A letter from a former Side B Christian to the CHURCH

Hello there,

I had a great day today, mostly because I get to hang around really cool and funny Chinese kids because I am working at a Chinese Family Camp.  Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and it was really cool to see families I know post pictures of their Thanksgiving feast.  I started thinking,

"This is how the celebrations in the New Kingdom, that is already here but not fully, is going to look like."

I also remembered some of my friends (although they are having a "great family thanksgiving feast") are in pain. They want and need more than a feast.  To some extent, I feel that pain.  I need more than family, friends, and sometimes Church.  There exist some deep longing in my being to connect with humans that I don't see possible right now.  The only thing that makes sense is if this longing is satisfied when Jesus comes down to earth and humanity becomes fully one in him.  And what the heck does that really mean anyways? 

A couple of weeks ago I posted a writing about why I think Christians who are SIDE B turn to SIDE A.  I got a response from a facebook friend (who I havn't met in person yet) and what he thought of my post, and I thought it was very thoughtful, provoking, and convicting.

If I understand his beliefs right, we disagree on what it means to be attracted to the same sex and how that plays out in the CHURCH.  But I think his response to my writing is amazing.  I asked for his permission to present it to you guys.

"Hey Richard!

I know we haven't talked for a while, or even met in real life for that matter, but I've been following your blog posts, and the last one struck a chord for me, I felt it was very relevant for me, considering I'm one of those people who had a theology like yours, and then it became entirely necessary for me to shift (for my own mental health and happiness) (although whether God cares about our happiness and mental health has also been up for debate I suppose).

Anyways, I was really fascinated by the message of your post.  A half a year ago I would have written something similar. But I only got to writing things down when I got really angry at all the blog posts that appeared over the summer when gay marriage became protected across the US. You remember when everyone's profile pictures including mine turned into rainbows? It was a tense time for me, both because I was on the fence on this whole topic theologically, and I just couldn't stand all the damage that was being done on Christian side of things. I got really angry, and I wrote this piece if you'd want to read it. I never intended on sharing it with anyone. It sounds a bit like your posts except its a lot less encouraging, much harsher, and has a very angry and fed up tone.

"This past week I have seen a lot of well-meaning Christians posting things that just don’t help anyone. I have seen a lot gay people celebrating and reblogging sassy responses to things conservatives have written, which don’t help anyone either.

This is my very harsh critique of the Christians vs. the LGBT situation. It is very harsh. But I’ll say the same thing the picketers and the bible bangers do.

I share this in "love." (wink emotion)

Because, isn’t “true love” sharing the hard truth?!?

I hope you can handle it. I don’t think you can.

I was raised a Christian and although I denied it for years, I am “gay”, or “same-sex attracted", or a “flaming homosexual” or whatever your local culture calls it these days. I’ve spent years praying the gay away, dreaming of being straight, and fighting every part of me that felt natural. I have said prayers millions of times. Hundreds of people have said prayers for me (and continue to do so.) But guess what. I AM STILL GAY.

I’ve spent years searching Christianity’s literary darlings - the Bible, Augustine, Bonhoeffer, Lewis, Merton, Nouwen, Hill to name a few - for answers on how to practically live “celibately”, or in “singleness” or whatever your local culture calls it these days. I’ve spent years trying to figure out what the fuck God wants from a person like me.

Even more shocking – living openly in a traditional Christian sexual ethic does not protect you from the spiritual and emotional abuse that is so prevalent between gays and Christianity today. The number of “Christians” who have questioned my faith, motives, my salvation and even my “relationship with God” has been as common as the young straight men who struggle with pornography - I’ve been in enough men’s bible studies to know how pitiful you guys really are.

The loving types have been rare. Apathy and ignorance are plagues. It doesn’t matter if you’re as pure as the Pope – haters gonna hate.

Today I have no confidence in the ideas that well-meaning Christians continue to repost. The ideaGod wants me to remain single and celibate for the rest of my life – while I keep hoping he’d somehow make me straight and putting up with the idiocy of individuals – and perhaps someday be “delivered from those urges through the blood of Jesus so that (I) can find the mate of the opposite sex that God always intended for them to come together with.” (John Piper)

I used to have confidence. But after years of “trusting” God I can go no further. Resisting “temptations” for emotional intimacy, romance, love, dating, (since when were those temptations???) on top of all the other sexual interests it has been hell on earth. No one seems to have any practical advice on how to resist these things for potentially my ENTIRE LIFE. No one can make up for or ease the pain I feel in every song on the radio, every film, every advertisement and every church service. I have been continually let down, the target of stupid comments, the victim of ignorant and foolish talk. And God? Despite all the time I spend with Him, and pray to Him and yell at Him, He does not seem to comfort me.

Do not tell me that my problem is “my little faith”. I’ve had plenty of faith. It’s a miracle I didn’t completely lose a faith years ago. The problem is not my confidence in God.
If the church was a woman that pursued me at a party, I would decline her advances for obvious reasons.

But, this would be our conversation.

Church: “you know it would help if you just had a little more confidence."

Me: "No, what would really help, is if you were actually beautiful.”

To all you Christians who genuinely believe same-sex marriage is not part of Gods desire for an individual who experiences “same sex attraction” or a “gay orientation” or the “fallen nature of homosexual desire” or whatever your local culture calls it these days - I dare you to love so radically gay marriage will pale in comparison. Make the “Christian family” or “body of Christ” or whatever your local culture calls it these days, so beautiful we would all have to be idiots not to join it.

You need to get so fucking creative the “Christian lifestyle” looks nothing like the materialistic cisheteropatriarchy that you currently advertise. The mainstream Christian home cannot only be a straight couple and their offspring. You need multigenerational homes. You need diverse homes. You need sustainable homes. You need homes so full of diverse and complicated people they look like hotels. You need a community so large, energetic, and caring that it can respond to the modern mobile nature of today’s youth.

A church that insists on the traditional paradigm for families should have celebrations of celibacy, singleness, friendship, adoptions, siblinghood etc. that rival that of weddings. If your old folks are faraway or gone - adopt new ones nearby. If your children are gone or never came - adopt the orphans and NEVER give them up. If a young person moves to a new city and wants a Christian family but can’t because maybe they’re gay, then adopt them as a new family member and invite them to live with you. This would also only be possible if your church was a place LGBT people felt comfortable enough to be open about their situation, but based on the HUNDREDS of closeted individuals I’ve heard from over the years who struggle in isolation, almost all churches are whitewashed tombs of lies.

Basically, unless something changes someone like me will just live alone in apartments struggling with loneliness and singleness (trying to find intimacy at your weekly dinners and bible studies) until we join the LGBT community and its “technicolor fiesta.” And that community has this “realism” and “love” and “acceptance” stuff down to a science. Your potluck dinners, worship nights, and coffee dates are pathetic pastiches of real intimacy. You're afraid of people judging your housekeeping skills and having people over when you want to just stroll around the house without pants? Get over your obsolete southern hospitality and have people in your home even when its not perfectly cleaned with all the candies in the crystal bowls. (or if you're really a try hard, you can figure out how to always have a perfect house with the open door policy!) Real intimacy isn’t planned on a calendar. It just happens. It is usually rather quiet and mundane. You have to creativity figure out how being pantless with visitors in your crazy messy fun house is somehow not socially awkward. Because that's intimacy... Its usually awkward at first!

If ALL Christians were to understand this and live more creatively maybe I’d believe it when you say God has a “wonderful plan” for my life (that does not include gay marriage)…

But that’s not how it is. In our solitary nuclear cisheteropatriarchal Christian family “lifestyle”, there is no room for the “least of these” and certainly not a gay person. At least not for an extended amount of time. We can visit as guests, for years even, but we’ll never be family. You will always leave us behind. We will always be forgotten. Your house isn't clean enough. The city and social norms is designed to make us feel lonely and isolated unless we fit in. The structural system of churches simply won’t allow us to be part of God’s children.

Do not tell me that my problem is that I need to “give Christians a little grace because we’re human”. I continue to hope and forgive. I have ark-loads of grace, if I didn’t I would have left the church and gotten a boyfriend years ago.

The fact is, you are not trying hard enough.

You do not love Jesus enough to save anyone but yourself.

And the funny part is, you can’t even save yourself.

When you say “I disagree with the courts, but I don’t hate the gays” I can’t help but say loudly - “no shit, but you don’t love us in any way, shape or form either. You are ignorant at best, and bigoted at worst!”

I dare you to love. I dare you to educate yourself. I dare you to get creative and treat each other in such wonderful way that people will scream, “I want to be part of His family!” Care for all people! Care for the environment! Care for the least of these! Open the arms of the ENTIRE church and finally let the prodigal sons/daughters (and everyone in-between – yes that means the transgendered and genderqueer too) come home. Prove to us that the church is not a whore, but a beautiful mother with a warm embrace. PROVE IT. Not to God, but to humanity. Do this by living so creatively, cleverly, lovingly, and all embracing of other Christians as actual blood-family. And I hope we all understand whose blood I’m talking about.

Otherwise, what you currently recommend for gay people is nothing but a cruel hypocritical blog repost.

And my LIFE, is not a blog repost."