LGBTQ+ Part 3: We cannot use the LGBTQ language

 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:

  1. There are those who have simply felt sexual attraction to one person in their lifetime of the same sex,
  2. Others find themselves with a frequent attraction to the same sex but still have a similar attraction to those of the opposite
  3. 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.


Corrections:
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.

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4 comments

  1. Thanks for the helpful distinction. Too often we categorise sin- condemning homosexuality and justifying pride for example. I wouldn’t define myself as a greedy Christian if I struggled with greed, so why would I define myself as a “gay Christian”?

    Having said that, church should be a safe place where people struggling with things like homosexuality, pride and greed feel able to be open and honest.

    Too often as the church we’re known for what we’re against- sin; rather than who we’re for- sinners!

    Cheers for the post brother 🙂

  2. I usually don’t reply to stuff, but maybe I can add to the conversation here. I like what you are trying to do. Focus on putting our identities in Christ. That’s awesome and needed.
    Here’s my push back. There is a degree to which it is impossible to keep from identifying yourself by what makes you different from those around you. Same sex attraction changes how a man talks about romantic relationships, treats friends, how he thinks about his future, and how he battles loneliness, just to name a few things. And I got to say, this is not like depression or greed. Most people with a homosexual orientation don’t “struggle” with their orientation in the sense that they sometimes have the orientation and sometimes don’t, like waves of depression or triggers of greed. They “struggle” with lust for the same gender, sure; and their struggle with lust is exactly the same as any other struggle with lust, hetero or homo. As a Christian, it is unhealthy to identify with a sin we struggle with. But again, for most people, a same sex orientation is not a sin that can be struggled against. Same sex lust is. So because of this uniqueness that is entirely separate from their struggle with sin, is it still wrong for a guy to identify as being gay?
    Well, not necessarily. I would say it depends on what that means to him. If he feels that “being gay” means he has to live a certain kind of life, or act a certain way, or join a certain community; or if he feels it is a stamp of condemnation or a giant wall keeping him from his dreams, or from God… then yeah, I would totally say it’s a bad thing.
    But if he says, “I’m gay,” and means only that he has a certain orientation, the same way a person my say he has red hair or has Mexican parents… what’s wrong with that? A man with red hair certainly identifies as a man with red hair, but that doesn’t mean his CORE identity is not found in Christ. They are both true. The dude is a red head and he is Christian. I find that more and more, people are using the term “gay” to refer to the orientation and not the lifestyle. We as a church have to understand that a man can be both gay and Christian, and that this might not be something to chastise him for.
    Keep writing, brother. I like reading your posts.

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