My best friend and I found ourselves in the middle of a crowd of artsy lezzies with our communal gaze fixed on one of our favorite musicians. There was nothing particularly gay going on, but something in the female folk singer happened to draw a certain crowd and that crowd happened to be a bunch of lesbians. My friend and I were both trying hard to be something other-than-gay at that point in our lives, but that night in that venue we felt a freedom we rarely felt: the freedom to stand at ease and release the tension in our shoulders because for one night we could cease to play the straight part and still belong.
We were surrounded by women who knew a slice of our experience: feeling giddy with delight around middle school girls instead of boys, sensing a need to keep it secret if we hoped to be accepted, praying to God to take it away because we wanted so badly to be good, and apologizing for our existence without knowing what we’d done wrong. There was an unspoken solidarity in that space. Just as I was settling into the peace of knowing I was surrounded by others who shared my way of being in the world, I was flooded with a sense of shame. I felt so GAY. The concert brought out my inner lesbian. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but I felt guilty because I felt so at home.
As I prayed, studied, listened, and introverted in the months that followed, I began to acknowledge that what I was experiencing that night was something I had experienced (and tried to suppress) throughout my entire life: a sense of peace and belonging when I was around others whose relationship to the world was the same kind of different as mine. We were gay. We had been different for as long as we could remember, and regardless of where it came from or how we would choose to express it in the future, it seemed obvious that the self-flagellation we felt the need to indulge in simply because we felt safe and secure in a group of lesbians was not the path to flourishing.
I knew I loved Jesus and wanted to follow Him with my whole heart. My daily rhythms involved quiet times, Bible studies, accountability groups, and service as a way of life. The big sins I struggled with weren’t related to sexual sin: they were the sins of pride and unforgiveness and selfishness. The fact that I happened to relate to both men and women differently because of my gay orientation didn’t involve any sort of choice—it was merely an expression of diversity, a unique way of experiencing art and beauty and community.
Many Christians struggle to understand how a gay orientation could be anything other than sinful. They say things like: “Julie, if gay sex is sinful, then isn’t ‘being gay’ sinful since it involves the desire to sin? Jesus said it’s not just the act of adultery that’s sinful, but the desire for it in one’s heart. Shouldn’t you be fighting your sexuality—crucifying your flesh—rather than accepting it and even embracing a ‘gay’ label?” The question makes sense if “being gay” implied “having gay sex”, but that’s obviously a silly assumption in light of the fact that we never assume someone is having straight sex when they tell us they’re heterosexual. We don’t assume anything about their sexual ethic: that they’re dating, or prone to lust, or attracted to every single opposite sex human that crosses their path over the course of a given day. We simply take it to mean they’re straight.
Rather than asking “Is being gay sinful?” or “Is being straight holier?”, we’re wise to search the Scriptures to understand what it actually says about sexuality. The Bible is pretty straight forward that marriage is between a man and a woman, and sex is only blessed when it occurs in the context of marriage, which means any sexual act that occurs outside of marriage is outside of God’s intention. The Bible also says lust is sinful, and lust occurs when anyone actively dwells on sexual thoughts about someone other than their spouse. So sexual acts outside of marriage are sinful and lust is sinful, but the Bible is silent when it comes to questions of sexual orientation. We have reason to believe there were gay people since Plato, Philo, and others discussed individuals with homosexual orientations, but the Bible doesn’t say anything about a gay way of being in the world; it only speaks against sexual acts outside of a marriage between a man and a woman (acts we have choices about). This is a narrative we can actually live into, because we all (gay and straight) are called to be chaste.
A gay orientation can be understood as an overall draw toward someone of the same sex, which is usually a desire for a deeper level intimacy with those of the same sex. Just like a heterosexual orientation can’t be reduced to a desire for straight sex, a gay orientation can’t be reduced to a desire for gay sex. This longing for intimacy is usually experienced as a desire for nearness, for partnership, for close friendship, rich conversation, and an overall appreciation of beauty. The best way I can describe my experience of “being gay” is that with certain women I feel the “it” factor: that sense of chemistry that longs to share life with them, to know and be known by them, to be drawn outside of myself in self-giving love for them. When I feel all Lesbiany, I experience it as a desire to build a home with a woman that will create an energizing love that spills over into the kind of hospitality that actually provides guests with clean sheets and something other than protein bars. Most women feel that chemistry or longing for other men (even though it can’t be reduced to a desire to have sex with other men), while I usually feel like “bros” with men. This causes me to see the world through a different lens than my straight peers, to exist in the world in a slightly different way. As God has redeemed and transformed me, he’s tapped into those gay parts of me that now overflow into compassion for marginalized people and empathy for social outcasts—he’s used my gay way of being for His glory rather than making me straight.
Occasionally a lesbian’s desire for women is sexual in nature. Over the course of the 10,080 minutes that go by in a given week, very few of those minutes (if any at all) are likely comprised of sexual thoughts about other women, and moments when one dwells on those thoughts (lust) are even more rare. In those instances—those rare instances—when one dwells on lustful thoughts, we can all agree that it’s sinful. It’s not sinful because it’s GAY lust, though; it’s sinful because it’s LUST. If a woman were dwelling on sexual thoughts about a man that wasn’t her husband, it would also be sinful. This means we’re all on level ground: both gay people and straight people have the capacity to lust, and both gay people and straight people have the capacity for sexual sin by having sex outside of marriage. We’re on level ground when it comes to having a draw toward other people with the capacity for that longing to be sexualized, and we’re on level ground in that we have a draw toward other people that can be actualized in beautiful ways that promote human flourishing through community, relationship, and service.
This is really important to understand because it can feel defeating for gay Christians (who are diligently striving to submit their sexuality to the Lord day in and day out) to be so scrutinized for their very existence. You can probably imagine the shame many LGBT people experience when they’re led to believe their unchosen orientation is sinful in itself, causing them to feel they’re uniquely toxic because their orientation affects the way they exist in the world relationally, spiritually, and physically. When they’re led to believe something that touches on so many areas of their lives (such as the way they pursue friendship, the way they experience art and beauty, the manner in which they serve the world, and even the way they relate to God) is evil, they can’t help but internalize that in a way that makes them feel totally gross.
I spent ten years trying to change my orientation because I wanted so badly to be found pleasing in God’s sight. I wish I could describe the anguish of trying to rid myself of all things gay because I didn’t yet understand what it meant for my orientation to be sanctified and offered up to God in a way that could be used in service of His kingdom. You can probably understand why the line of thinking—that the orientation itself is sinful—drives many gay Christians to self-loathing and self-hatred because they feel like the entirety of who they are is evil and disordered, with little hope for change and zero power to instigate what little change might be possible through natural fluidity. You can probably imagine how small LGBT people feel when, as a result of the message that our unchosen orientation is sinful, we’re led to believe we’ll only be loved by our communities if we minimize it, hide it, or lie about it. You can see why young gay Christians feel so alone—so unknown and unloved.
We can do better. A better way to frame this is that all of our sexualities are good and all of our sexualities are broken. Our sexuality is good when it draws us outside of ourselves and into community. Sexuality is good when it compels us to give our love away through sacrificial love and service. At the same time, all of us (gay and straight) display a broken sexuality when we allow it to be expressed through lust or sexual acts occurring outside of marriage.
Gay people exist! So far, the primary message gay people have received from the church has driven them to shame and self-hatred because there was no positive message about how they might be a gift to those around them as they submit themselves to the Lord moment by moment. If you’re concerned about the possibility of gay people having sex at some point, it would be good to express that same concern for the countless straight people having sex in our churches. Until gay people see more consistency in the impassioned cries from Christians around them, they will continue to feel singled out for scrutiny and condemnation. We can do better. We can begin to imagine together the ways our churches are blessed by the unique witness of LGBT people who daily take up their cross in order to follow Christ and alleviate some of the suffering in the world around them.
RE: I spent ten years trying to change my orientation because I wanted so badly to be found pleasing in God’s sight. I wish I could describe the anguish of trying to rid myself of all things gay because I didn’t yet understand what it meant for my orientation to be sanctified and offered up to God in a way that could be used in service of His kingdom.
None of us can change ourselves. The author “spent 10 years tying to change (her) orientation”. When one asks Jesus Christ to come into one’s heart, and be one’s LORD and Savior, one is, at that moment in time, regenerated into a completely new being (2 Corinthians 5:17). A big mistake that almost all Christians make is believing that change is THEIR responsibility. The same One Who died for us is the One Who is at the Right Hand of the Father, as our advocate; our Lawyer. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit, Who does the changing. We are called to obey. Even the ability to obey is supplied by the Holy Spirit.
The same evil spirit that worked to prevent us from coming to Jesus, telling us our sins were “no big deal” and who kept tempting us to give in, now works overtime to make us feel guilty about feeling the temptation that he himself put on us. The devil does indeed lure Christians to do whatever it is that is their weakest area, and then he has a field day, making us feel miserable. Such guilt is not from God. Once we come to Christ, our sins are washed away. They’re gone, forever. God has promised to never remember them (Isaiah 43;25). Therefore, anytime we feel guilty about what we’ve done, or are tempted to do, we can rest assured that it isn’t God who is trying to make us feel lower than a pig’s butt.
I think you are reading too much into her wording. I became a new creation in Christ too. That doesn’t mean that many of the same things I was drawn to or tempted by before went away and no longer bother me. By God’s grace I can resist temptation. In drawing near to Christ I can sometimes find ways to take that natural “inclination” and allow it to be used for God’s glory similar to the way Paul was told his “thorn in the flesh” would not be removed but that His grace (would be) sufficient…for (His) power is display through your weakness.
It bothers me when people effectively imply that because you still experience “same sex attraction,” you haven’t actually been saved yet. Turning from “same sex attraction” or “homosexuality” becomes either part of salvation or of a works-based sanctification. In the latter case, if you don’t become straight, it’s your fault because you didn’t do the work – whatever that may be, it varies from one ex-gay group to the next – and the blame falls to you.
Thanks, but no thanks!
This is simply the same old exgay talk all over again. It betrays a lack of any understanding about what it means to be gay (or straight for that matter).
Rarely have so many truths been packed into an article in such a simple and enjoyable manner.
Reblogged this on It's a five foot world.
Wow. I relate to this post on many levels. From the middle/ high school girl who loved Jesus but also totally at home in situations (softball tournaments, close friendships, concerts) that were conducive for me to connect with my “gayness” all the way through the years I spent in ex-gay ministry and therapy to try to change my orientation unsuccessfully. Julie, your posts are reflective and real. I appreciate the fact that people who need a different point of view, or who have been injured or kicked out of their church for just being honest about who they are might find your blog and be uplifted and encouraged as a person who was created by and IS loved by God.
Really happy to hear this, llemerson! Thank you for taking the time to share. It’s nice when people are able to see the good in what we’re doing here even if it’s not exactly the path you’ve chosen for yourself. It’s just encouraging to hear that you see how it could be life-giving for some, because I do hope the kinds of people you mentioned will find this and be nourished by it. Thank you for sharing some of your own experience here too. Cheers!
It seems to me that while gayness can’t be reduced to a desire for gay sex it’s certainly and critically constituted by a desire for gay sex. It doesn’t seem to be enough to just talk about some of the other things that are critically constitutive of both gay and straight relationships — desire for nearness and partnership, appreciation for beauty — and how few of their weekly minutes a person “actively dwells on sexual thoughts about someone other than their spouse.” It seems like you just aren’t talking about gay relationships if sex or its desire or its spectre-in-consummation aren’t involved (just as you wouldn’t be talking about an analogous straight relationship if those things weren’t involved).
Consider adultery. You could just as easily say that just adulterous sex and actively dwelling on it are wrong. If you atomised those as the only things that are wrong and set them as the only lines to be crossed, you’d be left thinking that there’s nothing wrong with a married woman longing for intimacy, desiring nearness, looking for partnership and close friendship and rich conversation, and appreciating the beauty of a man who is not her husband in ways and/or for reasons that would be consummated with sex.
And I think something like that italicised bit is crucial. A good case can be made that none of these things, atomised and abstracted and appropriately defined, is wrong. It is not generally wrong for a married woman to look for close friendship or rich conversation in her husband’s buddy from secondary school. It is not generally wrong for her to desire intimacy and nearness to him if those are just defined as something like “close familiarity or friendship”. But it seems to me that those things are all wrong if they are desired or pursued in a relational context where sex would be a crowning act according to the internal logic of that relationship. (And this is deeper than her breaking her marriage vows, which are more than about sex; I’m guessing it has to do with why those vows are appropriate marriage vows in the first place and, indeed, why sex consummates marriages and is only appropriate in them.) It seems that there’s a lot to be said about the kinds of desire for intimacy and appreciation of beauty we’re talking about.
I think a similar thing is going on with the kinds of gay relationships you describe when you say things like “When I feel all Lesbiany, I experience it as a desire to build a home with a woman that will create an energizing love that spills over into the kind of hospitality that actually provides guests with clean sheets and something other than protein bars.” Those are all good things in and of themselves. But can they not be corrupted by the context in which they occur, a context which we may know is corrupting if, according to that context’s own internal logic, it would be consummated by acts that we know are always wrong?
I’m struggling to articulate my thoughts here, perhaps because they’re incoherent or otherwise wrong. But I think there’s something to them.
Hi Kamal! Thanks for taking the time to articulate all this. I agree that it wouldn’t be wise to pursue chaste friendships with the mindset of “How much can this look like a romantic relationship without us crossing sexual boundaries?” My hope is to reduce the shame gay people feel by discussing the freedom we have to love and be loved in intimate same-sex friendships because I’ve watched so many people run from them out of guilt. I guess this post is assuming people are actually trying to honor the Lord and live within the healthy boundaries laid out in Scripture; I’m not assuming people are asking “How far can I go without crossing the line?” Does that answer some of what you’re asking here?
Yes, that clarification helps. I guess I think that gay Christians trying to honour God and live within Scripture’s boundaries should not just think of those boundaries as being drawn at the point of sex and lust, as though those things and the Scriptural prohibitions concerning them have nothing to do with the relational contexts in which they occur.
I know exactly what you mean. I’m a married woman and there are certain friendships or desired for certain friendships that I know on my heart I can’t pursue. I just avoid them.
A big difference here is that you are talking about homosexuals and already married people. Married people engaging in close, intimate pairing with other violates their oath to eachother with or without sex. For gays, the big thing is sex – neither Scripture nor the Church address intimacy.
Considering God lashed this cross to our backs without our consent, I suspect He will be understanding of those of us who meet someone special and try to balance the rules while pursuing the love as well. Assumimg He is just and worthy of our worship, of course. It is an admirable effort on their part.
Besides, would you apply this rule to any other sin? Are people who manufacture hunting rifles responsible for murder because a guy might kill his wife with one? Don’t overthink it.
Nathaniel, I tried to say a bit about why I don’t think marital oaths make a significant difference here. It sounds like you’re saying that, with appropriate marital oaths, there would be nothing wrong with the situations I described. To repeat what I said above, it seems to me that that’s the wrong way to look at it; it seems to me that 1) there may be no set of oaths worthy of the term “marital oaths” that would allow this, 2) that’s because of the nature of marriage, a nature that the oaths recognise and make explicit, and a nature that 3) has something to do with the role of sex in a marriage and the Christian ethical restriction of sex to marriage.
Which rule do you think I’m proposing? I’m not clear enough on my thinking yet to formulate it as a rule, but I really don’t see how it’d mean that manufacturers of rifles intended for hunting animals are intentionally killing a human being when someone uses one of those rifles to kill a human being.
The implicit oath of marriage is love. Actual love (not lust, infatuation, etc). It is the one thing we agree on – the Catholic Church calls it “unitive” but even the secular side values and respect selfless love and self sacrifice. If the partners love one another as God loves man, all the little side rules handle themselves. The rule stands fine at it’s simplest.
I do understand. I read a study that showed that heterosexial men react with a threat response in the amygdala when confronted with pictures of two men kissing. The thought of affectionate intimacy disgusts you and it is natural to mistake the physiological disgust with a spiritual feeling and seek to extrapolate a simple rule to forbid more than it does. But it will have unintended concequences.
The rifle comment was made to illustrate the point that convoluting simple rules. If engagimg in intimacy that might lead or seems to tangentially be ordered towards sex is a sin then crafting a device that might lead to or is tangentially ordered towards murder must also be a sin. It makes sense.
Beautifully written! In this you are saying what I feel and believe, and so much better than I have been able to up to this point. I will be rebloging this and letting you be my voice for the moment.
Reblogged this on LifeInCocoon and commented:
As I continued to think about yesterday’s post, I felt the need to go deeper in the relationship between the gay person and their community of faith. Then I ran across this blog post by Julie Rodgers. She hits the nail on the head in so many ways. I offer her words, and let her voice be mine in this moment.
This article is great.
One of the things I was glad you don’t imply is that the sole purpose of gay people is to help straight ones have better lives. In other words, that the reason gay people exist is to help straight people be more spiritual especially in terms of chastity.
That argument has not sat well with me in the past. It seemed to me that rather than being individuals with their own needs and their own worth in God’s eyes, gay people were reduced to being “accessories” for straight people.
As if they need any more advantages.
I much prefer how you put it that God began to work on you and he used your unique attributes to help you minister to the downtrodden and outcast of society. I never thought of it quite like how you put it. That is to say I saw this idea with fresh eyes based on your clear wording and writing.
You also capture the experience of lgbt people so well. That desire to feel like you have some value. That guilt when you, in a rare moment, actually feel normal. Not damaged or disordered.
P. S. It’s really like you described – – a feeling that finally you’re not alone. Finally you fit somewhere. Finally your very existence is not a burden to your own self.
Followed by a rush of guilt for feeling that way (for heretofore guilt and shame had been the default of even your best spiritual experiences; so comfort in your own skin just feels so wrong).
I also feel sometimes that some people (presumably straight) receive intense pleasure patrolling and enforcing the borders of LGBT existence.
Any even mildly positive portrayal of this existence that is not dripping with an apology for just even daring to exist is then scrutinised in the most minute way so that we won’t step outside of our bounds.
(ie “Don’t get too joyous, remember that you’re still a freak/ disordered/ less than”)
Any attempt to make a connection with the heterosexual experience is met with a verbose response that is indistinguishable in my mind from a put-down :” Ah, but you’re really not like us… ”
I really enjoy this site but I have found many of those people in the comment sections here.
Just my two cents – – if it matters.
Amen. I agree entirely. Especially tge part about it being my job to model chastity for straight people.
I have both heard and read the sentiment. I remember reading that and thinking, “I am the piece of disordered s–t and you are the good one! How is it my job to lead you into the light? Not only do you get to love someone and look down on me, now your salvation is my job?!”
All while they nickel and dime my brethren and I, as you mention. Keeping us in line, reminding us we are like pedophiles, addicts, adulturers, or any other dehumanizing sin they can think of.
It has strengthened my faith that they are wrong. Likely, not what they hoped.
I am inclined to think that what Julie calls feeling “lesbiany” is a natural good, probably a natural good that both gay and straight women are capable of feeling. It’s similar to the warmness that I might experience interacting with another guy that “gets it”, another guy who knows what it’s like to find men attractive in this culture.
I think it’s worth remembering something Paul said, about his knowledge that it was not wrong to eat meat sacrificed to idols:
“But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.” – 1 Cor. 8
So suppose I like to go to gay bars and hang out, because it creates a feeling of camaraderie and I know it is not sinful. Nevertheless, this could affect another person who is tempted to homosexual activity, but doesn’t understand WHY someone would go to a gay bar without the intent to sin.
The balance here is to find ways to experience our phenomenal liberty in Christ without scandalizing others. We can’t simply have the attitude that “those Christians have backwards views about morality”, since WE don’t have the tools to teach them. We cannot violate other people’s consciences with impunity, even if their consciences impose certain false judgments upon us.
This is a challenge, perhaps the biggest challenge facing the slowly-emerging community of gay Christians. Indeed, I think that 1 Cor. 8 is probably the most challenging passage in scripture, with respect to the sort of vocation discussed here at Spiritual Friendship.
But to clarify, I want us to find a way to respond appropriately to 1 Cor. 8 *without* feeling guilty for the good and non-sinful things we experience. I definitely don’t want my post here to be misinterpreted as saying that we should walk around experiencing guilt and self-loathing. But the key is this: we are NOT set free from guilt and self-loathing by anything we do — that would be shamelessness — we are set free from guilt and self-loathing by the saving action of Christ.
Earlier in 1 Cor. 8, Paul says, “Knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” Knowing I am free to joke about being gay or bisexual is really, really neat — and not a temptation to sin at all. But if I feel the need to push my freedom on those who find such things morally objectionable, that may be an indication of me being “puffed up”, not of me “building up” the body of Christ.
(The body of Christ bodybuilding? Awesome.)
I think I understand your concern. My only request for clarification is :
Who are the weak ones?
More conservative Christians who find it difficult to empathise with others; and who may get offended if they see gays and lesbians looking too comfortable in their own skins?
Or gays and lesbians who are struggling and may inadvertently be led to sin?
Gay and lesbian experience is already characterised by apology and self loathing and self limiting and self policing. I am wary of relabelling much of it as christian self denial.
Good question, Andy. Let me explain the paradigm I’m using to think about this, then apply my comments to that paradigm, and then consider how it might look in other examples.
My wife and I joke about my attraction to guys. She might say, for instance, “Geez, did I have to marry the one gay man in the world who DOESN’T have a fashion sense?!?” Or we might joke about our differing tastes in men, as we watch a movie. We are both really comfortable with this — it actually helps me “unload” some of the stress that accumulates from having this “useless desire”. (That phrase, “useless desire”, by the way, is from a Patty Griffin song that is totally awesome.)
Now if we were to joke like that in front of SOME of our friends, they would either (a) be scandalized, or (b) be inclined toward a sinful level of pseudo-openness. For instance, they might start talking about how much they love their own sins, or talking about fetishes, or their own frustration with religious rules, or some other such thing. They would not realize that my wife and I aren’t indulging in sinful talk; we are addressing a challenging reality in my life, and using humor to do so.
So they would be the “weaker ones”, in this instance — in the sense that they don’t understand this particular manifestation of the freedom of a disciple. Your other case works, too: if somebody (gay or otherwise) sees my wife and I talking about some guy being hot, they might think we’re sexually “open” and be influenced to be more sexually “open” themselves — which is to say promiscuous.
Far from involving self-loathing, this strategy PROTECTS me from self-loathing. If I did constantly advertise my attraction to men, in my conversation with people who don’t understand, then I would encounter abrasive reactions — and shame. By “self-policing”, as you call it, I protect myself, and I protect the hard-earned and delicate understanding God has worked in me about my own attraction to men. There’s nothing apologetic here: I am not in the slightest ashamed. But I also don’t feel the need to make other people think the understanding I have is easily won.
I hope this helps explain. Thanks for the thoughtful response!
Thanks for writing this. It’s led me to rethink some of my frustrations with conservative religious communities.
I work as a corporate attorney at a biotech company, and spend my days (and many nights) surrounded by the cognitive elite. I’m used to being around people who can grasp new and complex things easily, and who have enough exposure to post-modern thought to understand where I’m coming from. (I generally frame my religious reasons to date women as a gay man in terms of queer theory.) Having reframed my practices as counter-cultural rather than traditional, I find that my colleagues are rather comfortable with my situation.
Church was another story. My pastor had never even heard of Foucault and had no idea what queer theory was. I could sense his thoughts: “This sounds a lot like the secular humanism stuff I’ve heard about.” The ensuing months were a train wreck. The church, my pastor, and the other pastors in the presbytery just weren’t ready. I finally left for a less conservative evangelical church, but felt angry and frustrated about the experience.
In all honesty, I had been frustrated at that church for a while. It would probably have been better for me just to have left the church quietly and come out within a less conventionally evangelical environment. But that’s not what I did. And, in retrospect, I probably did what I did so as to provoke the reaction I got. I wanted to expose them for the bigots I believed them to be.
Were they bigots? Sure. But are they imperfect sinners who cling to the same Christ as I? Without a doubt. I’d completely forgotten about the whole “weaker brother” thing. I was just so blinded by my own sinful self-righteousness.
Beautiful post, Bobby. God bless you!
Nice piece. I enjoyed reading it.
I did want to comment, however, on the statement, “[L]ust occurs when anyone actively dwells on sexual thoughts about someone other than their spouse.”
I think I understand what you’re saying. But it’s probably worth clarifying that sex (or thoughts about sex) within the bounds of marriage do not necessarily lack lust. If a guy is simply using his wife to gratify his physical urge for sex, he’s sinning against her. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard I Corinthians 7:9 misinterpreted to justify marrying for the purpose of being able to enjoy guilt-free sex. Paul is saying nothing of the sort.
In evangelical circles, we are often a bit too quick to marry young couples who are marrying primarily because they don’t feel that they can control their sexual urges. I saw this happen time and again among friends at my Christian college. And, when we accept (implicitly) such a sexualized view of marriage, it makes it far harder to tell gay Christians that they too can’t marry for sex.
I think we probably agree, but I just want to clarify.
This is a great piece of writing. (and I say that as a married woman who has never struggled with SSA) Your desire to honor Christ above all else comes through.
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