In the early to mid 80’s, I had a gang of charismatic/full-gospel college friends I hung out with.
We spoke in tongues, studied our bibles voraciously, talked about god endlessly and prayed and prayed and prayed.
Coming together for praise and worship was a frequent event. Not only were there scheduled weekly meetings, but we’d also meet up at people’s apartments spontaneously. Someone would whip out the guitar and two hours later, you’d realize you’ve been singing and praising god the whole time.
Within this circle of spirit filled friends there were 6 who were gay. Not openly. To my knowledge, no one was actively engaged in a sexual relationship. But we never talked about that … We all just kinda acted like it wasn’t there.
After several years of coming to know these individuals on a deeper level, I concluded that gay Christians were the most anguished people I’d ever known.
One claimed god had delivered him of his homosexuality. He later married a woman in our group but the marriage lasted less than a year. He left town and we never saw him again. The rubble left behind for the families involved is likely still being cleaned up to this day.
Another came out to my husband and I in utter agony having cried out to god for years to deliver him. He wanted nothing more than to serve god and be obedient. But in spite of his cries, repentance and submission to god, he was still gay.
The day he came out, he collapsed in my arms in a heap of sobs. My friend was a broken man. There was a sense of betrayal that he conveyed through his tears. Why had god not delivered him?
I pondered this for a very long time, hurling a barrage of questions at god, clawing through scriptures, and looking for answers to the nagging question, “How could a perfect god fail this particular request?”
“God’s no Santa Claus” many say. “He doesn’t wave a magic wand.” I accepted that answer up to a point. But THIS … this was different than a Christian asking for a new car or 500 dollars. THIS was asking for deliverance from sin. SIN. The very thing Jesus died on the cross to deliver us from. THE crux of the issue! The ONE prayer that should be a sure thing in the throne room is this one thing: deliverance from sin.
And my friend was denied this.
This friend was precious in my life. He was a good man. Kind. Supportive. His pain tore me to shreds and I turned to god in red faced anger and shouted, “Where ARE you?!!! Here is the mountain!! Move it like you promised!!!”
He eventually ran off with a male member of our group … they left the state. I never learned where they ended up although I have recently reconnected with him through social media.
Up to that point, my perspective on homosexuality had been crafted by the Christians I’d surrounded myself with and the bible I was studying. “Love the sinner – hate the sin,” we concluded as we congratulated ourselves for a theological job well done.
But it wasn’t so simple once it became real. Pat answers don’t work when someone’s life is falling apart and you’re cradling them in your arms.
If homosexuality was such a dreadful sin and one of god’s children seeks god for deliverance through repentance and self denial, how could god NOT grant him freedom when freedom from sin was Jesus’s purpose? What good was the cross? What use was repentance? What benefit was Jesus’ death?
It was a cosmic cruelty and I watched it unfold in someone I loved.
I’ve since moved on to a healthier, less complicated view. Same sex attraction isn’t weird or a sickness or a sin … to the contrary …