Unwanted

One of the reasons I decided to blog again was because I was starting to feel old. Seriously. I know, I’m still only three years out of college and I haven’t even hit the quarter century mark yet, so I’m sure a few people are rolling their eyes at me right now, but it’s true. Back when I was blogging as College Jay, things were really exciting. I forced myself to engage with issues, stand up for my opinions, think about things from multiple angles and, most importantly, connect with people of various viewpoints in a respectful, civil manner. I also learned how to slay trolls.

I wouldn’t have blogged if I wasn’t gay, and if I hadn’t blogged, I’m not sure I would have gained the personality traits I gained over those four years. It’s one of the many positive things that came directly from my same-sex attractions, and it’s one reason why I often bristle when someone else notices my celibacy and my traditional stance on sexual morality and thus concludes that my homosexuality is “unwanted.”

Sin is unwanted. Evil desires must be put to death. Putting on Christ means putting off sin, and not coddling it or making excuses for it. As C.S. Lewis put it in one of my favorite quotes, which was actually the first thing I ever blogged:

Christ says, “Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked — the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: My own will shall become yours.”

But note that I said “sin” here. When I talk about the positive things that have come from my same-sex attractions, I’m not talking about the pornography or the promiscuity. I’m not talking about lust or narcissism. I’m not talking about the subversion of God’s created order. I’m not talking about the moral relativists and their proclamations of a watered-down gospel that attempts to love without truth. It’s a bad word in many contexts these days, but I’m a conservative. I’m a Christian. I believe in Biblical infallibility.

I’m also a homosexual. And I don’t consider that an unwanted trait.

A gentleman named Jordan, who has quickly become one of my favorite bloggers in this ever-growing community of chaste gay evangelicals, recently wrote about what he would say if he were offered a magical “cure” to make him heterosexual. It’s a great read, so read it. He found the decision almost impossible to make, and I would too. If some old man in a robe who looked like the late Richard Harris offered to wave a wand and make me straight, my response would be, “Why? What would that do?”

Seriously, what would be the benefit? If you bypass all the social and political injustices that gay people go through (and that’s a big “if,” I know), then morally, heterosexuality has all the same problems as homosexuality. The pornography and promiscuity that I mentioned earlier? The lust and the narcissism? The preachers who say that God’s commands are relative or irrelevant, and that the values of chastity and monogamy are relics of a suppressed past? Straights deal with all that too, so what’s the point? The only difference I can see is that I’d be trying to keep my eyes from lingering on different people and different body parts.

Oh, okay. Marriage is a big issue, I suppose. Being heterosexual would make it easier to enter a godly covenant with a Christian woman. Again, note that I said “easier.” I know that I gained a reputation during my blogging years as an outspoken advocate for lifelong celibacy, but it’s not like I’m opposed to gay men and women marrying heterosexually. I was simply reacting in opposition to the overwhelming pressure to marry that was very common among the prototypical ex-gays, who were a little more relevant back then. Celibacy is my own path right now, and I think it’s a good one, but it’s not for everyone. I get that.

I know gay men (whether they identify themselves by that term or not), who are married heterosexually. Some of the relationships seem wise, healthy and Christ-centered. Others seem like disasters waiting to happen. Shocker of shockers, I’d say the exact same thing about the heterosexual couples I know! Marriage isn’t easy for anyone, and it’s less about sex than society makes it out to be, so the magic wand wouldn’t even ensure a healthy, happy marriage for me. It wouldn’t even open the door for one. That door is already open, and I’ve simply chosen to go through a different door. (A door that, incidentally, is also open to straight people. It’s easy to forget, but many straight Christians remain celibate too, and many by choice.)

So sexual sin is unwanted. Lust and selfishness and pride and perversion and greed are unwanted. What’s important for those well-meaning straight counselors to remember is that homosexuality isn’t limited to those things, just like heterosexuality isn’t. My struggles with homosexuality are experiences that helped me understand what it’s like to be “other.” Homosexuality is the issue that made me rely on Christ. It’s the issue that opened my eyes to my depravity (in all manners, sexual or otherwise) and my desperate need for a Savior. It’ll be completely gone one day, as will our earthly concept heterosexuality, but the good work that Christ has done in me through that frailty is most certainly not “unwanted.”

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3 Comments

  1. David Bayly said,

    September 16, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Dear Jay,

    I’ve come to appreciate you, brother. For that reason, may I remind you that the joys of marriage and family are real? Long after the fires of desire have dwindled, the joys of children remain–growing stronger as the years go by.

    Sex is not simply about pleasure. Far more it’s about procreation. God has made you a man so that you may be a father. It’s not imperative that you do so–certainly Jesus and Paul didn’t find it so. They were fathers, but not after the flesh. Yet fatherhood in the flesh is a great source of joy. And I wouldn’t have you preclude it.

    Marriage inevitably brings testing. It doesn’t come easily for most. The challenges in each marriage are unique. Some face the death of children. Others face intruding parents. All must learn to overcome through Christ. So too someone who struggles with temptation. I’ve had a number of homosexual friends become average struggling men through marriage. They still struggle with sin–no longer sexual sin in most cases–but new temptations. Marriage is no panacea, but it is a great source of comfort and joy.

    Love in Christ,

    David

    • September 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      Hello David!

      I’m honored that you’re the first to comment here. I didn’t think anyone was reading this. I absolutely know that the joys of marriage and family are real, and I completely agree with everything you have written.

      As I tried to say — and perhaps I was unclear — I know my temptations don’t exclude me from godly marriage. I am friends with many men and women who are tempted in this area and who are in godly marriages with beautiful children. I’m happy for them! And if a man or woman tempted by homosexuality expresses a desire to get married, I try to explain to them that that door has not been shut for them. In fact, that was one of the points of this post — my past experiences and stumbles and temptations do not close that door.

      My celibacy isn’t mournful or envious or bitter. It used to be, perhaps, but I suppose getting to know my own nephew and nieces, as well as the children of my friends, has changed my outlook. I really am happy for them.

      I just don’t see marriage in the cards for me yet. Like I said in this post, “celibacy is my own path right now.” Maybe things will change one day. Maybe they’ll change in a week and I’ll be forced to eat crow (it wouldn’t be the first time). Right now, I simply don’t have the desire to be a husband. I don’t have the desire to be a father. I have the desire to be a teacher, a leader, a brother, a son and a friend, and to throw myself more fully into those roles than other people are capable.

      I know you understand the value that a godly single person can bring to the Church. I’ve seen you (or it might have been Timothy or Joseph, forgive me) write about it before. Is it wrong to desire that life and see it as one’s role, and to do so joyfully? It’s not in competition with husbands and fathers and mothers and wives, nor is it something I want because the responsibilities of fatherhood scare me. It’s hard to explain, but it’s simply something I want, and I feel my talents and traits work for it.

      At least, as always, that’s how things are at this point in my life. Thank you for writing, brother.

  2. Jord said,

    September 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    It’s fantastic to see you’re back in the blogosphere again Jay. Cheers for your insights and perspectives! I’m looking forward to what you have to say on here.

    On a slightly related note: I was intrigued by John Piper’s comments (who I always imagined would be on the exgay/reparative therapy side of things) in this recent article:

    http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/same-sex-attraction-and-the-inevitability-of-change

    I was wondering what you think of this perspective. Do you see it as a sign the church is (slowly) coming to a more nuanced — and perhaps gospel centred — understanding of SSA in the life of a Christian?


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