Guide Our Gay Son: A Christian Father’s Search for Truth

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I told her I wanted to be heterosexual and become reconciled with my family and the church. Kelley was keen to find evidence that I was sexually abused in childhood.

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When she failed to find any, she asked if my mother had neglected me. The first step is for you to stop thinking of yourself as a homosexual.

According to Kelley, I must have been frightened of my father when I was a child, and that as a result I saw all men as scary. She implied that I might be a lesbian because I did not have close female friends at school, despite the fact that I made it clear that I was only rejected at school when it was suspected I was a lesbian.

As biblical Christians we certainly believe God can change a person. But God does not always do so. I can ask God to change my appetite and help me control my eating. I can ask God to change my eyes from hazel to blue, and God can. But in my experience, God will not, because God made me through a genetic process to have hazel eyes. Many homosexual persons would gladly choose not to be homosexual in orientation because of the struggle and abuse they face in church and society.

Thus, there are also testimonies of many Christian homosexual persons who have prayed with deep devotion over a long period of time, and found their orientation unchanged. Are we to take this as the will of God? While argued with more complexity, this has become the official position of the Roman Catholic church. Their position is based more on theological than biblical arguments.

Generally speaking, the church has recognized that some people are constitutionally homosexual in orientation. And this presents one of the greatest problems for Christians in dealing with this issue. The people of the Bible made no differentiation between homosexual orientation and homosexual behavior, and they had an entirely different world view about human psychology and identity.

The Bible does not condemn homosexual orientation; it does not speak of it at all because it does not know it.

‘My Parents Still Won’t Accept That I’m Gay!’

We have the burden of translating the scripture faithfully from an ancient world with its concepts into our own modern world. What do we do with homosexual orientation? Some would view it as a kind of birth defect, such as a tendency towards illness. For instance, just as we accept and recognize some people have a tendency towards alcoholism, some people have a tendency towards homosexuality. We do not condemn alcoholics, but we do not condone alcoholic behavior which will result in their self-destruction. This comparison assumes a priori all homosexual behavior to be destructive and therefore sinful.

Homosexual orientation is treated as a psychosocial disorder, a form of mental illness. And it cannot be questioned that some homosexual persons have severe mental stress, disorder, and illness in relation to their sexual orientation. This question has to be raised in relation to all the evidence which suggests that suicide, depression, difficulty with intimacy or long term relationship is more prevalent among homosexual than heterosexual persons. Of course! But whose fault is it? Let us consider the homosexual person in church or society with some degree of Christian compassion.

Imagine things the other way around. Let us say you are heterosexual, not by choice but by nature. Imagine how it would be to live in a society where homosexuality was the norm, and heterosexual persons were regarded with disgust. How would you feel about yourself if all the messages you received from the pulpit, from jokes your friends told, from images in the way the media portrayed heterosexuals were negative? How would you feel about God if you were told on the one hand that God made you and on the other that God hates you the way you are?

Regardless of the opinions we may hold about homosexuality, there is no excuse for the hatred and abuse homosexual persons have received in the name of Christ. Others would argue that homosexual orientation is neutral, an accident of birth and of differentiation in creation like being left-handed or blue-eyed.


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It seems to me the safest and most logical comparison to make with homosexual orientation is heterosexual orientation, which is morally neutral and may lead to destructive or constructive behavior. That simply leaves the question open: biblically, theologically, spiritually — is there any homosexual behavior which might be acceptable before God and helpful to those who practice it, a blessing to the covenant people of God and the society at large? One more observation: the word homosexual is not a noun, but an adjective. When used as a noun, it becomes an all defining label used simplistically to describe a large and far from homogeneous group of people.

Our Gay Son : A Christian Father's Search for Truth

Homosexual persons are just that — persons. Their sexual orientation is a significant element of their identity; it is not comprehensive. Homosexual persons are not all alike. They do not all behave alike, think alike, look alike, or act in unity. But it is as incorrect to form your opinion of all homosexuals from the unbalanced press coverage of the extremists as it would be to form your opinion of all heterosexuals from Heidi Fleiss or Joey Buttafuoco. For every offensive homosexual extremist one side can name, the other side can name a gifted homosexual person who has made a significant positive impact on the world.

We have been hypocritical in this regard. We are far more harsh with homosexual sin than we are with heterosexual sin or nonsexual sin. As we shall see, the New Testament includes a particular expression of homosexuality in a list of sins which includes greed, drunkenness, those who slander, those who gossip, and others.

Homosexual persons hold jobs in every field. They have the same fears and hopes heterosexuals do: among them, a desire to have meaningful relationships, community, health, peace, and prosperity. They do not feel sexually attracted to every person of their gender. Their sexuality is not comprehensive to their identity. They are spiritual beings, waging the same spiritual warfare as heterosexual persons, not only in regard to dealing with their sexuality, but in every area of their lives.

They have the same hunger for God and for salvation and for relationship and intimacy that all persons have. They have the additional problem of working out their salvation with fear and trembling in a frighteningly hostile environment. Even if we regard homosexual acts as a sin, Christians deal with sinners redemptively, with mercy, compassion, and encouragement to righteousness as we understand it, leaving the judgment to God.

Homophobia is real; it is not Christian. We can easily reduce our detractors to absurdity and show them their hostility is groundless. But what does this prove?


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That their hatred is real. I grew up in Texas playing football.


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I learned early by the harsh rejection of homosexuality in my church and the cruel jokes leveled at homosexuals by my friends that at least verbally it was acceptable to persecute gays and lesbians, that they were to be despised and feared. I find the thought of homosexual lovemaking uncomfortable.

In other words I recognize that by virtue of my socialization and culture I am homophobic, just as I am racist and sexist.

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I do not want to be any of these, but it is only by recognizing the seeds of hate and the emotions of prejudice within as well as my participation in the structures of church and society which have institutionalized homophobia, racism, and sexism that I can fight against them within myself. We are not bound by society, by church tradition, by the authority of any other person, but by the Spirit of God illuminating the word of God and the way of Christ.

This is my search on this issue. Because we believe God has spoken and still speaks to us through the scripture, the Bible is our starting point for belief and practice. We interpret scripture by faith; the illumination of the Spirit by the interpreter is as important as the original inspiration of the author in our hearing the Word.

The Bible was written in cultures and languages foreign to our own. We must hear it in its own words and in its own time to understand what it actually says. To read it as if it were written last week in the United States is not only naive, but destructive to the text. We would all submit to the authority of scripture. But scripture must be interpreted by reasonable, consistent methods of interpretation.

Exegesis and hermeneutics cannot be simply distinguished from one another. The very act of translation is interpretive because words do not have scientifically precise meanings consistent from one context to another over space and time.