The discussion on the post, “What if the evangelical church is wrong on homosexuality” is taking several directions so I thought I would post a follow up on the topic of relationships and the church. I wrote a piece last year that seems appropos – Did Jesus Bless Homosexuality? These kinds of discussions are incredibly valuable for those who are concerned about the intersection of religion and sexuality. As a therapist, I find them very helpful in clarifying the sexual identity struggles of my clients and in forming a framework to help therapists in their work.
7 thoughts on “More on the church and homosexuality”
I think your conclusion hinges on whether or not they are interpreting the use of the word “eunuchs” correctly!
I think that society will gradually evolve into a more authentically spiritual stage of development, where human diversity of all kinds, whether inborn or not (ie religious diversity), will be recognized and appreciated; where individuals will be nurtured and supported from the earliest days of their lives to become confident seekers of the truth by which they will live their lives, whether that be in the context of the faith they grew up in or another set of beliefs; and where the highly personal, sacred, nature of one’s human or spiritual (or sexual or relational intimacy) development, and matters of conscience and belief and identity, will be recognized as such, and freed from the weights of judgment, preachiness, pressure, recrimination, and shame. In this kind of environment, which is already taking root, I believe, all kinds of journeys in life can be shared with others without fear — benefitting both the speaker and the listener.
The implications would be huge. The church would have to reverse centuries of persecution against gays, apologize and admit that (for some at least) it IS inborn. There would be NO scriptural basis for denying these “eunuchs” equal rights under the law or equal status in the church..
Parents would have to be trained to recognize and embrace these natural variations in their children and help their eunuch kids deal with the sense of “cosmic injustice” that they cannot live as “normal” people live. For example, I have NEVER had heterosexual attractions and I cannot imagine what it would be like to be forced into a life of celibacy — to never give myself to someone, set up a household, make love to my spouse, etc.. What if I went through all of that pain and then found that the person labeling me a “eunuch from birth” were wrong?.
Ex-gay ministries would have to STOP trying to change such eunushs. They couldn’t refer to “Ex-eunuch” or “formerly eunuch identified”. NARTH and EXODUS would have to admit publicly that they were wrong all along and would have to do some major revisions in their philosophies and “treatment” approach. They would owe the world BIG apologies for harassing, rejecting, judging, pressuring “eunuchs”. After all, In ACTS, the eunuch said: “See? Here is water. What prevents ME from being baptized”? If they can be baptized, could they also be ordained as eunuchs or would Old testament prohibitions still apply?
All efforts would have to focus (chruch, government, society and family ) on fully accepting these “from birth” eunuchs and assiting them to accept that they cannot form “homosexual bonds” — as Gagnon puts it. Society and the church would have to make up for centuries of mistreatment of these people. The church would need to BEG forgiveness. If Jesus does not condemn them, how could we?
Michael: Interesting angle on the article. I think if this perspective became widely accepted then there would be some differences in how Christians responded to children attracted to the same sex. The article is certainly not the last word on the subject and I am learning more all the time but I do think the article raises some difficult issues and does so in the context of Jesus’s teaching. I am still thinking through the implications.
This is all very puzzling to me. Wouldn’t the parents also have to be able to tell which of their kids were (as Jesus put it) “eunuchs because they were born that way” — and which were “gender variant” or which were just displaying atypical emotional and behavioral traits for their age and gender — attibutes which might very well change over time? Even expert reparative therapists seem unable able to make these fine distinctions, still squabbling over labels. So how would your average parent do it?
One other thing: IF Jesus IS suggesting that gays like me WERE born that way, has anyone alerted the ex-gay ministries that they need to change their tune? They have insisted for decades that we are NOT.
How is you typical parent supposed to make ANY sense of this?
If you and Gagnon are right, then parents would need to develop a way to indentify, at a very early age, which of their kids has heterosexual attractions — and which do not. Parents would need to be taught how to detect subtle signs of the development (or lack) of heterosexual attractions in very young children. There would need to be strong social and religious recognition, affirmation and support of these “eunuch” children — not rejection, pressure and scorn for being deifferent.
Then, the parents would have to teach their pre-pubescent child that they had better get used to the idea that God created them for celibacy. The parents would need training on how to prepare their eunuch kids for a life of celibacy. They would need to be very good at helping these kids deal with very real feelings of anger, grief and loss. These kids would need to understand that Jesus says that they (unlike their non-eunuch siblings) can never fall in love or commit themselves to the one they really are attracted to and really do love. Nope. That would be sin. That kind of deep emotional, sexual and spritual bonding is is reserved for non-enuchs only and (sadly) not in the cards for them..
It was a pleasure to revisit that article. As I said at the time (http://www.exgaywatch.com/blog/archives/2005/10/warren_throckmo.html), I think that Gagnon makes a HUGE leap to read into the text things that are not in the text. But that’s to be expected considering Gagnon’s anti-gay activism.
Thanks for bringing it back to attention. As I stated in the other thread, I don’t expect that all current Christians will agree with all of my points (especially 5 and 6), but I think that within 25 years the majority of American and European Christians will.
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