Friday, April 25, 2008

homosexuality

i have been blogging for nearly five years here now and i have chosen to avoid this subject for a couple of reasons. first being i am no expert. second being this subject cuts very close to home for me. third is probably just not wanting to weather a troll storm in my comments or just plain lack of courage, but i have come to realize too late that my silence needs to be broken.

as a recovering sexual addict i have spent far too much of my life with my nose pressed up against the rough edges of life. i haven't written about my sexual addiction in quite some time, mostly because i have had 7 1/2 blessed years of abstinence that i cherish deeply and probably don't want to "jinx" it. i don't believe that's really true when i write it, but sometimes we get superstitious and don't really even know it.

in the past few months i have crossed paths with some amazing new bloggers. most of them are recovery men who happen to be gay. i love gay men. i really do. penni and i have said many times that they are the best friends a wounded woman could have. they live out of a beautiful place in their souls - and usually they've been wounded along their path too, so they just plain "get it".

i am writing about this now because much of the woundedness i see happens at the hands of the church in the name of a very vengeful, atrocious god. it breaks my heart.

as a woman raised in a female hating denomination i had that god on my back for most of my life too. the worst part of spiritual abuse is that the very comforter who should be there when the rest of life turns on you is taken away and made into the one who orchestrated it all. instead of finding comfort from god those of us with vast boatloads of shame are told that the shame is there because we're so screwed up and that god created that shame to get our attention so that we will behave in the way that we're supposed to. it's a really f-ed up logic, but to a child raised in a strict, religious home we're too naive and wounded already that we just can't tease apart the error.

the best part of my recovery journey has been the line from the step 3 "god as i understand him." somehow that gave me permission to begin to peel back the edges of the rigid doctrine i had been raised with and start to question. what i saw was an ugly idol. as sick and twisted as the old testament idols we were warned about. maybe, just maybe this wasn't really god. maybe, just maybe my understanding, and the understanding of those who hurt me so was WRONG. maybe. it's what i'm devoting the next two years of my life to. it will hopefully be my thesis.

maybe that idol needs to be pulled off it's altar so that we can fully find a real god who truly sets us free and is worthy of our devotion.

why this theology stop in a post about homosexuality? it's who i am. a sexual addict who loves theology and i adore the god i've found in recovery. and i so long for others to find that god too.

you see i think the church uses homosexuality as a red herring. i'll shake the red flag over here to divert your eyes so that you don't see my sexual brokenness. i know that in my own life the times i was overly concerned with other people's bedrooms/sexual lives/behaviors was when mine was helter skelter all over the place (mostly in the gutter).

can we all just agree that god wants us all to be more sexually healthy than we are today? whatever that looks like. please, can we stop shaming other people because our own shame is so great and looming that we feel like we need to spread it around?

there isn't some great dividing line that says my sexual brokenness is okay with god and that person's over there isn't. we're all broken. we all need redemption. we all need a god who is big enough to help us heal. let's stop wagging fingers in peoples faces and start to sit with our own brokenness. we all struggle at some level with self acceptance, intimacy and wholeness. homosexual marriage doesn't threaten your family. your own sexual brokenness threatens your family. focus on your own damn family and stop using others as an issue to assuage your guilt.

we who call ourselves christ followers must, in the most honest places of our souls, acknowledge that we know that jesus sat with all who were sexually wounded and offered friendship, healing and hope. how dare we say that there are those who must heal themselves before they can experience the grace of god?

shame on us.

us.

of all people we should be the most understanding - but we're so afraid to acknowledge our own sexual sin/fantasies/behavior that we can't even afford ourselves the grace god extends to us for our own sexual healing.

please understand that i am in no way saying that i expect that jesus will heal anyone of homosexuality. i make no claim/stand/opinion on this - i just know that each of us needs to be more healed and healthy than we we are now. if that healing is found in a committed homosexual relationship before god that is none of my business and i glory in the fact that it's not mine to judge. i want to live a life that accepts, embraces and invites others to the healing i have found and continue to grow in.

if you have been wounded by the god of the religious right i am so sorry. for whatever role i played in that crazy mixed up world i repent. and i invite you to begin to pray, to a kinder, gentler god and ask to have the lies removed, to clear away the error, to do away with the hate and begin to feel the love and peace promised. that prayer continues to be answered in my life and i truly believe it will be in yours too.

here's something my friend steve wrote that might help those of us raised with that right wing god and need to learn to open our hearts and have more mercy and grace:

ragamuffin ramblings: what i wish straight christians knew

12 comments:

Christy said...

If you want to have your heart ripped open, watch Latter Days. (It's about Mormons, not the religious right - but there are similarities, no?) If you are ever trying to explain what it's like to be gay among the fundies, just hand someone this movie. I sobbed through the last 45 minutes, because being told that God hates you still hits a nerve with me.

(A few sex scenes with significant nudity- so don't watch it with the kids, though.)

Christy

Christy

Tara said...

WOW. My daughters best friend is a gay man. He has stood by her thru the birth of her first child. She is a single mom. He has stood steadfast and STRONG for her. They have a beautiful relationship. He is one of the family...raised in church...and hurt.
I believe that the church is too consumed with looking holy, sinfree, cleaned up, and pretty. They forget the Jesus that hung with prostitues, thieves, and degenerates, the sick, needy, ugly. Why should we take our steps on earth to take us only to the safe and clean? And think of ourselves as more than we are? He is the model.
I too have found the loving father that I could not seek thru incested eyes. Scales removed, he has cuddled me, healed me, held me, and restored parts of me that my earthly father had crushed. Bravo for such a bold post. If we don't 'get honest' how can we give it away. It is the end result of the steps..."12". No apolgies needed. Total props to you!!!

Steve F. said...

i have chosen to avoid this subject for a couple of reasons. first being i am no expert.

Unlike you, my sister-of-the-heart, I am qualified. Admittedly,I lied to myself for years, saying I wasn't qualified to talk about the topic, either. But today, I can honestly say I have first-hand experience to share...

penni and i have said many times that they [gay men] are the best friends a wounded woman could have.

And understanding and accepting women of great heart (like you, Penni, Erin, Hope and others) are among the best friends wounded gay men like me could have, Bobbie. I am grateful to you for speaking out and speaking up.

the best part of my recovery journey has been the line from the step 3 "god as i understand him."

Amen, and amen. It has been a joy to discover "God as I mis-understand him/her/it/them," and to realize that this issue of how God sees GLBT people affects our understanding of creation, sin, grace, and salvation. I've had to look at the entire Bible, not just six or seven "clobber passages," to see what God's entire plan for us (all of us) is. And I had to come to understand God as creator of me, just as I am. "The way I was made," as Chris Tomlin would say...

you see i think the church uses homosexuality as a red herring. i'll shake the red flag over here to divert your eyes...

Not just from sexual behavior of straight Christians, either. From the heresy of a Church given to care for "the least of these" building multi-million-dollar temples to multi-media. From invoking God's name to keep on killing God's kids. In so many ways, if we can just wave the red flag over there, then we don't have to look at the raw sewage that's right at our feet.

I have the same struggle with so-called "religious right" folks talking about AIDS as a stigma against gay people. Killing millions and millions of straight people in Africa to "stigmatize" those of us who are gay and lesbian is both cruel and incompetent. The idea that God does so is akin to the idiocy that Hurricane Katrina, which wiped out the homes of scores of thousands of poor folks in New Orleans, was God's way of punishing the French Quarter, which remained largely untouched.

That is not the God of my understanding.

if you have been wounded by the god of the religious right i am so sorry. for whatever role i played in that crazy mixed up world i repent.

And I, as a white male, apologize to you for the female-hating crap that some so-called Christians dish out as "true faith," and repent of every chance I had to say so, but didn't.

The Christians I have met in the blogosphere - you, Penni, Erin, Rick L., Poor Mad Peter and [rhymes with kerouac], to mention a few - have shown love, acceptance, and affirmation to me and my GLBT brothers and sisters in ways for which I cannot even begin to be thankful.

Whoever "they" are, if they are looking here "they will know you are Christians by your love..."

Thank you for your words, and thanks for the link. The world needs to hear what you have to say.

Jules said...

This post is a brilliant and very moving example of tolerance and kindness and healing.

Thank you, bobbie!

Auntie Doris said...

Thank you for this. I came across your blog by accident and there are bits of it that resonate strongly with how I feel.

I am a single, straight Christian woman, and yet I have found a certain sense of peace. That peace hasn't come through the church which in many ways did the exact opposite. As an opinionated, strong woman I discovered that who I am is perceived to be unacceptable, and the views that I hold often go against the grain. The church damaged me in so many ways, and it has meant that I have had to rediscover my relationship with God on so many different levels.

What I discovered was that my healing did not come through the church but through my connection with the queer community. Gay men, lesbian women and increasingly trans men and women have all had a huge part to play in accepting me for who I am. I feel at 'home' in their community (which occasionally I find a bit odd!) and yet their open acceptance of who I am has meant that I have been able to develop into the person I believe God has called me to be.

The desire to stand alongside other broken people, whilst recognising my own brokenness is so strong, and so fulfulling. I know that my gay friends will always be there for me. They aren't phased by my ramblings and ruminations and even my actions. In fact they openly encourage me to try and discover the 'real me' and help me in my pursuit for home.

Thank you for this blog post. It made sense to me in so many ways.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Bobbie.
Mich

Northwest said...

Goodness Bobbie. What a strong connection I feel with you after reading this post. Perhaps it is the parallel experience of finally scrutinizing the fundamentalist Christian beliefs I was raised with and finding they held no place for me.

Or maybe it's the harrowing and embittering experience of having my fundy ex-wife hide my children from me in "Christian safe homes" as punishment when my partner and I moved in together (in callous, "righteous indignation" of my legal parental rights). To feel "Christian hate" like a searing poker in the eyes, all because I realized I am gay and had the courage to stop the dishonesty.

Though we have not met, it's a blessing to feel a bond with you based on your thoughts expressed here. You don't realize the hidden role you played in bringing me to "re-affirm" God in my life, after a decade of believing in nothing.

A couple months ago, your blog sparked an interest in seeing if I had the courage to look at God in a new way, with a different perception. To set aside my painful past experience with God, and to trust that He was there and I could find him anew.

And in that moment, He reached out to me (as we all know He does in these moments) and nothing has been the same since.

I have come to believe that the painful divide between us all on the topic of homosexuality (and all other issues actually) can be healed ONLY by taking care of my own business.

By that I mean, if I experience meanness in others, I know I cannot control them and rip it out. But I do know that I can allow God to inventory MY meanness, and rip IT out.

And that is, maybe, the best any of us can do, to move collectively past the divides that threaten us all.

Cornélie said...

...Sorry this will not be in good english :)
Why do we (women) trace our sexuel problems to the abuse that we endured as children or teenagers but men often say that it is a genetic fact?

Sarah Louise said...

wow. thanks for posting this and the link. The red herring image...yes. And for what it's worth, thanks for being honest enough to write about this and being honest enough about "not wanting a troll storm in [your] comments."

I have a Michalangelo quote in my bathroom with a sketch of his: "I am still learning."

Thankfully, I have friends who continue to open my mind.

and I'll have to come back when I have time to absorb the poems in the post above.

~m2~ said...

such a writer you are, my friend. you really know how to strike a chord among many.

i would love to point your way and say "what she said!" my most significantly responded to pieces on m2 were with respect to homosexuality and adoptions and the like. shamefully, i actually ended up deleting the posts because my commenters got so completely out of hand. it really was a shame on so many levels.

the Church needs to realize that we all come from a brokenness and regardless of our orientation, the God of our understanding loves us even in spite of ourselves. and He loves our neighbor in spite of us, as well.

who knew.

Marc said...

I might also add that homophobia is also really a form of misogyny. What scares the religious right et.al about us is our perceived weakness, effeminancy, nuturing--all that makes us like women. Elevate the culture to value all that is female with all that is male, and homophobia will disappear.
Thanks for this post, and for commenting on my blog so that I knew you were reading me.

bobbie said...

Oh my goodness Marc - I HAD NEVER MADE THAT CONNECTION - it's dead on.

It must be why I feel so drawn to gay men. I know we have both suffered at the hands of power, but never did I get that it is patriarchy that creates homophobia.

Very powerful connection. I long for that world where there is a level playing field for us all.