From an anonymous reader to you and a friend of mine…
Couple things: Los, muchos kudos for your comments and to everyone else for not turning this into a blog war. There are few places where people can discuss this peacefully.
So, that said, my comment is for AJ. As someone who began to struggle with same-sex attractions in her mid-20s (I’m 32 now), I identify with the shame, fear and confusion you described in your comment. I grew up in the Pentecostal church (’nuff said) and in a macho Caribbean culture where homosexuality is regarded as one of the worst sins ever and coming out equals excommunication from my family.
(I usually comment using my real name but while close friends know about my struggle, my parents don’t — yet. Thanksgiving will be interesting this year. I don’t want them — or anyone else — finding out via the Internets. I’ll blog about it one day.)
About five years ago, I reached a point where I was sick and tired of a) fighting the attractions and b) extremely depressed and suicidal, largely because of my attractions. I decided that I was bisexual and that God loved me regardless. And God did/does love me, as he does anyone else who struggles w/ this. The thing is, as I started going to gay bars, to pursue my attractions, I still felt that God had more for me. I wasn’t finding The One, or satisfaction, in any of those would-be relationships. As a last resort (I gave God an ultimatum), I sought the help of an Exodus ministry in my area, albeit with a lot of skepticism. I thought they would’ve encouraged me to just pray the gay away (which I’d been trying to do for many years) and tell me that marriage was the solution or that if I didn’t change I was going straight to hell.
What happened was exactly the opposite. They didn’t tell me I was going to hell, give me a set of rules, or tell me that God loved me less, or to pray harder or make me sign a petition to make gay marriage illegal. They loved me for who I was and pointed me towards Jesus and encouraged me to seek the root causes of my attractions and the reasons for my confusion. Those causes are too numerous to list here — I’ve written a lot already — but in short I discovered I was looking to fill a legitimate need via another person because of a broken relationship with my dad and sexual abuse as a child.
I’m *not* saying those factors automatically mean someone will be gay but in my case, it was definitely one of the causes. Homosexuality has nothing to do with sex — it’s a relational issue. I didn’t choose to have those feelings, but I chose to stop acting on them and submit them to Christ.
It’s not that I couldn’t be gay and a Christian, it was that I saw and identified myself through the lens of my sexuality and as God’s children, we’re supposed to define ourselves in Christ alone. And, again, God had more for me…
In any case, I’m not trying to tell you what to do…just sharing what worked for me. Through healthy, transparent friendships w/ people in church (and after counseling for my F’d up childhood) my attractions to women have greatly diminished. I still sometimes have them but I’ve learned that my temptations don’t define me and as long as we’re on this side of heaven, we’re all going to be tempted by something. Knowing who I am in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) is what guides me, not how I feel or what I struggle with.
Sorry for hijacking this post…I’ll shut up now.