Friday, February 8, 2013

-LIFESTYLE CHOICE OR ORIENTATION GLBT Series 2013


If homosexuality is a Lifestyle Choice, it would make sense that heterosexuality is also a Lifestyle Choice.  I don’t believe that our sexuality is a Choice at all!  I believe it is as simple as “this is who you were born to be.”  I believe people are created/born either gay or straight.

Our sexuality certainly is not a question of environmental factors.  Most, if not all gay people were raised in heterosexual families and culture.  We live in a predominately heterosexual world.  Until the last 2 or 3 decades, there were no openly gay role models (certainly no openly gay Christian role models).  So, it wasn’t as if we looked out and saw a gay Christian role model we liked, and said, “I want to be gay, like that person”.  On the contrary, most gay people tried to be straight, because that was the norm, it was all they saw, and they knew it was what was expected of them!  Children naturally want to please their parents/families and fit in, be accepted, loved, without reservations.
Some did not have a name for how they felt until they were older and realized they were homosexual/gay.  But, when gay people come to a realization and acceptance that they are gay, they know instinctively this is right and normal for them, just as straight people know instinctively this is right and normal for them.

I know families where more than one sibling is gay and families where no siblings are gay.  In my family, I am the only gay sibling.

I can only tell my story, and this is my story as a gay woman.

I was a relatively attractive young woman who dated during high school, and had a number of young men who asked me out and yes, I had a date to the Sr. Prom.   However, for me, all of these young men were just friends, and I was not serious about any of them.  I was Salutatorian for my graduating class.  I played in the high school orchestra and high school band.  I was an officer in the high school band and sat first chair and was offered a music scholarship during my senior year.  My family was proud of my accomplishments and I felt love and pride from my family.  When I went off to the Salvation Army  College, I thought I would probably meet and marry the man of my dreams.   I dated the same male cadet my first year and into my second year.  Naturally we discussed marriage.  At that time, I knew I loved him, but was not “in love” with him, and did not feel this was God’s will for my life.  When I was a single officer, I dated the available single men officers.  Again, we became great friends, but nothing more serious. 

When I left Officership, I believed I was a heterosexual woman who had simply not met the man God wanted me to spend my life with.  And, I will add, I had made this a matter of prayer for years.   It is difficult to explain how I felt when I dated men.  When I dated men, I always felt as if I was role playing.  I tried to be affectionate and responded as I thought women should respond to men they liked.  For me, with men, things were always just “out of sync” nothing we did felt right or even normal for me.    I liked these men, enjoyed time we spent together, but it never went beyond friendship for me.
 Members of my family later told me that my actions with men always seemed awkward to them when I came home with male friends for my family to meet.   I eventually realized why men would never be more than friends for me, but I had, and still have great male friends.   

When I first realized and accepted that I was gay, my life finally started to make sense for the first time.   I felt as if I was just discovering who I was, and who I was intended to be; a gay woman, a gay Christian woman.   As strange as this may sound to some, I felt as if I had found my “family”.  Not my biological family, but the family who understood and accepted me for who I was, not who I was expected to be, or who I had tried to be for so many years.  Everything that did not feel normal for me with men was totally normal and right with a gay woman.  I do want to say that I am not talking about sexual attraction or interaction.  Relationships and being in love, sharing your life with another person involves every emotion, thought, reaction, feeling, the interactions and commitments we all experience and deal with each day.  Things that felt awkward when I was with men felt totally natural and comfortable with gay women.  I knew what it meant and felt like to be in love!  To be in love with one person so much that you knew it was right and this was the person God intended you to be with.  I understood the excitement and joy my siblings had expressed when they fell in love.  I understood and experienced chemistry with another person.  I understood and experienced the wonder and amazing oneness couples who are in love can feel for each other.   I understood and experienced the unexplainable emptiness when we were apart, and the safety and trust when we were together.  Finally, there was no pretending or acting, and I felt whole, and at peace with myself. 
If you are gay or you are straight, that is who you were born and created to be!  If I am making a lifestyle choice to try to be either gay or straight, I believe as a Christian, I would be living outside God’s will and for me that would be wrong, and it would essentially be; to live a lie and deceive my family, and those I love and call friends.  Those relationships usually do not last and can cause great harm for all involved.

We are all children of the living God and we are all created in His image!  I have made many choices in my life, but choosing to be a gay woman was not one of them.   

Former SA Officer
USA South
(name on file)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find this article well written and helpful. I certainly have no problem accepting people's orientation as gay, it is when we start talking the physical aspects. How do we justify these? Former UKT

Anonymous said...

Great question! While I am not the author of this article (and I agree it is great!) I think we would start by saying, as Steve Chalke does, the bible did not address faithful, monogamous, committed relationships between consenting adults as we know them today, just as it did not address a round world. So when we exegete the relevant passages we have to understand the world view underpinning the truth. Without writing an article in comments it comes down to physical expression outside of a committed faithful monogamous relationship is undesirable. That is why many of us advocate for civil marriage, so that those commitments are public and accountable. But I agree with Steve Chalke that we need to provide guidance on relationships to gay christians, and that means talking about it. BTW- the gay community as a whole is nowhere near as sex-obsessed as we sound from the pulpit. Just as there are extremes in straight society, so there are extremes amongst gays. Many of us want and work towards what straight couples want, a partner for life.

Anonymous said...

I 'chose' to be straight over 25 years ago. I believed I chose to be straight, I thought everyone did. Much like the author of this article I had not experienced 'falling in love' or 'physical attraction' to a man, ever. I had to act the part and believe that God would honor that and that marriage would magically make me become 'that way'. It didn't happen. In spite of being married to a man who I loved with all my heart and who treated me like gold - the attraction was never ever there. But I chose to stay, to try, to believe an eternity if I had too, that one day, it would happen, for me.

Well, one day it did happen. I fell in love, and was incredibly sexually attracted to - a woman. Before you get too upset, I did not do or say anything appropriate - it remained between me and God. For 2 long years I wrestled with my first experience being in love with the wrong sex. I was blown away by how attracted I was and pleaded with God to give me the same experience with my husband. He never did. He did something else though, he spoke to me. He explained to me that the reason I struggled so much was not because I hadn't tried hard enough, it was because I was gay. For the first time it all made sense. But what now?

This is when the real 'choice' came in. Through a waking vision God revealed to me that this was a gift he had given me. Whether to embrace it and live it, or to hide it in a closet was entirely up to me. I chose to hide it. Why? Because I had a dedicated, wonderful husband who would have been crushed - and who I did love dearly. Through time, this gift has remained hidden. Only God and I know. I do not believe that God would have judged me if I had chosen to embrace it either, just that he gave me the choice.

Anonymous said...

Sven, I am incredible grateful to you for this series. It has opened my eyes to an issue that was settled for me long ago. It's like opening a closed book (mind) and entering a world of hitherto unexplored ideas and concepts.

I can't honestly say that my feelings about GL issues have changed very much. But, my attitude and readiness to enter dialogue has. I'm ready to admit I'm confused, but my mind is more than ever quite firmly set in believing we are all God's family.

Active officer
USA West

Former, USA South said...

As the author of this article: Former UKT, I want to thank you for acknowledging that being gay is an orientation not a choice. That is the point where a serious discussion and dialogue can begin. And from that I believe much more common ground will be realized.
Blessings!

And, Anonomouous #1, your response is right on track. The ability for Gay people to marry is paramount for many in our community. Like some in the straight or gay world, not all couples in faithful monogamous relationships want marriage, but many do, and pray for that day. It is the reason I believe gay couples line up all over the world when marriage is a reality. Thank you for expressing this so well.
Blessings.

Annonomous #3. Thank you for your honesty. In many ways, we have both said the same thing. I agree the realization that you were gay was a Gift from God. You chose not to "be who you were created to be". I respect your decision to choose to live a straight lifestyle. And I agree this is where the choice came in. Each of walks our own path in our relationship and experience with God. It took courage to share your story and I appreciate and honor you for that choice. Blessings.

Active Officer USA West: Thank you for your honesty and willingness to enter into dialogue with gay christians, many of whom are former salvationist and/or officers. One of the prayers for this blog series was to continue and expand the dialogue. As God's children we owe this much to each other. As a part of the Family of God, we desire christian fellowship and an invitation to worship with our (for some) once Army family. Blessings

Anonymous said...

Years ago, when efforts first began to get acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people within all areas of the church, from the pews to the pulpit, my conservative Christian sister moaned, “When all churches accept gays and lesbians, where will I go to church?”


I told her she needn’t worry, “There will always be bigoted churches you can go to.”

TIME MAGAZINE

Former, USA South said...

Annonomous:
Thank you for that comment and sharing a family moment. Sadly, what you said to your sister is true. However, I firmly believe God has opened a door. A door to bring all His children to the table for discussion and inclusion. William Booth raised up The Salvation Army to provide a place of worship for those the Main Stream Churches rejected. They were rejected not because they were not Christians, because William and Katherine brought these sinner to the living God and they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Still, they were not good enough for the "Church".
Do we, Gods Gay and Lesbian childrne stand at that door today, and will there be inclusion?

Anonymous said...

The irony is that today many mainline churches are more welcoming to the GLBT community than the Army is, or is likely to become, not readily that is.

Former
Canada and Bermuda

Former, USA South said...

I do, reluctantly and sadly agree with what you say Former Canada and Bermuda.
When I first began to struggle with my orientation, and sought a christian church where I could worship, pray and seek answers and counsel from fellow christians. In a city of over 400,000people, I discovered there were only 2 Gay friendly churches to choose from. One was the MCC church, and one was the Uniterian church. And, the MCC (Metropolitian Community Church) was the only GLBT inclusion and welcoming church. The other denomination was "gay friendly". At that time it meant they did not throw you out, but allowed you to attend and worship, and gay people usually sat together in one section.
Thankfully that has changed and gay christians are being included in more and more christian fellowships. God is indeed beginning (or continuing) to speak to hearts and bring about change that has been slow and difficult in coming. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.