I got to talk to a new friend last night who happens to be trans-gender and gay.
As far as I understand it, they actually thought he was a girl at birth, but as he grew up and grew a beard and stuff, it became clear that things weren’t so clear. I’m not sure of the exact ins and outs of it but it was confusing to them, and it was that way from birth.
And this has just re-ignited the question in my mind. “Why on earth, if God thought a gay lifestyle was wrong, would He make people that way?”
I still don’t know if I think an active gay lifestyle is a sin or not, but I had an idea recently that might resolve the issues if it is. And I’m pretty excited because it would show Christians why we should treasure gay people, instead of the opposite. Here it is: what if because of the deeper friendships gay people have to offer us, and because of our duty to wrap loving community around them, they can draw a community together more powerfully in an increasingly isolating world.
In other words they can act as the “Single Unifier” in a group.
Here’s what I mean.
First, they often foster a deeper type of friendship to a community:
A few weeks ago at church our pastors hosted a discussion on homosexuality. One of the things they stated was that ‘Even though we don’t see the Bible supporting a gay lifestyle, we have a lot to learn from gay people. One of those things is that often gay people are far better at doing same-sex friendships.’
I could vouch for this. I have a close Christian friend who is gay and he chooses to wholly serve Jesus, even if it means he will never have a romantic relationship. His friendship with me and our other guy friends seems to have a deeper element than most of my other guy friendships. It’s not weird. He’s just more intentional, and he seems to care about us more. Think like a really good brother would be. He prays for us because prayer is a necessity in his struggle, and he includes his concerns for us in his prayers. He calls us out when he feels we are not living up to our potential. If there is anybody who I feel like I can tell things to, it is him because he will not judge- he’s dealt with things that were even more taboo than mine. He’s not into talking football and TV shows, but instead about how our hearts are doing. I know that all gay people are not exactly like him, but he has been an incredible gift to my life.
My friend has made a huge sacrifice to abstain from romantic love and sex for his whole life, and stay committed to his church family. And because of that the other men in our community are extremely blessed. But if we call ourselves a church body, we have a burden to carry for him as well.
So the second part is this; the rest have a duty to wrap loving community around them:
Just like for anybody who doesn’t have a partner, his or her friends in the church are called to come around them and help ease the pain of loneliness. And this duty of the church forces the community to connect deeper, and more often.
The Single Unifiers are like the hub in a fan or a wheel. Or a light pulling moths together in the night. And the gay Single Unifiers have the deeper friendship to offer in return.
I watched a talk by an abstinent lesbian Christian, Julie Rogers a few months ago and she concluded that she could sustain abstinence if her church family consistently welcomed her into community. If families invited her to meals with them. If they had parties and went for coffee from time to time. If she could cry on their shoulders when things got hard. She said she could do it, and even thrive, if her friends in the church would love her well.
It makes me wonder if God redeemed some people in a way to utilize this ‘thorn in the flesh’ because He knows that if we each do our part, this increasingly prevalent modern day ‘thorn’ could foster closer communities in a world that seems to be increasingly isolating. It’s almost like since their love will not be focused on a single lover, their love can draw a whole community together.
I just looked up the stats and around 1 in every 22 people identifies as gay. That’s about the size of some small groups that I know. So there is a good chance that your small group and mine have a gay Single Unifier among us. So now we must try to foster safe vulnerability to welcome with unconditional love those who are struggling, and then supremely prize them for the potential they have built within them to catalyze powerful community in the rest of us.
And if you’re still wondering why God would allow someone to be gay and then tell them not to find a lover, I asked my friend once if he wished this struggle would go away. He said something like, “No. If I didn’t have it I wouldn’t be forced to seek God like I do. And knowing God like I do is worth everything in the world.”
Raw Spoon 9-18-15