Saturday, May 17, 2014

Why the Change

If you haven't already done so, please be sure to read my first entry on My Penance. A friend of mine had asked me to elaborate on just how I got to the point in my life where I realized that sexual orientation is not a sin, nor should we be demonizing those who consider themselves to be same-sex oriented.

Let me first start off by saying that I am not trying to convince you of my views. I will just explain to you how I came to my views. It was a process of many years and came to a crisis when my wife and I were transferred back to America during the middle of our fourth term in Germany. That was not a happy time and one I would rather not relive.

A lot of this has to do with my experiences. I had lived in Germany for 10 years in a socialized economy. I had grown quite used and accustomed to it, appreciating all aspects of it from the universal healthcare to the mandatory 4 week paid vacations. When we returned to the United States, the culture shock was worse than when we lived in Germany.

When I started to mention some of my frustrations about returning to the United States, I was told by many people that I should return to Germany since I missed it so much.

Bearing all of this in mind, this was the situation I had. I basically went through an identity crisis, which I hadn't gone through since I started attending college. I went through your typical mid-life crisis.

Here is what happened with my thinking. I became very concerned with the abject hatred of everyone who is in the LGBT community. It was terrifying. This hatred was coming from conservative Christians who felt that they were being persecuted by some "secret agenda" that the gay community was trying to force on them. That baffled me. If anything, the gay community was the one being marginalized and repressed, not the majority Christian population.

Then it occurred to me, if Jesus had come to Earth, who would he socialize with? Who are the marginalized in our society today?

Jesus never once spoke out against same-sex orientation in his ministry, but he certainly spoke out against divorce. Yet we continue to enroll soldiers and ordain and commission officers who have been divorced once or even twice. I sincerely believe that it is because most straight people have this "yuck" factor when dealing with the gay community, simply because they do not understand them. They don't try to understand them. They don't want to understand them.

If we can enroll soldiers and ordain/commission officers who are twice-divorced, then what about people in committed same-sex relationships? What about trans* people? Nothing even remotely address how we should treat trans* people in any guideline.

I have discovered that I am not alone in my beliefs. I read an article by Major Juan Burry of The Salvation Army in Canada in the Canadian Salvationist magazine that addressed just how marginalized the LGBT community is. Another friend of mine, Major Jason Davies-Kildea, wrote an excellent personal testimony of his own experience and struggle with these issues.

I have also found community online. This has been the most encouraging to me. To have the knowledge that one is not alone in one's beliefs is consoling and encouraging.

Please don't misunderstand my intention. It is not about open rebellion or insubordination. It's about dialogue. Let's talk. Civilly. Let's listen. Let's communicate.

We are the Body of Christ. Let's act like it.

P.S.:  Here's another detailed article that also goes over a Biblical view on same-sex attraction.

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