The Day I Chose My Heterosexuality

kids-playing-tag

I still remember the day I chose to be heterosexual. It was the fourth grade.

I was 10 years old and I already knew all about girls. I knew to take precautions with them. I knew to be very careful.

I knew they all had girl germs.

And if there’s one thing a worldly young man like myself already realized, it’s that you definitely did not want to catch girl germs.

And so I spent every recess sprinting through the schoolyard, tearing around the jungle gym, and barreling through clusters of scattering kids, trying to escape being touched by one of the female runners. It was like the cornfield human round-up in the Planet of the Apes (or maybe The Walking Dead, a few decades early). I did my best to help the other boys when I could, of course, but we all knew that when push came to shove, it was every guy for himself. Better them than me.

We ran for our lives every lunchtime, knowing that to be touched was to be contaminated. But I was super fast. Maybe it was my sweet new pair of Zips, maybe it was my natural ability, or maybe it was Adrenaline and desperation—but I was one heck of a runner.

That is, until Lori Kopcash.

Up until that day, Lori had been my greatest playground nemesis, and her very presence struck fear in my 10-year old heart. She was gross and icky and absolutely crawling with girl germs—and she could run fast too.

One afternoon Lori was chasing me through the blur of the screaming crowd around me, when I suddenly realized I wasn’t running as fast as I could anymore. In fact, I was sort of dogging it on purpose. The truth blindsided me like a truck: something in me really wanted Lori Kopcash to catch me.

That was the day I chose my heterosexuality.

Of course, there was no real decision to be made here; no furious debate in my mind, no great wrestling with the choice at all. I simply became aware that Lori Kopcash made me feel something I’d never felt before. I couldn’t rationalize it or explain it—I just liked her. I just liked girls. My perception of girl and their respective germs was never quite the same again.

We all can point to those moments early in our journey when we realize something true about how our hearts and bodies work. There would be more times, but this was the first.

It wasn’t until later that I learned through the faith tradition I’d inherited, that apparently not all people worked this way. Some people, my Christianity told me, choose to be gay; they reject the very natural reality of what God had hard-wired into them, and make a conscious decision to be a different way. What I experienced without thinking in that playground, they somehow decide. What was an awareness for me, was for them a premeditated choice.

I knew right away how ridiculous an idea that was.

I knew that it was both arrogant and ignorant to imagine that anyone else’s experience of attraction or affection or desire was any different from mine, simply because their conclusion was different. The story that my religion told me just didn’t ring true. It still doesn’t.

Later when I became a pastor, I was committed to remembering how natural what I felt that afternoon for Lori felt, and to work toward a Church that respects that we each have a truest truth; that we should be allowed to live and love and worship from that most authentic place. If God made any of us to naturally feel what we feel without getting to choose it—God created all of us this way.

One of the greatest failings I see in my fellow Christians, is assuming that they can determine what is natural for someone else; what is their real, their truth, that they can decide for another person who they are.

It grieves me when I see followers of Jesus dismissing someone else’s story; their sense of identity, their inclination to love, the orientation of their affections, and the revelation of their own hearts—as if they know more about those people than they know about themselves. It’s the height of hubris.

One of the prayers I carry daily, is that more people who claim faith in Jesus will find the humility to remember what they learned about themselves at some point in their lives, and to allow everyone the dignity of coming to their own conclusions.  

There in the playground of St. Mary’s Catholic school, Lori Kopcash made me stop running. And when I did I woke up to the way my heart worked. I didn’t choose anything, I discovered it.

That is a gift we should give everyone, both inside and outside the Church: the joy of being who they really are and trusting them with their own stories.

We should tell all people that when it comes to how they love and who they love—they can stop running.

 

 

 

 

153 thoughts on “The Day I Chose My Heterosexuality

    • I love the way you described you running away from Lori and how it then caught up with you and how that changed how you started to see your self. That is sooo true!

      As a vulnerable teenage boy I can remember the several times that other young men as well as older men were chasing me. Some spending big money on me, trying to capture my frame of mind trying to get it to aline with their homosexual point of view. But as I already had been lured into a sexual relationship with the lady next door their attempts fell flat. Many years later (38 years old) God put his finger on me and I changed completely and became a passionate Christian walking in his ways and I listen to people’s pain and gently bring God’s solutions to them. During this time I have heard that many people who chose the life of homosexuality did so because of their vulnerable state of mind and their immediate needs being met by homosexuals. For them that was when they were caught and made their choice. We must always remember that God loves them just as much as he loves you and that God’s love can help each one of us to lead a more fulfilling life as we surrender our heart to him.
      My greatest worry is that so many churches are spiritually dead, relying on man’s wisdom and are controlling people as opposed to Church functioning according to God’s word setting them free and the church being alive, open to all who are hurting. Church is the hospital where Jesus is the healer!

      • Michael, thank you for your story. We all have unique experiences. I never understood the social interactions of running away or being chased by boys, or girls for that matter. I was rather indifferent up until my first crush on a girl. As a teenager I chose to date boys and I wanted to be like everyone else…have a boyfriend and get married…. have kids. It was not a fit for me. Despite my openess to change, my prayers and the faith I had… God did not change me. But that is my story.

        The healing I have found is the softening of my heart, the mending of my broken thoughts and the strengthening of my resolve to love God and love others…. by caring for people and being receptive to the redemptive power of grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    • John, I am no longer a believer, and I know that homosexuality is the way someone is born and not a choice. But, I have read the Bible and it in no uncertain terms condemns homosexuality as an abomination worthy of death and a sin. It is represented that way in the Old Testament and the New Testament. You can believe homosexuality is OK and you can believe that the Bible is the Word of God but you can’t believe in both at the same time.

      • Actually, you can believe that the Bible is the word of God and also believe that homosexuality is okay if you read the Bible in the original languages. It is only in inferior translations that we get the idea that there might be something wrong with homosexuality. The Greek and the Hebrew don’t say that at all. They don’t even mention homosexuality.

        • No you absolutely cannot. Jesus ONLY stated a man/woman relationship as a valid relationship inside a married relationship. ANY other relationship whether married or not, is outside the bounds of Orthodox Biblical Christianity, and an athema.

          Do NOT be fooled into believing anything other than what the bible says. It is Crystal Clear!

          • Jesus did not say that. That is someone’s wildly sideways interpretation. A clear statement we have from Jesus, that is twisted to be against gay people, is actually an answer to a question on divorce. It does not set out the parametres for marriage.

          • Sir-unless you have studied Hebrew and Greek as I have you cannot argue any point of view from the innumerable English translations. Humility would be a nice choice for your arrogance. Dan

      • Quite amazing isn’t it? You can be a whoremaster and cheat on all of your 3 wives, sexually assault numerous women, be a liar and a cheat and dishonest and still be accepted by the Christians in America, the same ones that condemn a gay person for marrying another gay person and living the rest of their lives together in faithfulness.

        • No, you can’t be that either unless you REPENT from your sins and live a life of Christ.

          The issue isn’t being attracted to someone of the opposite sex, it’s ACTING upon it. No differently than one who cheats, steals as a way of life. The sins are different, but the outcome is not for anyone.

          Jesus said OBEY my commands.

          • Horatio, did you just admit that it is NOT a sin to BE homosexual???

            “The issue isn’t being attracted to someone of the opposite sex, it’s ACTING upon it.”

            And in doing so, are you not admitting that God made some people homosexual??

          • Sir-unless you have studied Hebrew and Greek as I have you cannot argue any point of view from the innumerable English translations. Humility would be a nice choice for your arrogance. Dan

      • Modern translations of the Bible use the term abomination but the true translation isn’t that. If you think a modern English bible is the word of God you are so very, very wrong. It’s the word of some interpreter.

  1. Another Bravo, John. Posing the question to various fundy family members who swear by their “personal lifestyle choice” just leads to that same kind of frustration felt when you try to teach a pig to sing… They are annoyed, they can’t answer, and, they.are.right. And of course we are wrong. Will their religion catch up with science, will the flat-earth folks get it? Blue eyed, brown eyed, left handed, right handed – some things are DNA driven and some are not. Thank you for your affirmation of people of all genders, colors, ethnicity. It’s a miracle we’ve found you, and, wish we’d known of your work much earlier!

    • Sexuality is a choice. Straight, gay or celibate. What is so hard to understand about that? Not like height at all. You can’t change height. Sexuality can and does change. Those trapped in the darkness of homosexuality can be freed to holiness and right sexuality.

      • Scriptural insights from reading in original language
        Mariam Williams | Aug. 22, 2016 At the Intersection
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        The New York Times recently published an op-ed in which a rabbi named Mark Sameth argued, “[T]he Hebrew Bible, when read in its original language, offers a highly elastic view of gender.” According to Sameth, gender pronouns referring to well-known biblical characters like Adam, Eve, Noah, Rebecca and Mordecai are, on occasion, inconsistent, and these inconsistencies aren’t typos, but rather, they reflect beliefs of the time: that “well-expressed gender fluidity was the mark of a civilized person. Such a person was considered more “‘godlike.”
        This led Sameth to conclude that “the God of Israel — the God of the three monotheistic, Abrahamic religions to which fully half the people on the planet today belong — was understood by its earliest worshipers to be a dual-gendered deity.”

        I don’t know enough about the Hebrew language or the Hebrew Bible to argue the veracity of Sameth’s claims. What’s interesting to me is that never before had I seen or heard of gender fluidity attached to any Old Testament Scriptures.

        That could be because the idea of humans, let alone God, being transgender wasn’t such an issue when I was growing up. (Or it might have been, but people didn’t have the language for it then.) Why argue for the existence of a dual-gendered deity, and by extension, the humanity of transgender people, when no one is obtaining court orders over bathroom usage?

        It could be a reflection of Sameth’s scholarship. Rarely do scholars truly stand alone in their claims; if God is, in fact, dual-gendered, surely someone else in the thousands of years of the Scriptures’ existence and hundreds of years of its study would have come to the same conclusion.

        Or it could be that Sameth, like every scholar before him, reads the Scriptures with his own biases. He begins his op-ed with an anecdote about his cousin Paula, one of the first people in the U.S. to undergo gender reassignment surgery. It’s clear that he loves Paula, who grew up as Paul, and wants her to enjoy all the same rights as any other human being. He is close to a transgender person and has a positive view of her. This, too, is a bias.

        I would argue, however, that within Sameth’s pro trans-rights bias lies insight that may not have been available to previous scholars. I wonder how many people before him had read the same verses and drawn the same conclusions, but — because they didn’t have a cousin Paula they knew and loved and rooted for, or because it was the 1950s or 1890s and not the 21st century — they dismissed their discovery. They would have disrupted the status quo, and they would have been alone in their thinking.

        How often do theologians and practicing ministers read Scripture in its original language and keep the knowledge to themselves out of fear of what they find? I had a similar thought when I saw the play, “The Christians.” The play is about the fallout that occurs in a non-denominational (but presumably evangelical) Christian megachurch after the pastor concludes there is no hell. As the pastor explains to his congregants, the meaning of what we call “hell” in the original language is trash heap, a literal pile of garbage at the edge of Jerusalem. The pastor acknowledges he has known this for years but built his church on a different philosophy.

        The play wrestles with why he would teach something to thousands of people every week when he knew it was wrong. One possible answer: without hell, there was little reason for people to go to church, and without people in the pews and giving money each week, the church would cease to exist. If it didn’t exist, the pastor would be out of a job.

        I don’t mean to say there’s a conspiracy to keep laypersons in the dark. I only suggest that if a re-interpretation of Scripture disrupts the status quo, it could be dangerous for the individual posing the argument, because disrupting the status quo is always dangerous, perhaps especially when you are personally invested in it. Furthermore, bringing counter-arguments into one’s belief system is scary. It means sitting in places where you’re uncomfortable, where doubt, the very enemy of faith, can fester. If this part of what I believed isn’t true, what else might be false?

        Nonetheless, I believe such rigorous investigation and sharing of its discovery is always necessary. I read Sameth’s op-ed the same day I read a story about Rae’Lynn Thomas, a 28-year-old Columbus, Ohio, woman who was murdered by her mother’s ex-boyfriend. According to the victim’s mother, her assailant was transphobic and often called Rae’Lynn “the devil.”

        I’m not sure Sameth’s op-ed would’ve stopped Rae’Lynn’s assailant from harming her. I’m not sure it will help anyone who has already decided to use the Bible to support their hatred. But I’m encouraged by Sameth’s interpretation and his willingness to share it, and all the more if he’s willing to stand by it alone. Imagine what can happen when we read the Scriptures in their original language — and aren’t afraid of what they say.

        [Mariam Williams is a Kentucky writer living in Philadelphia and pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Rutgers University-Camden. She is a contributor to the anthology Faithfully Feminist and blogs at RedboneAfropuff.com. Follow her on Twitter: @missmariamw.]

        https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/intersection/scriptural-insights-reading-original-language

        • Wow thanks. I read a lot of books trying to work out the mystery of faith and personal development. I the hope to grow closer to God and treat myself and others more lovingly. I use Jesus as my example. I mean He gave his life to save us all from sin, He showed us the way. How amazing is that God basically sacrifed Himself in the form of His son. He died in the most painful humiliating way possible and He knew He would for me. (and all of you). WOW. To my point S.Pack’s books I find compliment the bible. He talks about stages of Spiritual development, 4 in total. Stage to is blind belief, believing what you are told to. I reckon these are the people who use the bible to hate people. Next stage is doubt, agnostics. This is similar to parts of the Pilgrims Progress to my memory but I could be wrong. That stage involves questioning and uncertainty. Perhaps agnostics look at how people in the previous stage behave and want no part in it. The last stage is knowing God but knowing that you can’t possibly fully know Him or Her. The mystery of faith, knowing that you don’t know because nobody can possibly fully know God because they are not God. However you can know God better it does involve questioning the status quo. But hey Jesus was a bit of a rebel anyway.

          • Ellie, what I remind myself is that Jesus loves everyone. When he walked the earth, He loved everyone he met, a crippled woman, a woman gushing blood, people he cast demons out of, tax collectors, prostitutes, every person He met. That’s my goal.

        • Thank you for this Gloriamarie. That is very interesting reading.

          There was one phrase that I have a different view on: “doubt, the very enemy of faith”. I have always considered certainty to be the enemy of faith. If you are certain, you stop exploring and researching and questioning. You no longer have faith; you have certainty. Doubt encourages you to dig into your faith and understand what it means for you and you can more fully live your faith.

          I have a friend who wears a little gold question mark on the same chain as a little gold cross. Her intention is not to question Jesus’ validity, but to remind her to question herself if she is following Jesus’ example and teachings fully in her life.

          • Yes, I too thought it a very interesting piece, full of things new for me to ponder. One thing I do know for a fact, when Bibles get translated into English, there quite often in an agenda. It might be that previous translators noticed the gender fluidity and because it didn’t fit into their pre-conceived worldview, they ignored it. After all, it does say that God created humanity in the image and likeness of God, male and female. Always thought that means God is both male and female.

            As for your reaction to this bit “It means sitting in places where you’re uncomfortable, where doubt, the very enemy of faith, can fester. ” Please allow me to point out that the author is Roman Catholic. When I was growing up in the RCC, faith was everything, if one doubted one sinned. I think that is the context of the author’s words.

            A coupla decades later I was received into the Episcopal Church where we don’t have to leave our brains on the church steps before we enter. We recognize that is very human to experience doubt.

          • Patricia… The Hebrew definition of the word Faith = certain & assured.

            So you might want to find a different word for what your experience is.

          • My father is a pastor. I remember growing up and talking to him about faith. I would feel guilty about having questions doubts. I thought it meant that I want a good Christian or that my faith was weak. My father would tell me this: “Jenny, without doubt we would never question. Without questions, we would never learn. Without learning, we would never grow. Without growing, we would never expand or strengthen our faith.”

            • Jenny, I really love what your father said.

              I really don’t believe people who tell me they never experience doubt. I know people who I think have been clearly given the gift of faith because their faith helps them cope with some truly horrible stiuff. But they also experience doubt and I think it is their gift of faith is enriched.

      • Homosexuality

        One of the many ways that we are attracted to each other is sexually. We want to touch and be touched. We want to give and receive pleasure with our bodies. We want to know each other in our full nakedness, which is to say in our full humanness, and in the moment of passion to become one with each other. Whether it is our own gender or the other that we are chiefly attracted to seems a secondary matter. There is a female element in every male just as there is a male element in every female, and most people, if they’re honest, will acknowledge having been at one time or another attracted to both.

        To say that morally, spiritually, humanly, homosexuality is always bad seems as absurd as to say that in the same terms heterosexuality is always good, or the other way round. It is not the object of our sexuality that determines its value but the inner nature of our sexuality. If (a) it is as raw as the coupling of animals, at its worst it demeans us and at its best still leaves our deepest hunger for each other unsatisfied. If (b) it involves some measure of kindness, understanding, and affection as well as desire, it can become an expression of human love in its fullness and can thus help to complete us as humans. Whatever our sexual preference happens to be, both of these possibilities are always there. It’s not whom you go to bed with or what you do when you get there that matters so much. It’s what besides sex you are asking to receive, and what besides sex you are offering to give.
        Here and there the Bible condemns homosexuality in the sense of (a), just as under the headings of adultery and fornication it also condemns heterosexuality in the sense of (a). On the subject of homosexuality in the sense of (b), it is as silent as it is on the subject of sexuality generally in the sense of (b). The great commandment is that we are to love one another — responsibly, faithfully, joyfully — and presumably the biblical view is implied in that.

        Beyond that, “Love is strong as death,” sings Solomon in his song. “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it” (Song of Solomon 8:6-7). Whoever you are and whoever it is you desire, the passion of those lines is something you are quick to recognize.

        ~originally published in Whistling in the Dark and later in Beyond Words, author is Frederic Buechner

      • zoro, you wrote “Those trapped in the darkness of homosexuality can be freed to holiness and right sexuality.

        The only place it is dark is in the closet. Outside of it, the light of Christ bathes all who love Him.

        Our sexuality is hard-wired. We cannot choose We can delude ourselves, we can pretend, we can inflict violent abuse upon others, but since God chooses to create people in a way that delights God, some of us are born straight, some of us are not. Some of us, sadly, are born into the wrong bodies.

        I’m guessing you have chosen to give reading the things I posted a miss. That’s fine.

      • You are everything that is wrong with conservative Christianity wrapped up in one ignorant, judgmental, and un-Christ like little package. Bless those who are capable of gentler words toward you.

      • You my friend are wrong. You didn’t even read this, did you? Let’s just say it is a choice. Not a choice of gay or straight, it’s a choice of being happy or not being happy. A choice of hiding who you are or a choice of being proud of who you are. Thats the choice you are giving someone. I choose to be happy and proud. Also it’s not dark in my world. My world is filled with color, light, and happiness. God loves me and I love him and you can’t take that from me. But go ahead a spill your hate on something you have no clue what you are talking about. Walk a mile in my shoes or anyone’s shoes that is gay or someone who is straight but has a friend or a family member who is gay but loves them unconditionally.

      • Zoro. If it was a choice for you personally, then you are a bisexual. That sense of choice that you experienced in your life is not experienced by heterosexuals and homosexuals. We never had a choice. I am heterosexual. Congratulations on being a member of the 4,300,000 Americans who make up the bisexual community in the United States. You have made the classic mistake all your life of assuming that everyone else in the world experienced sexual awakening in exactly the same way you did.

      • Obviously you don’t know any gay people. If you were a kid, let’s say 9-10 years old. And you would go out at recess and when girls start looking good to a certain young man, it’s meaning that the human instinct is kicking in. Well, here’s the thing, another kid, your same gender, your age, your same family income level, might live next door looks at another boy like you look at a girl. Now from a young age, he’s told this is wrong, by his church, family, friends, and every other human close to him. He keeps this secret locked up inside and as he grows older, the urges steepen like yours did for girls during your puberty years. The attraction grows stronger and he finally lets the secret loose. He gets abandoned by his family, friends, and peers, is made fun of mercilessly, and treated like a freak. Choice my ass. I’m more of a Christian because I follow Jesus’s example of acceptance of everyone, despite their differences. I’m a straight man with a great kid. I will hope he never grows up with the idiocy of your statement. It’s just as hurtful as racism. No homosexual goes out of their way to make your life, less than great. Wake up and smell your bigotry, it smells like a skunk

      • Sexuality is not a choice. God I hate it when frauds like you make stuff up out of whole cloth. You just make stuff up, cherry pick to “prove” it and pretend you hold the moral high ground. I call you a fraud because I used to “worship” with characters like you, proclaiming God’s love for the lost while relishing the thought of watching everyone you don’t like burn in your imaginary Hell. You are fooling no one here but yourself pal. Go away.

        • Sex is certainly a choice. One can choose to have it or not. One can choose to have it with one sex or the other or both. Your choice lands you in the right or wrong camp whether you want to believe Christ’s words or not.

          Therefore, man shall leave mother and father and cling to his wife.

          Said in both the O.T. and N.T.

          • You are absolutely right that people can choose whether or not to have sex. But this isn’t about bumping uglies (as my strange first-cousin-once-removed-in-law used to say); it is about sexual orientation. Your orientation is part of who you are, not what you do. When people use the Bible to push people of the “wrong orientation” away from God, whether or not they have chosen to have sex, you commit a great sin.

      • Could you choose to be gay? I know I couldn’t. And I put a lot of serious thought and consideration into the question as well, back in my teen years. I, for a moment, thought I might be able to love a man the way I’d tried to love women.

        But I couldn’t. Because it’s wasn’t a choice. I just can’t look at a guy and think “man, I’d like to…” the way I can with a woman. The sexual attraction simply doesn’t exist. I couldn’t CHOOSE to be sexually attracted to a man if I wanted to. Because sexual attraction isn’t a choice.

        So I ask again – can YOU choose to be gay? Either your answer is “yes” – wherein you have some serious introspection to consider about your identity. Or it’s “no” – in which case you’ve proven your own thesis to be bullshit.

        • I’m gay and I’ve searched for words to explain “choice” as an impossibility. Thank you saying what eluded me. Bravo, straight guy! ????

      • The only constant is change. Height – we grow taller as children and we shrink as we age. So what?
        Black and white, right or wrong. Labels, judgments and strict interpretations.
        Or love.
        Consider an alternate perspective.

      • I find it difficult to believe that people choose to live a life where people hate them, treat them like crap, and even kill them. It doesn’t make sense.

        • And that, my friend, is the complete and utter flaw in the idea that people choose to be homosexual. I said this myself somewhere above.

          Apparently, it is much easier to embrace lies than it is to challenge one’s prejudices. This explains the ridiculous popularity of Donald Trump. It has been demonstrated that over 90% of what comes out of his mouth are lies. He even repeats lies that have been debunked.

          But the lies Trump spews have their origin in his bigotry, discrimination, gynophobia, homophobia, intolerance of any difference of opinion, misogyny, racism, sexism, transgenderphobia, and xenophobia.

          People who have these same values love his lies because they support their own warped world-view.

          People read John’s blog and somehow fail to comprehend that what he is writing about is loving God and loving his neighbor, whoever might be his neighbor.

          Judging one’s neighbor and finding flaws is a really cop out from loving one’s neighbor. It overlooks Jesus’words about attentding to the log in one’s own eye instead of the splinter in someone else’s eye. It overlooks the words of Jesus telling us not to judge because we open ourselves up judgement in our turn.

          Here’s the thing that causes people to find reasons to shun other people. When we do the exceptionally hard work of embracing all our neighbors in love, we are changed. We are forced to confront within ourselves all our prejudices, bigotry, discrimination and that is painful. So much more comfortable to twist things, to use the Bible as a weapon, and stay in the comfortable darkness of our pre-conceived ideas.

          But it we believe that Jesus calls us to love God with every fiber of our being and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, then we will in boldness and confidence in God, embrace loving God and neighbor and risk all for God.

          • Running a little further with your ideas, if we confront within ourselves all our prejudices, bigotry, and discrimination, that will force us to recognize when we have caused harm to others. There are a lot of people who have no idea how to accept blame, how to apologize, and/or how to seek reconciliation, or even why these actions might be necessary. It’s far easier to stay willfully ignorant.

            • Yes, exactly, Patricia. Exactly. And let us by all means emphasize the word “willfully.” Because anyone who tells us they are a Christian yet who embraces any of the forms of prejudice I listed above, is a person who is willfully blocking the Holy Spirit from illumining the mind and softening the heart.

              I have a quote for you, Patricia. Saw it this mornign and thought of you.

              “Do you have the gift of doubt?
              Doubt – The God we know has left a trail of crumbs for us, but remains to a great extent elusive and just beyond the grasp of absolute certainties. And that in itself is a gift; we might say we have received the gift of doubt. Just enough doubt to take this world seriously, this world that God so loves.”
              -Br. Mark Brown
              Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE)

      • Who am I to question how God made someone? Obviously God made all kinds of people, and there is no way on Earth that I am going to tell God that God made some of my most beloved people wrong. My job is to love people. I pray, zoro, that you think about asking yourself the same question.

      • Um no….I did not choose to be heterosexual…I just am. Just like my daughter did not choose to be gay, she just is. To abstain from sex, is a choice, but even those who abstain have sexuality they choose to not engage. It is very sad for others to decide if someone lives in darkness or light…I choose light, my child chooses light and refuses to let people like you dictate one thing about our lives.

      • Why is it a choice? Beacuse you say so? If it has been for you, please tell us how your struggle was and how you ultimately chose your changeable orientation. We would like to hear about that journey! But before you do, perhaps you should reread the article, especially the bits about judging another’s story and definining someone else’s truth for them.

  2. Brilliant. Just brilliant. May the Holy Spirit use your words to illumine minds and soften hearts.

    One aspect that has always flabbergasted me about the claim that people choose to be homosexual is this. Why on the face of God’s green earth would anyone choose to be homosexual when it is so much easier a life to be heterosexual. After all, look at all the prejudice against LGBTQ this blog has exposed. Look at the prejudice when people misuse religious freedom to discriminate against people different from themselves. It goes against common sense to think people choose to homosexual as much as it goes against common sense to think we have any choice at all about our sexual preferences.

    Something I have also noticed about people who think other people choose to be LGBTQ is that they claim the “plain text” of Scripture says it is sin. Yet they ignore a great many other “plain texts” of Scripture and twist its meaning to avoid obedience. They swallow Republican lies, Trump’s lies, in orer to avoid feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, and providing for those unable to provide for themselves. They twist around Jesus’ words to love our neighbor as ourselves to find a list of exceptions that never occurs in the Bible.

    I was also struck by these words. “One of the greatest failings I see in my fellow Christians, is assuming that they can determine what is natural for someone else; what is their real, their truth, that they can decide for another person who they are.”

    This has wider application than the failure of Christians to accept LGBTQ as the people God created them to be.

    Something I knew when I was ten (is that a watershed year, I wonder?) was that I never wanted to have children. I know if I had kids I would be as lousy at parenting as were my own parents and I never wanted to do to another person what had been done with me.

    As an adult if the subject came up, I would say I didn’t want children, I didn’t want to be a mother, I would be a bad mother. Etc. People would say to me “Oh, yes you do want children, of course God created you to be a mother, you will be a wonderful mother.” Fellow Christians just wouldn’t listen to me. When I was getting married, I wanted the priest to leave out the bit about children and he said he couldn’t marry us if I were unwilling to have kids.

    An essential truth about myself was constanted denigrated. I am not a patient person. I am not a nurturing woman. I have serious problems with people lloking to me to fulfill their needs. I do not have the vocation of motherhood.

    Perhaps it would do us all goog to practice attentive listening, to take the time to truly listen to what another person says about themselves and allow their words to be aboutthemselves. And not about what we want to say next or, worse, the fears we feel within ourselves that are brought into the light of day by the words of another perdon talking only about themselves. That we then try to make into the speaker’s agenda, when we need to take responsibility for our own stuff.

  3. When I was in the third grade I had a similar experience as John Pavlovitz. We were painting a mural on craft paper using tempera paints. A boy from one of the seventh grade classes had come to help us. I felt an immediate attraction to him. For some reason, he “took me under his wing.” We worked together on the mural. I knew I had more than a crush on this guy. He stirred feelings in me I had never experienced before. He even ended up in my dreams. I can’t even recall his name. I do remember that he was extremely attractive. And I remember his kindness and attention to me, a lowly third grader. Despite not having the vocabulary to describe it, I knew at that point that I was different. I did not sense anything bad about that difference, just that I was different. Had I possessed the terminology, I would have realized that I was gay. I didn’t discuss my feelings with anyone. No one discussed anything remotely related to sex or sexuality way back then. So, I guess that was when I “chose” to be gay! Thank you John….now if those with open hearts and minds could only grasp what you say.

  4. I have only read two of your posts thus far, but they are the two heaviest things I my heart…why people are really leaving the church and how my son “chose” homosexuality. I feel like I could’ve written all of the thoughts in both of these posts, but of course not so eloquently. The church is letting me down in so many ways…and I have been a strong believer from the “cradle.” But I cannot find one church in my area where the message is POSITIVE and INSPIRING! Only “follow these rules or else you don’t love Jesus!” My son, also raised from the “cradle” and a top student in Religious Ed at his Catholic school feels unwelcome and is called “disordered” by his own church. As you said, no wonder people are fleeing in droves! If Jesus had sold his “good news” like this back in the early days, would there be a Christian in existence today??

    • I hear your pain. At the moment I don’t have a regular church I go to and I don’t like that fact. There are loads that welcome you. I say I’m a Christian and I say that my whole life nowdays is dependent on His will. They ask if I have said “the sinners prayer”. I say why do I have to say it? They always answer “so you can have God in your life” I say everything I do these days is due to His grace and that I rely on Him 100%. They insist I have to say the sinners prayer to be a Christian. They get confused and angry when I don’t. Why should I ask God to come into my life when He is already there. The prayer was written 1850 after Jesus died for us by the way. Is this where I get accused of a sinful lifestyle choice? I pray that all of this type of Christians find God eventually and stop preventing others. God bless you all guys and girls.

    • Look for a Metropolitan Community Church. It is a Christian church that will love you and your son. It will help with the struggles to confirm that God made your son just as he is and loves him just as he is.

    • Here is a (((HUG))). I hear you and understand. Have you thought about forming your own home-based church right there in your own community? The first churches in this world did not have preachers or buildings. They met and worshiped in their homes. The entire Christian faith all over the world sprang from those home-based churches.

      The important thing to remember about your feelings and those of your son is that Jesus did not create this pain for you. Your pain is caused by PEOPLE and the evil within PEOPLE. Here is an article from my blog that may help you to find a good church—but starting your own home-based church might be the best option in your area. Here is the article:

      https://faith17983.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/escape-from-abuse-at-your-church/

      Here is an article on my blog that might help you find a church

    • Once again you hit the nail squarely on the head! THANK you for sharing your gift of tolerance and open-mindedness. Too many narrow-minded human judgments are for the sole purpose of control. And Churches, in my experience, are among the worst! They seldom even attempt to raise standards of behavior or culture or understanding – they simply give a platform for those who wish to measure their own perceived superiority against those who they prefer to see as “less”. I used to seek a church where people did not judge one another. Never found one. Feeling holier-than-thou seemed to be the purpose for the people there AND the church leadership. And I longed for the inspiration I always found through excellent music – NOT garage bands and karaoke singers- and it seems most churches feel popular music with a lot of base and rhythm – like you would hear in some sleazy bar setting – should be inspiring enough. (Now I am judging!) But give me Schubert. Bach. So many Composers who were God-inspired and music that takes real God-given skill to perform. And keep your discordant garage bands for the high school prom. I will continue getting my inspiration from your open-minded posts, John, and from my music recordings, and watching the miraculous birds and creatures on the lake and lawn behind my house – privately. And you can keep your rigid “organized” religion .

      • Trying to find a church that has a mixture of the old and new. Nowhere sings “Dear Lord and Father of mankind forgive our foolish ways”anymore. Might be a idea if they did and learnt some humility. That’s me judging I’m just grateful that this retch has been saved.

        • My denomination excluded that from the Hymnal because of its gender exclusive language. English usage has changed over the centuries and words no longer mean what they once did.

  5. “What I experienced without thinking in that playground, they somehow decide. What was an awareness for me, was for them a premeditated choice.”

    No one–No one–No one in their right mind can deny having this experience and because of this, the notion of choosing one’s sexuality is lost.
    Thanks, John, for the great post.

    • As a fundamentalist, when I read the bible, I only see that certain sexual acts are judged to be wrong by God. I don’t see that ‘strong inclinations, feelings & desires’ are judged. Just actions.

      • Learn to read in Hebrew and Greek. The so-called plain text of Scripture is not that plain in the original languages. The texts of Scripture often have been translated with an agenda.

        I don’t know why fundies can’t get it through their heads that when a person is born a certain way, that is not the form of homosexuality to which the Bible refers.

        As you can tell just from your attempts to find me a homemaker that Christians simply ignore the so-called plain text of Scripture when it suits them. “Provide for widows and orphans” is pretty much the category I fall into. As well as “caring for the sick” but do Christians really want to personally get involved? Nope. They twist Scripture to suit their own agenda.

        As do people who refuse to grasp that what the Hebrew Scriptures and even the New Testament is not talking people born homosexual.

        Hebrew Scriptures is about temple prostitution and worshipping false gods. Romans is talking about straight men in Rome who chose to perform homosexual acts with other men because they are all looking for sexual kicks.

        Neither of these passages address those who are born homosexual.

      • Paul this is typical flawed thinking both our thoughts and actions are judged. It’s not one or the other. Jesus says its from out of our heart comes evil. This is why ex-gays are much more literal and fundamental than you. Because ex-gays believe in killing desires. This is why it is illogical to say the desires are okay but the behaviour is wrong. If the desire is Acceptable then the resulting behaviour can only be good. So which is it ?

        • Hi John reckon that that comment must be from the same John from the other post. I have a question for you. What is my sinful life style choice? I’ve been racking my brain so I can choose not to do it. I’m sure you know who I am well you seemed to. I just really need to know what the lifestyle choice is so I can choose a different lifestyle. Thanks God bless.

          • Elle, I believe this represents the lifestyle God requires of all who claim to know Him. “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

  6. Thank you for a helpful insight into how we discover our sexual orientation. I agree that folks with a gay or lesbian orientation probably discover it just as you described. But then I wonder if that therefore makes it “healthy” or good. I realize that our discovered orientation is the consequence of many and complex human factors, not the least of which may be generational sin. We don’t have to chose our disorders; many come built-in.
    I want to bend over backwards to love and embrace gays and lesbians (I have a child who is gay and whom I love dearly), but my personal experiences would not lead me to chose a gay orientation for anyone. There just seem to be too many unfortunate consequences. Certainly some of these may be the result of remaining cultural stigmas and prejudices. What are your thoughts about that?
    I appreciate your advocacy for all marginalized people. Keep up the good work.

  7. Through a same sex marriage/relationship you can follow a healthy life of complimenting another human being and rightly directly your sexuality. It is the commitment to a vow which teaches us healthy attitudes about the use of our bodies and the channeling of our desires.

    Gloriamarie made a good point above about the desire to unite with another human being. We need more honest discussion about this aspect with young people; by telling them that having sex is not just a behaviour or a physical act but a unifying interaction between another human. What are the implications relationally?

    For so long LGBTQ people have been told their love is worthless and some of us behaved as though we are worthless, because that is what we were told about ourselves. But many of us who challenged the culture of the day and knew our worth made long term committed relationships which exemplified sacrificial devotion, faithfulness and giving back to our communities.

    This is where we have gained ground and there is more to discover and understand about human sexuality which we needs to discuss in a compassionate way; with an openness to those who are different from us.

    We can’t expect people to fit an ideal template and then tell them, if they don’t, they must therefore suffer. Our suffering is alleviated through the relationships we have. it is good relationships that make our lives blessed and productive.

    This is where the church has failed LGBTQ people.

    • Kathy, modesty compels me to say I did not write the words you attributed to me. They were part of a quote I cited and they were written by the wonderful Christian writer, Frederic Buechner.

      I believe two things quite firmly:

      1) People are people are people exactly as it delighted God to create them and my job is to love all my neighbors;

      2) Love is so very hard to find in this world, let us rejoice when people come together in a mutually supportive, committed, monogamous relationship. Let us just plain rejoice and be glad for them.

      I will never understand why that is so difficult for some.

    • Kathy thank you. A friend of mine once said axwise thing. “Never set your sexuality in stone” As every normal Christian minded person knows God made everyone exactly how He wanted them to be. He did not make everyone the same. How boring would that be if everyone was the same. There is just one thing that is the same about every human who has ever lived, each one is unique. There has only ever been one perfect completely correct human, Jesus. Nowhere in the Bible does it mention who He slept with. But He was 100% human and 100% God. He also loves everyone. Wonder whose minds will blow at that. So what’s my sinful lifestyle choice? JP you make sure you keep writing these posts, there is so much that needs to be said. ????

    • Kathy, elegant and profound: “Our suffering is alleviated through relationships. Relationships is what makes our life good and productive.” And so troubling: “This is where the church has failed LGBTQ people.” It is heartbreaking to contemplate the damage left in the wake of the church here. Thank you for being a consistent voice of compassion and clarity.

  8. Through a same sex marriage/relationship you can follow a healthy life of complimenting another human being and rightly directing your sexuality. It is the commitment to a vow which teaches us healthy attitudes about the use of our bodies and the channeling of our desires.

    Gloriamarie made a good point above about the desire to unite with another human being. We need honest discussion about this with young people. We can teach young people that having sex is not just a behaviour or a physical act; that sexual union is an unifying interaction between another human. We can teach them what the implications are relationally; that it means to stick with a person. Rather than expound the evils of sex we can validate the goodness of our sexuality.

    For so long LGBTQ people have been told their love is worthless and some of us behaved as though we are worthless, because that was what we were told about ourselves. But, many of us who challenged the culture of the day and knew our worth made long term committed relationships which exemplified sacrificial devotion, faithfulness and giving back to our communities.

    This is where we have gained ground and there is more to discover and understand about human sexuality. We can discuss this in a compassionate way, with an openness to those who are different from us.

    We can’t expect people to fit an ideal template and then tell them, if they don’t, they must therefore suffer. Our suffering is alleviated through relationships. Relationships is what makes our life good and productive.

    This is where the church has failed LGBTQ people.

  9. To many of the commenters: It’s quite foolish to try to twist scripture to make it say what you want. OT & NT both condemn homosexuality.

    If you think John is right and Moses and Paul are wrong, fine. Maybe John is right. But they cannot all be right, so let’s stop being intellectually dishonest and pretending the Bible doesn’t say what it says or mean what it means.

    John believes the ideas put forward by Moses and Paul were based on ignorance. John may be right or he may be wrong, but I appreciate the fact that he doesn’t try to force scripture to agree with him.

    • John can be right without Moses and Paul being wrong or ignorant. What’s wrong is our understanding of what was written. If you read the Bible in the original languages (and not in a flawed translation), you will find that John and Moses and Paul agree.

  10. I knew I was “different” when I was 4. I knew most people didn’t like “different” by 12. I could give “different” a name at 16. And I started running. And lying. And hiding. And fighting. And protesting. And advocating. I don’t recall any gay decision moment, and I’m certain I would remember it.

    My gay self stopped running when He knelt beside gay me, spoke into my gay heart that He loves gay me, and my gay heart heard Him. I got up onto my still gay feet and walked my gay saved self out into life; with a new gay heart. I’ve since kept my gay heart open to try as I-gay might to love in a manner worthy of Him, to love right. To gayly reach for and tend to all others as, He would have me do. Now that’s an everyday choice I gratefully choose to make.

      • Ha! Kathy, I can count on you to make me smile. Call that a moment of frustration. I’m guessing some people would think God is less if He loves LGBTQ people and that’s why they’re so grossly judgmental. And I wanted to be “normal”. So much so that I committed sins of deception. Against a young fiance who loved me; I couldn’t be honest about my true affections. Dishonoring my parents; by lying about why I stayed so busy and didn’t want to go on dates like all my friends did. I lied on job applications; back in the day when they dared asked if you were homosexual. I guess all those sins were okay in order to be acceptable. Nevermind hurting oneself, just don’t be offensive to others. Unless one is LBGTQ , one cannot know the personal and spiritual battle waged. I appreciate JP. And I appreciate all those on this blog who attempt, in Christ-likeness to understand. Is such a blessing to be heard and considered.

        • Susan, I found your words to be very impactful. You challenged me to begin to understand the dissonance produced by, as you put it, committing sins of deception when you wanted to be “normal.” I am a people pleaser, a peacemaker, and I am very honest. Putting myself in your place, I know that I would be burdened by such deep angst and turmoil, being torn by who I want to be for other people and who I really am. For me, it would be soul-wrenching. Thank you for sharing your experience, as you really made me think, and you provided for me a new level of understanding.

          And I think what you said about it being such a blessing to be heard and considered is so important! That’s what every human desires, right? Can you just listen to me and try to understand? I think listening and understanding is a beautiful way to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. It is a sweet expression of loving our neighbors.

          • Zoe Grace, thank you for your compassion. For hearing. I have to leave these sorts of posts from JP for my sanity often; I apologize for the delayed thanks. Being gay and now saved, I know the truth for myself. God has not seen fit, to His good purpose, to change my orientation. I cannot change my orientation myself, regardless. Regardless of the inability of others to comprehend. Regardless of others fears, disgust, spite, conviction, or prayers. And I hear them but they don’t hear me. What others don’t see and won’t acknowledge are those adjustments and concessions LGBTQ must make to live in hetero world. And I believe the most damaging is to, at a very early age, begin a life-long journey of deception. It’s akin to a forced Dissociative Identity Disorder. Being more than one person becomes second-nature. It becomes so a part of one’s self, a survival mechanism, that it’s difficult to sort out the truth, even for one’s self. And it wreaks havoc on a spiritual life. Every LGBTQ person that I’ve ever known has said to me, I just want to be authentically me. They don’t say, I want to love who I love. You see, it really is about who we are and not about who we love or our attractions. And dual lives become weighty. Spiritually, I believe we cannot come to Christ, drawn by God, until being in an honest, humble, and grateful state. He received me when my mass of understanding was just this nebula staring back at me. All that I relied on to bring me to that point had become meaningless and empty. He knew I needed filling with direction and Truth. And to all these naysayers, He saved this gay person. And I am still gay. You would think, at that moment of heart renewal, that would have been His great timing for orientaion change. Right? But I am who He made me, I just now live authentically, walking in grace, and loving Christ-worthy. In my spirit, I know it will not matter to Him what gender I loved but that I loved with the renewed and honest He gave me.

              • I agree. She very much is.

                Then there is the listening at the gates of the heart which has been closed for so long, and waiting for that mysterious inner voice to speak. When we hear it, we know it is the truth to which we must now surrender our lives.
                — Beth Ferris in Finding What You Didn’t Lose by John Fox

  11. Wow! I love your way with words, John. I hope you know what a difference you make in my world every day. I would be inclined to read a Methodist’s Pastor’s post anyhow, but you have a captive audience in me due to how beautifully human you are.

  12. Curious what you think of this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3725551/Mother-36-son-19-fell-love-met-year-gave-adoption-baby-say-willing-risk-JAIL-defend-love.html

    Or what about people who defend pedophiles, saying that they are “born” that way, they can’t help it?
    No, I’m not trying to compare LGBTQ people to pedophiles. I genuinely want to know what anyone here would say about either of these types of attractions. These are things that seem abhorrent to me, but maybe I am just not “enlightened”?

    • Pedophiles are not attracted to the person but thier ‘youth’ and whatever they are getting out of it. It’s not a relationship because the pedophile discards the child they abuse after they lose thier youth.

      The two people in the article you posted never knew each other as mother and son so they never formed that bond. So I wouldn’t say that thier attraction is coming from a place of understanding that they have a mother/son bond. It’s unfortunate and the sensationalism surrounding it is abhorrent.

    • Tracy, I am making the assumption that you honestly and sincerely desire answers to your questions. I preface my response to you with these words because a troll might also ask them.

      First of all, it’s the ***Daily Mail***, a tabloid. It’s equivalent with the tabloids sold by the checkout stands in US supermarkets. IOW, it’s trash and not legitimate reporting.

      Then let me address the pedophile issue. Pedophilia is not so much about sexual desire as it is about control and domination. A pedophile is a person who is neither straight or gay who preys upon children. It is abuse.

      If the Clovis, NM situation is actually real, then it too is a form of abuse. It too has nothing to do with sexual desire. Incest is always about abuse.

      Abuse is abuse is abuse is abuse is abuse. It has nothing to do with loving another person in a committed, loving, monogamous relationship.

      • gloriamarie… if the story is true about the Mom 39 /Son 19 relationship, they both paint the picture to be very much about sexual desire, compatibility, love & friendship (not abuse). Two consenting adults.

        I think this couple would question your judgment that all incest is abusive. Do you say it’s wrong because the relationship is mutually abusive, or do you say its wrong because of God’s laws about incest?

        • Paul, please don’t mansplain to me when you don’t have the information. You clearly are unfamiliar with the psychological definition of sexual abuse and incest.

          So what if the couple would question my judgement? Do they demonstrate good judgement?

          I refuse to be set up for one of those absurd discussions that love excuses all, there for I can have sex with my toaster.

          Once again, can you read the original languages?

    • Tracy, as a fundamentalist Christian, I think there are [2] camps: Believer & Non-Believer.

      A Believer is in agreement with God’s Word. A Non-Believer disagrees with/ignores/negates God .

      A Believer is in agreement with God’s narrowly prescribed guidelines for human sexuality. [One Man, One Woman in a Marriage contract agreement. ] Anything outside of that is in disagreement with God’s outline.

      I think that covers any sexual behavior under the sun. Including, the one you had a question about.

      *Certainly, there is freedom to engage in any sexual behavior that one desires (homosexuality, bi-sexuality, incest, pedophilia, sadism, masochism, bestiality, orgies, etc.)– But a Believer would steer clear of any of these, as God strongly teaches against it. (even our own conscience informs us this is so.)

      • “A Believer is in agreement with God’s Word. A Non-Believer disagrees with/ignores/negates God .”

        I have lived long too—and seen many Christian things. No one in their right theological mind would ever use that as the key criterion for being a Christian. I know what your thinking is here (because I know you fundies so well from having studied you so long). It is faulty thinking and false as a $3.00 bill. If God really is as mean-spirited as you fundies say He is and you are old enough to die at any moment, I would strongly suggest that you reform this. That kind of talk in Heaven will get you smashed like a house fly on a window sill.

        Translation for Nonfundies:

        Fundies believe that a person must believe every last word in the Bible strictly according to the fundamentalist/inerrancy/literalist understanding of every word in the Bible. As they often say, “If even one word in the Bible is ever discovered to be wrong, then the entire Bible and every word in it must be rejected forever. They often follow that statement with: “If such a day should ever occur, then, ALL IS LOST.”

        What they do then is turn this sack of theological bullshit inside out and say:

        If a person does not believe that Adam in the Bible was a real man (or whatever else), then that means the person automatically DISBELIEVES the entire rest of the Bible and everything it says about Jesus; therefore, the person cannot possibly be a Christian.

        I have to tell you honestly Paul. If I were the Holy Spirit, you were sitting here with me, and I had a baseball bat in close reach, the only thing left of your skull would be a bloody paste—-after spouting ridiculous theological nonsense like that in front of me. Just be glad I am not the Holy Spirit.

        “If you do not bel

  13. I never did get the “germs” thing. My folks told me that, still in the playpen, there was this little Indian girl that, when they put her in the playpen, I was all about her. Nothing changed in that. So much for “deciding.” We don’t “decide” whom we will love. Love is always a gift, and all you can do is accept it for what it is – precious, and a gift from a God who loves us.

  14. I was severely abused over the course of my childhood and teen years, putting me into basic survival mode and having no knowledge of myself, my interests or my desires. Survival mode includes doing what is expected and/or required without choosing whether that action is right for you or not.

    I was expected to marry and produce babies, and my mother told me that if a boy had screwed up his courage to ask you out, you had to say yes. I went out with a ridiculous number of young men. Every last one of them had something seriously wrong with them. In my mid-20s, I swore of men because I just couldn’t stand them, not because of any question about orientation. A few years later, I did meet a man who was reasonable, so I married and produced children. We were comfortable, secure and routine, but I wouldn’t say we were happy.

    When I was 45, I met a woman at church who I immediately felt a connection to. We were anamchara (look it up). Six months later, I realized that I was in love with her. It was like the scales fell from my eyes and my spirit was set free. My every energy danced. But I thought she was straight. What I didn’t know was that she was closeted and afraid to tell me her orientation because I was the best friend that she had never had, and as a good upstanding church lady, surely I would reject her friendship if I knew. We eventually sorted it out and have been together for more than 10 years.

    My spirituality blossomed once I knew myself completely (or as completely as we ever know ourselves). My connection to my faith deepened and I gained a sense of peace that had been entirely lacking throughout my life.

    When I look back at my early years, the signs were all there, but they couldn’t be read through the haze of abuse.

      • You are 100% correct, Patricia. It was the boys who had cooties. Some adult men, such as rapists, pedophiles, those who sexually harass women, sexists, gynophobes, and misogynists still have cooties.

      • Actually Pat. The girls had “girl cooties” and the boys had “boy cooties.” They were both in the zoological family Cootidae. The girl cooties were the genus and species Cooticephalis vaginus. The boys were the genus and species Cooticephalis projectus. Both are now listed as endangered parasitic species.

        How’s that?

        • Nothing endangered about Cooticephalis projectus as far as I can tell. See my description above of the effects of having boy cooties.

  15. I discovered I was bisexual after 18 years of marriage and 2 kids. I knew I was different from early childhood, but I never had a word or understanding of it. I knew I wasn’t gay – I loved men and straight sex too much. I just thought I was weird and stayed very very busy.
    My husband and I met at 17 and married at 20. He was ordained at 25. We were very active in our very insular faith – he pastored and I played piano for church every Sunday. Life revolved around our church family.
    One day during an online discussion, someone mentioned the word bisexual. I had never heard that word before and someone else defined it for me.
    I sat there absolutely stunned. It was like a huge curtain had fallen away and bright lights burst in my brain. “That’s ME! I’m not alone! I’m not a freak!”
    I immediately told my husband of my epiphany, and the emotional and verbal abuse I had lived with so long expanded out of all reason.
    I hadn’t cheated. I hadn’t indulged in pornography (his vice), I hadn’t gone seeking sin. I simply finally understood my avoidance of women friends – the attraction scared me in ways I couldn’t explain.
    One thing I truly praise God for was the peace that flooded my soul and the knowledge given me that He created me just as I was and found it good. That assurance of love and acceptance became the bedrock of strength I built on to escape the years of misery and abuse. He also put gay and bi friends in my life who supported me emotionally and financially as I grew.
    I’m happily married now to a bisexual man who loves me as I love him, unconditionally. God brought us together 10 years ago and it’s been the best years of our lives. We are active in our church, committed to service and deeply committed to each other. God has richly blessed us.
    As for Bible pounders who would condemn us – our relationship with our Creator and His (or Her) Grace trumps your inaccurate translation of ancient writings any day.

  16. The understanding of sexual orientation as an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings — the idea that people are “born that way” — is not supported by scientific evidence.

    ● Longitudinal studies of adolescents suggest that sexual orientation may be quite fluid over the life course for some people, with one study estimating that as many as 80% of male adolescents who report same-sex attractions no longer do so as adults.

    ● Compared to heterosexuals, non-heterosexuals are about two to three times as likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse.

    ● Compared to the general population, non-heterosexual subpopulations are at an elevated risk for a variety of adverse health and mental health outcomes.

    ● Members of the transgender population are also at higher risk of a variety of mental health problems compared to members of the non-transgender population.

    ● The hypothesis that gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex — that a person might be “a man trapped in a woman’s body” or “a woman trapped in a man’s body” — is not supported by scientific evidence.

    ● Compared to the general population, adults who have undergone sex-reassignment surgery continue to have a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes.

    ● Only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood.

    • I assume you’re quoting the article in the conservative ideological journal “New Atlantis”, by Mayer and McHugh.

      Even the editor states that this makes no pretence at being a scientific work. It’s an Op-Ed. It does adduce quite a lot if scientific evidence for biological causation. – perhaps 2% of it – then claims that the evidence isn’t sufficient for conclusive proof. A reasonable claim, given the tiny proportion under examination. It is merely very suggestive, not certain.

      The article then makes the claim that biological causation is not supported by scientific evidence, immediately after showing evidence that it is. Just not enough for “firm conclusions” to be drawn. Perhaps 80% probability, rather than the 95%+ required.

      The thousands of other studies showing the same thing are ignored. This isn’t Science, It’s propaganda. Amongst other things, it directly contradicts all of McHugh’s previous assertions about Intersex kids.

      For a partial but still extensive critique of this article, including facts, figures, URLs and past history of the authors, see https://medium.com/@anne.hilt1974/the-new-atlantis-paper-on-lgbt-people-is-catholicism-masquerading-as-science-5efd56516b74#.w47urkoec

  17. I think your “facts” were gathered decades ago and reflect biased and ignorant suppositions on the part of past researchers.

    Adult males learned NOT to report same sex attractions because to do so would bring serious grief and potential harm.

    People with differing orientations have had to grapple with their sexuality as a result of societal expectations, and those who have been abused are more aware of the need to deal with the fallout of those heinous acts. People who are heteronormative do not have think about their sexuality in the same way that those who are not do, since they can just go with the societal flow. Straight men may be very loathe to report childhood abuse for fear that it would bring accusations of being gay. The issue you should be pressing here is that people should stop abusing children.

    As for the various mental health issues you raise, people who are not afforded their basic human rights, who live under constant threat of homelessness, abandonment, and violence, who likely suffered severe bullying in school and beyond, do exhibit mental health issues, but not because of their orientation or their understanding of their gender. It is a direct effect of trauma. Stop the bullying, violence, and oppression, and treat for trauma, and you would have only the same rate of mental health issues as any other demographic.

    As for childhood reporting of gender identification, if you had asked me when I was a child, I would have stated that I should have been a boy. Not because that is who I am but because it was hell to grow up as a girl in a society that was (and still sometimes is) so disparaging and limiting of anything feminine. There are many reasons why people might report differently as children and as adults, including the reason I mentioned above about men reporting same sex attraction.

    As for science . . . science is gradually catching up to reality on these issues as well as thousands of others. I think I will leave you with a little Shakespeare:

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

  18. Well said Patricia,

    …and let’s not dismiss that it is the pressure put on developing youth to fit an ideal and to hide the truth of themselves which causes undue anxiety, which then leads to a higher risk of mental health and emotional issues.

    Q. The cause?

    A. Traditional sexual ethic and organized morality through religious indoctrination of shame and disgust towards a natural biological God given gift which is our sexuality.

    It is becoming more and more apparent that traditionalists cause the very harm they use to judge LGBTQ people; which is a blindness of epic proportions; because they condemn, separate and fear normal everyday people, who are no different from them and whom God loves and calls to himself.

    • “It is becoming more and more apparent that traditionalists cause the very harm they use to judge LGBTQ people”

      I think I was aiming at that, but you really hit the target. Thank you.

  19. So much posted here! Just some random responses:
    Same sex sexual activity in Scripture: There was no word for homosexuality in either Greek or Hebrew. There was no concept of sexual orientation either. Almost all references are to male on male sexual activity and the model used was that of degradation because there was the assumption that the receiving male was degraded because he took the “role” of a woman. This is all based on the crap that women were lesser than men and were merely their property.
    Much of the attitudes that found their way into Scripture came from secular sources where the conquered were humiliated by the conquerors via rape. Again, putting a male in the sexual role of a woman was meant to degrade them
    There is little if any reference to activities that are not abusive, coercive or exploitive. Any activities whether sexual or not that were abusive, coercive or exploitive were condemned, especially by Jesus in the New Testament.

    Inerrancy of Scripture/Taking all Scripture literally:
    Any person who claims that they take Scripture literally or that there are no inconsistencies in Scripture has not read Scripture. Otherwise, they would realize the absurdity of what they purport to believe. Something as simple as the creation narratives: there are two and they do not match. Similarly with the flood narratives: there are two and they do not match. As I have said before, since I don’t see very many folks who have cut off hands or feet or plucked out eyes because of sin, they are not taking all of it literally…..only the parts they think apply to other people! I believe the word might be hypocrisy.

    Being lesbian, gay, etc. but not “acting” on that: This can only come into play if one truly believes that one should deny part of one’s being. It would be a horribly cruel and sadistic God who would create same gender attractions only to condemn them from being acted upon. I do not believe in such a God. I believe in the God who made it clear that humans were not meant to be alone but in relationship. Remember we once tried to force left handed people to be right handed because we thought they were inherently evil.

    The cause of sexual orientation: It sure isn’t nurture, at least for me. I came from a home where both parents were present all the time and loved and disciplined me with love. My father was not an “absent” figure….he was always there. Mother wasn’t a domineering mother…..Southern yes, but not domineering and some on this list know the difference. The stereotypes do not work. More and more medical research is showing that there are innate causes for sexual orientation just like for hair and eye color. There is also the fact that in many families there are multiple same-gender attracted siblings in the same generation as well as in previous generations. From my biological training, if this was some genetic flaw it would have been eliminated from the gene pool centuries ago. It hasn’t and it continues to appear generation after generation. I once thought it was a natural means of population control by taking a percentage of the population out of the baby making business. We seem to have skirted around that issue!

    Bottom line: Why I am gay is not anyone’s business but mine. How I am gay is of no concern to me and isn’t anyone else’s business either….or shouldn’t be. If you have issues accepting who I am as a beloved child of the living God, then maybe you need to look into a mirror and see what the real cause of your problems might be…..then ask God to forgive your arrogance in judging the worth of any of God’s creation. My faith in God is clear and it assures me I am alright with God.

    To the person seeking a spiritual home: Many, probably most Episcopal Churches should welcome you. Discrimination against LGBT folks is prohibited by canon law. I live in Atlanta where the large numbers of same gender couples, even those raising children, are not an issue. We had a baptism last Sunday of a 12 year old girl. She had two mommies but most of the congregation totally missed that aspect of the event. They were interested in the baptism of the girl. I find that incredibly beautiful.

  20. Wonderfully written.

    Re following Scripture, when someone claims to follow the Scripture completely, I claim BS. Someone who followed the rules contained in Scripture would be in jail within the week.

    • Right. But then you would here the cry:

      “I am being persecuted for being a Biblle-believer. Oh Lord, thank you so much for this persecution because it lets me know that I am right and they are wrong—and my reward will be great in Heaven for killing that gay man so your law is fulfilled.”
      Just sayin’

      • Thanks. That’s how they think. The persecution is always self-contrived to provide the least possible pain and discomfort: “She disagreed with me about the meaning of the rod in Old Testament child rearing. I feel so persecuted!!!!” Call us back when you can talk about being soaked in oil and set on fire to serve as a street light in Rome. Then we can talk real persecution instead of “faked 21 st century couch and pillow” persecution. ” I feel so-o-o-o-o-o-o-o persecuted!!!!” Yeah, right.

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  24. Please catch me up. Is there now scientific evidence that says that sexuality is a choice, meaning “being born this way” is proven to be false?

  25. John, I basically agree. Those who aren’t gay in the church can be quite cavalier about condemning those who are. Maybe it’s something like me condemning my friends who are golfers for the time they spend on that activity when I have never in the least had any desire to participate in it. I do love playing basketball, however. But that is God’s plan for natural sports, so I can enjoy that without guilt while simultaneously judging the golfers. However, I do think, based on my own experience, that there is something to how we are conditioned, either by our own choice (maybe not a conscious choice, but a choice just the same) or by circumstances within our environment that are completely outside our control, which can encourage certain tendencies and stifle others. People don’t choose to be fat, for example (not implying moral equivalency between obesity and homosexuality, just trying to find an example that imperfectly demonstrates my point). Maybe they grew up eating healthy, like me, then went crazy when they were out on their own and got into the habit of a different type of eating. Now for the life of them, they don’t feel like they’ve made a choice or that there is anything they can do to change their eating habits. But, just the same, if they want any chance of losing that weight, they’re going to have to make a choice. That choice might seem to them as possible as levitating using their mind, but if they don’t make it, they are guaranteed not to ever be thin again. If they do make the choice, they may never be able to achieve their goals either, but if we and every psychologist and dietician tell them they can’t change, not to even try, what chance do they have? My point is not that there aren’t some people who are biologically born gay, but that the modern PC movement may have done a disservice to those of us who could go either way, by convincing us we were gay, and for some of us, it’s more the counter-cultural tight-knit culture and the sense of belonging that are attractive to us more than that we are without exception predisposed to homosexuality. I think that we must be true to, as you have said, our truest self, not motivated just by a desire for identity and a niche but because it truly is what our inner voice (not the lgbtq movement or our desire to be bound together in our victimhood) tells us is the best version of ourself. Doubt is a part of this but I just don’t know that it’s as cut and dried as the talking points on either side of this debate want to make it. I also acknowledge my belief that a large percentage of evangelicals have a similar motivation for their own life choices: a desire to be bound to a cause and against a (real or perceived) enemy; a fear of loss of identity or status if they do not listen to the path dictated loudly to them by the religious right; an emotional need for “cognitive closure.”

  26. I discovered you on Twitter following the election in November and have been really enjoying your writing. I was raised by ex-Catholic atheists and consider myself an agnostic, but my culture is still more strongly that passed down by a Christian faith. I have never felt that I needed to believe in God in order to be a spiritual and good person. However, men like MLK Jr, Ghandi and Jesus Christ are heroes to me and give me a sense of something like faith, faith in the ability of humans to rise above their selfish daily worries and care about humanity overall. As an outsider, I have frequently wondered how so many professed Christians can forget so much of the teachings of Jesus and instead pick and choose old and New Testament bits and pieces to support their own beliefs rather than trying to develop a better understanding of Jesus and how he changed the religion into Christianity. I would think if you accepted him as the son of God, you would give greater attention to what he had to say than to what came before and after. In reading your thoughts and comments, I see the words of someone who has followed the path of Jesus and opened his heart to humanity. Thank you for being a voice of love and reason in your church. It revitalizes my own sort of faith that we have in ourselves the ability to be better, to ourselves and to others.

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  28. I have one question. Are you willing to give the same concessions to natural born killers? You don’t choose sin, the flesh is born with it. Jesus is quite clear about marriage and the alternative in Matthew 19.
    “4“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’a 5and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’b ? 6So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.””
    “11Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.””

    While I agree with you, as Christians we should hate the sin not the sinner, this does not excuse recurring sin of any kind.

    The bible teaches us any recurring sin is a strong temptation to turn from God’s true north, some we know about and some we don’t.
    Psalm 19:12- calls us to ask for forgiveness for those we don’t and restraint for those we do.
    “But who can discern their own errors?
    Forgive my hidden faults.
    13Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me.
    Then I will be blameless,
    innocent of great transgression.
    14May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

    You are in my prayers.

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