Gays And The Good Book
I’m Ã¼ber stoked about today’s special guest author. Matthew David is a talented singer/songwriter whose strong message of acceptance in traditionally unaccommodating communities has already crossed borders, earning airtime in both Canada and the United States. In today’s Guest Slap, Matthew shares his personal insights and experiences on what it means to be gay and Christian, challenging the widely-held perception that the two are mutually exclusive.
A lot of people blame the slow-relenting cultural phobia of homosexuality on the effect of our roots in a long-lasting Judeo-Christian tradition, and I tend to agree. After all, homosexuality certainly wasn’t feared or hated on a cultural level prior to the rise of Christianity—in fact, it seems secular culture now is catching up, as it were, to the thoughts of Greeks and Romans on the matter. Odd, eh? When you think about it, modern society is adopting more traditional values than those we currently label traditional (i.e. the religious folk).
As we observe the gradual movement of Western society away from Christianity and any form of institutional dogma, we also see secular culture slowly warming up to the former fringers, further polarizing the communities of faith. I say warming up about Western secular society, but generally it is quite warm, excepting the odd news item of discrimination and violence. In general, it is religiously-motivated groups taking political action against equality and protesting anything helping the gays.
This brings me to the struggle between homosexuality and the culture of faith. A growing group of modern Christians has been surprised to discover that the Good Book doesn’t actually condemn GLBTQ people to hell. And this group includes me, with a foot in both the gay and the Christian worlds. I grew up in an entirely Christian world-slash-bubble, and with the early-teen realization that I was gay, I went into impenetrable denial, dark depression, stark seclusion, and a twitching toward taking my own life. I finally came to the same understanding that God not only â€œloves the sinner,â€ but he also doesn’t â€œhate the sin,â€ contrary to the doctrine of many of his people. Why did I waste so many years in turmoil? Was all that pain over a silly misread of holy writ?
From age 13 to age 26 I wrestled with the straight-jacket and gag I so lovingly cherished—my faith. I did everything I could to be rid of my â€œdemons,â€ to cure the supposed psychology that had perverted me, and to pray away the gay, but nothing came of it. Finally, I was told by some brave soul that God loved me, and he didn’t love me â€œanywayâ€ as many Christians had told me. He loves me fully and completely as I am—gay. He loves me gay, and the only abomination I could be guilty of would be to try to live straight. Doing so would desecrate his holy temple.
However, the struggle continues, as it is transferred from one with the faith to one with the faithful. I am now separated as disingenuous, or worse, fallen. On top of the many questions from the happily-naive like, â€œdid somebody touch you?â€, or â€œhave you tried eHarmony?â€, there are sucker-punching questions like, â€œbut aren’t you supposed to be a Christian?â€
One of the principles I live my daily life by is found in the Book that, on other pages, is used to condemn me and justify my persecution. It tells me â€œin all things God works for the good of those who love him,â€ and in the next breath that I am â€œmore than a conquerorâ€ just being his child. I trust it fully. It gives purpose to the struggle, and strength to withstand all the judgement and even the attacks.
What an odd Book. One man reads it with hate in his eyes and sets up a pile of wood to burn the witch; and the witch reads it in her time of desperate need only to find the strength and courage she needs to endure the injustice. One day, I have faith that injustice will be inconceivable in every culture and sub-culture, and the Book won’t be needed for purposes like this at all.
Thanks again to today’s guest author! If you’d like to hear more from Matthew, including his latest single, Masquerade, head on over to the official Matthew David MySpace page.