The following article was written in 2010. While I never write for only one person, rather, for the benefit of all who may read, it may help to know the background.
This post has recently become more popular in Asia, which does not identify with the same question of homosexuality that is running through America. That’s not to say that Homosexuality is irrelevant in the Far East, but the impact it has from and on society takes a radically different shape. There are many things that America and Asia do not understand about each other, especially when they try to understand through literature. They both look at a question that impacts each culture differently and then superimpose their own motives onto the motives of the other. Of particular interest was the 1977 luncheon between Witness Lee and Walter Martin, which began great friendship when they met in person, but soon gave way to hostilities when their respective ministries resumed attempts to resolve conflict in writing and by reading each other’s literature instead of having further fellowship in-person.
There is a great need for Christians all over the world to understand each other properly, which can’t happen if we only write letters to each other in periodicals. Homosexuality is no different. We are long over due for parents and their adult children to understand each other. As grandma always told us kids, “Who’s the older one? Then be responsible.”
Many parents and Christian leaders have been affected by the rising number of open homosexuals in and among the Christian community. Few of them have known how to respond. It was the purpose of this article to gently help parents and Christian leaders to see how the overall American Church, in its conformity to American culture, contributed to the current situation, if not having caused it altogether. It isn’t right for the Church to allow its most active members to perpetuate jockular assumptions, such as, “Crying is for girls,” “real men play football,” “artists are gay,” etc., but then shun our creative and brilliant youth when, at the age of 18 they reply, “Fine. I cry when I’m sad, I don’t like football, and I want to be an artist. Then, as you say, ‘God must have made me gay.’”
American culture created the script—that there are only two labels everyone gets slapped with, one is called “gay”, the other “good”, and most of the description for each label is filled with items not relating to sexual orientation in the least. Ironically, the “not gay” or “good” label seems most inclined to cultivate, then condemn, homosexuality in the following generation. Only in America is “football” defined by men wearing tights and shoulder pads, slapping each other on the butt, and hating “gay” people who wear athletic swimwear. A father who obsesses over such sports, doesn’t eat healthy, openly regards art as “silly”, and insults anyone who doesn’t do things his way, will cause the very thing he fears most. Such are the fathers of too many young, gay, Christian men in America. Life doesn’t fit into the labels culture made for it.
In any other nation on earth, a case could be made that homosexuality is a conscious choice that people might avoid to improve their own lives. That’s, basically, what the argument from Christianity SHOULD be. But when we equate a “dancer” to being “homosexual”… well, I’m not even sure what is actually meant when people say “homosexual” anymore. Dancers?? That included King David! But David couldn’t have been gay—he was a hunter and a soldier, after all. You can’t be both, according to the American script anyways. Once again, American culture either jumps on the bandwagon or torches it. And what has the Church done? They’ve played right along with the script: condemn homosexuality or condone it, but ONLY define it according to cultural superstition, never by the issue itself. Those are the only two options—right? How about: DON’T CAUSE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE! Perhaps, if the Church didn’t agree with confused definitions, there wouldn’t be so much confusion among American Christians about the issues.
Love people. Appreciate art. Don’t make sports into a matter of sexual identity. Laugh. Cry. Open your heart. Find excuses to tell people they are “normal” rather than excuses to tell people they are “queer”. “Different” is “normal”, after all, because everyone is unique and special to God. Write the new script and don’t accept whatever nonsensical multiple choice options the culture hands you. We don’t like it when politicians apologize for a false accusation—so Christians shouldn’t either. Maybe, if the American Church didn’t personify homophobia so well, it wouldn’t birth so many homosexuals, and the “homophobe” label might not even stick. Christians are called to be the solution to hate. Are we?
The hope of this article is to provide a greater perspective for everyone. Parenting matters—which means that we can’t scorn our adult children without scorning ourselves at the same time—that’s what we say, at least. But do we actually believe it?
—May 26, 2012
It’s not fair to address homosexuality with a broad brush. Frat-boy lifestyle and lewd parades are an obvious blight on society. Those are very different from brilliant-creative people who have homosexuality as a lifestyle, not merely as a vulgar, in-your-face cause. We’re long over-due for an “American Christian Family Internal Discussion” about these matters…
Homosexuality makes me think of some of the most creative and talented gifts God has given to society and history. I think of people like Ian McKellan, George Takei, Elton John, Jennifer Knapp, and Ray Boltz… Michelangelo?
Creative, intellectual, and talented people who love the Lord and live a quiet homosexual lifestyle cannot be written-off merely as “immoral.” There is a connection that Justice demands we acknowledge. So I’m told, gay men are “looking for dad,” while lesbians want to “run away from abusive men.” Given that anecdotal wisdom, respect may be paid to both genders by focusing on the common thread: men.
All boys and men have a God-given urge to rip everything off and run around. Jocks don’t think about it, they just “do” and “don’t do” stuff. Introspective guys may over-analyze and misinterpret that urge as being “homosexual” if they have picked-up a message that they are not masculine. Perhaps if their creativity were validated by their fathers they wouldn’t make that misinterpretation. Testosterone expresses itself in different ways for different personalities and talents. Scratching and racing may be what some men find to be “manly,” for THEM, but the same tenacity can express itself in art. If jocular fathers mislabel “art” as “gay” then their artistic sons may just say, “Okay, I am who God made me.”
Many open-homosexuals start out wanting to be like straight guys. It’s true in most other cultures of the world. In France, if you wear board shorts to the pool they’ll give you dirty looks. In Taiwan, a “swimming suit” is streamline-athletic, a “beach suit” is casual-social (board shorts), and you can wear either one to the beach. But in America, if a guy laps the city pool dressed like Michael Phelps, people will gossip about his sexual orientation—though when men pile on top of each other in tights and shoulder pads it’s the “opposite of gay” because, “that’s football.”
Crud analysis of sexuality creates crud sexuality. Some men want to act rough and tough gruff, work in the shop, and watch football. But don’t ignore the artistic guys in the marching band. We need both. I like puffing my chest out and body slamming my friends, but because it’s fun, not because I think it is the comprehensive definition of masculinity. All balls and no brains… that’s something you turn into a steer… and that’s exactly what comes in the next generation from such a parenting philosophy.
Fathers who say, “Crying if for girls,” may make themselves wholly incapable of identifying with brilliant-analytical sons. Why might such a son grow up to be repulsed by a woman’s body? It’s as if his inner instincts are saying, “I don’t want to be like my dad—who doesn’t appreciate my artwork because he has color-blinded himself to my gifting, but I don’t know how to get out of this mess either. If this is how life is going to be for me then I want to end my legacy and not perpetuate the problem by having kids who will only turn-out worse than I did.” Even though a gay man may want children, the repulsion that a lifestyle homosexual man feels toward a woman’s body may be his pure-survival instincts trying to tell him something: He hasn’t been appreciated for who he is.
Hence grows a desire for penetrating activity in unusual places to get an injection and stimulation in hopes to provide for the lack of life and substance because a creative-analytical personality was never validated by a bravado-jesting father. What the inner-heart needs is not a massage, but to recognize one’s self as already being valid and grow strong. This is what Christ offers us if we’ll accept it.
It is likely that the bravado-father, who is likely compensating for his own lack of identity—and won’t admit it to himself—may actually have been looking up to his creative-brilliant son from the beginning. If that’s the case, lifestyle homosexuality may be the “best compromise” as son can find.
Many dads are beside themselves when their creative sons “come out.” This reveals ineptitude. Fathers should be equally distressed when young men start jesting in bravado at the expense of others. Insensitive fathers just might be a factor in raising homosexual sons. Are we right to condemn one and not the other?
Not all dads, probably not most dads, with creative-analytical sons living lifestyle homosexuality are bad fathers. Many fathers do the best with what they have. It’s an honest and understandable oversight of details, if dad eventually admits those details. Nobody’s perfect and a son doesn’t expect his dad to be—especially if the son is introspective-insightful. Reflective people can be the most forgiving, but that’s not the main issue. Such a son may want validation of the his detailed worldview.
But what has American Religion done? —Either validated the sorrow without healing it or blasted people with messages about morality… either way, ignoring the heart issues of both sons and fathers.
Lifestyle homosexuals often have a significant sense of honesty and openness. They don’t like to see problems ignored and they don’t like pat answers that mask symptoms and leave room for root-issues to grow. “REAL” men have intense, bold, gutsy, well thought-through, carefully-considered, skill-refined creativity… not merely bravado. Jocular and distant parenting yields no substance, is widely accepted by the Church, and promotes the very things Pharisees like to judge: single-parenting, crime, and homosexuality. Are non-Christians wrong for thinking that Christians only want to condemn people when the Church promotes the things that promote the things that it judges? The solution to porn addiction isn’t an accountability circle, but toning-down our obsession with romance as an end to itself and remembering that sex begins a FAMILY.
I’m coming to the conclusion that lifestyle homosexuality is the greatest distress-signal sent to society on behalf of society from some of the most honest and competent voices… and we need to give those voices our respect. Our first step to healing is helping that distress signal to be interpreted accurately by EVERYONE—distressors and distressed alike.