Formerly Known as Ex-Gay?

We’ve written a lot here about Bill Kinnon’s “Formerly Known” meme that has become increasingly popular across the internet, and to which Heidi and I have both contributed. Yesterday, I read a post from a blogger who has captured my attention on a few occasions, which is not a part of that meme . . . but which perhaps should be. It’s called “My Ex-Gay Survivor Story” and was written by Eric over at the Two World Collision Blog.

His post presents some very interesting food for thought. Please read it before continuing on with this post.

I’ve written a lot here about choices, and about the importance of taking responsibility for our choices. But I also believe it’s important not to take responsibility for those things which are beyond our control. I have caused myself an incredible amount of guilt and shame throughout my life by “owning” the blame for something I couldn’t control, or didn’t do, or had no part in, merely because I was “supposed to” feel guilty for it.

Eric’s post talks a lot about that . . . about living from that place of “supposed to.” I can’t claim to understand what goes through the mind of someone who identifies him or herself as gay . . . simply because I’m not. But I believe him wholeheartedly when he says, “to say that I wanted to be straight is an understatement.”

I don’t highlight this post as a basis for one of my lengthy diatribes, or to stake out a “position” of some sort. I merely want to provoke thought on the following questions:

  • What does it mean to be gay?
  • What does it mean to be straight?
  • What does scripture say about the two definitions you have just chosen in the two previous questions?
  • What does it mean to be a “gay Christian”?
  • What does it mean to be a “straight Christian”? Is there any difference between your two previous answers? Do you believe homosexuality (by whatever definition you gave it in the first question) is a sin?
  • Why or why not?
  • Do you believe homosexuality (again, by your chosen definition) is a choice?
  • Why or why not?
  • Is there a “proper” response or attitude that people who claim to be “straight Christians” should have toward those who claim to be “gay Christians?”
  • If so, what is it?
  • What does scripture say about your last two answers?
  • Do you believe that “sin” is an act of willful opposition to God?
  • If your answer is “no,” then how would you define “sin”?
  • If your answer is “yes” . . . Did you say that you believe homosexuality to be an act, or a thought?
  • Did you say that you believe homosexuality to be a choice, or not?
  • If homosexuality includes thoughts and desires, how can it be an “act” of willful opposition?
  • If homosexuality is not a choice, how can it be willful?

These are not rhetorical questions. I am honestly interested in any and all answers, whether you consider yourself straight, gay or otherwise.

I wonder, at times, whether we “straight Christians” simply think that we have to believe that homosexuality – by any definition – is sinful, and answer such questions (or avoid them) in such a way that we aren’t forced to confront any difficulties that might stand in the way of that being the case. I am afraid that sometimes the “yuck factor” involved in contemplating thoughts or actions that we might find personally and individually distasteful makes us irrationally and irreconcilably hostile to the idea that we might not have all the answers.

But there are a lot of things I find distasteful, that are hardly sin.

What do you think? This seems to me to be an area where those who call themselves “gay Christians” and those who call themselves “straight Christians” talk an awful lot about one another, but don’t do nearly as much talking with each other.

Do let’s change that, shall we?? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.

3 thoughts on “Formerly Known as Ex-Gay?”

  1. Hey-

    I followed the link from Eric’s site to yours. Good questions…woud love to dialogue with you on them.

    Check out Erics post on Becky O So Cal weekend to find out more about me:)

    I do have myspace too…

    Becky O

  2. I think that some of the arguments that the “Christians cannot be gay and vice versa” groups make are based on a really legalistic standard of Christianity – if you are _really_ a Christian then you can’t have certain sins in your life.

    Just fill in the blank: alcoholism, drugs, homosexuality, promiscuity. If you have any of these in your life, you must not be a Christian. It starts getting even nastier sometimes – if you drink at all, have sex outside of marriage, or smoke, then you are, at BEST, a really bad Christian. Homosexuality gets filed in there too.

    Groups can, unfortunately, go the other way too by saying those things are no problem and there is no reason to change any of them. “As long as you’re looking for God, it doesn’t matter about alcoholism, drugs, promiscuity, homosexuality, smoking, etc.”

    Neither is Biblically sound, and both do great damage to the Body. It’s possible, and properly Christian, to hold that sin is real and wrong, and it should not be shrugged off as unimportant in life, while at the same time sharing, witnessing, and welcoming people to Christ.

    But that takes work: holding to the Bible’s standards, extending grace and mercy, not demanding perfection, encouraging improvement, working with very complicated situation, and realizing that one’s own moral standard is not the rule with which to measure others.

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