(This is the 6th dialogue in this series. It’s an edited and reconstructed version of the actual talk, but it accurately represents the essence of what was said. This is done with his permission, provided all personal references are omitted. I pick it up after the opening chit-chat.)
Me: I’m kind of surprised to hear from you. It’s been a while since our last talk. I thought you were done.
Him: Oh, I’ve wanted to talk many times since then. But I don’t want to be a bother. After all, I’m just a voice on the phone that you hardly know anything about.
Me: Hey, you’re not a bother. Never think that. And what I know about you is what I need to know. So how have things been?
Him: Things have been…well…confusing? Not sure how to say it. I have friends at college who are gay Christians and friends who are straight Christians. The gay Christians are very convincing…until I talk to my other Christian friends. I just don’t think the scriptures support the gay Christian perspective…as much as I want them to.
Me: What have they been telling you?
Him: That God wouldn’t have made me this way if it was wrong. And that the complementarian idea only has reference to procreation. And that marriage is not primarily about procreation, but about companionship. And other things like that. I know you’ve heard it all.
Me: Pretty much. And I’ve responded to most of their arguments and even come up with some of my own trying to anticipate them.
Him: They would say that guys like you who claim to be ex-gay are just repressing the truth about yourselves. If you still are attracted to the same-sex, then you are gay.
Me: That’s because they want to separate inclination from conduct…or what you feel from what you do. ‘Gay’ is a complex of feeling and inclination and attraction that defines you, whether or not you actually do it. That’s the gist of what they say.
Him: It sure is convincing. Based on that definition, I am gay for sure.
Me: If outward conduct was all that mattered, they would have an argument. But the Bible says our inclinations and attractions and feelings can be just as sinful as our conduct. It can be wrong to feel a certain way or to be attracted to certain things. Like it’s wrong for a married man to feel sexual desire for another woman or to be attracted to another man’s wife whether or not he actually has sex with her.
Him: Well, no guy would ever have to worry about me lusting after his wife! HA!
Me: So how are you doing with your dad?
Him: Things aren’t as strained as at first. But they’re not the same either. I really think he’s embarrassed by me. He’s more concerned about his image as a pastor and a father than he is about me. But there’s something else, and I can’t put my finger on it. It’s like he’s disgusted with anything having to do with homosexuality…like the attraction and the act are pretty much the same. It’s like an overreaction.
Me: I picked up on that from the first time we talked. Something’s going on there. You remember I said I’d like to know what went on his past?
Him: I remember that. What did you mean?
Me: Just that extreme reactions to certain things often have a basis in past experience. Like someone could have a very extreme aversion to anything having to do with alcoholic drinks because of past experience with the effects of drunkenness. I child growing up in such a home or a person previously married to a drunk could have such a reaction.
Him: You think my dad may have had something homosexual in his past that accounts for his present reaction?
Me: I think it’s a likely possibility, but that’s all I want to say about it now. Just don’t be shocked if something should ever surface from his past. So tell me, how are you doing spiritually?
Him: These talks with you have really done a lot of good. I want you to know that. I think just being able to talk about it with someone who gets it helps tremendously.
Me: Are you going to church?
Him: I haven’t been back to my church since the last time we talked. It’s too hard for me to be there. But I do have a few good Christian friends on campus I hang with. I haven’t told them about my gay struggles, but they are still encouraging to be around.
Me: But no church?
Him: Not really. I know I need to go, but it’s hard to try another one after growing up in this one. I thought about coming to yours a couple of times, but it’s just hard for me.
Me: Well, you really need to go somewhere. And there are many people in my church who wouldn’t have any problem with you.
Him: Well, I’ll think about it. Man, time’s about up. I need to go. But I do want to talk some more.
Me: Hey, any time. But do seriously think about getting into a good church. You’re in danger going it alone.
Him: OK. I’ll do something about it. Take it easy.
Me: It’s never been easy. But we’ll talk again. Bye.