BUT I don’t see anywhere that we are to go out and FORCE others to live that way. In fact we are warned by Jesus to take the log out of our own eye before worrying about the speck in someone elses. Why oh why do we insist on forcing people to do what we think they should?

My dream self was attacked by someone that didn’t like the way he was living, someone that, symbolically at least, was a religious person. Yet many people face that same scenario every single day of their life. They’re told that they are “wrong” that their lifestyle is “sin” that they are “damned” and the face a legislative machine that seems bent on making their life miserable.

And all that in the name of “love the sinner hate the sin”. Whether we realize it or not, what we call ‘hating the sin’ is often hating the very thing that the ‘sinner’ considers integral to their being. And then we say our ‘rights’ are being violated because that ‘sinner’ is getting the same rights we already have. We want everyone do be like us, to dress like us, to marry like us, to believe like us and if we can’t have that, dang nabbit, we’re going to do everything to make sure they CAN’T have it THEIR way.

What the heck is wrong with us?

Now, granted, there are things that we should not allow. Things that involve victims. Serial killers, child molesters, cruelty to animals. These ARE things we should worry about because the victims can’t speak for themselves. But things that are harmless, like how someone dresses, how they wear their hair, private decisions between a woman and her doctor, why are any of these things any of our business? Whether we consider them “right” or “wrong”, it’s still none of our business.

And yes, even when that bearded guy in a dress walks in the front door of our church, it’s STILL none of our business. Our only job, at that point, is to walk up to him, offer a warm, sincere handshake, and offer them a seat next to you in ‘your’ pew. That’s it. Period, the end. No comment, no judging, no ‘go home and change’. Just be a friend. Who knows? Bearded Guy In A Dress might turn out to be your best friend.

My point in all this is this:

Stop it.

Stop being a dick and stop using politics to further your dickishness and most of all stop using Jesus as your excuse.

Thanks for listening.