“Your Gayness does not define you. Your Mexican-ness is what defines you to me. And I think we should celebrate Oscar's Mexicanity. - Michael Scott
I love the office! It's one of the best comedies ever created. I enjoy it because it says comments people really think and want to do in the workplace. Whether it's good or bad, it's real. That is why so many people like it. They can relate to the ordinary workday presented in the show and the ridiculous comments humans make in the workplace.
What I find hilarious about this Michael Scott quote is it threw in so many complicated ideas, topics, and language that Americans use to communicate race, sexual identity, and the most interesting idea to me, how people want to label you after you have labeled yourself.
“Your Mexican-ness is what DEFINES YOU TO ME.”
This is Satire.
Satire allows for comedy to cover up the reality of real human thoughts, actions, and systems, especially when they are not politically correct.
Now there seems to be an attitude of theological correctness in certain Side B camps, and it is becoming unproductive for the local church. It's also becoming tribal and bullish.
Specifically, around the idea Side B Christians need to be called “Celibate Gay Christians.”
If you don't agree with them on this label, you're seen as not being very honest with yourself, that is the same idea the gay community tells me for not embracing "who I am."
But before I get into those 3 words, I want to explain a labeling and identity issue I had to deal with before I even get to my same-sex attraction categories I supposedly have to put myself in and it has to deal with my...
I grew up in a small city in Los Angeles County that is 80% Hispanic.
The word Hispanic, according to sociological and anthropological definitions, has two meanings.
1. It's an adjective relating a person to Spain or Spanish-speaking countries, especially those of Latin America.
2. It's a noun for someone who speaks Spanish.
This was quite hard for me to understand in my development as a Hispanic male because I only qualify for one of these meanings. What disqualifies me from the holistic idea of a “Hispanic” is that I don't speak Spanish.
My family doesn’t speak Spanish.
My parents don't speak Spanish.
I think my grandparents do, but they never spoke it to me.
We are about 4 generations away from Spanish being our family's primary language and that's on both sides of my family.
To complicate my life a little more, I had to deal with another identity issue.
I live in Los Angeles where Mexicans seem to be the biggest minority group present. I would even say they are the biggest people group. You see the Mexican flag around in shops and places where the Mexican culture is the dominant culture represented in the Los Angeles melting pot.
And so, if you are of a brown skin color, it's assumed you are, well,
But within this region, many Hispanics get upset when they are called Mexican because there are many different races present in this region. There is Honduran, El Salvadorian, etc. Many Latin Countries are presented here in Los Angeles. So it's offensive to many who are Hispanic when they are categorized as Mexican.
But on top of this complexity, there is something else, no matter what nationality you come from,
you need to embrace the culture of that nationality.
So for me, this means I need to embrace being a Mexican.
But I'm not Mexican.
I don't have a citizenship from there. I've been there like 4 times in my life for a weekend. And my experience has a human has always been within the context and worldview of being an American!
Recently, I did the Camino De Santiago in Spain, and I ran into many people from all over the world. Within the communities that formed on this long month walk, we got to know each other well, and my American attitude bled out of me. I was known as the Californian who voted for Trump. I was a conservative, I was for capitalism, and I was extremely individualistic in my presentation of my thoughts.
I was American. And I don't speak Spanish and I'm not Mexican.
Yet! I'm criticized by many Spanish speakers for not knowing Spanish, and not embracing my Mexican heritage. And I'm criticized by many white Americans for not embracing my Mexican Heritage.
I'm supposed to identify myself with words I don't comprehend or understand. I feel like I would violate the Mexicans I do know and the Spanish Speakers that know Spanish if I embraced these labels.
I'm okay with them. The brain works like that. I don't mind it. And I embrace it.
But don't tell me what I'm supposed to call myself, especially if I don't qualify to be in those categories.
And if we are going to use sociological and anthropological words to describe ourselves, if we are going to use
then we need to keep our academic integrity and not use words however we want just because it makes sense to us or we like it. If we don't want to use sociological and anthropological language, then say whatever you want. But if we want to use those words, then you have to qualify for them. If not, then who the hell cares what any of us are in regards to words, labels, identities.
Words are meaningless then.
But we know that is not true because words are powerful and give us ideas and perception of reality and how to live in this reality.
So, let's talk about CELIBATE GAY CHRISTIANS.
But before we go there, I want to preface this with the Christian beliefs of vocations and the results of life.
ALL Christian tradition and culture has taught Christians have two choices for their vocation in regards to their options for New Covenant Sexuality.
(I define sexuality as the act of using your reproductive organs and your body, in general, to express eros for another and fulfill the reproductive responsibility of sex.)
It's either in marriage or celibacy. Within these two pursuits, Chastity is commanded for all Christians. There is Chastity in Marriage and in Celibacy.
For Christians who can't find a spouse, this doesn’t mean they are pursuing celibacy, this means they need to understand how to live a life of Chastity as they figure out how to get married or whatever words I need to say to communicate that Christians just have to wait to get married sometimes or learn how to be a single person in their local church practising chastity.
They are living in the results of not being married, being single.
Let's get more into it.
Recently there has been a discussion if Christians who are attracted to the same sex should combine all these words. Specifically, the GAY word.
Funny note, Celibacy is more accurately defined or understood by Catholics and Orthodox Christians, but evangelicals don't care about celibacy so more drama has been about the word “GAY Christian” ignoring the word “CELIBATE” Gay Christian, as if that word isn't as important.
So let's start off with the word Celibate and also compare it with some words I have to deal with in my life in regards to being Hispanic/Latin/Mexican/American.
Many of these “Celibate Gay Christians” only define themselves as celibate because they are abstaining from the sex actions they desire. What I mean is they are trying to not have sex with the same sex or get involved romantically with someone of the same sex. That's basically it. As I have talks with these “Celibates Gays,” I never hear them talking about Celibacy in a way the Biblical writers are talking about Celibacy or the way Ancient and Traditional Christians talk about Celibacy, such as the Catholic monks, priest, nuns, and orthodox celibate priest.
The old ideas of Celibacy come from ideas that relate to a Christian making a vow to not pursue a marriage relationship because they believe they can be of better service for the Church as a Single person who can in a healthy way live a life not participating in a biological family and living a life of chastity.
Ironically, Wesley Hills talks who calls himself a “Celibate Gay Christian” wrote this about celibacy which I think is spot on.
...celibacy is an important reminder that love isn’t reducible to what we do in bed or over a candlelit table for two. It is a reminder that love exceeds the boundaries of the nuclear family. Celibacy is not about a heroic feat of willpower. It’s about giving up one way of expressing love in order to be able to love widely, profligately, indiscriminately. It’s about foregoing a spouse in order to love a community. It’s about giving up the possibility of children in order to become a spiritual father or mother in the family called “church.” It’s about being a little less entangled in the life of the world in order to be a little more free to celebrate the coming kingdom of God, in which none of us will be married and all of us will be spiritual friends with everyone else in the new creation that God will usher in. In the words of Ronald Rolheiser, “Celibacy, if properly lived, can be an important way to keep alive, visible and in the flesh, that part of the incarnation which tells us that when one is speaking of love, the human heart is the central organ.”
I find it interesting that Wesley Hill gives a great description for the vocation of celibacy but he ties it to Side B Christianity.
But not all Side B Christians have the charisma to be celibate, but they are called to chastity just like other Christians are.
Now, about 90% of Side B Christians I know, Christians who struggle with homosexuality or call themselves “Celibate Gay Christians,” or not trying to fulfill the vocation of being celibate.
Sure they are trying to love others well in their life, but ALL Christians in whatever vocation they are in are commanded to love others.
But they are not fulfilling the unique calling of the Holy and Profound Vocation of Celibacy the way Wesley Hill Describes Celibacy.
If these Celibate Gay Christians are actually fulfilling the Holy Spirit's empowerment for the charisma of celibacy for the Church, I'm not that impressed because all these Celibate Gay Christians just seem to be advocates for labels and are not fulfilling the role of a Celibate Vocation.
They are not a mother to the motherless, a father to the fatherless, a friend to the friendless, a light to the darkness, a little Jesus to the lost.
They want to be a GAY in the Church.
That seems to be their main concern.
Now, I'm generalizing here, so yes there are a some who are Side B fulfilling the proper vocation of celibacy, but my money is that most are not, at least the ones I know of.
This is VERY important to distinguish so that way the Evangelical church knows just because someone is struggling with homosexuality doesn’t mean they are called to Celibacy, they are called to live Holy Chaste lives just like other Christians who are not struggling with homosexuality.
Celibacy is a Charisma some Christians have, Chastity is a Command for all Christians. It is a charisma the Evangelical church doesn't want to teach yet because they don't want to let go of sex and their lustful desires. They are blinded by their own fallen sexuality not realizing they are worshiping an idol. They too justify their own sex acts just because it is in the context of male and female. They are not off the hook and many know that now because as we pursue more community and intimacy regarding this topic, we will visit the sexual desires of all Christians and question the intention, ethics, and teachings regarding New Covenant Sexuality.
They don't want to teach the Gift of Celibacy because they are afraid of the sacrifice. They are fine putting that on others, especially Christians that are struggling with homosexuality, but they won't put that on Christians struggling with heterosexuality.
There is a lot more I can get into here, but I'll stop for right now.
But Just like I can't fully qualify as being “Hispanic,” but I come from a Spanish descent (which qualifies me for half of the definition of being Hispanic)...
...I can't qualify for being a “Celibate” because I can't give the type of Holy and Profound love Christians who are celibate can, such as priest, nuns, monks, etc.
I'm not Celibate, I'm just a single guy trying to practice chastity, and so are most of you Side B Christians. Let's learn how to do that together. This is why I created the 4TS and the Church website. I want the local church to know how to walk alongside us Side Bers as we are single living chaste lives that have deep same-sex intimacy needs that have to be met.
Also, we can meet their needs too!
We are the bride of Christ. We are in a covenant together married to Jesus.
Now let's talk about the word “GAY.”
I grew up in Los Angeles in a Hispanic (I'm glad we have that defined) culture and I work in West Holywood every weekend and on some weekday nights.
If you are a Christian and you tell someone in West Hollywood you are a Gay Christian, what do you think they will think or say?
This - “OH! That means you are attracted to the same sex but you don't pursue a Romantic relationship with the same sex because you think it is unchristian and sinful.”
They would think you are simply looking for eros love with the same sex just like others are looking for eros love. (they wouldn't use the word eros)
This is not only a descriptor for what you are attracted too, it is a descriptor for what you are pursuing in regards to what you think humans can participate in, gay sex, and adding Christian to it doesn't even matter.
Culture, words, geographic location, all add to what a word means. I don't know what all the “Celibate Gay Christians” think, but at least here in So Cal, the word “Gay” doesn't mean what Side B Christians are saying. It means what it means.
That God made you like this. That your want to have sex with the same sex is good and doesn't need to be redeemed.
Now, this word is also tricky because, in the history of English language, it was never tied to someone who wants to have sex with someone of the same sex. It meant carefree, bright, friendly, happy.
Not until the late 19th 20th century did this word get tied to the social construct word “homosexual” which is a scientific word to describe someone sexually attracted to the same sex.
Then the word straight which originally meant “upright, serious, not caving in got tied to another social construct word, heterosexual, which means sexual attraction to those of the opposite sex.
So all that to say, When Side B Christians say they are “Gay” they are not using this new modern word the right way. They are trying to, like how Christianity has always done, take over culture and use the word the way they want to.
Just like if I was to start calling myself “Mexican.” But I'm not Mexican, even if I wanted to be, I'm not from Mexico and I don't even have citizenship there. I can call myself that, and some Hispanics would be happy if I did, but I'm not truly Mexican.
If you are a “GAY” Christian, you can call yourself that, and make Side A and Side B people happy who relate to you, and go to gay pride parades and participate in a “GAY Celebration.”
But don't kid yourself, you're not really gay and you are not celebrating the same thing the Gay community is celebrating.
Now, if I want to be Mexican, I can go to Mexico and try to get citizenship there and if I did get citizenship I can call myself Mexican! I can even call myself Mexican/American!
And so if you want the identity of a “Gay” person, you can accept the beliefs and cultural definition of the Gay word, which is someone who affirms that gay relationships are sociologically acceptable and good for humans and that God made you like that. He made you with a desire to have sex with the same sex and that is all good. Then you can call yourself a Gay Christian.
Good for you!
But overall, Side B Christians who really want this label to communicate their experience as a Side B Christian are not helping the overall discussion of how can the church meet the needs of Side B Christians.
If anything, you are making it worse for us and them.
Before we can even talk about needs, they want to know why you are calling yourself gay?
And they too are wrong for using social constructs such as the word straight and heterosexual to say this is how God wants things to be.
The Nashville Statement shows how Christians are still misinformed about language, culture, and even the faults in their own theology and anthropology. They condemn Freudian words used by Side B Christians to communicate their experience yet use Freudian words to describe their own experience and say it's good. It's Holy.
but let us not walk in their steps, and let's point out their wrongs for doing that in a constructive way.
At the end of the day, I think these damn labels are messing everything up. We are not keeping to the rules of language and society and we are confusing people.
And worse, the gospel and redemption that God is doing in the lives of Side B folks are getting lost as we fight over these words.
Fine, Christians are not going to understand us. But even if they let you identify however you want, so what?
What happens now?
You think they understand us now?
I hate talking about this topic because it reminds me of how uncharitable Christians are to each other. Everyone is talking about the same shit using different words and creating tribes over this stuff.
Fine, if you want to call yourself a “GAY CELIBATE CHRISTIAN,” go ahead.
I don't really care because I know I have to ask clarifying questions to understand where that person is coming from. I'll do that, I don't mind.
But to my Side B friends who want to call themselves “Celibate Gay Chrisitan,” don't think you have authority to say this is what all Side B Christians should call themselves.
I've already been through enough fucked up shit in the Church, I don't need to submit myself to a word that has caused me so much pain in my life because of the experiences I have living here in California. You don't get to say what words I need to define myself as, especially if you want to redefine words that are not in sync with the Christian tradition.
I'm not fully Hispanic and I'm not Mexican.
And I'm not Celibate, but I'm trying to be chaste, and I'm not gay.
I'm not lying to myself,
I'm not deceiving myself about who I really am,
I'm not acting like I'm not a part of a sinful human family,
I'm not acting like I don't have a strong desire to have sex with men,
I'm not acting like I don't find men aesthetically attractive,
I'm not picking sides on what Side B label I should have,
I'm not going to disassociate myself with Celibate Gay Christians,
I simply want the Church to be a team,
To communicate well,
To understand each other well,
To meet each other's needs,
To be a little Jesus in this dark, broken, sinful, rebellious, needy world,
To bring the good news of Jesus,
To talk about what he conquered and how to be in his Kingdom,
I'm simply Christian.