Trading Up

Since announcing that I am leading a workshop at the Revoice conference in St. Louis this coming July, I’ve gotten quite a bit of pushback, both from liberal Side A Christians (those who affirm same-sex marriages/relationships) and those with conservative Christian positions who believe ongoing same sex attractions are an unbecoming discussion for anyone claiming the name of Christ.

Both extremes on the spectrum of opinion concerning Christianity and homosexuality bring to mind CS Lewis’s quote from his book, The Weight of Glory:

It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

For the one side, they will only be pleased if everyone either becomes like them or affirms them.

On the other, they will only be pleased by a solely heterosexual world.

If your goal is for someone to either actively express or suppress their sexuality, you are far too easily pleased.

Both are simplistic and hurtful desires that would lead to a significant population of people who both desire to be faithful to an orthodox sexual ethic while still maintaining that, as they grow in holiness, they are not simultaneously moving toward an increasing heterosexuality. To be attacked by both ends of the theological and ethical spectrums concerning anthropology and sexuality makes for an inevitable defeat in a two front war.

So here I hope to briefly explain this middle ground position that neither denies my God nor myself as He created me.

For most Christians, “The statement, “I’m gay,” leads people to assume one is apostate, having traded in their faith for sexual relations with the same sex.

But stop for a moment and flip that scenario. When someone tells you they’re straight (although, most heterosexuals don’t “come out” as such, so…), do you automatically assume they’re sexually active? I should hope not, and I would encourage you to do the same for LGBT+ friends and family when they are brave enough to share their story with you.

I don’t (at least not intentionally) make that assumption. But I do assume certain ways in which they will interact with others and the world around them.

Our sexuality is not our identity, but it does, to an extent, serve to express our embodied existence in a particular manner.

Same for Christians who identify on the LGBT+ spectrum (sexual minorities). For many, this is a way of explaining how one sees and interacts with the world, not who one is sleeping with.

This conversation led my thoughts not only to Lewis’ quote above, but also to the Kingdom parables of Matthew 13.

For, you see, Jesus is that treasure found buried in a field, that highly sought after pearl. And if denying natural sexual attraction allows me to gain the lover of my soul, the one whose love is better than this very life, than it is worth the cost.

But Bekah, you may say, you can have both! Look at all the happy gay Christians! It’s a new era of love and acceptance.

To that, I say, “Read the Word, friend.” To gain the treasure, the man who found it had to sell all he had in order to buy the field. He gave up possibly his life savings, which, to the onlooker, could have seemed preposterous. But what he gained? Well, it was worth his life, his soul.

Because your love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

Better than life, and all life has to offer.

But Bekah, you may say, “That’s not fair that you deny yourself (or others) that One Great Love of your Life. That makes me sad for you.”

To that I say, “If God so chooses to bring a man willing to board the crazy train (or struggle bus– pick your metaphor) that is the Mason household, I would be honored and grateful.

If God chooses to send a committed friend willing to make a pledge like Ruth to Naomi, or like the covenant sworn by David and Jonathan, and comes alongside to live and love and press me and my kids closer to Christ, I would be honored and grateful as well.

I could have one or the other, but I can’t have it all. Because no person is meant to be anyone else’s everything. That is Jesus’ place in my life, and he’s doing just fine in that role. So much so that, if he never sees fit for either scenario above to come to fruition, I have an amazing support system of friends and family to love me and my kids and we are enough.

But mostly, He is more than enough.

So to those who say we shouldn’t acknowledge gayness or same sex attraction and also claim Christ, I challenge you to consider that this: This aspect of my life is the one God uses most consistently to draw me to Himself, to point out my weaknesses and my need for Him.

Why in the world would He be so cruel as to take away the thing that most deeply presses me into himself?