“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.”(1 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)
The funny thing about Truth is that nobody ever agrees on it. Human beings are individuals—we each live an island existence—each with a mind that is alone in the universe, disconnected from all other consciousnesses. And so, on our quest for Truth, we will each discover something slightly (but impossible-to-know-ly) different from our neighbor (quantum status of consciousness? Schrodinger’s Cat brains? Indeed, a scary thought). This could quickly become a major ontological discussion, but those of you who know my views on Christianity know that I believe the Holy Spirit guides and directs our thoughts and hearts, and is responsible for creating harmony between Christians despite the fact that each believer must discover Truth for himself or herself. The Christian message is not a brittle set of rules, it is at once a flexible, evolving philosophy, and an absolute Truth. Check out 1 Corinthians 9 for a refresher on the somewhat confusing semantics of the flexibility of the faith. It’s not easy to digest, but most Truths aren’t. That’s why as Christians, our personal testimonies are so important. Each believer who houses the Spirit in his or her heart has something revelatory to contribute to the faith, and it’s that unmediated communion with God that makes Christianity so special and so True. We support each other in the Truths that are revealed to our hearts and minds through the Word of God and prayer.
Human beings are equipped with powerful minds. Our cognitive states are overwhelmingly complex, and so we have developed some peculiar and complicated systems of social interaction to deal with our needs in a way that pleases God—marriage, for example. Christians largely hold the mantle of marriage in Western civilization. Yes, marriage has become a political institution—but to a Christian, it is first and foremost a spiritual one. And no matter what liberals or conservatives say, the two sides of the debate today are steeped in religious (not social) convictions. If you believe gay marriage is wrong, I can guarantee that you also believe God thinks it’s wrong. And if you think it’s right, then you probably either don’t believe in God, or you think God thinks it’s right. What I mean to say is, I don’t think I know any atheists who oppose gay marriage.
I was raised by two of the most remarkable people I have ever encountered; I have never met two more grounded individuals. My parents were well-equipped to teach me the importance of believing in and fighting for Truth. They taught me never to accept “no” if you knew the truth said “yes.” They marched in parades, picketed, and never missed a vote (it’s a miracle I’m not more of a social activist). They also taught me that the right answer is usually not the easiest one. Discovering everything that it means to be a gay Christian was an experience full of difficult answers; I had never been so shocked by what the Spirit had to say to me, and listening to God continues to be hard, especially when He challenges my preexisting beliefs.
While I don't pretend to understand all the secrets of God’s will, I’m confident that He wants all people to be stewards of Love. This means being true to anything that requires the heart to respond. There was a time when I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do about my sexuality; I didn’t understand why God had allowed me to be gay. The moment I fell in love for the first time, all that confusion vanished. It took four years for me to reconcile that realization with the intellectual components of my faith—this was done only through continual prayer and reading scripture. In hindsight, I can see that that Love single-handedly acted as a divine, revelatory force, and quite literally forced me to see the will of God in a new, uncomfortable light. If I hadn’t been listening, or if I had been too stubbornly steadfast in my old beliefs, I would have missed God’s call. I thank my remarkable parents, friends, and the Holy Spirit for reminding me to keep an open, discerning, and prayerful mind.
I take 1 John 4 literally. I believe that Love is an incarnation of God Himself, and that anything founded upon an honest expression of Love cannot be sinful. For a Christian, feeling Love is more than just getting butterflies in your stomach, listening to sappy music, and wanting to be near someone. Love is an act of worship—a true sacrament—a communion with the Heavenly Father. I know that if one day I meet someone with whom I share a true enough love to marry, God will bless that marriage, because I will consecrate it before Him. I have never, even for a moment, felt that my sexuality has conflicted with my growing relationship with the Lord. This does’t mean that I haven’t made mistakes, or done things I know the Lord wouldn’t want; but when that happens, the Spirit is equally clear! But the few short moments when I have been in love have been the times when I have felt the least separation from the Divine. These were moments of clarity and peace that are second to no other spiritual experience.
I know that the world is changing. I know that Christ’s message was one of change, and the kingdom that He left behind is one founded on the notion of the freedom to change. I am proud of the Church for its willingness to flex through the ages, to continually adapt to bring the timeless message of Christ into immediacy and relevance. I know the Spirit has called me to testify according to these revelations, and I also know that every honest Christian in my position won’t come to the same conclusions (and that’s ok). Most of all, I pray that every Christian who reads this will be called to ask these difficult questions, and call upon the Lord for difficult answers.