Reverent Responses

God Wants You to Change Your Lifestyle!
Maarten van den Driest Responds


[Posted on December 12, 2000]

Dear Marciano,

Thank you very much for your letter. It is heartwarming to see that there are people out there who actually care. It is at times like this I often am at a loss for words. How can I tell you what we feel and how can I tactfully decline your 'invitation'? My problem right now is that you wrote a warm, heartfelt invitation to Whosoever - and presumably to glbt people at large - to return to the right way. Whatever that right way may signify in your mind ... it obviously includes being heterosexual.

My dear friend, it is a bit painful. It is always painful when you offer something you see as wonderful and mysterious and overwhelmingly good, want to share it and are declined. Yet, this is precisely what I will do. For one thing, I do not believe in the possibility to 'turn straight.' And even if it could be done, would it be desirable?

A lot of the problems with homosexuality are actually caused by society. It is a fact that gay teenagers commit suicide far more frequently than their heterosexual counterparts but claiming that homosexuality is 'destructive' is not correct. What is destructive here is the mindset of society that forces our youngsters into isolation at best and possibly ridicule, hate, or abuse as well. One should not be amazed these children choose to leave the world that spit them out of their own accord. It is a great tragedy and it is not the only one. A further one, almost as serious, is the way some Christians think about homosexuals.

Marciano, we are not people who were 'just misled' and 'only need to see the light'. We see the light. We dwell in it every day. We are Christians and we do not need anyone's permission or validation to be Christians. You write a lot of Christian-sounding things that to my mind sound pretty presumptuous and aggravating. Of course, we need to understand were we both come from, what our mindsets are. I will try to explain in answer to your letter.

God really loves you very much and he wants you to change. You probably think that is okay to be GAY, but is not okay.

Marciano, this is something you think. I agree with you that God really loves us all and wants us to turn away from our wrongdoings. This is true, but there is no truth in sticking God's authority onto our own prejudices. If you read the documents on our site, then you know that we firmly believe being gay is good. We believe that we - as glbt people - are just as much children of God and just as much 'intended' as the rest. We do not believe that we are caused by all the sin in the world. We do not believe we are blemished, or fallen or misled or any of those things. We do see that, every once in a while, we need a refuge, some time away from the society that hates us. Therefore, Whosoever.

Society's choices are not automatically God's choices. Society was wrong when it thought that black people have no souls. It was wrong when it allowed slavery and validated it with Biblical texts. It is wrong again when it believes that homosexual men 'recruit' children. It is wrong when it believes we are ill, evil or 'intrinsically disordered'.

We believe society is wrong when it believes God wants us to change. Now, is it so hard to accept society may be wrong and may not speak for God this time?

God wants you to change your life style, and Jesus can help you do that. You have to give a lot of effort, you have to give up the bad things, and follow Jesus footsteps.

Did you notice that these two sentences are valid for literally every human being? Of course God wants us to change and Jesus can help us. Amen! I will be the last person to attack this vision of hope. However, to follow in Jesus' footsteps does not mean to become heterosexual. Do we actually know Jesus was heterosexual? For women, following Jesus doesn't mean turning into men and following Jesus doesn't mean to travel to Israel and be crucified. We believe it doesn't mean you have to become heterosexual. Give up the bad things? Yes, I sin. I sin an awful lot and I confess this freely. Will you join me on our fight to become better people?

You know that is not correct to do it with the same sex, and that is not good to blame God for your mistakes.

This is a strange sentence. First of all, it should have been crystal clear to you that we do not 'know' we are wrong in loving the same sex. We believe loving - and doing it with - the same sex is wonderful, loving and holy. We have exactly the same feelings - presumably - that straight people have for partners of a different gender.

Secondly, did you find any evidence at all that we blame God for anything? We don't. We blame society for suppressing us, hunting us down, abusing us verbally and physically and shutting us out of schools, jobs and organisations. We thank God for the opportunities still open to us and pray His support in trying to keep reacting in a love-filled, understanding way despite our adversaries' attempts of destroying our kind. We thank Him for life, every day anew. We thank Him for wanting to be with us and keeping with us even when we go wrong. We thank Him for everything.

We are sad that some people cannot seem to be Christians while still allowing gay people to be alive in their midst. We do thank God for those that work to advance love and understanding for all mankind, be it gay or straight.

God gave us freedom of choice. You want to choose the right way or you want to choose the wrong way, that's up to you. You're the one that make the choice, just ask God to lead you, so you can go on the right way.

I do ask God to lead me. I cannot speak for all members here but I do ask for leadership, inspiration and support from He who created heaven and earth. He who stays with us until eternity and never lets go of the work that His hands began.

I do make choices. I made the choice of trying to make the best of my - gay - life. Sometimes I get a bit tired of always having to focus on my sexuality when speaking about religious matters but hey, that's what's needed right now. My dear Marcianio, I could have lied. I could have made the choice of denying my own existence and trying to be as straight as possible. Obviously a lot of people would have had less complicated lives and would never have doubted my beliefs. Well, I didn't. My God is the God of truth and life. He doesn't condone changing your inner self just because it suits the prejudiced.

I could have lied, Marciano, I could have lived a double life and kept everyone's theological ideas safe. I didn't and it cost me greatly. I have, without bragging, suffered a lot from prejudice and hate. Pressure from society and so-called 'Christians' cost me the one I loved. I still love him though and try to be there for him because he, too, suffers at times from those who claim they 'love us and only want to help'. What would you have me do?

Where do you get the authority to lord it over my life? Where do you get the idea you actually know what is right and wrong? Do I not pray? Do I not love? Do I not believe?

Please do not feel bad, He can help you and ask for forgiveness and He will lead you on the right way. Pray hard and believe that He is the greatest, and the mythers, and the most kindness of all.

I feel pretty bad right now but I think I'll be over it in time with a brisk walk around the block and maybe even some time on a barstool for a quick glass of perspective-and-soda. Seriously, I do not feel bad about my own life. I believe nothing in heaven or on earth -- no power or king or law or anything created -- can keep me away from my God. Not even people who love me.

An incredibly painful sentence, don't you think? Well, for gay and lesbian people this is often reality. Would you share in our pain, Marciano, and believe with us? I've said it before, in other answers, but it bears repeating: I invite you to come and worship with us. Go to a gay or a gay-friendly church in your neighbourhood and quietly join in the worship. Join in the powerful currents of love and heartfelt, honest belief that flow through these shelters of the despised. Follow Jesus and join the ones who really need His support. You can get back on the 'right way' quickly enough after you leave so that shouldn't be a problem.

So, my friend never blame God of your wrong doings. on the contrary, talk to Him and ask Him for help. He will never let you down. I can promise that, because I believe in god and I believe that Jesus is His wonderful son.

Friend, since you call me this, I am happy He will never let me down. It would surprise me greatly would you, or any other of those who write us, ever write back and engage us in honest, respectful communication. Now that you have my answers, I have no illusion that you should now magically turn to my views and adopt them as your own. It is not even what I aim at.

However, you now have a piece of my living heart. In reply to your few rather condescending lines - admit it - I wrote a statement of my beliefs, opening my soul and allowing it to be vulnerable. Be vulnerable with us, Marciano, and experience what it is like to always have to fight for existence, fight for recognition, for the right to call yourself Christian.

God will never let me down. My right to call myself Christian comes from Him, not from you or anyone else. This is one of the few blessings we gay people have. Do you dare come down from your righteous straight pedestal and believe with us? You are hereby cordially invited.

I believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord, as my personal Saviour.

Blessings always overflowing,

Maarten