Religious Shame and Sexual Identity (#716)

"Can you imagine the shame, guilt, and fear a gay person would have in the Christian environment when these kinds of things are said?" That's the question posed to Wayne and Tracy after their recent podcast on The Precious Gift of Sex by the father of a gay daughter. What do people do who feel they do not fit into God's plan for sexuality? Wayne and Tracy sort through his thoughts and how hard it is to converse about something when what Scripture invites us to consider is different from what we might want to be true. They talk about religious shame and its inability to invite people to freedom, and that's God desires for us are not to squash our freedom but to learn what is best for us.

Podcast Notes:
Previous podcasts with Tracy
Tracy's book, 
unashamed: candid conversations about dating, love, nakedness, and faith

If You Can Help Us in Kenya

7 Comments

  1. Love Traci SO much! Thank you both for sharing on this topic! And thankful for your hearts to sit down and meet with people to hear their stories and not claim to know 100% you’re right and others are wrong. And most of all to have our identity as beloved child of loving Father and seek His best for our lives and let Him navigate us through not rules.

  2. As a single, never-been-married woman in my 40s, who has health challenges, I too face the prospect that I may never enjoy the gifts of sex and intimacy, as much as I long for them. The challenge and seeming unfairness of lifelong celibacy is not limited to those who identify as gay, lesbian, transgender, etc. As you both rightly pointed out, we all have crosses to bear in this life. None of us are exempt. I think part of the issue within the Christian community is that marriage and sex have become so idealized, so exalted, so ensconced within what is now known as the ‘purity prosperity gospel,’ that those of us who don’t fit the mold, or may never be blessed with marriage, no matter how ‘pure’ we keep ourselves, find ourselves feeling ‘less than’ or somehow more ‘broken,’ and this ought not to be so. There ought to be more celebration and emphasis of our union with Christ, and how that gives us worth, identity, and a place in a family, rather than our union with another human being. I too struggle reading a lot of Christian books about sex and marriage, because they’re most often aimed at younger people and assume that, as long as you ‘do things God’s way,’ you’re eventually going to find fulfilment in an earthly marriage. So I get that father’s pain. At least somewhat. And I think we need more discussions like this one, and more recognition within the Christian community of the struggles of those of us on the fringes, as it were.

    • (From Wayne). “There ought to be more celebration and emphasis of our union with Christ, and how that gives us worth, identity, and a place in a family, rather than our union with another human being. ” Amen! Love that. Identity does not come from our sexuality, and as precious a gift as it might be for those fortunate to find it’s fulfillment, it isn’t even the best of gifts God offers us. Blessings and love to you and your journey.

  3. Just wanted to respond to this post. Thanks for sharing openly…wanted you to know you’re not alone. This is a context where communication is limited (very, very different than face to face over lunch). I value so much your phrase about identity as in painful struggles and in larger circles that gets forgotten. Blessings to you.

  4. I am not sure what it is like in the US, but here in Canada, there is a movement against conversion therapy that has resulted in a full-scale assault by gay activists, media, and politicians to brand ANY alternate thinking other than “gay is good, healthy and normal” as being homophobic, prejudiced and intolerant. There is no longer a choice to publicly say differently without being mocked. There are even ongoing attempts to criminalize any discussion of alternate speech. This makes any open dialogue about the subject increasingly difficult in this country. There is a lot of hysteria.

    As a person who does have same-sex attractions, but have chosen to remain married with a wife, children and grandchildren, and have worked in programs where people are dealing with sexual issues (including same-sex attraction), I find myself infuriated by the movement to limit dialogue around choosing differently. While the gay/transgender community is allowed to speak in schools and have access to promote their lifestyle, there is no one else allowed to speak something else. We are now at the Orwellian place where we must think as they think. There is no place for alternate thought. I feel like I am being abused all over again, this time not by my peers but by my government.

    What is also peculiar is that secular government and activists are asking Christians if they think homosexuality is a sin. Why is a secular person asking about sin? They do not believe in sin. That is a religious question and should not even be asked in a secular situation. It is an effort to bait the Christian and we need to be wary of this. In my opinion, it is time for the Christian to refuse to answer this question without first asking ourselves if the question is being asked in a secular or “religious” context. If the question is in a secular context, then the Christian should respond with what is the law of the land without affirming or denying if it is good, refusing to be drawn into a religious argument in a secular context. If in a religious context, then perhaps a conversation can be held but with a clear understanding of the goodness of Christ, and the gospel of Christ. And beware of baiting even in this context.

    I cannot change myself. Some people have changed. I have not. But with the power of Christ I have been able to make mostly Godly choices. Not without difficulty. And this is where the conversation needs to be clear. It is Christ that empowers the ability to choose. And this requires a deeper relationship with Christ well beyond a religious understanding. This is not for a secular context or audience where there is absolutely zero understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit. They are wasted words.

    So perhaps what we need to do is not focus on trying to change people from gay to straight, but introduce people to a personal relationship with Christ – where they are at, and let Christ take care of the rest. It may not come right away, but in the testimonies I have read, and based on my own personal experiences, Christ leads us out of what is not good for us and into truth and life. And then it becomes about what Christ has done, and not we have done.

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