Dialogue With A Pastor’s ‘Gay’ Son – #11: Idealism And Realism

(This is the 11th 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 as usual after the opening chit-chat.)

Me: So what’s up?

Him: Well, I read that last entry on your blog of the conversation you had with your friend Andrew. I remember talking to him on the phone a while back and was really impressed by his testimony. So this latest talk you had with him was kind of a shocker. I just had a lot of questions and also wondered how you were doing. You must really be grieved over this.

Me: Thanks for your concern. Yes, my heart is sad and heavy over him. I knew there were problems for a while but didn’t say anything. I was hoping he would get things resolved and nothing would ever have to be known about them. Things really fell apart fast. I kind of wonder if there’s more that went on than he’s telling, but I only know what he admits to.

Him: He’s not going back to the gay life, is he?

Me: I don’t know. I think it’s a very real danger. I hope not.

Him: I have no idea what it must be like for guys like you and him. I mean, my own struggles with just the same-sex attraction and desire I have is hard enough. I don’t know how I could handle it if I had actually lived a life engaging in frequent gay sex like you guys did. It’s one thing to have desires for something, but it’s quite another to have done it and know what it’s like.

Me: Very true. And he hasn’t really been away from it all that long, so the intensity of the temptation to go back is likely pretty strong. Add to that the problems he was having in his marriage, and it’s a recipe for trouble.

Him: That’s one thing I wanted to ask you about. I read in that dialogue that he said you had told him not to get married, but he did anyway. So I was wondering — do you think guys with same-sex attraction shouldn’t get married? Is that what you tell them?

Me: Oh, no. Not categorically anyway. Opposite-sex marriage is certainly a viable option for same-sex attracted people. You read the article I sent you about gay people who have had successful marriages. Most of them had a lot of difficulties, but they still made their marriage work. What I told Andrew last year was that he was moving awfully fast into marriage and counselled him to slow it down. As a newly converted promiscuous homosexual, I knew from personal experience that he would have to work through some things before complicating his life with marriage.

Him: Looks like you turned out to be right.

Me: Unfortunately, it seems that way. But he was motivated by the zeal young converts often have that is not grounded in realism. There’s this idealistic sense that ‘God can enable me to do anything’ and to plunge ahead rather recklessly into the Christian life. It’s usually more of a daring attitude than it is trust in God. Yes, God can do anything, but we can’t presume that we know exactly what that is going to be. We need to learn to wait on God and get grounded in scripture before making momentous decisions — like getting married. That’s hard enough for heteros, let alone complicating it with homoeroticism.

Him: I’ve never had any desire for females. I don’t think I could ever get married.

Me: God can enable former gay guys to fall in love with and have sexual attraction for a specific woman. I don’t think he necessarily does that for every converted gay person. And remaining sin usually guarantees an ongoing battle with same-sex attraction even for those who do get married. And that’s what Andrew is dealing with right now. I think from talking to him that he became disillusioned because he had an illusion of what the Christian life was going to be like, and it didn’t turn out that way.

Him: But God can use even something as bad as this to work good in him. Can’t He?

Me: Oh, of course. Sometimes when things seem hopeless, that’s when God does something spectacular. Maybe He will here.

Him: I wish He would do something spectacular in my life.

Me: He has. He saved you from the coming wrath and gave you His Spirit.

Him: Yes, I know. And I’m very thankful for that. But I wish He would take away what you call my gay self-awareness.

Me: What if He doesn’t?

Him: Why wouldn’t He?

Me: I don’t know. But don’t forget that Paul prayed three times that God would take something away from him, and He didn’t. He answered his prayed by telling Paul that he would have to keep that thing and find His grace sufficient in living with it.

Him: Hmmm. That’s a whole different perspective. I can’t say I like it, but it is biblical. And you’re an example of that.

Me: Oh, not so much. I’ve been close to where Andrew is now, so I’m not such a good example.

Him: I mean that God’s grace can help us overcome sinful tendencies — like guy attraction — even if He doesn’t take them away completely.

Me: Well, that I won’t argue with. His grace can do wonders even when we want something completely different. And with that I need to hang up. Work is calling.

Him: OK. Until next time.

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