Good morning, Starshine, the earth says hello!
I’m new here, or at least as a contributor. I’ve been lurking around this site since I randomly stumbled upon YOB on Instagram, December of 2016!
I’m not exaggerating when I say YOB’s impact on my life has been incredibly massive, as I’ve binged blog posts and podcasts and been able to resonate with people about things I thought I was forlorn with.
The best part of it all has been meeting and e-meeting brothers. Brothers who have spoken so much life and hope into me, whether they know it or not. Near, far, wherever they are, I believe that my heart will never be alone.
After almost two-and-a-half years, I’m now glad to be able to share my stories, reflections, and lamentations about the topics of faith, homosexuality, and masculinity for other people like me lurking out there.
So, hey, you never know where the hashtags and Instagram’s explore feed can take you (P.S. connect with me on the Instagrams).
Now, onto serious business before Tommie regrets inviting me to contribute.
It’s Easter season around the time of this writing, and I’ve been reflecting on the meaning of the cross. Not just the meaning of the cross for the bigger picture of salvation for humanity, but also the tangible effects the cross has been having on me.
My sexuality is an impediment, something that cannot be used by God for anything. All of it. It’s in the way I walk, the way I talk, the way I perceive beauty. It should be something to be repressed, buried down a deep hole, never to see the light of day.
This is part of the internal monologue I kept having with myself growing up. I lived in fear and shame.
The cross was once a symbol of shame. A symbol for the epitome of sin. A wooden slab displaying the highest of transgressors, well deserving of their deaths.
One of the biggest lies I once believed was that my homosexuality was the epitome of sin. Being gay also meant being one of the highest of transgressors, well deserving of hell.
And it was not only about the things I chose to do or not to do; it was also in the way I stood, the way I sat, the way I hated sports, essentially my whole being.
My sexuality was my cross.
“I’ve met a new person at church, and I want you to meet him!”
“Why?” I said.
“It looked like he was struggling with his faith and identity, so I recommended he talk to you!”
“Is he gay?”
“No, he’s straight, but you’re the best person I thought would be able to help him!”
This was a conversation I had with a friend recently. It was something really unexpected. How could I, a homosexual, speak life into a heterosexual (also read as a completely perfect human being)?
I guess there’s been a big change in my sense of self-worth and attitude toward life in these recent years. But I’ve never really realised the bigger extent of it until I had this conversation with my friend.
These days, the cross has a completely different meaning culturally. I see the symbol used in healthcare organisations, hospitals where people come to be healed and literally gain another chance in life.
The cross is now a symbol of hope, of new life.
Jesus is the Son of God who willingly offered himself for my sin, taking my place and dying on a cross, buried in a tomb, never to see the light of day — the turning point being that he did not stay there. On the third day, he rose again, defeating the power of death and now giving me the power to live life to the full.
Christ repurposed the meaning of a thing that was once a symbol of torture, shame, and judgment into something of hope, life, and love. And I bet he can do the exact same thing with my sexuality. He already has.
I am done letting the enemy, with the help of misplaced Christian culture, use my sexuality as a hindrance for anything, crippling me with fear and self-doubt, hindering me from embracing God’s plans and promises for my future.
My homosexuality, just like the cross, has been and is still being repurposed for the kingdom of God.
The Great Commission
I’ve been a Christian all my life, and I grew up knowing the cross and seeing God use other people’s real-life stories in many different ways. I was able to see God use things in my life as well, from my achievements to my failures — but definitely not with my sexuality.
However, over the years, my perspective changed without my even realising it. I guess it was just a natural fruit of walking with God, discovering my real identity in Christ every day, and realising what that exactly means in my practical, daily life.
Add to that my being in a new environment — and walking with God’s people. People who encourage me, hold my future in front of me, and don’t use my past or even my present against me.
I’ve had friends use my story to reach out to people who are struggling to see Jesus as a God of love because of Christianity’s hateful reputation in the secular world. I’ve used my “gay card” time and time again to unlock conversations and things in people’s hearts, things that straight people (also read as perfect human beings) find harder to access.
Ultimately, as a Christian, that is my mandate: to point people to Jesus and help them with their personal journeys.
And if I can use my sexuality to follow this mandate, eh di bongga!*
*meaning: “that would be fabulous!” in Filipino gay slang
How long have you been lurking around these ends of the interwebs? What does the cross and resurrection mean for you and your sexuality? Have you ever used your or other people’s “gay card” to reach out to people? Can you believe?