Getting Over the Rainbow
Correction: Our March 1, 2002 article “Underground Rainbow” reported that I am gay. The sentence should read “was”.
Life at our Redeemer keeps metamorphosing. The majority of students here are likely unaware of the article I wrote in my fourth year (2002) in which I “came out” as gay. Though that article was used by God in tremendous ways to open up minds, hearts, and conversations about the reality of homosexuality in the church and at Redeemer, the time has come to again write for the Crown -- this time about a different kind of “coming out”.
This notion -- of coming out OF homosexuality -- is highly controversial in today’s culture, Christian or otherwise. An increasing number of churches (including at least one prominent CRC congregation) are “embracing” homosexuality as a creational state, God-given alternative, or unavoidable symptom of the Fall. These brothers and sisters in Christ are wholeheartedly trying to live out the love to which we are called and make sense of a broken world. It is a noble effort but unfortunately one more example of that brokenness.
Numerous Old and New Testament passages identify homosexuality as an affront to God’s plan (for instance Romans 1 and I Corinthians 6:9-12). Many compare these scriptures with those that seem to place unfair restrictions on women and slaves. There is a fundamental difference, here, however, as neither case is ever presented as a “salvation issue” in the way that homosexuality consistently is. Deuteronomy 30:14 tells us that “the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.” In the past, I have tried with all my might to accept the “freedom” to be gay, but the word in my heart has remained solid even when the thoughts in my mind were not.
At it’s core, homosexuality is an identity issue. In the vast majority of cases, homosexual patterns begin to manifest themselves very early in life, so that sufferers cannot remember a time when they “were not gay.” This identification also tends to carry with it strong associations with a particular personality type and/or social culture that can further embed the feeling of identity. It is for this reason that homosexuality has become such a tender issue and sore spot of evangelism.
But what causes this manifestation of same-sex preferences? The multiple theories are hot potatoes of today’s world. I believe the truth to be very simple. At an early age, a child may come into contact with adults (often parents) who live out their gender identities in unsettling ways. These may include overly passive men or domineering women who present an unsavoury example of what it means to be male or female. By over-identifying with an adult of the opposite gender or dissociating from an adult of the same gender, the child can unconsciously begin a pattern of gender confusion or hatred that will manifest itself as romantic and erotic urges for members of the same sex.
This process is usually subconscious, and the person involved has little or no knowledge of it. Indeed, when repeatedly presented with this model, I wrote it off as preposterous or unrelated to my life. It was not until recently that I was able to see what a textbook example of this theory I am.
In September, by a long and Spirit-directed route, I made contact with an organization called Living Waters. Living Waters is an international discipleship ministry for sexual and relational brokenness. I am convinced that everyone experiences such brokenness in some way and highly recommend this ministry to anyone interested.
As a part of Living Waters, I attend a weekly meeting in Toronto (a group also operates out of Kitchener) where I join about twenty-five other men and women and about ten leaders in a powerful time of worship followed by teaching. For the second half of the night, we break into single-gendered small groups for more discussion and one-on-one prayer. It is a thirty-week program that focuses on realigning our relationship with God. I have wrestled with homosexuality for years and experienced only a slow slide downward. It was not until I entered into truly earnest and open prayer with the sole purpose of meeting my Creator and Mediator at the foot of the cross that I began to be set free from the patterns that had marked my life.
As I have grown closer to Christ through the power of His Spirit, God has opened my eyes to the true wounds at the bottom of my sexual struggles. If we deal only with the symptoms of these wounds (such as lust, deceitfulness, homosexuality, etc.), we will constantly be engaged in the fight. Only if we allow God to illumine and heal the root wounds will we truly be free. For me, these wounds centred around a deep-seated self-hatred and gender insecurity. In the presence of my Healer, these wounds continue to close and leave no scar!
As a result of this radical recentring of my life, I have entered into a whole new state of spiritual health. The most exciting example of this healing is the ability to stand strong in my masculinity and proclaim myself a heterosexual man!
I believe that this freedom is available to all of us, no matter what we struggle against. It is important, however, when interacting with homosexuals, to remain open and listen.
Since homosexuality is rooted in identity, the suggestion of change can seem not only impossible but offensive. When I was a teenager dealing with my own homosexuality, it was New Direction that provided me with the sense of acceptance and hope that I needed because they did not preach the gospel of change that seemed to doom and limit me with its apparent improbability (my friend describes this mentality as “count to eight, now you’re straight: date, mate, procreate!”).
We must continue to relish the truth and speak in wisdom and love when dealing with homosexuals and same-sex strugglers in our churches, schools, and lives. I pray that my unfolding testimony may be used as a sign and symbol of such truth for both those struggling with homosexuality and those struggling with the topic.
I am human. I am Christian. And yes, I used to be gay.
Life in our Redeemer keeps metamorphosing.