From the Publisher. Praise for A War of Loves. Darrell L.
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Bennett self-identifies as a gay celibate Christian. The gay and Christian communities are often seen as polar opposites: Having stood on both sides, I know the reality is far more complex. I stand too with my same-sex attracted or gay Christian brothers and sisters who are living faithfully before Christ. In the first eight chapters, Bennett tells his coming out story at age 14, and conversion to Christianity story at Though the subtitle of the book is: We Christians love those bad to good stories, even when a bit of exaggeration is imbued.
Understandably, when Bennett becomes a Christian, he begins to look at what the Bible says about homsexuality. He concludes: Christian theology about sexuality in general, and with respect to gay people in particular is quite a new concept. Christians had widely avoided discussing sexuality at all until the s.
Gay, Lesbian, God’s Love
And there was certainly no theology about homosexuality coming from the conservative church during that time. Then, homosexuality was wrongly considered a mental illness; not a moral issue, but a pathological one. Historical denominational journals, pastoral counseling magazines, and Christian books reflect this. There was simply no discussion taking places that connected morality and sin to homosexuality using 1 Corinthians.
This is all part of the historical work I am now doing.
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Still, there was no theology created around homosexuality. The Christian church was not in the fix-the-gays business. The translation notes on this Bible indicate the translations, just as had happened in the RSV, were cultural decisions, not theological ones. The history of the understanding of the progression of human sexuality when it comes to heterosexuality and homosexuality is a fascinating one, and the story of it only began at the end of the 19th century.
What Paul witnessed and wrote about was a combination of abusive, excessive and lustful sex where one male penetrated another male who took the submissive sexual role of a female, or the feminine position. Why are some people homosexual and others heterosexual? Same-sex practice was understood by Paul implicitly as a normal part of fallen humanity. They are similar to broken heterosexual desires in that there and can never be righteously expressed in the covenant of marriage. These same binaries are often used to stigmatized transgender people.
To be a faithful Jesus-following Christian, it seems, we are forced to choose between two alternatives -- either choose faith and literal reading of the Bible in intellectual exile, or be intellectually curious and honest and abandon your faith. I choose the middle ground.
I can both value the creation story as a different style and intention in writing than say, the New Testament letters and gospels. I remain safe from a threatened slippery slope toward unbelief in Jesus while using my intellect alongside the Genesis 1 texts to establish a more realistic yet still God-honoring view of human sexuality that also is reflective of what I witness in the lives of LGBTQ people before me and cognizant of the history of the progression of understanding human sexuality.
But, this is not what the author concludes for himself. By yanking the desire for marriage down just a smidge, the distance between the loneliness of being single and marriage decreases. It is just a pattern I am noticing. It will soon pass away with God's new creation in Jesus Christ this goes with all other broken desires. Bennett shares his views on celibacy: It is an opportunity, not that different from marriage, to trust in God's capacity to provide for our needs for intimacy, forsaking all others.
It takes time, and many answers are going to be messy. Gay couples often have children and become a family unit. What is their call? Easy answers break down very quickly without the Spirit's leading and discernment. He wrote that the couple needed to walk slowly through a divorce and create a child sharing arrangement. That Bennett would even dip a tiny toe in those waters is horrifying. Can you be gay and Christian?
Yes, says Bennett. These decisions took him time to resolve: We must repent and put away the old identity. In a gay person's case, the old identity is defined by same-sex desire.
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While celibacy and identifying as gay are in the some sense compatible, staying in a sexually active relationship cannot be compatible with fully embracing a Christian identity. No such categories exist. Being from a kindly, liberal family, I was taught that sympathy, understanding and tolerance were called for, and these things were not a moral question and not a matter for the police. Growing up in the s, I had no idea how recently this prism had been applied to sexuality, splitting white sunlight into colour-bands; or that a century beforehand these rigid categories had not existed.
But before the Victorians, sex was described more by verbs than nouns — as something people did rather than were — and sexual leanings, mainstream as well as minority, were appetites to which almost anyone might on occasion be prey. Those earlier ages had been vicious in their approach to morally disapproved behaviour but relaxed in their understanding that many, perhaps most, could feel the pull. Then came an age in which the moral disapproval and legal sanctions were to fade — a good thing — but paddocks were to be constructed with pseudo-scientific names; and we were all to be badged, placed in one paddock or another, and later offered assistance and counselling if we wished to change paddock.
To my surprise on re-reading , the first and still the most important such survey — undertaken in America by Alfred Kinsey and colleagues in the midth century — was the most enlightened. Kinsey distrusted brutal categorisation but, wishing to count, constructed what came close to a sliding scale containing seven gradations between exclusive heterosexuality and exclusive homosexuality. He found that almost half his male interviewees had reacted sexually to both genders; more than a third had had a homosexual encounter; and more than one in ten reported roughly equally strong sexual responses to both men and women.
Meanwhile, the first paragraph of a YouGov survey in is worth quoting: The important thing to note about this apparent variance, though, is that it may be more apparent than real, arising from the available menu of words offered to people. Words create categories. Some of the men I slept with have gone straight despite a strong cultural barrier to a gay man doing this.
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Indeed, hordes are: Straight men are equally reluctant to admit the converse. There exist strong reasons for this taboo among gays: Secondly, if sexuality really is modifiable for some, how long before someone suggests cognitive behavioural therapy minus or even plus the Hallelujahs? Damn the Hallelujahs. The coming age may extend that from sexuality to gender. Dare to believe that there are no categories, no badges, and no walls. Roger Scruton. Sam arrived legally in the UK in on a tourist visa and never left.
He says he was forced to flee Malaysia after his wife found out he was having sex with ladyboys in Thailand and left him, taking their two children to the US. Unable to live openly as a gay man in Malaysia, he sought sanctuary in the UK. He says he worked and paid taxes until he was arrested in while working as a takeaway delivery driver in Looe, Cornwall, and spent 10 months in Harmondsworth detention centre near London, where he claimed asylum.
The judge questioned why Sam could not prove any past gay relationships: The Appellant is unable to produce as a witness single person in the UK who can vouch for the Appellant in terms of being or having been in a homosexual relationship with him either a loving relationship or a sexual one. Given that the Appellant left Malaysia in order to express his sexuality I find that incredible.