Monday, August 31, 2009

Read This More Than Once

Hey everyone! I have decided that Mondays are my best blogging days this year, so I hope you all make sure to stop by then! Scheduling things is becoming the norm for me this semester. I have so much to do and so little time to do it. I literally have charts that tell me when I should call my various family members, and on what days I should send e-mails to the various online friends I've made over the years. It's a little awkward to schedule social interactions like that, but between studying for the GRE, applying to grad school, planning programs for student organizations, and reading a lot of Hemingway, Stein, and Faulkner, I really have no other choice. If I don't plan out these kinds of things, they simply won't get done.

Other than being terribly busy, I don't really have much to blog about right now. I do want to write about my politics and my artistic philosophy but those will require quite a bit more effort and research on my part than the usual post. Following the interesting discussion that happened after last week's post, though, I did a little searching into heterosexually married men who still consider themselves gay (not ex-gay). I didn't have to look any further than a Christianity Today article from 2002, and it is quite heart-wrenching. Read it more than once.

There is a man who is faithful to his family, who understands what Christ can do to redeem us, what amazing joys and painful struggles can come from being obedient to Him, and who still loves His Savior with all his heart. There, also, is a man who is afraid to come out about his orientation for fear of ostracism, and this fear is not unfounded.
Why haven't I told my story to my church friends? Why is my identity anonymous? Because, despite all the claims by my heterosexual friends to "love the sinner but hate the sin," I do not trust them. I do not believe that they could know this about me and still want me to be their congregational president, their youth-group leader, their sons' coach. I wish I could believe it, but I don't. Perhaps I'm hypersensitive in not trusting, but I've overheard too many jokes, seen too many expressions of hate directed at homosexuals, to believe that these same people could be my friends if they knew.

I feel for this man deeply, and I know far too many guys personally who are in the same situation -- married or not. For the unmarried ones, it's often worse, because they can't hide behind a wife and kids, and they often have a difficult time finding a place in the church to begin with. It makes me concerned. I'm very open about my orientation here, but this is a pretty small and fairly liberal college town. What if I move to a more conservative area, and attend a church where people aren't as aware of homosexual issues? Christ alone is what satisfies and strengthens me, but like Wesley Hill states in this exceptional article, we need the full love and support of other Christians sometimes to make things easier.

And so that's the question: Do we love our neighbors as ourselves? Even those of us who deal with a homosexual orientation have to ask this question, because while we may be tolerant and open-minded about this particular issue there may be others where we treat others exactly how we don't want to be treated. As always, it's something to ponder.

50 comments:

MR said...

That was a great article by Wesley Hill. I think straight Christians who read it will gain more of an appreciation for what we go through as Christians fighting SSA, and hopefully be more compassionate.

Beside God, it has been my friendships with other Christians, both straight and SSA, that have helped me live without sex, and, yes, even be happy! There are definitely Christians who have mistreated me and isolated themselves, but God has always provided others who are helpful and compassionate instead.

I honestly believe that we can find some genuine friends even if we are in a very conservative church, but things would go better for many of us with SSA if certain Christians would stop shunning and marginalizing us. I certainly intend to do my part to help straight Christians stop mistreating us like that.

ewe said...

You have not sinned just because you are gay or have expressed that with someone. You need some therapy. This is horrible the way you send these terrible subliminal messages of shame to yourself. I recommend you stop it now because if you don't you will just continue to reinforce self loathing and attract it from other people as well. Just the fact you think hiding behind a wife and children is a better option for someone single is proof you really have a long way to go. good luck. And stop defining god in the small little way you do. That would be a start. You know damn well you are more concerned with the acceptance of other people than with your god. I have read two of your posts and they really seem pathetic. I happen to think you subconsciously like being miserable about yourself and who you are. Ask yourself why else you would continue to put yourself down. Yes indeed, you are putting yourself down. Don't think otherwise for a second. Stop it. It's annoying.

donsands said...

"..seen too many expressions of hate directed at homosexuals"

There shall always be those who hate homosexuals. But these same people are not new creatures in Christ. They may call themselves Christians, but they have not the Holy Spirit of God.

However, there are Christinas who may have a difficult time dealing with homosexuals.

Your comment was excellent MR. I really appreciate your heart.
And another fine post Jay.

Keep up the good work.

Jay said...

MR: Thanks for stopping by. As always, you're a blessing.

Ewe: I don't think you really know me at all. I'm probably one of the least self-loathing people I know. Unlike most ex-gays whose testimonies I read, I don't freak out or feel horrible if I see an attractive guy. I just know that that's not what I was meant for, so I don't pursue that. Done deal. No shame there at all. The good thing about Christ is that he takes away all shame.

I'm ashamed of things like watching pornography, because that isn't a normal practice. Even from a secular point of view, porn is exploitative of those who partake in it and often ruins the families and social lives of those who become addicted to it. Accepting oneself doesn't mean succumbing to every instinct.

As for God, you're entitled to believe what you like. I prefer to study the Bible and theology and come to my own logical conclusions based on what He has said about Himself through Scripture, which is where I get my code of sexual ethics.

As for being more comfortable around other people, you really haven't read many of my posts at all. My only goal is to live according to my values. When it comes to my sexuality, yes, living according to my values presents special challenges, but getting people to accept me really hasn't been one of them.

My ex-boyfriend is still one of my best friends and he respects me and my decisions quite a bit. My very liberal and gay-supporting family also respects me even though they don't necessarily understand my choices. My friends are more along the lines of the art students on campus, not the campus Christians (although I'm friends with many of them too). Several of my friends disagree with my choices and beliefs but we've been able to work past that.

If I really wanted acceptance from everyone, though, it would be a lot easier for me to be actively gay as opposed to gay and celibate. But I'm not actively gay. My values and my spirituality are just as important to me as my sexuality, and this is the way in which I have found to live a life that reconciles the three. You may not agree with it, but frankly, who asked you to?

So before you start making judgments about me, maybe you should start reading more about me. I can't say I'm a real fan or friend of Exodus, Alan Chambers or Randy Thomas, although I do respect Warren Throckmorton. I have also made friends with some of the editors and writers of Ex-Gay Watch and have written guest posts there before myself. If you think that the only way I can be a valid or healthy person is to be actively gay -- even though I don't want to be -- then perhaps you need a lesson in tolerance.

ewe said...

You are filled with lofty beliefs that seem to keep you elevated and stuck right where you have been for quite some time. I now remember visiting your site a couple of years ago when you touted the exact same stale unimaginative excuses for feeling bad about who you are. And don't give me or anyone else or even yourself these lame reasons of why you choose to be a eunich. You are the one who sits in judgement. I don't use an unknown god and an outdated book to stand for everything i am gonna profess. You are a self hating gay man with tremendous walls erected to protect your ideology. It is that simple. Keep it. You are full of shame and that is the only reason you do not sleep with men. You will be masturbating away your whole life and feeling bad about that as well. It probably already manifested hence; your stance on porn being so beneath you. Grow up. If you open your eyes, you will see that gay people are the only ones tolerating this religious dogma. Go tell your straight allies that you speak of you have decided to tolerate their lifestyle choices and get back to us all on their hysterical reaction. You are a pawn that decided it is ok to remain that way. That is your only handicap to overcome.

TRiG said...

I've never really believed anyone who claimed to love the sinner, hate the sin. It never really works in practice, does it?

Ewe is quick to judgment, isn't she? Amusing, in a way.

TRiG.

Jay said...

Ewe: And what, pray tell, do you think your insults are going to accomplish here? Are you naive enough to assume that I'm actually going to have some grand awakening due to a comment from an online stranger, much less one who has been verbally abusive and belligerent on multiple occasions (not just here, but on several other blogs).

If you already have your mind made up about me and don't intend to learn anything more about who I am or what I believe, then why read this? I have all the time in the world for people who disagree with me and want to debate respectfully. I think they're fabulous (that means you too, TRiG ;-). But I really can't stand folks who won't take me at my word. If I say I'm not ashamed of being gay, then guess what? I'm not. If you aren't going to believe me, then by all means, take your comments elsewhere.

TRiG: I think that's a pretty outdated expression as well. If you stop at "Love the sinner," then everything should follow -- care, concern, compassion, humility. It's just so often people don't see that.

Don Sands: Thanks for stopping by, as always. :)

TRiG said...

Jay is not exactly Pastor Anderson.

TRiG.

donsands said...

"I don't use an unknown god and an outdated book to stand for everything i am gonna profess."

What do you use?

And by unknown god, do you mean the Lord Jesus Christ? He is quite well known.

dwhwar said...

Ewe,

I don't think Jay has ever come across as miserable. I don't know the 'real' Jay any more than you do but I can READ what he posts here.

If anyone sounds in need of a little therapy, it's ewe.

Flame on :-p

Semper Certatio said...

Jay,
Thank you for this post. As one who is in the thick of it, as you well know, you have given a voice to me and so many others who suffer and struggle in silence out of fear of the hatred and rejection of fellow believers. Thank you.
-SC

Rachael Starke said...

Well, I sure picked the wrong week to get absorbed in getting my kids settled into school and getting behind on my blog reading!! :)

Speaking as one of perhaps your few married lady readers, a couple thoughts come to mind:

I read carefully, but didn't see whether or not the gentleman in question has talked about his battles to his wife. He alludes to issues like depression, which makes me wonder if he's also kept all this a secret from her. If he has, and he has allowed the secondary issues like depression to affect their family life, that's not necessarily a less painful path than being direct with her.

Very early in our marriage, my husband and I made a vow never to lie to one another about our battles, won or lost, with sexual or any other kind of sin. That's resulted in some painful conversations over our ten years of marriage. But ultimately they have also resulted in a far greater level of trust in and commitment to one another, as great sinners redeemed by a great Savior. And it's also increased our desire to live that same way with our larger Christian family.

And given the way he starts the piece, were he to be talking to me in a conversation instead of writing, I would have kindly interrupted him shortly after he called himself out as a gay man in a faithful heterosexual marriage. If he's repented and put his faith in Christ, he is no longer identified by any pattern of sin at all. He is a child of God, and a brother in Christ. That he battles with inordinate sexual desire in the same way that other men battle with misdirected "ordinate" sexual desire is not the primary issue. Not for him, and not for his church. And once again we're back to the issue of his wife. If he wasn't honest with her up front, then he's put in her in a pretty tough position that's going to make being honest about his struggles to his church that much harder. But if he has been honest with her, then there may actually be a God-given opportunity for them as a couple to model to their church community what real Holy Spirit-enabled, gospel-informed life is about.

And TRiG, there are many who would argue that Jesus Himself personified what it meant to truly love sinners, yet hate their sin.

Oh, and my birthday is December 6. Just to add that to your chart. ;)

Jay said...

Rachael: Good point. I didn't see where he had told his wife. I assumed he had, because I really can't imagine any man with our condition who would get married without telling his wife if he truly loved Jesus. You're right, though. If this is something he struggles with and isn't honest with her, then he's making it even more hard on himself.

Well, you know I call myself a gay man as well. I do primarily identify as a son of God and a brother in Christ, but there is a word for my condition. You wouldn't be bothered if he called himself SSA, but really, I think SSA has just become Christianese for "gay." The two terms are interchangeable and their definitions are largely the same (though I can understand someone not wanting to use "gay" for political reasons; I simply don't agree). And, also like most Christianese, non-Christians really don't know what SSA means. If I've ever tried to use it around them, and then define it, they just go, "So you mean gay, right?"

Granted, in my last post I wondered out loud if a man who had sex with his wife and loved her, even if he was still attracted to men, could call himself "gay." I think I would call the man in this piece bisexual, since he is capable of achieving sexual satisfaction from both genders. But that's how terms in this situation can get confusing.

Oh, and happy birthday. I haven't been good about reading your blog, either (or anyone's) but I'm trying to get better at it! God bless.

TRiG said...

You are right, Jay, to say that terminology can be confusing.

Rachel, well ... perhaps.

TRiG.

Neo said...

In the article the author does say "In time this led to my marriage to a person who knows (emphasis his) and has supported me more than I could ever deserve." I took this to mean that he had discussed his SSA with her. Did Rachel and Jay interpret it differently?

berenike said...

Two blogs you might be interested in reading

http://eve-tushnet.blogspot.com/

(Yeah, but this vowed friendship thing she's gotten a bee into her bonnet about - ignore anything she says about the historical aspect unless she provides something more than saying she read it in a book - and the book one that immediately had my "dodgy wishful thinking" sensor tingling.)

or this one

http://johnheard.blogspot.com/2009/08/dreadpublishing-being-heard-john-heard.html

Cass said...

Jay,

I have to say you are coming off quite hypocritical. I see through your writings, this constant attention getting flag waving that you are celibate, a bit like a savior rally flag. But you aren't "celibate". Not the real definition of celibate. You sit in judgement of others having gay sex, while you masturbate and watch men having gay sex. Oh my, where did you get your teaching of celibacy from?

I do not see you as celibate, at all. Nor does anyone else who sees this scenario clearly. The facts would show you seem to be a sex addict who wants to be celibate, a celibate wannabe if you will, trying to escape some off beat self imposed sexual death knell.

Regardless, celibacy generally is something that people do because they want to reach higher heights in their spiritual world. That is the basic springboard for celibacy, not a hopeful escape from porn passwords self pleasure and real loving sex with an actual human.

So as long as you are in escape mode, there is one word that does fit you quite well. Confused. And all addictions hold hands with confusion, on many levels.

So in clear view, you are a sex addict, you negatively judge others who have actual loving non addictive sexual relationships, you are a celibacy wannabe, are without a loving relationship, buried in activity possibly hoping that will make this whole scenario go away, and are basically sexually-religio confused. You give sexual-religio advice to others. And you judgmentally point at others with one hand while masturbating to porn with the other. It's all just a bit Ted Haggard now isn't it? Why isn't Dr Phil's dog hunting here?

I know your sex life may be hard for you, but it's the others you affect that I am more concerned about. Your version of "celibacy" is dirtying up the distilled definition, of which most people are accustomed to.

Would you consider lifting the self imposed "celibacy" "label" until it truly fits? Just say you are refraining from having sex while in recovery from sexual addiction?

Celibacy is a spiritual gift, not a morbid crutch. Maybe a year or two of no masturbating to porn first, coupled with a revelation about your sex life that resolves all confusion. Then consider going celibate, for God, instead of for escape for a false sense of self/God acceptance.

Also, would you consider not teaching negatives by pointing religio-sinner-fingers at others who DO have it sexually figured out while YOU are still confused?

It actually helps the entire world when one more person judges less.

Thx

Jay said...

Neo: Good job pointing that out. I do think she knows, but if he doesn't, the author is just making things more difficult on himself.

Berenike: Eve is awesome and I link to her in my links list. John Heard is pretty cool but I haven't followed him too closely.

Cass: Um, exactly where did I say I was addicted to porn or masturbation? I didn't, and I'm not. It's been months since I've stumbled with either. I am still tempted and I struggle, like pretty much every Christian guy I know struggles. But the same Scriptural command that informs me to not do those sexual behaviors is also the same one that points me towards celibacy.

Also, your definition of celibacy is wrong. Celibacy is merely the decision to go without sex. It doesn't matter what the reason is. If someone is purposefully going without sex, they are celibate.

Please do not comment again until you get your facts straight about me. Thank you.

TRiG said...

And what is sex addiction anyway? I think Cass is accusing you of something that doesn't actually exist (or, at least, is not at all well defined).

TRiG.

MR said...

Jay,

It seems Cass has an anti-Christian bias. I appreciate you making it clear that we should reject that kind of jumping to conclusions.

Feel free to use your "talent for toughness" here!

CASS said...

"I'm ashamed of things like watching pornography, because that isn't a normal practice."

"Um, exactly where did I say I was addicted to porn or masturbation? I didn't, and I'm not. It's been months since I've stumbled with either."

Unfortunately you have chosen to make sex evil in your mind, looking at the fear rather than the love sexual union holds, including self stimulation. Your take on sexuality is "no sex" ever. This is very imbalanced on many levels. Are you also ashamed of wet dreams?

Celibacy via the Bible was intended for those who wanted to focus their attention on affairs of God. That was the basis for decision. And nowhere in the Bible is it required. That covenant was not entered into out of shame from sexual expression. To do so is non-biblical and is more secular oriented. This is my rub with anyone who feels threatened to not have sex because they are ashamed. Sexual abstinence because of shame is a neurosis and can lead to severe brick walls and a life of misery for those who don't work it out.

Though you think you can "help" more people by being non-sexual, there is a problem with that. You will teach others that sexual shame is a good reason for being abstinent, and it's not. Sexual shame is a good reason for therapy.

More and more people are seeing this to be true. Praying away the gay, like praying away shame for your sexual nature and expression, does not work permanently. Whenever you think about gay sex you go into shame. That is not natural. You have some very stuck erroneous beliefs about sex that are troublesome to you and your path. Only you can change your beliefs. I am only pointing out what I see, and that is someone vexed with shame about their sexual nature that has chosen sexual abstinence to somehow heal it, teaching it is "righteous", when it is not. It is neurotic and causes suffering. Both over-sexual expression and celibacy via shame can be considered addictive in nature. In more secular terms, you are "throwing out the baby with the bathwater."

Now if you were to base your celibacy on love of self and God, that would be quite admirable. But such is not the case. You base it on shame and loathing of sexual self expression. There is a big difference and it will always bring conflict because the shame is unresolved.

I tell you this because of the drum beating you do for "celibacy". I see you as being in error on the religious spiritual corner of celibacy and it is damaging to those who are in sexual confusion, you included. A good counselor like Jesus would help you remove the shame of sexual expression, so you could fall in love and have a life with a ssa spiritual partner. He would not bound you to loneliness and hell for loving another gay person with sex in the mix. That's just plain silly. "Sin" is about hurting people, self etc. If it isn't, then it is not a sin. Loving ssa sexual union is the exact opposite of "sin". Your basic flaw may be your self imposed requirement to be "perfect" in place of being real, and that can be quite difficult to overcome

Don't think I am just coming down on you. I feel for your pain around this issue as it vexes many many people. And it's a toughie. But I do ask that you ask why you have shame in these areas, as to not beset the inevitable, the healing of shame itself around sexual thoughts and actions. Once healed, then you can truly help others heal their sexual shame. But you must be vigilant in your search for the reasons and then stamp them out, as it is the only way it will ever be healed. In my trek, I have found there is nothing worse than an unhealed healer.

Either way, good luck with your journey. And I really do mean that.

Jay said...


Now if you were to base your celibacy on love of self and God, that would be quite admirable. But such is not the case. You base it on shame and loathing of sexual self expression.


Wrong.

I base it off a love for God. My love for God requires that I follow His commandments (John 14:15). It is a command to not engage in sexual sin, either in mind or in body. It is also clearly defined in the Bible that homosexual behavior (just like fornication and adultery) is sexual sin. I really don't have a lot of shame, and I'm interested to hear how you think I do.

donsands said...

"But I do ask that you ask why you have shame in these area"

To be ashamed of ungodliness is a good thing.

The Holy Scriptures tell us what is godly, and what is ungodly.

However, we humans have a dilemma. We are slaves of sin. We love fornication [sexual immorality], which God hates. (Sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is undefiled, and godly).

I really appreciate jay and his stance for godliness. His rewards in heaven are many.

CASS, have you considered the Holy truth of our Lord?
Read the Bible for yourself, and see if Jay isn't right.

Jay said...

Sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is undefiled, and godly

In theory, yes, but since we are such sinners through and through, every action of ours--even the ones that are supposedly right--are tainted by sin.

I think that's what Cass doesn't understand. For a Christian, we have to realize that our entire beings have been tainted by sins. I am not so ashamed of my homosexuality that I turned to Christ. Far from it. I am ashamed of my sinful nature alone, and how it expresses itself in every single facet of my life. That is what constantly turns me to the cross.

Cass said...

In answer to your question about your shame, you said,

"I'm ashamed of things like watching pornography, because that isn't a normal practice."

"Um, exactly where did I say I was addicted to porn or masturbation? I didn't, and I'm not. It's been months since I've stumbled with either."

These two statements made by you intimated that you felt shame around experiencing pornography and masturbation, and that you have not "stumbled" in months.

Shame isn't laced within the actions of these two things. The shame is an entirely different cat and separate from the actions.

As most notice, it feels great while the sexual action is happening. Most likely your shame is before or after or both.

You said in that first quote that porn is not a "normal practice". I'm curious, in your mind, what is a "normal" sexual practice for a gay male throughout life?

Jay said...

Cass, even my secular friends think porn is an exploitative and unhealthy practice. The industry is corrupt and may of the performers are people who are drug-addicted or fueling other unhealthy habits. It is also an addictive thing that ruins marriages and families.

I know that if I were an atheist, I would have the same feelings about porn that I do now, although I wouldn't have a problem with a sexually active relationship with another man because that belief is an extension of my belief in Christ.

Cass said...

jay you said,

"I know that if I were an atheist, I would have the same feelings about porn that I do now, although I wouldn't have a problem with a sexually active relationship with another man because that belief is an extension of my belief in Christ."

Can you break that down for me, as it sounds like your belief in Christ is why you may feel ok to have a relationship with a man. If you were an athiest, you wouldn't have a belief in Christ. Or would you?

As far as porn goes, if someone can't take it or leave it, there is something behind the addiction. I personally don't think the object of the addiction is ever the problem, be it porn, drugs, sex, alchohol etc. People take and leave those things everyday without getting hitched.

I got really into porn for a while after being able to take it or leave it for years. It was never an issue. But I did it excessively at a point in my life where there was another thing out of kilter. Once I handled that, the "addictive" effects of porn evaporated. I look at addictions as a symptom, not a cause.

Anyway, that is where I saw your shame, was in your statements. But like anything, shame is derived from beliefs, and that is the root cause of just about every in and out of balance thing we know.
Sexual shame is no different, just another belief to be conquered.

So again, what do you consider a "normal" sexual practice / expressioin for a gay male throughout life?

Jay said...

Cass, I think I constructed the sentence you quoted awkwardly. I apologize. I meant to say that if I were an atheist, I would have a sexual relationship with a man. My belief that such a relationship is wrong comes from Christ, and if I were an atheist, I wouldn't believe in Christ.

I actually disagree with your assessment about "take it or leave it" attitudes. Porn isn't like alcohol. The alcohol is an inanimate object. Porn involves people, and porn exploits people. I consider it immoral whether or not I'm a Christian.

I'm certainly not looking for you to help me "conquer" any beliefs. I am actually quite happy and at peace right now. In terms of "normal" sexual practice, I think you're going to have to help me out. Are you defining "normal" the way the world defines it or the way Christ would define it?

donsands said...

That's true Jay, and I agree.

The verse I was thinking of was Hebrews 13:4: "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."

Paul also teaches, and exhorts us: "Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control ...For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.". 1 Cor. 7:1-5

Cass said...

I agree some people are exploited in the porn industry, but not all. Some do it to put themselves through college, or support a loved one, or they just plain like doing porn, and are not exploited at all. And they are adults and have a right to say yes or no.

People are exploited in the work place by bosses everyday, doing things they really shouldn't do or do not want to do. But we still make life work and get the product out, even if 60 hour weeks are demanded inappropriately through coersion. Financial survival is an interesting phenomenen.

Regarding my question . . .

Sex, gay bi strait, is an aspect of the human autonomic nervous system, which is natural upon birth. Shame is added into the psyche later and is unnatural, not native to the human experience i.e. a learned system of behavior.

From that point of view, what would you call a normal sexual expression of the everyday sexually balanced gay male who has not sustained the addition of shame?

Jay said...

I would disagree with your assertion that shame isn't native to the human experience. Since I think human beings are born with a sinful nature that must be repented of and transformed by Jesus Christ, I think shame is a good thing (in the appropriate context).

I would say that any person who has never experienced shame is someone who likely has never turned to the holiness of Christ for salvation. Their normal sexual expression could be, well, whatever they'd want it to be. It's really not my concern. I'm sure some are promiscuous, and other are monogamous. This goes for straight and gay people alike.

I think that the only Biblical model for sexual activity is within a lifelong heterosexual marriage. This is "normal" by God's standards but, obviously, due to the fallen nature of humanity, it's not "normal" to us. That doesn't mean Christians shouldn't strive to achieve it, though. Those who can't achieve it can live a fulfilling life as a single person in the Church.

Cass said...

I think shame is absent in a newborn child, that is why they are so desired and their innocence so attractive. That is why they light up rooms.

I think shame is a learned behavior through sexual/physical and mental abuse.

To say we are "born in sin" simply means we are born cut off from God which is a fearful state we all have to conquer. I do agree with being born in fear, there is no doubt. It's quite obvious.

But shame, well if I saw a child with slumped shoulders and his head down upon birth, I might agree. But I have never witnessed such. But I do witness it in gay people who have been shamed for being gay and being sexual.

Now I can say "boo" and have a child crying out of fear in a moment, but shame, that's later and learned behavior from what I have witnessed.

So born in sin resembles born in fear, a sinful place to be. Are we tracking?

Cass said...

PS For sake of discussion, I should probably specify that I mean sexual shame.

Jay said...

To say we are "born in sin" simply means we are born cut off from God which is a fearful state we all have to conquer.

Well, the Bible does state that we are born cut off from God. That is why Christ came, because there is nothing in us which would have given us the ability to save ourselves. Christ's perfect self needed to be sacrificed so that we sinful creatures could be saved.

As beautiful as babies are, from a theological point of view, they are not "innocent," since we have all inherited sinful natures from Adam.

I think our problem is that we are talking about two different things. I'm talking about things like "innocence" and "shame" from a theological perspective, while you're using a conventional perspective. I do agree that shame is a learned behavior. But it's also a necessary learned behavior. No one would ever come to Christ if they were not confronted with their own sins.

Cass said...

Yes, I also would agree with you that shame is a necessary learned behavior. It is something we need to experience around our faults that hopefully helps us resolve what we have done, apologize and become Holy again. That I call healthy shame.

Then there is toxic shame that continues as a dis-ease in our systems continually that can have poor effects on our health and spiritual alignment with God. If one is always in shame, they will be in the sinful state of fear, of being cut off from God. And of course, with Jesus' help, we can overcome such desertion from God.

So Jay, have you taken Probability and Statistics in college yet?

Jay said...

I really would like to know where you're getting your ideas about these two types of shame. From my point of view, when I'm talking about shame, I'm talking about the first kind: what you call "healthy shame." I don't think I have a problem with the second kind at all.

And now, I'm an English major, so I only took basic College Algebra, and no more math after that.

Cass said...

Sorry for the confusion. "Toxic shame" is a term I picked up from a minister that I have great respect for named John Bradshaw, who has written many great books. One of his best is called Healing the Shame That Binds You.

Toxic shame is the type of shame the mind has categorized as unresolvable. In the case of gay people, or any minority for that matter, this shame can eat away at a person's self esteem so that they do not experience healthy loving relationships, shun them, never experience sex and basically live a life believing they are simply defective and don't belong here. Many would simply like to leave as It never lets up. Toxic shame is the type of shame that drives gay teens to suicide.

I think all of us live with it however, it does exist in varying degrees.

As for P&S in college, it is not necessary for this question, but I will pose it to you regardless. And note, I do not know the answer as I have just formulated it for the first time.

Given all the data on homophobia, coupled with the fact we supposedly only inhabit under 10% of the world population; and that the Bible was written by straight men, and it's a 2K doc with many rewrites, what do you think the odds are that the Bible has it 100% correct about gay people and their sexual nature?

Jay said...

Seeing as I have faith that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, I would say that it's chances are fairly good. This is faith, though, not reason.

As for John Bradshaw, I don't know if I can really count a man who is the face of popular psychology and the "self-help" movement as someone I take very seriously, either in the fields of psychology or theology. Like Dr. Phil or Oprah, his works have nice catch-phrases, but little meat to them.

Simply put, though, I don't think you're right in characterizing me as someone who experiences emotions similar to this type of "toxic shame." I am defective, yes, but so is every other human being. I don't deserve to be here, but neither does any other human being. God would be totally just to eliminate us all, but instead He lets us live and has given His son so that we might live eternally.

I have many healthy and loving relationships, and I am not any more ashamed than any other Christian should be. I simply live my life, and I'm happy with where it is right now, to be truthful with you.

bekahmae said...

I understand being afraid of sharing your struggles with those in your congregation, just like the man in the article. I too heard the comments and the jokes and was convinced that I would be rejected and despised. But when I overcame my own fear of rejection and fear of man and began sharing with those closest to me, it turned out that I ministered to them as much as they ministered to me. They ad responded with jokes and harshness out fear of something they didn't understand. When SSA suddenly had a face, and it belonged to someone they knew and loved, it drastically altered their view of the struggle.

Sometimes we use the sins of others, judgmentalness, as an excuse for our own sin, fear of man. When we are willing to open ourselves up to hatred and hurt and rejection, sometimes that is exactly what we will receive from people. But then, as we are told in Scripture, we join in he sufferings of Christ. There will always be those who will be closeminded and hateful and judgmental. But there will also be those who are shown the sinfulness of their actions and attitudes and will repent of them and become better followers of Christ because of the witness we bear in their lives.

Those who truly love the Lord and truly love their brothers and sisters in Christ are always thankful for the one who exposes a sin in their life of which they may not even be aware. Self-preserving silence is a sin, just like any other. And by repenting of that sin, by being transparent with a few in my local congregation and allowing them to bear my burden with me, I began to find freedom from other sins as well.

bekahmae said...

FYI-- I don't know if someone in a previous post mentioned this-- I honestly quit reading when so much of it became vile namecalling. But from this quote out of the article, it appears the author had revealed his struggles to his wife: "In time this led to my marriage to a person who knows and has supported me more than I could ever deserve."

Now that is a marriage that is a living breathing example of commitment, grace, and love in action.

Jay said...

When SSA suddenly had a face, and it belonged to someone they knew and loved, it drastically altered their view of the struggle.

This is true. But I think that if you were a wife and mother, you might have thought twice about being honest about this sin. I have known people whose parenting has been called into question because they deal with SSA, or who have been asked to step down from positions where they work with children. I don't think the man's fear in the article is unjustified.

It's one thing for a a single person like you or I to "come out" to a congregation, but for a man with a wife and children, there is a lot more at stake. To say he's being sinful by being cautious, I think, doesn't sympathize with him enough.

donsands said...

I wonder what it would be like in a church congregation, if we could all read each other's thoughts?

It would quite nasty methinks.

The Cross of Christ bore all our sins: Sins of deeds, words, and thoughts.

And because He loved me that much, I am forever grateful, and hate that I love my sin at times. I hate sin, but like Jerry Bridges says, "we have lost sight of the need to deal with our own more "refined" or subtle sins."

"We are never to wallow hopelessly in our sins. Rather, we are to believe the Gospel through which God has dealt with both the guilt of our sin and its dominion over us." -Jerry Bridges

Fornication is a powerful sin. Satan knows how weak our flesh is, and so he tempts us.

But we say to him, "The Lord rebuke you Satan." We resist him, and he flees, Peter tells us.

I just rambling a bit, but these are truths we can take to heart.

"My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul." -Ho­ra­tio G. Spaf­ford, 1873.


And so this makes me hate my sin, and yet be forever grateful to Christ, and want to live godly, and love others.

Cass said...

I think that it is great you are happy. I didn't charactorize you as having "toxic shame" personally, though I think we all have things we have done in our past that we can't rectify and feel badly about. Extreme shame may fit more into your model of words however, Dr Phil Oprah and John Bradshaw have helped people walk through and address fear, so as to help people have more love in their lives. The more love we have in our lives, the closer we come to God, and that is Christ's mission here. For that I am very thankful.

There is no doubt that some of the Bible is truly the inspired word of God. However, if it were all the word of God, then we would all be following every sexual law that Leviticus wrote. But we don't because some of the data is senseless, and therefore corrupted by the writer's interference. When the writer's deck is stacked 10 to 1 on homosexuality, straight to gay, it leaves me little doubt that such information is also corrupt. As one who got an A on my Final in Prob and Stats, I can assure you this assertion is correct. We unfortunately didn't get Jesus's stamp of approval on Biblical text as he was 60 years gone before the first words were authored, that being two full generations in that era. If that had been done, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation.

I think this is where religious gay sexual shame is derived, via straight-laced corrupted sexual data to literally try to do away with us. It makes total sense you would not want to be here if in fact that illusion is running in your mental background. That is divisively induced shame at it's finest.

Like "ex-gays" with their escape labels waking up in the morning still gay, so it is with the celibacy escape, you still wake up with your sex drive fully intact. Sex still runs in the mind regardless of physical action. The key is bowling through the shame induced beliefs, not creating an escape module. As far as gay people who have sex, to tell someone they are going to hell, or that God does not approve of their sex lives, will not end wars and heal the separation, in fact, it assists in prolonging the divide. I just ask that before you continue to assert this shame/celibacy information as a potential factual answer to the sexual shame problem, that you take a breath and rethink your position. I think you will agree, you can't be sure if you are 100% right about God homosexuality and sex or not, and that would be helpful if expressed.

My conversation with you on this blog which mind you I do appreciate, is not so much about you as I explained in the beginning, but others that you may influence. Man's nature is to unite with a partner, in a gay male's life a male to have a life with enjoying each other's companionship and not be lonely. "Celibacy" via shame does not offer this innate right. My assertion is that Celibacy to conquer shame does not work as it escapes the issue, as the shame will still abide if sex is entertained. Having shame around masturbation denotes that there is a false belief afoot that causes the shame. When failing false beliefs, emotional shame disappears and freedom is regained as the natural order. You have stated you would not be "celibate" if gay sex were not perceived by you/God as a "sin". Hence I see your "celibacy" as derived from more than not, corrupted data. That is the Devil's region, confusion disillusionment and suppression. Christ's love on the other hand, is to free us from slavery to fear, not bind us more to it.

Gay people like straights and bis, are hard wired to have physical sex, it's part of the natural order created by God. There is no room for corrupted sexual data if we are to settle this corruptive divide between st8s and gays. Gay sex like straight sex holds no fear, and that is why it is not a sin. It's just that simple.

Jay said...

However, if it were all the word of God, then we would all be following every sexual law that Leviticus wrote.

You might want to do a little more study into the Bible, then, and learn about the distinction between the Old and the New Covenants. Have you read the Bible all the way through and studied it instensly?

Christ's love on the other hand, is to free us from slavery to fear, not bind us more to it.

But Christ also told us to be holy, as He was holy. This means rejecting some of our natural impulses. A married man may fall out of love with his wife, or she or he may become unable to have sex due to illness or injury, but they are still bound together through marriage and thus they would have to find a way to achieve happiness without fulfilling sexual impulses. This is the same with me.

Gay sex like straight sex holds no fear, and that is why it is not a sin. It's just that simple.

I think your definition of what you think sin is is quite wrong. Sin is what God says it is. It doesn't depend at all upon how we feel about it.

Cass said...

The New Testament abolished animal sacrifice. If anything about sex was abolished by the NT i.e. in Leviticus, please let me know.

Your take on "fulfilling sexual impulses" having to do with married people dealing with love issues is correct, they need to keep their sexual impulses at bay, so that the sin of adultery does not ensue. I don't see how that is "the same with you". What do you mean by that?

Natural gay sex drive or st8 sex drive is not about sinning against anyone like adultery is. You seem to think some "sin" is a randomly chosen item without any basis. All sins bring about pain and or fear in some way and cut us off from God, and the goal is to stay holy.

Gay sex like str8 sex, unless used to hurt which would THEN be sinful, does not do this. Gay sex does not hold the innate precepts of "sin" anymore than str8 sex. Therefore I see having natural gay sex, being normal to any gay person's autonomic nervous system created by God, and that it being a sin, is corrupted information not to be adhered to. I see your view point, do you see mine?

Jay said...

I do see your view point, but I think it's faulty. You say that gay sex is okay because it's a part of a person's automatic nervous system which is created by God. I say, however, the mankind is sinful through and through, even in the womb and in his genetic makeup. Therefore, even if a doctor or a scientist might see a certain behavior as "normal" or even healthy, that doesn't make it less sinful if it falls outside of the parameters that God has prescribed.

Nor do I see that just because something does not cause immediate harm to another person, that it is not sinful. God created a specific context for sexual relations: man and woman united in lifelong marriage. Anything outside of that is an insult to God's creation. It may be healthy or normal or even loving in a conventional sense, but it isn't in a theological sense.

An individual practicing Buddhism is sinful even though he or she isn't hurting anyone, and isn't creating any sense of fear or shame, that person is not acknowledging God's will or power. Similarly, a person ignoring God's sexual laws is not acknowledging God's will or power.

Cass said...

Hi Jay,

I was wondering if I might email you. If that is ok could you let me know your email address?

Thx,

Cass

Jay said...

Absolutely. It's linked on my Blogger profile, I think. Just click on my name and you should be able to find it, if not, let me know.

Cass said...

Thx. I've got to go to work but will email you later today or tonight. I'm PSTime.

Best at ya,

Cass

donsands said...

"..mankind is sinful through and through, even in the womb and in his genetic makeup."

An essential truth of life that many in the Church today are burying under humanistic doctrine of charity.

The Holy Writ is clear that we are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.

There was a Human who never sinned however. He died as sin, and rose as Lord of the universe, who loves to show mercy to all who will come to Him and cry out, "Lord have mercy on me a sinner."