Inevitability

Whether sexual orientation can change or not, hearts can change and turn any sexual orientation into an occasion for the glory of Christ.

That’s a pretty incredible quote, and it’s coming from what, to me, is a pretty amazing source. John Piper wrote that in this recent post that commentator “Jord” linked me to, and I’ve been wanting to write about it for a few days. Work and school have gotten in the way (thesis is kicking my butt) but it really is a great post and I wanted to give it a shout.

I think this calls back to my last post, where I mentioned that my same-sex attractions aren’t necessarily “unwanted.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize that they are disordered, as Piper calls them in his post. Nor do I see them as immutable. Like I said in “Unwanted,” I have friends in godly, beautiful heterosexual marriages, and I love and celebrate them.

I suppose what I like about Piper’s post is that it represents “a wise and cautious balance.” He’s right when he says that there aren’t just three groups: homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual. Sexuality is complicated, and even though I may sometimes call myself a homosexual for the convenience of using a single term, I know that there’s more to me than that. I’m celibate, I’ve been in non-sexual but nevertheless real romantic relationships with women. I’ve also been in non-sexual romantic relationships with men. I’ve been both promiscuous and chaste. My attractions are complex and they wax and wane like the moon. I could be married with children one day, but still be attracted to men in general, in the same way that a typical heterosexual still finds women apart from his wife beautiful. These attractions are temptations, for both the homosexual man and the heterosexual man, but the ability to say “no” to them does represent regeneration.

It’s just tough to figure out the terminology. I still struggle with it, to be honest. Maybe it’s my career as an English teacher that makes me struggle. I want everything to be defined clearly. Change is inevitable. A soul touched by Christ cannot remainĀ the same. It’s not possible. Even if that change doesn’t include a shift in sexual orientation, it will include a shift in outlooks, attitudes, ideas and behaviors. Since we’re all on such a huge spectrum, how do we define each other? Should we even try to? It’s something I’m still thinking about. Obviously, we have to communicate about these issues, and words like “gay” and “straight” are helpful parts of the conversation, even though they are limiting to individuals.

I’ll open this up to whoever might want to comment on it. I’m writing lesson plans, grading papers and editing a thesis right now, but these issues are always somewhere in the back of my mind, and I’m glad I have a blog where I can put them down.

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2 Comments

  1. Andrew T said,

    October 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    “A wise and cautious balance.” I was very appreciative of Piper’s post, which was much more nuanced and sensitive than many other evangelicals. Judging from the FB comments, many Christians are still complaining that Piper was too “liberal” by writing these words. It was a little discouraging to read some of the comment thread.

    I also am a 20-something Christian who experiences a gay orientation. For years I denied that reality and tried to make my attractions change, leading to deep depression and secrecy. Now, I am more at peace with myself and am excited with the possibility of celibacy, or chaste singleness, or whatever you want to call it. Whether my attractions change or not, I hope to honor God by offering my entire self, body and soul to him.

    Anyway, Jay, just wanted to say thanks for writing, and I’m looking forward to reading your blog. I first stumbled across your writings when I saw you on DSA.

    Andrew

    • October 15, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      Hello Andrew! Welcome to the blog. I think I’ve seen you on Spiritual Friendship before. Thanks for writing. I try to stay away from comment threads on major articles about faith and homosexuality these days. They can be very discouraging. It’s sad to hear that the comments on the Facebook post weren’t very encouraging, but I also know that people who agree aren’t as likely to comment, so there’s a little hope in that, right?


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