I have a dear friend. The dearest. I love him so much, and I hate that we don’t talk often enough. Whenever we do talk, though, it’s always dynamite. He encourages me, challenges me, makes me laugh, and blesses me with wisdom like perhaps no other person. We talked some time ago about the wonderful world of faith and same-sex attraction (SSA).
He referenced another friend who is reexamining Scripture’s interpretation of same-sex sexual activity. My friend’s response as a fellow SSA/gay Christian brother was so classic:
Honestly, he needs to get over it already. Like, there are bigger things in life. Some people are still stuck on this after all these years! Go to Hebrews 5 and move beyond spiritual milk.
I laughed. It was blunt. It was kinda brutal. But I got what he was saying.
Gosh, is there nothing more to life than who God says we can or can’t have sex with?
Maybe it’s “easier” for a guy like me who has no desire for sex; actually, I’m sure it is. I certainly want to be sensitive to folks with far stronger sexual or even romantic desires than me. “Getting over it” certainly doesn’t mean “just date women already” or that the single celibate life will always be a grand old time.
But man. I’ve been in this SSA/faith world for ten years now, and some people have been battling with all those scriptural interpretations and translations for ten years running, desperate for that perfect loophole, neglecting all other aspects of faith and living.
I’m over it. I’m over same-sex attraction. I’m ready to tackle the deeper issues. Ready to move beyond spiritual milk. Ready for solid food.
I understand that everyone has a journey to walk. I understand some take longer to arrive at various conclusions and convictions. I even understand God’s plan for human sexuality is indeed a pivotal one warranting our time and attention.
But it’s not the only thing. It’s not the only struggle. And I can’t tell you the freedom I experienced when I realized homosexuality was actually not even close to the top of my human struggle pyramid.
I just celebrated the 5-year anniversary of my first book, Struggle Central, a collection of my “messy memoirs.” Beyond revealing my homosexuality, I wrote about father issues and an inferiority complex and envy and social anxiety and longing for my place in this world — things I realized I battle on a much more regular basis than who turns me on.
For twenty-six years, I honestly thought homosexuality was everything. My deepest, darkest secret. The thing that nobody else could ever know. This ravaging lust that knew no bounds from porn to real life, forever the thorn in my side.
Now I know my same-sex attraction is only a sliver of the struggle. And by recognizing and tackling all those other struggles — befriending other men, including straight men; talking to my father; joining authentic community; doing hard things that stretch me and affirm my competence — I’ve noticed my homosexuality angling toward redemption.
Not disappearing or even reorienting, mind you. But holding far less of a grip on my life.
Beyond recognizing life’s other struggles, I’ve also realized there is so much good in this world worth chasing.
An ultimate hope in Jesus that directs my days.
A humility to let go of my lesser ways and trust His greater ones.
A brotherhood of believers He has graciously given me to journey alongside.
The courage to go against the world’s wishes in pursuit of something deeper.
A vulnerability that releases shame and inspires strength in others, too.
Life worth living.
Yes, life sucks. Yes, life isn’t fair. Yes, our life would perhaps be much easier and better if it were another life. Maybe another straight life filled with lots and lots of awesome straight sex.
But we need to get over it already. These are the cards we were dealt, and if we were perfectly straight we’d complain that we didn’t have the best body or the best social skills or the best friends or the best family or the best job or the best something.
We’re fickle people. We complain. We forget. Nothing will ever be perfect for you or me or any given person, gay or straight.
I’m preaching to myself who envies everything about everyone else.
And I’m ready to move on already. Ready to move beyond my limitations and what’s merely “allowable” and thrive. To thrive with other brothers who also want to thrive.
I love Your Other Brothers. I love this community and all the nitty-gritty stories that are welcome here. Stories you’ll rarely find in Christian church culture.
Let’s continue talking about same-sex attraction and all the messy things. Let’s connect over our common travails because those are indeed important elements of our stories.
But let’s not stay there. Let’s not drown in our SSA sorrows.
Let’s chase something greater. Together.
Do you ever feel stuck in your sexuality and other struggles? Is it hard to grow beyond “spiritual milk”? Do you engage in a regular brotherhood that encourages your spiritual growth?