Sexual Identity

(PS:  New theme for new year!  I don’t think I’ll be in the habit of changing a new theme every year, but anyone who knows me also knows that I like many types of art and art graphics is one of them.  If I ever get my hands on a personal domain, I will spend quite a while on the custom art!  I hope this theme is easy on the eyes for the readers, because my previous theme’s font was a bit small (It would be OK if I was writing short posts like this one, but that is rare given the biblical commentary nature of this blog))

In response to Glen’s posts on science and cosmology, it is no doubt apparent that Christ has claim over all aspects of life, along with the famous (perhaps overused but there’s a reason for that) quote by Abraham Kuyper:

There is not a square inch
in the whole domain of our human existence
over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all,
does not cry: ‘Mine!’

Over the past few months I’ve increasingly seen the use of Facebook for several purposes, one of which is the outbursts of truth statements made on people’s walls, ‘about page’ just the same way Christians use theirs (I’ll get onto that perhaps another day). Many friends who proudly proclaim the rainbow banner (both Christian and non-Christian) tend to look at sexual identity in the following lines:

“It’s all about love really”
“It doesn’t say specifically that homosexuality is a sin”
“Christians who think that (‘insert thing which bugs the writer off the most’) is a sin is judgmental”

Now, I think there are several confusions here but it is perhaps too quick to just send off a general message to these people. Here are a few thoughts. The people who say these things may have:

  1. Been on the receiving end of some hurt from church or from Christians who have little faith in Christ (thus, having little good works to show it).
  2. Caricatured views of an unbiblical God from Christians who have bad theology (this includes an overemphasis of God’s love or overemphasis of God’s judgment without any reference to Christ and the glory, rather than shame, of the cross).
  3. In connection to point 2, a misunderstanding of the Christian life.  There are specific passages (namely Romans 1:18-32, that famed Leviticus 20:13, amongst others) which have meanings read into it which are grammatically and contextually out of place, especially those who claim that it refers to a particular strand of sexual immorality or homosexuality (c.f. Newsweek article).
  4. Been preached to ceaselessly about the sin of homosexuality (as opposed to other sins which are also very serious, and the Christians themselves have been hypocritical and overly forgiving of).  I could care less whether a non-Christian decides to be heterosexual or homosexual because we are not in the business of behaviour modification, but in changing the depths of people’s hearts in their willingness to become living sacrifices for Christ Jesus (Romans 12:2).

In societies like Hong Kong and certain parts of the Bible-belt in the States, it is extremely difficult to hold to one’s sexual identity without being immediately persecuted, either as failing to be a ‘man’ (e.g. under traditional Chinese patriarchal mode) or the old Adam married Eve, not Steve argument. Political stigma and drama doesn’t make it easier either.

The video clip I posted is a good example of Christians engaging with the homosexual pornographic community (brought to my attention from Paul Blackham’s ‘blog’ here). However, I can imagine all types of malarchy from people reading all types of things into the video so I want to make some things clear:

  • However much the video is about love and not about judgment, the very fact of the matter is that the ministry is reaching out to a community that already understands what it means to be guilt-racked by an impersonal deity. Surah 2 (Al Baqarah) of the Qu’ran makes a fine case of a God who preaches judgment without explaining how “He” can love and be merciful without any solution of doing away of one’s sins, save at “His” whim. That type of thing is so strong in people’s minds that they have forgotten the tender compassion of a Christian loving them without also being one of them.
  • This is not a message for a particular strand of homosexuality (i.e. homosexual porn) – this is a general message of Christian truth materialised through Christians living, rather than simply preaching like Jesus.
  • There should be no doubt as to the Christian stance throughout the video – we are not condoning homosexuality nor pornography, but we want to preach God’s redeeming and new creation love through our presence, in the light of God’s impending judgment on all who stand outside of Christ (homosexual or not!).
  • This deserves a fuller post (perhaps even a short essay!), but any Christian who is also homosexual, who believes that God did not state clearly enough whether homosexuality or pornography is a sin has forgotten or is unclear on his object of worship – beginning with the Holy Communion of Three Persons, not an impersonal monotheistic deity.

The clip is short, only about 10 or so mins long. The XXXchurch ministry is focused entirely on curing people of their porn addiction, which is a cultural problem in the wave of low (if at all!) internet censorship.  This does not stop people in China who have ways around web censorship; and this all stems from a heart problem since the fall of Adam.  If you happen to be struggling with this problem, keep looking to Christ and let the Spirit fill your heart with the love and glory of the cross where we find our pain is destroyed and our healing begins.

Gal 5:13-17  For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  (14)  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (15)  But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.  (16)  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  (17)  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

As a side note, specifically look out for the email from the organiser of the show to the XXXchurch ministry near the end of the clip which is particularly touching.

Sexual Identity

2 thoughts on “Sexual Identity

  1. Too Tall Jones says:

    Seems to me that they were accepted and welcomed at the show because they basically watered down the moral message of Christianity. They were easy on the conscience. Their presence served as a kind of legitimation and blessing for the activities attended. The example usually given is of Jesus himself, who ate with tax gatherers and sinners. True enough, but he never stopped speaking to them of the need for righteousness and repentance. In John 8 as your remember, those who were challenged to “cast the first stone” departed. Usually not quoted however is what Jesus said at the end to the woman – “Go and sin no more.”

    That is the crucial difference. It is easy to show up and say “God loves everybody” because that skirts the matter of righteousness. If they had spoken of righeousness, do you think they would have been welcomed? Remember Paul before Agrippa. He payed proper respect, but he didn’t spin a broad verbal umbrella to ingratiate himself. He spoke of sin, and righteousness and judgement, along with God’s love.

    Some may say that speaking of righetousness is “bashing gays.” But this complaint seems to be rooted in giving gays special favor and special status above everyone else. The guy who commits adultery gets no special favors under the mandate of righteousness, nor is the guy who frequents prostitutes He has to repent of something wrong. The two teens sleeping around the neighborhood get no special favors either. They too are supposed to repent. But how come when it comes to gays, then we start making special exemptions, and are supposed to start being “non-judgemental,” or maintain a polite silence, or only speak the “God loves everybody” line? That’s special privilege. Why not be consistent across the board, rather than granting gays special exemption?

    As for “God loves everybody”, that is true in a very general sense, but He does not love unrighteousness. That’s another crucial point usually missed by the “love everybody” formulation. It is based on papering over and obfuscating the clear moral message of Christianity. Do you think God “loves” the activities going on at said “gay porn” convention?

    Another thing heard much is that we need “outreach” and that we shouldn make people “feel guilty” or “uncomfortable.” We all need common sense and common courtesy, but since when is “feeling guilty” a bad thing when called to a righteous standard? We all begin our Christian pathway precisely by feeling “uncomfortable.” The exact circumstances may vary for each person, but every true convert recognizes that he or she cannot stay where they are. They had to leave their “comfort zone” – wherever that is, and make definite movement towards Christ. It happened to you too.

    So again, why should gays be exempt from this process that the rest of us have to go through in the name of watered down “outreach”?

  2. Jacky says:

    Hi and welcome to the site!

    Thanks for your comment. I’d say that I stand quite close to what you’re saying, but there is a danger in your tone and perhaps attitude (then again, it is difficult to detect that over the web at times). To begin with, the context of the “Gay Porn Show” link should be sufficient to provide the view that I am, by no means, condoning what is being celebrated at these “Gay Porn Conventions”. Hopefully by reading the post (prior to watching the video), you should already know my stance and the caution before one should watch this video.

    Secondly is perhaps a slight lack of foresight/research on your part in understanding what XXXchurch’s ministry involves just from reading your comment. Please clarify if you may! XXXchurch are there not to ‘condone’ (though expressions may be refined, their intentions have in my humble perspective seemed quite founded in Scripture) what is being done at the convention. However, this is down to evangelistic methodology – whether to immediately storm into the convention and pronouncing “All gays to hell”, or to rather start with God’s redeeming love, and then qualifying that important statement. The latter methodology is exactly what XXXchurch does, as they have proven via other ministries outside of pornography (a good example is their recent stint by travelling around the United States, fasting and praying for people to leave the confines of their church to reach out to the neighbourhood).

    To sum up, I have full support of what XXXchurch are doing, because they come from the perspective of reaching out to the lost by doing exactly what Christians should be doing – spending time with the “gays” (we are of course free to label them as we wish, but I’m pretty darn sure they don’t necessarily want to be called “gays” if it isn’t showing the love and respect that they deserve as God’s enemies prior to Christ’s second coming) with the full intention of redeeming them from their sins.

    Hope to hear from you soon, and that you may spend even more time understanding the scope of their ministries and perhaps lend even more of your time engaging intimately and personally with those struggling with same-sex inclinations and enabling them to sense God’s redemptive love so they may want to repent from their sins, rather than classifying them under one label, or using a specific “formula” per se in aiding their journey to salvation in Christ… always a sensitive, (emotionally) messy, but rewarding ministry!

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