Queer & Christian with Adele: Interview 7!

Here, Adele shares more of her painful experiences with ex-gay ministries, how she attended Pat Robertson's Regent University (TRULY!), and how these experiences nearly led her to suicide...


In the next segment, Adele will ask ME a few questions!
Stay tuned,
Peter

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Preface: I'm a gay guy.

Adele, I respect your experiences and the belief system that you have formed based on your reality. I write this realizing the challenges that gay and lesbian individuals face.

However, I feel that you have presented somewhat of a false dichotomy based on my experience. The options aren't only to either identify as ex-gay or jump into a gay lifestyle (I realize "lifestyle" is not the best word, but used it because I can't think of a good substitute right now).

There's a third option. It's realizing you're gay and accepting that fact but, at the same time, realizing that pursuing sexual relationships is not compatable with Christianity. Essentially, it's gay celibacy.

Now I realize (remember I'm gay) that this seems harsh, and leads one to wonder why G-d would allow individuals to be gay but deny them sexual fulfillment, but in comparison to other sacrifices required of followers of The Way throughout history, it's a minuscule sacrifice.

I realize that you do not believe that pursuing gay relationships is wrong & I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise. Yet, there are those that cannot, based on the Bible and tradition, reconcile gay relationships their beliefs. For those individuals, I sincerely believe that the third option should be presented. . .

Peace & Love,
Naysh

Anonymous said...

P.S. Here are two blogs by gay individuals who pursue the third option:

http://pursuegod.wordpress.com/

http://collegejay.blogspot.com/

Doug said...

I can recommend the book What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel Helminiak.

Yes, you're "better off without" the Christians you've grown up with. Doesn't Jesus say to leave your mother and father? Not literally but metaphorically. Leave your false self and embrace your true self/nature. Thank goodness there are other churches that are inclusive to gays and lesbians for those who want a church experience. And you can have you own private relationship with God/Christ that is more contemplative... Matthew 6:6.

I saw the film Fish Can't Fly about people who spent thousands of dollars and years of their lives in ex gay ministries. It is well done.

All the best to you Adele. You seems like a wonderful thoughtful woman. Go for it!
Doug

Existential Punk said...

i think celibacy is not the norm G-D intended and it is a really lonely road. im not trying to change your mind either, Anon. it just saddens me people cant see the Bible in its historical and cultural contexts. If someone chooses to be celibate, fine. i just dont want them to miss out on a beautiful relationship because of misleading interpretations IMHO!

Life is not fair i know but to remain celibate because one thinks they are defective or in sin is wrong on so many levels. i wouldnt want to serve a G-D who says that. Thankfully i dont buy into that bullshit anymore. i did it for too many years and had much self-hatred and self-loathing. i was not truly living and am grateful i am now.

G-D Bless and i wish you had put your real name.

Adele

Existential Punk said...

Sorry Naysh, i see your name now. Also, i wanted to say i do respect your decision/experience/etc even tho i disagree. i do not feel i present a false dichotomy as i see living celibate as a queer person is what ex-gay ministries present as an option if feelings dont subside and one doesnt get married. It's the two sides of the same coin.

Pax,
Adele

Anonymous said...

Adele,

Thanks for your response. Looking back over my comment, "False dichotomy" seems like too harsh of an expression for the point I was attempting to make.

However, I do believe that "gay celibacy" is a third option that should be distinguished from "ex-gay." Let me explain further. Gay celibacy allows one to accept her sexuality as part of her identity. In the ex-gay world, accepting a gay identity is anathema. From what I've read, the greatest harm has been done by ex-gay ministries that insisted upon a change in sexual orientation. An approach that recognizes an individual's sexual identity and, at the same, gracefully calls that individual to celibacy seems fundamentally different from the typical ex-gay approach (IMHO).

I don't see celibacy based on one's understanding of the call of Jesus to be wrong. There are many Christ followers that have made this decision. Relational fulfillment isn't limited to the sexual dimension. I know individuals who have been forced to practice abstinence within marriage, due to long-term illnesses of their partners. Is their refusal of sexual fulfillment wrong? I realize that the two scenarios are not perfectly analogous, yet there is a fundamental similarity that underlies both: sexual fulfillment is surrendered to G-d.

Again, I realize that you do not see a command from G-d requiring abstinence from sexual, gay relationships. However, I feel (I could be wrong) that the majority of gay Christian individuals will always have difficulty reconciling tradition and Scripture with a sexually-active gay lifestlye.

Love & Peace,
Naysh

Existential Punk said...

Naysh,

If one is to accept their gay identity then what is wrong with pursuing a loving, monogamous relationship with someone of the same-sex? Accepting your identity then thinking it is morally wrong is not true acceptance for me. If one does not see it morally wrong and then chooses celibacy, i have no problem with that. But if one sees it as morally wrong but accepts his/her identity and chooses celibacy, that to me is not a 3rd option. Just my opinion.

i know many gay Christians who have no problem reconciling their faith and their sexuality. There are more than you know!

Sex is not everything but it is a big part of relational fulfillment and deep connection, bonding, and intimacy. It is a beautiful thing.

im gonna be honest - i HATE the term lifestyle. Being gay is no more a lifestyle than being heterosexual! Ok, that's off my chest now! LOL!!!

Pax,
Adele

Anonymous said...

Adele,

A heterosexual can accept her/his identity as straight, but, at the same time, reject sexual relationships. The same is true of a gay individual. This is what I see as the third option. I realize that it may not appear much different than "ex-gay." However, I still believe there is a notable difference.

Ex-gay organizations (from what I have observed) constantly encourage individuals to deny their gayness and become straight. They are constantly emphasizing the steps that need to be taken in order to change individuals' sexual orientations. This constant emphasis on changing desires that are likely unchangeable separates ex-gay from gay and celibate. C'mon how many individuals that are involved in the ex-gay movement even use the word gay to describe themselves?

I understand that for you (and many others) accepting your identity entails the freedom to engage in a sexual relationship. I'm not attempting to convince you otherwise. Yet, for those that feel sexual activity is incompatible with their faith, is not gay celibacy much more healthy than "ex-gay."

Peace & Love,
Naysh

btw, I also despise the term "lifestyle." It slipped out due to all my exposure to "ex-gay" stuff. lol

Lutestring said...

Adele, I am AMAZED at your ability to be pissed off and frustrated, yet not bitter. I hope I can achieve that in my own life.

Naysh, I have a question I wonder if you have thoughts on.

We agree that if we love Jesus, no sacrifice is too great to make for him. Including having a sexual relationship.

But in every other sacrifice I could think of - pleasure, wealth, life itself - there are people who in the great scheme who do get to enjoy these things. The great point is that we be *willing* to give it up, not so much whether we go without it or not.

This is certainly true of heterosexuals, many of whom have renounced having a relationship and many of whom have married. God loves them all and is glorified in them all.

So why should homosexuals be different? Why here, in this particular thing, should *all* the members of this group be required to deny themselves?

And if they must be celibate by necessity in order to not sin, then where is the sacrifice? Sacrifice (the word you chose to use) strictly speaking, is giving up something good in itself, isn't it? If homosexuality is just wrong in itself, now - then it seems to be something different - resisting temptation.

In all the other things I mentioned - comfort, money, belongings, even one's own life - the believer has individual leading from God as to whether they should give it up or not. But if the believer is a homosexual - in your views, they know by *default* they cannot exercise their sexuality.

And why the default? Why the rigidity here for this one thing? This is what confuses me.

So you know where I'm coming from - I'm a young person who is seriously rethinking many things about the Christianity I saw growing up - and Christianity in general. The way the church has treated homosexuals is one of the many things triggering my doubt with Christianity.I'm rethinking what I've been told all my life.

I would appreciate your perspective.

Peace
L

Peter said...

I just want to affirm how much I am enjoying the depth, authenticity, and respect in this dialogue. Thank you, Adele and Naysh. Also, Doug and now Lutestring - I wish more online dialogue looked like this...

Blessings,
Peter

Anonymous said...

L,

You bring up an interesting point. I concede that my usage of sacrifice was less than precise in the context of my previous comments.

However, in a sense, resisting any temptation is a sacrifice of the subjective good (that defined by an individual's perspective). If there is no sacrifice of any subjective good, is there any need for resistance?

To go back to a previous scenario I presented, the husband who is unable to engage in sexual realations with his wife (due to her illness) is making a sacrifice in spite of the reality that any sexual relations in that situation would be in violation of the call of Christ. How? He is sacrificing the subjective good of sexual satisfaction.

Anyway, you are correct that in the sense that sacrifice extends beyond subjective "good" I misused the term.

btw, I'm also a young adult (college student) rethinking my childhood Christianity. The approach Christians, in general, have taken toward Christianity is appalling. When I first realized my sexuality, I seriously considered suicide because I believed that I was predestined to hell. However, the errors of other Christians do not justify me to deny what I believe to be the call of Christ in this area.

Peace & Love,
Naysh

Lutestring said...

Thanks Peter! I enjoy your blog.

Hi Naysh,

Thanks for the clarification. That clears up a lot.

"However, in a sense, resisting any temptation is a sacrifice of the subjective good (that defined by an individual's perspective). If there is no sacrifice of any subjective good, is there any need for resistance?"

I absolutely agree. Without a doubt, both sacrifice and temptation, in their more specific meanings, take immense courage. I have no wish to downplay one for the other.

Also, from the Christian view of goodness as the source of everything - one could argue that in the end, sacrifice and temptation really end up to be the same thing. Seeing as even sins are just warped ways of trying to get to good things. You know, the whole "evil is spoiled good and owes its being to good" business, most famously articulated by C.S. Lewis. In this framework one would always believe that somehow there is some other way to get what one really wants (whatever that is) other than the obvious but sinful way in front of one. Am I making any sense? This is hard for me to put into words.

What still confuses me, however is this question bugging me: From your standpoint, *why* does God allow heterosexuals to sometimes have a relationship without it being sin, and not homosexuals?

I must say - looking at both you and Adele - the human psyche, in its ability to survive the pain that it does, (and retain kindness, frankness, love) holds me in AWE.

Peter said...

Wow Naysh,
Thanks for your transparency here. It's very meaningful to me, and I'm encouraged that you are continuing to push forward and seek your truth.

Rhiannon Y Orizaga said...

what an amazing conversation!

for me it comes down to whether or not we accept the proposition that being a Christian has to involve some sort of normalization. I am starting to think of it in this Foucauldian sense because I don't know what else I can realistically call it anymore.

Peter said...

"Whether or not we accept the proposition that being a Christian has to involve some sort of normalization."

Oh wow! Rhiannon I love that - it is really profound! We equate "obedience" or "submission" with homogeny!

Anonymous said...

@ Peter: Thanks for the kind words.

L,

Sorry for the delayed response. You asked: "From your standpoint, *why* does God allow heterosexuals to sometimes have a relationship without it being sin, and not homosexuals?

I wish I could provide a satisfying answer to this question, but I can not. I do believe firmly, though, that, at least for me, there is no way to reconcile sexual intimacy with the teachings of Christ. So for me, I must choose between the way of Christ or sexual fulfillment.

In all honesty, sometimes I wonder if God has a sadistic side. However, in my better moments, I realize that celibacy is much less of a burden than those of many others. . .

Peace & Love,
Naysh

Lutestring said...

Hey Naysh,

I just want to thank you for dialoguing with me. I have often thought that the only people I would listen to about homosexuality being wrong are actual homosexuals of that persuasion. They truly put their money where their mouth is in their painful sacrifice. I hope to talk to some others who feel they can articulate more of an answer, but thank you for being the first person to engage with me, and being patient.

To say something that is never a cliche no matter how much it may sound like it, you are NOT alone in your wondering. I think we all, even those of us who haven't suffered as much as you, wonder in our depths whether God is like that. It's something we all must face. This review of the movie Antichrist (which I could not bear to see btw) says it best:

"It also raises a lot of questions about the relationship people have with God. Not just the age old “If God loves us so much, why does he do such terrible things?” question but something even darker, and more disturbing. The idea that God IS the Devil. That God laughs at our struggles and teases us with rewards that aren’t there. The idea that the only way to truly understand God is to embrace the darkest parts of ourselves."

http://paracinemamag.blogspot.com/2009/09/antichrist.html

Anyway - this is yet to be wrestled out, for all of us. I just think that the fact it's still a question is hope. We hope for something so much more, so unbelievably better. And we don't know that that hope is in vain.

Much love and peace to you back,
L

Popular Posts