Seeds of Hope

Can I Be Gay and Repentant?


[Posted on July 28, 2001]

Rev. Turner:

For the last 6 months I have been going through a powerful spiritual transformation. I'm going to briefly hit on a few cornerstones of my background to orient you as to who I am now.

First, I am gay and I've been gay for as long as I can remember. I have never 'truly' doubted that I was created as such. There have been times growing up in a Fundamental Baptist Church (where it was a sin for women to wear pants, let alone shorts, or for anyone to even DANCE.) Out of shame and the church doctrine, I tried to make myself believe that I could change my sexuality. My parents sent me to a psychiatrist and to a ministry that 'fixes gays' when I was 17 years old. That only added to my guilt and shame.

I have had a problem with drugs and alcohol for 17 years now. I've had brief periods of abstinence all throughout. Numerous times actually. I have been through several hospitalizations (chemically dependent rehabilitation's and psychiatric rehabilitation's.) I was diagnosed Manic-depressive (bipolar 2 with depressive uni-polar tendencies in a state hospital and put on disability in 94 after losing my Nursing License in `92 for forging prescriptions. I've been on countless psychiatric prescriptions. I've been through 4 suicidal 'cries for help.' One was a little too close. I took a whole bottle of blood pressure medication with every intention to end it all. God sent to the hospital after an hour of conviction. And that was the last in `96 until I contemplated it again in a bed on a 'Psych-ward' last spring. I had a fork wrapped in a wet rag... ready to shock myself to death. But once again God intervened.

After that, I had the longest and most prosperous period of abstinence since I've been on disability. It started out with close communion with Jesus. I studied The Bible. The more I read the more I understood what Jesus was showing us. That "all have come short..." and that He died for ALL SINS. All was well and fine until I came to sexual immortality

Through my recent search for the answers, I know now that direct and PRIMARY communion with God is 'The Answer' I received. But I am still left with one question. Paraphrasing I ask you:

After forgiving the adulteress he said, "You are forgiven... go and sin no more." Given your views on either seeing God through "Love" or seeing Him through "The Law", I ask - if The Bible says that "lying with a man as one would lay with a woman is an abomination," how do I grow when this clearly indicates that I am in sin? If I believe that and choose to practice homosexuality, then can I ever be repentant? I actually DON'T believe that deep down inside. But once again, I doubt I will never make it over this 'profound proclamation' unless, through God, I see it in error. Right now all I have to go on is what's in my heart and what is ACTUALLY THERE in The Word. And if nothing is revealed to me, I will someday ask Him "why." Why what was so innate in me and gave me such a joy for life has separated me from Him? Maybe it's not my place to ask 'why'. But if I don't, then I'm stuck. And that's not a good place for me!

I hope you found and felt my questions were sincere and dire. I want to be the best I can be for the "Glorification of Our Creator!" But The Law says I can't as long as I am unrepentant. But I just can't be repentant of something so beautiful as TRUE LOVE between 2 consenting adults (no matter what their gender may be).

God Bless You for being there!

Curtis


Dear Curtis,

Your experience with life certainly has been beset by challenge after challenge. I praise God for your time of recovery and pray that you will continue as only you can with God restoring you to sanity.

As to your question concerning your homosexuality, I think you are mixing up two different biblical concepts and two writings that had vastly different bases for which they were written.

First, let's deal with the story of the woman caught in adultery. That is taken from the Gospel of John chapter 8 beginning with the 4th verse through the 11th verse. Now, I must tell you in all honesty that biblical scholarship from the most progressive to the more conservative all agree on the statement we find in the NIV version of the Bible, which says: "The earliest and most reliable manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11" (where Jesus tells the woman to "go and sin no more.") So in one sense you are not dealing with the "Word of God."

Further according to "Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary":

"This passage is omitted or set off in modern editions of the gospel since it does not appear in the oldest and best manuscripts and is apparently a later addition. ...Though not an original part of the gospel, it need not be taken as an unauthentic tradition about Jesus. It conforms to all that we know of him as one who came to seek and to save the lost, not to condemn people but to offer God's forgiveness and acceptance. ...His clemency and compassion indicate his concern for the motives of the women's accusers, with regard both to her and to himself."

You see the religious leaders were laying a trap for Jesus and what he was teaching. An understanding of the Jewish law of the day tells you this sin could not be committed alone, so immediately there is a question as to why only one offender was brought before Jesus. Add to the fact these folks changed the law a little since this manner of execution was not possible unless the women was a betrothed virgin (kind of like Jesus' Mom) and then the law required the execution of both offending parties not just the women. So if the scholars are right in this conforming with the general teachings of Jesus then the most important line of this story is: actually verse 10-11b. "Jesus straightened up and asked her, 'Women, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' 'No one, sir!' she said. 'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared." This story, even as an addition to the gospel, is clearly about other people sitting in judgment of others when they clearly have lives of their own that need cleaning.

As to your referral to: "The Bible says that "lying with a man as one would lay with a woman is an abomination," you have picked a verse out of the Levitical code...a code no Christian follows as we are under grace and not the law. Similarly Dr. Daniel Helmeniak sheds some understanding of the culture at the time that this was not look upon as having to do with a sexual act so much as behaving as a non-Jew, when he states:

"Similarly, engaging in homogenital acts had a very different meaning. As we will see below, the sex itself was no the issue. Among the early Israelites, as Leviticus sees it, to engage in homogenital sex meant to be like the Gentiles, to identify with the non-Jews. That is to say, to engage in homogenital acts was to betray the Jewish religion. Leviticus condemned homogenital sex as a religious crime of idolatry, not as a sexual offense, and that religious treason was thought serious enough to merit death. Like a broken seal on a sterile medicine, an apostate disqualifies the whole people. The flaw must be corrected. The betrayer must be eliminated."

Helmeniak continues:

"So a main concern of The Holiness Code was to keep Israel different from the Gentiles. Thus, chapter 18 of Leviticus begins, 'You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not follow their statutes. My ordinances you shall observe and my statutes you shall keep following them: I am the Lord your God.

The Canaanite religion included fertility rites--or, at least, that is how the Hebrew Testament portrays the matter. These ceremonies allegedly involved sexual rituals that were thought to bring blessing on the cycle of the seasons, the production of crops, the birth of livestock. Supposedly, during these rituals whole families and groups of families--husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins--all might have sex with one another. ..."The point is that The Holiness Code of Leviticus prohibits male same-sex acts because of religious considerations, not because of sexual ones. The concern is to keep Israel from taking part in Gentile practices. Homogenital sex is forbidden because it is associated with pagan activities, with idolatry, with Gentile identity."

So. Curtis, this really has nothing to do with what being homosexual and spiritual is all about today. Thus, you are condemning yourself for no reason. In fact, your heart is correct in this matter when you said, " I just can't be repentant of something so beautiful as TRUE LOVE between 2 consenting adults (no matter what their gender may be)." You are correct because there is nothing to repent for. Our God is a God of love and sharing that love in a way that brings glory to God and uplifts God's creation has no prohibition as to the gender of the giving and or receiving of the love. My dear child of God, throw off the shackles of guilt which threaten your recovery and listen to the Holy Spirit which resides in your heart and has told you true love is beautiful regardless of the gender.

God Bless,

Pastor Paul



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Rev. Turner is Sr. Pastor at Gentle Spirit Christian Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

If you are seeking guidance and pastoral care on your journey to fullness as a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered person, please contact Pastor Paul directly at pastorpaul@whosoever.org.