Not alone

There are many different thoughts out there regarding what gay is: 

Is there a gay gene? Are you born this way or is it a choice? Is it environmental?

 

Unfortunately, when you encounter Christians, you may find yourself trying to justify who you are. You may often find yourself backed into a corner as they ask you questions about who you are. They will want to know why you believe being gay is right, or why you don’t believe it’s a choice.  Your answers will never fully be grasped for they will never really understand, nor will you fully be at peace during the interrogations as you try to answer their questions.  Many Christians believe being gay is a choice and that having those attractions is all about lust.  You will encounter many Christians that don’t fully understand and will quote bible verses that condemn gays without a second thought.  They will tend to hunker down in their stand against gays, but deny that what they are doing is not love. You may even encounter some Christians that will say that they are sinners too, and they understand that we have all fallen short of the kingdom of God.

 

I can’t tell you if being gay is a birth gene, or environmental, but I can tell you this: most of us do not choose to be gay – why would anyone raise their hand with pride, as their parents disown them? Why would anyone select a life that might cause their closest friends to abandon them? 

Being gay isn’t just a pride parade, it’s also filled with unimaginable pain that is caused by other humans that don’t understand, who jump on the band wagon of hatred towards what is different.  

 

Before I left my old church, I attempted to volunteer for the newly forming gay ministry.. I was interrogated by my women’s group, the administrator of the women’s group, the gay ministry leader and the pastor.  Their questions stumped me because I had never thought the same way as them, or even considered some things an option. I remember being drilled on the concept of “repentance” and how gays couldn’t be baptized because repentance is required before an “active” gay can be acknowledged as a child of God. I was asked if I believe that those “reprogramming” institutes can help gay people overcome their tendencies and their attractions.  My answers failed to change their mentality during those interrogations.

 

When in those situations, I believe it’s not our job to change the church, or Christians.  Our job is to love them despite their lack of understanding what love really is. 

 

I heard a sermon once that talked about how Christians should earn the right to speak into someone’s life before telling them something is a sin.  The pastor spoke on how once you earn the right, that questions must be asked with sensitivity.  I believe that though I knew those who interrogated me, questions spoke with hidden motives should never be asked.

 

Some questions: What is the difference between an “active” gay and a “non-active” gay, or are you gay only if you are having sex with the same gender? Can an awakened gay be baptized regardless of whether or not he/she is in a relationship?  Can a “reprogramming” benefit a gay

 

My answers:

I believe the difference between “active” and “non-active” is determined by the gay person. Many believe active gay is one who has a same sex partner.  However, I believe that type of recognition “active” or “non-active” is dated.  In a time where people only classified you as gay if you were having sex with the same gender.  Now days, we have LGBT recognition and the thought that its possible that LGBTs are born that way, thus its apart of who they are. The idea that people choose to be gay is going away as we dig more graves.

 

Being baptized is an act of faith in the Christian church.  Not all churches have baptisms, instead they do sprinkling and confirmation.  Some churches have you do the sinners prayer to be saved.  To assume that someone having sex outside of marriage, cannot be saved without immersion in water is not a call humans can make.

 

I believe reprogramming institutes for LGBT are not healthy.  To teach someone to stuff the desires they feel inside, is dangerous.  When I think of reprogramming, I think of brainwashing.  

 

I don’t know where you are at in your journey; I don’t know how hard it’s been to identify yourself as part of the LGBT community.  But I do know this, our stories are so similar, our pain is shared with others in similar situations.  We ARE NOT alone.

-Crosswired

(p.s don’t tell my editor that I changed things and posted without it being reread…. 🙂 Hopefully its understandable and no brains exploded during the attempt to understand my thoughts.)

2013 Challenges and Dreams

Many things can be said about the reason for the long delay of my postings, however fear not my friends I have an editor that will catch us all up on the most recent posts that I have written.  I could possibly do this without an editor, and I thought long and hard on this; however, I realized that having 6 commas and 2 semi-colons for 1 paragraph that consists of 2 sentences may not be a healthy or easy read.  Thus I am forced to find an editor that has the ability to distinguish what I am trying to say.  So you may feel that my words sound a little different at first as my new editor will help me communicate to you. 🙂
Just to also give a brief warning: this year may not be filled with a lot of posts.  My concentration is directed mainly toward becoming a black belt in my martial arts style, and it’s a long and hard process.  I have a year to prepare my body and mind for the 10 hr exam of physical exhaustion and mental abuse.  I was informed in November about having a year to prepare, and I’ve had a lot of physical issues that I have to overcome in order to survive the test.  I can only pray that my hopes and dream of becoming a black belt isn’t for nothing and that I will one day soon be able to stand with my friends on even ground.
To keep it simple, I was diagnosed with SI Joint Dysfunction, which makes it a living hell to stand or sit.  My only choices are to use pain killers or build up my hip muscles to withstand physical activity.  I’ve done therapy for 26 weeks and I get discouraged a lot, and in the earlier stages, I would find myself in tears.  However, I have learned you can’t give up on your dreams, no matter how many people say it’s physically impossible for you to do something.
Thus, as I work toward my dream and my goal, I find myself out of focus on the LGBT front, and yet –  I am on that front.  So perhaps you may not mind hearing about my personal struggles, whether it be about being gay or about becoming a black belt.
-Crosswired

hobby? resurrection…

Hey, Meerkats009 here.

What? Activity on Wired to Love? yes. yes.

Frankly, the lull is my fault. Crosswired has been really awesome by letting me get my act back together. We could summarize it as: health issues, sibling moved into my apartment with me, holidays, changes at work and mild (constant) depression.

I did see quite a few films in the theater. Including that lovely exchange of dialogue in Skyfall:

Everyone needs a hobby…
So what’s yours?
Resurrection

***

If I may, as a very (very) broken follower of Christ, offer one of my favorite Bible verses. This one always gets to me. Always seems to creep up just when I need it.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9

And probably because I need to hear it more than once:

But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3:13

Do not grow weary in doing good.

I’ve been a born-again Christian for, oh, twenty-four years. It was while I was reflecting on those verses that my Bible Study started reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Of course, God used those words to find me where I was at.

Each of us, to some degree, fool our friends and family about what we really are. But it’s impossible to do that with God… When I grow weary of trying to be faithful to Him and want a break, it doesn’t come as a surprise to God. -Francis Chan

I felt so reassured.

I’m no stranger to wanting to put up a good front in church, in life, wherever. It works. Often it’s even a sincere “good front.” Lately, I’ve been confused by myself when I’m comfortable being a cranky (and, one hopes, more honest) Christian.

Through all of this, I might understand more why it’s troublesome to navigate church, evangelical Christian friends, love God …and be gay. God knows us. He knows us best. He has our hearts. He’s honest and teaches me how to be more honest & hopeful too.

Happy New Year, Wired to Love!

The Mutant Factor

Disclaimer: This post is more of a pondering.  Evidence of the geekiness of Crosswired.

Have you ever noticed? Science fiction and comics have tried to teach us “humans” how to deal with what is different.  Have you watched something by Gene Rodenberry? Or read something by Stan Lee?

“The only outward sign was the fact that I began to lose my hair while still in my teens! But, more important than that was my fantastic ability to think!”- Professor Xavier

I fell in love with science fiction at a young age and Marvel comics as a teenager.  The constant theme was adapting to what is different and trying to live in harmony.   Few people really read comics, so this entry may be pointless. However, it’s been on my mind for awhile now.

Now compare Stan Lee’s “X-men” to “Christian gays”… Is it just me or does anyone else see the similarities?

The X-men are a band of mutants who try to help humanity.  They don’t really know how to help, but they know that something must be done about the hatred between the mutants and the humans.  They are trying to build a bridge of harmony.

Some mutants have given up on trying to live with the “normals” and have resorted to living in a segregated community away from persecution and hatred and raise their children in peace.  Some mutants want revenge. They hate the “normals” for how they have been treated and they lash out in anger.

Many “normals” just wish the mutant nuisances would disappear. Some felt that it was God cursing the world for the sins of the humans.

I could go on, but I think the similarities can be seen.  It’s human nature to cast judgment on things that are “different”, unexplained.  It’s human nature to become angry when someone has a different belief than you. One that contradicts your own.  The idea of being right vs wrong is so controlling that people don’t realize. They are all wrong.

God gave us two simple commands: Love the Lord your God with ALL your HEART and soul. And love your neighbor as yourself.  (read it here: Luke 10:27)

Self explanatory. However when right vs wrong comes to play neither commandment is followed.  Does God need someone to defend him?  Why do Christians get mad if someone rejects their words?  Does God need help to be right? Why do Christians go on crusades, marches, and picket?  Why must they preach “love” and say they follow those commandments… yet their best friend isn’t gay?

I think that being Christian and gay gives me a unique perspective.  I see Christians try to fight human nature, but often times fail miserably. And in doing so destroy someone else’s hope.  I see the gay community flaunt their differences and pride and not really try to understand what it takes to love one who is different.  I think both sides are wrong. In which case, you would think we all could get along.

Or perhaps, we all should start watching more scifi and reading Marvel comic books. Perhaps the bigotry will disappear due to the insights of those characters, mutants, who never existed.

I am Goldilocks

When I think back on all the sermons I have heard over the years, the two that stand out as the most disappointing and having the least relevance for my life were on these topics: Singleness and Loneliness.

I suppose it’s because I have first hand, day-in and day-out interaction with these two issues. I have several close friends who are also single and others who deal with loneliness regularly. The sermon? Well-meaning, but missed the mark. Tell me something I don’t know. I didn’t need the simplified ABCs when I’m already in advanced math. The Bible has a lot more to offer.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a huge respect for honest & earnest pastors who interact with the Holy Spirit to prepare messages for us. At the same time, how difficult to talk about something when you don’t have first hand knowledge or experience.

As one of my friends put it, “The next time I hear a sermon about depression, I’d like to have it presented by someone who has actually experienced depression.”

In our conversations, Crosswired often tells me, “I don’t think you’ll understand what I’m saying unless you could experience it.”

I try. I really do. But as much as I love the LGBT community, I can’t do more than offer love and an openness to listening. As much as I can support my LGBT friends in the church, I can never do so much as to speak for them and their experiences. All the same, I want to be on the team. I think it’s important for straight Christians to openly stand up for our gay friends.

I’m not quite a Joseph when it comes to dreams, but my brain loves to use sleeping time as a place to unpack thoughts and ideas. When I remember a dream, I believe God can use it too. I wanted to share one I had recently that put everything into an amusing visual.

One of my acquaintances lives with his partner in a nearby city. He’s someone who I respect and I admire his faith & efforts in life. In my dream, I was cruising through their neighborhood and stopped at their house to say ‘hi.’

No one answered the door when I knocked. I saw that the front door was unlocked, so I let myself inside. I hadn’t been to their house before and found it to be neat and tidy, sparsely decorated while quite fabulously stylish. I wandered through the rooms until I arrived at the backdoor and walked out onto the enclosed porch.

The backyard was creatively landscaped. I saw a cot on the porch and I decided to take a nap there.

A nap, really? Who sleeps in their dreams? This girl.

Later, I woke up to hear noises inside the house. My friend had come home while I was sleeping, uninvited mind you, on his back porch.  Well, this Goldilocks wasn’t going to be able to sneak out of the house unnoticed. It’s my policy just to confess upfront so I opened the back door announcing, “Hi there!”

“Meerkats009?” my friend said, obviously puzzled but still smiling. He’s really a nice guy and puts up with my weirdness using his remarkable calm & acceptance. He asked, “What are you doing here?”

Before I could answer, his partner came down the stairs. In an effort to smooth things over, I blurt out, “Hey, you look really great today.”

The guys share a puzzled glance then chose to make me feel welcome. “…thank you?”

The dream reflected the reality of how I feel as a straight Christian trying to navigate bridge building and love between the church and the LGBT community. More often than not, I feel like I’m walking, uninvited, into someone else’s house and it’s only my gay friends and their good graces who let me inhabit their space, to wrestle with their questions and to take naps in their back porch. I don’t really have the right to hang out my opinions uninvited, although I have and I do–more or less.

I had another dream. In this dream I was doing two things that are way outside my comfort zone. I was a. on an airplane and b. flying overseas chaperoning a missions trip.

As I turned to look around the plane, it was full of excited teenagers chatting jovially. They all had smiles on their faces.

In my dream, God indicated, “These are all gay children, my children. They know me, they are mine. Even though they are not welcome in the church THEY are the ones who are going to share my gospel.”

God went on to say that the plane full of teens (and myself!) were all going to die on this trip. These teens were going to give their lives for Christ. Many Christians would say that he had caused our death because he didn’t approve of gay people. God wanted me to know that was not true. He knew our hearts and that our obedience would be greater to change the world than the words of other people.

I don’t quite know how to get from the first dream to the second dream, but when God makes that call… I’m on board.

______________
Mark 6:34-37a (emphasis mine)

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

how church looks to a first time visitor

In my continual search for a new church home, my husband and I randomly decided to visit a Christian church.  I had thought that if they have a reputation of accepting people with tattoos and rockers, then just maybe I would feel comfortable there.

As we sat down, I began to read the bulletin. The Sermon Title: Taboo- things the church doesn’t talk about: abortion, same-sex marriages and pornography.

During the songs, I kept praying to God that this sermon would be from Him, that He would be talking not merely some preacher trying to make sense of the Word.  I was scared, scared that my husband would side with whatever came out of that preacher’s mouth.

The songs were over, and the preacher came onto the stage.  He had everyone raise their Bible and repeat after him: “Everything in the Bible is true. It’s the written word of God.” The congregation repeated this as their hands had their Bibles raised.  It reminded me of a pledge that was being led by the teacher.  After several minutes, the reciting was finished and they all said amen and sat down. 

It was a cool experience, but I still felt scared.  I can’t explain my fear. It (the preacher, “my fear”) was there standing up on stage and staring at the congregation. 

As the sermon began, the preacher asked “Raise your hand if you believe marriage is under attack.”

Hands began to raise from all locations in the sanctuary. My husband and I seemed to be the only ones with our hands down.  The preacher continued with more questions regarding sex outside of marriage, and the way people seemed to believe these days. The participation from the audience was a new experience.  After the interactive questions, we all turned in our Bibles to Romans (you know the verse. The one where Paul calls women with women unnatural).

My heart sunk. I felt like I was being targeted, and I didn’t know why.  I wanted to leave, but I was stuck. I could tell my husband was agreeing with the words the preacher said. I felt alone, but I was at church.  I kept praying that God would keep the preacher from saying anything that beckons hate.Yet, the show of hands of those who felt marriage attack was clear. I was alone.

He read only Romans 1:24-29. The preacher didn’t stop at “homosexuality.” He lumped all the sins into one and made a point to speak out on gossips and those who lusted.  

He stopped reading and said, “Raise your hand, if you have ever lusted.” At first no one raised their hand. He said, “Come on now. Raise your hand if you have ever lusted.” 

I felt like my hand was the first to shoot up.  How could I keep it down?  I have a husband, but I often look at a woman and think: oh, if only for a moment… I want to touch her.  If I can only be me in my mind, then what’s the harm in this fantasy?

Unfortunately that way of thinking is dangerous because the more I long for “her” the less I long for “him.”  I can imagine this would go for anyone who is married and finds themselves lusting for someone else, male or female.   

Oddly, my husband’s hand went up as well.  My first thought was, “Huh, I wonder if she’s the same woman? Haha…” My next thought was, “I wonder how often? Hahaha…”

Within the sermon, the preacher specified that any sex outside of marriage was an attack on marriage, whether it was same sex or opposite sex. Unfortunately, the location of such verbiage was lost to me.    

The sermon ended. I didn’t feel hatred, but I felt semi-attacked and beat up.  (Even after several days, only pieces of the sermon can be remembered, and only parts of it that I had feared stand out.)

After church, I  had asked my husband what he thought of the sermon.  He said he really liked the preacher and agreed with what he said.  My heart sank just a little. “I thought you would,” I said. “I don’t agree completely.” 

The conversation with my husband about “homosexuality” and same sex marriage lasted off and on throughout the day.  I stated that I didn’t believe being gay was a sin, and I couldn’t explain it simply.  I said in order to understand being gay and why I believe it’s not a sin, you have to experience it.

I tried to explain my thoughts and he had something to counter it.  I said again I didn’t think it was a sin and we are born this way.

He then asked what I did consider a sin.  I answered: anything that takes our eyes away from God is a sin.  Anything that keeps our focus away from God is a sin

I continued “Romans was written to a specific church in trouble. We can’t just take a section out of the Bible and apply it wherever we think it fits.  Exercising, tv, food, family , “marriage” and even church can all become sinful, if we allow it to take our focus from God.” 

Thankfully, my husband agreed with me and we compromised on this:

Humans are sinful, we will sin in thought, word and actions.  Even in our attempt to understand and translate the Bible, we may be tainted in our understanding of it. My husband and I cannot confidently believe the way we understand the Bible is the exclusive, right and only way.”

I feel there is some bad points about this church to point out: By having the people recite a creed or pledge about the Bible is dangerous. They didn’t explain where this creed came from or who created it? Also, if you don’t believe in the specifics of the creed, does that make you “wrong”?  With the preacher leading the creed, does this give him the final say on what the Bible is teaching?  His understanding and words shouldn’t be ever questioned?

This creed specified that everything in the Bible is true and those who didn’t believe in this were not of God.  Does that mean those who believe God used evolution to create the world are not Christians?  What happened to keeping the most important commandments: “love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind. And Love your neighbor as yourself”??  Shouldn’t that be the determination of Christian and Non-Christian, not if you believe the entirety of the understandings of the bible??

And lastly, I fear that his picking and choosing various scripture to fit in his sermon series is dangerous.  For the scripture can and has been used, mistranslated, misunderstood, twisted and manipulated to prove whatever the speaker wishes it to say.

Even with all my fears, I think I will go back to this interesting church. Although I felt alone while in that church, I felt revived after the service. I want to go to a church that my husband will go with me too. I felt like I was able to connect with my husband, even if we are on different sides at times

selfishness vs awareness

When I take the time to turn down my “I can fix it!” dial and I actually listen to stories other people tell about their lives, God teaches me the fruit of His Spirit.

I have natural empathy, sure, but rather than projecting what I think onto someone else… what I continually strive to do is to believe that what someone else is experiencing is valid. That their feelings are to be accepted and not dismissed.

After that, and only when asked, do I get to weigh in. This part? Not so natural. But I’m getting better.

I think I’m learning the difference between someone who is promoting selfishness and someone who is promoting awareness.

See, I have this friend. He reads awesome books. He watches awesome movies. He has an admirable faith in God and a devoted love for his family. I don’t live near him now and haven’t in years, but we keep in touch by means of Facebook.

My friend is in a wheelchair. He’s also recently… almost militantly… active in ADAPT. My initial reaction was shameful. I thought, “Really? I figured he was okay with the chair.”

My friend wasn’t someone I defined by his wheelchair. I often forgot he even had limitations. As time went on I kept reading more and more about his protests, his events and his outrage.

Then, always slow to get it, I realized, “My friend is the PERFECT PERSON to care about this issue.” Not because he wants or needs anything for himself. My friend is not selfish. He is aware. He is in-his-face everyday aware of what life is like for people with disabilities, children with wheelchairs. He humbles himself, he risks himself, he puts himself out there for them.

Thousands of children with physical and mental disabilities live in institutions, isolated from their families and decades younger than other patients. The institutions are often better equipped to handle their medical needs, but can fall short when it comes to other aspects of the kids’ lives.

Read about it here at NPR.

I have another friend who has a son with Down’s syndrome. When she posts on Facebook about equality, I smile. She is not selfish. She is not asking for attention, she is aware. She wants to make a difference in the lives of others.

I’m single. I often feel as if I’m not allowed to talk about what it is like “doing life alone.” Don’t complain! But it’s also extremely frustrating. I’m NOT selfish. I’m very very very aware of what it’s like to be going to church as a single person when the focus of every church I’ve ever attended has been “young married couples.”

Crosswired is gay. This is her place.

Facebook, twitter, blogs… suddenly the internet became a place where what we were not allowed to say in polite company could be spewed and chewed and reviewed and renewed. (sorry, couldn’t resist). Honest and raw conversations that could be stopped with a dirty look or a roll of the eyes or an ill-timed comment (“Are you still unable to get over that?”) could actually be started and finished. Good points could be set down and examined.

We might actually be able to listen to one another, briefly in these pockets of Real. The Holy Spirit might have a chance to teach us more love, more joy, more peace, more patience, more kindness, more goodness, more faithfulness, more gentleness and more self control.

__________________

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

__________________

Hey, let’s support our LGBT friends who are sharing their hearts and vulnerably providing the evangelical community with a very necessary awareness. Listen. Listen. Listen first.

In another avenue, here’s a kickstarters that really seems to be part of what it’s all about: link!