Thursday, January 08, 2009

Being Gay Is a Gift From God

This week Oprah Winfrey's daytime talk show created controversy across middle America as Rev. Ed Bacon proclaimed on national television that "being gay is a gift from God." Click here to watch the clip as Rev. Bacon counsels Sedrick, a young gay man.

While Oprah, herself, seems to be behind the times, claiming this is the first minister she has ever heard say that being gay is a gift from God, many of us know this truth from experience. All of our sexual orientations and gender identities are blessings to from God. If we truly believe we are made in the image of God, as our Judeo-Christian heritage tells us, then we must proclaim the divine gift of our sexualities in all their diversities.

How have you lived out your gift of sexuality in your life?


Heather Murphy said...

I came out late, strongly influenced by a conservative upbringing to embrace a life of cheerful celibacy as God's plan for me. My process of coming out gave me the freedom to question other facets of my faith, which ultimately made my faith stronger. Is the Bible the literal and inerrant word of God in every part? Are women able to participate as equals in a Christian church? What place is there for evolution in a Christian understanding of science? As I came out, I was also asking questions like these. I read, and asked questions, and emerged not only having come out of the closet, but also with a deeper understanding of God.

It took me some time, but I do think that my sexual orientation is a gift from God.

Callie369 said...

I have a nephew who came into this world, a gift from God, with Downs Syndrome. As you may (or may not) know, this syndrome is due to an error in his genetic make-up.

I also have an uncle, brother, niece and a nephew who are gay. I truly believe that being gay is also due to an error in genetic make-up. And as my God is a caring God, I do not believe that he will consign them to hell because of this error. My beloved God loves all, whether perfect or not. Each of these individuals are christians who follow the 10 commandments, and earnestly try to be good, decent human beings.

It's time that everyone quits JUDGING, which God has stated emphatically, is HIS JOB AND HIS JOB ONLY.

If people would expend the time they use in hating gays, to something better, we would be a lot better off.

To me, pedophiles, murderers, rapists, etc., deserve our scorn.....not people who are gay.

Anonymous said...

I respect any one's choice to choose celibacy, but there is a difference between choosing that for oneself and insisting that is what all GLBT persons must choose. GLBT persons like all others desire the physical and emotional satisfaction and intimacy that motivates heterosexual persons. It's not aberrant. All humans have emotional and sexual longings that are only satisfied in the presence of another. It is a God given gift to find another whom you can embrace in love.

I also have to strongly disagree that being GLBT is an "error" in genetic make up. First, personal values are being imposed upon a biological and personal condition. This conclusion does not derive from scientific enquiry. It's a moral or aesthetic judgment with no basis in actual fact.

Second, it crudely and rudely ignores the experiences of millions of gay persons who do not experience themselves as an "error." Dogma stubbornly asserted against the continued assault of experience will eventually be revealed as ludicrous.

In the end saying "being gay is a gift from God" is no different that saying "Being straight is a gift from God" or "Being alive is a gift from God." What ministries like this one seek to do, I think, is to provide a safe place where this can be recognized where people can be whole persons before God and each other.

It is a place whose existence acts as a prophetic voice protesting the wrongheaded cultural and religious views on sexuality that pervade our society.

will j. green said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
will j. green said...

In the season of the Baptism of Christ we know that God affirms us from the heavens with the blessing, "You are my beloved child. With you I am well pleased."
At Cambridge Welcoming, during this season in the past we have read "The Life of the Beloved" by Henri Nouwen, which helps us remember this lesson.
This year I'm reading Nouwen's "The Genesee Diary". I just finished chapter 2, titled "You are the glory of God."

Believe it! My sexuality and identity as a gay person has been the cornerstone of my spiritual life. Thank God I'm gay. Thank God for the love that affirms me.

Stump said...

Genetics is a puzzle that just hasn't seem to come together yet when undertaken by humans with a theological perspective.

Where is God in genetics?

Certainly one could spend eternities arguing the question with input from science, experience, ministers, liberals and conservatives......we can all agree that we will continue to argue and disagree until the cows come home on this topic.

A mother drinks/smokes during pregnancy and plagues her unborn child with a plethora of problems to endure throughout life. Another mother does the same thing, and the baby comes out without a problem to speak of. Where is God in this? Where is justice when both are to blame? Did genetics play a part or was it fate, the luck of the draw?

In fact, does genetics really impact our relationship with God? A child with down syndrome may experience more fullness of life, more richness of the Spirit than an unwanted "normal" child who is neglected or abused by a parent who got knocked up on a one night stand. That "normal" child may never know God, may never experience God's love. Now, who has been erred here?

Scientists have researched even in mice what they call critical periods of gestation where increased levels of testosterone or estrogen affected sexuality. If this is true, is someone to blame here for sexuality? Is God to blame? Is this a defect in genetics? Is it chance? Could it be normal?

I think that life exists in the midst of utter chaos. We come into the world with pale skin, freckled faces, crooked noses, black kinky hair, hazel-blue-brown-green eyes...rotund and skinny... straight and gay... intelligent and not so intelligent ... athletic and clumsy... gregarious and shy as hell ... WHAT may I ask IS NORMAL in this blurry chaos?

I think this can be said with certainty: It is easier culturally to be of a certain body type, to have certain skin or hair color, and not to have down syndrome, ... because we get a better chance at not getting picked last on the playground. And that's about it. That's about all that "normal" boils down to: having power, not getting made fun of or called names, and getting a job based on your looks or a pedigree.

This doesn't mean that we have some kind of defect or are "abnormal" because we're clumsy or dark-skinned or speak Spanish or play the flute rather than basketball or for heaven's sake that we might have uncontrollable impulses to find love with someone of the same gender. It especially doesn't mean that God puts us on a scale and loves us according to our "cultural normality."

It's so trite and irreverant for us "normal" folks who have "easy" paths to judge others ... to call them aberrant or sinful ... to play God and/or to think we can speak on God's behalf.

Fortunately, I think - and I could be wrong here - but in my experience God actually doesn't control the world play by play. I think that God loves us ALL - EVEN the rapist, the pedophile, and the mother who killed her babies. That's a hard pill to swallow for us judgers. But that's how big GOD is. The question is - how big can we be in our understanding, acceptance and love of our brothers and sisters?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Stump that "normal" people who marginalize others simply for being different deny them their humanity.

I spent 4 years working as a caregiver for people with Mental Retardation/ Developmental Disabilities. I go to church with GLBT Christians weekly.

And I believe that these people were made by God just the way God wanted them to be, and placed in my life to teach me about God. My friends with Down Syndrome know God much better than I do. They trust God with an abandon I, as a "normal" person with anxieties and stresses can never do. They understand God's love for them in a much more profound way than I do- for some, during most of their lives God was the only One who wouldn't hurt and abuse them. I have never been abused like these innocent women and men, and I will never know God as Comforter and Protector like they do.

There are many ways in which my GLBT friends teach me about God and have a special closeness to God. What they teach me is too theologically intricate to post like this, but I treat them the same way as my clients- as friends and examples of faith in God.