This is the third in a series I am writing about LGBTQ+ and Christianity. If you have not already please read the introduction and the other blog I have written to this point on these issues.
–Christians and LGBTQ Issues 1: Introduction
–Christians and LGBTQ Issues 2: Sexual Conversion Therapy
Part of the vision of this blog and especially the point of this series is helping Christians learn how to talk about important and often taboo issues in a way that is Biblical, loving and clear. With that in mind what I believe that as Christians we cannot use the same language as the LGBTQ+ community.
Having same-sex attraction does not mean you are gay or lesbian
The LGBTQ pushes a culture that tells someone that their identity is fully or at least largely made up by our sexual orientation. This is an unbiblical viewpoint regardless if you fall on an affirming or non-affirming position of LGBTQ issues. Even for those of us who do not affirm an LGBTQ lifestyle and find ourselves wholly heterosexual in our sexual preferences, our identity should not be found in being heterosexual. The Bible says that our identity as Christians is found Holy and wholly in Christ and nothing else.
See what I did there? Wholly and Holy?
Anyway, our sexual identity is not a central part of who we are as Christians. As I have been writing on LGBTQ issues I’ve also been writing a bit on dating and singleness. As I discuss with friends I am coming to realize the topics are intertwined intimately. One blog I wrote focused on how the Christian community has often elevated marriage to a status that lowers singleness to a waiting room until one becomes fully whole in the purpose God has laid out for them. This idea isn’t biblical because we know someone is whole apart from their sexual or even romantic fulfillment.
It is in this realization that while the LGBTQ community wants to tell anyone who experiences an level of same-sex attraction must then identify as LGBTQ, even if they do not want that to label them, we must protest. We instead must say that our experiences and attractions are not who we are, but it is who we choose namely Christ that makes us who we are. And even for those that are not Christians, your sexual identity is really not central to who you are as a human. We must revolt against the idea that a man who experiences same-sex attraction must be identified as part of the LGBTQ community even if they do not desire such an attraction.
It is here perhaps that I would argue that as much as the LGBTQ culture wishes to put themselves up as the mantel of diversity we insist that it has not embraced choice as a factor to someone’s identity.
On the other hand, also sometimes don’t understand that those who experience same-sex attraction often experience it at different levels. In his book Homosexuality and the Christian, Mark Yarhouse, a Christian Psychiatrist, points out the diversity of those who experience same-sex attraction:
- There are those who have simply felt sexual attraction to one person in their lifetime of the same sex,
- Others find themselves with a frequent attraction to the same sex but still have a similar attraction to those of the opposite
- There are those who feel exclusive attraction to those of the same sex.
There are of course numerous in-betweens in the midst of all of those levels and even furthermore those in each level which wish they did not have those attractions and those who embrace them.
Why as Christians is this an important distinction to make?
Some may feel that this is making a fuss about nothing but in the conversation surrounding these issues, I think it changes everything. By making a distinction between the attraction or experience a person is having and who they are as a person we are able to talk over LGBTQ issues not as a personal attack but as real experiences someone has. When then we later discuss whether those experiences are healthy or good it is no longer an attack on the person as it would if those experiences defined who a person is.
So now by saying someone has same-sex attraction rather than saying they are gay we are moving from talking about something that is central and essential to their being to talking about something they experience.
The difference is like talking to someone about their experiences with depression vs their experiences of being Hispanic. I can talk to someone about depression and not attack them as if to say they are depression but I cannot talk about their being Hispanic as if their ethnicity is not something central to who they are.
Now of course this leads into the question of whether sexual orientation is a choice and if it is somehow genetically or in some other way naturally determined outside of our choice. And that’s what we will discuss next time.
This post originally had a claim that asserted the LGBTQ community wished to call anyone who had same-sex attractions as either gay or lesbian. Changes were made to accommodate the fact that the bisexual, transexual, and queer are shades of which the LGBTQ community acknowledges these levels of attraction someone may have.