Tuesday, June 18, 2019

How Can You Be a Christian If You're Gay? (Questions From a Reader)

Remember when you were back in grade school, and during recess the kids would pick their teammates for their dodgeball game? More and more of your peers were leaving your side because they were lucky enough to get picked. Your mind starts racing, thinking how nobody wants you on their team or that you're not good enough. The self-loathing thoughts start rushing through your mind, leaving you to feel nothing more than mediocre---you were one of those "last but not least" kids. With a lump in your throat, you did the walk of shame over to whichever team needed one more player. Even as you enjoyed the game, you still weren't giving it your all because let's face it, most of them didn't want you on their team.

Isn't this kind of similar to what we think about when we try to belong to a church? When I was younger, I attended Catholic school, or (CCD) so I can get my communion and confirmation. Most Italian Catholics did this, even if they were lukewarm in their walk with God. It was kind of like, "Well in case we die, we have this" kind of mindset. I was always uncomfortable when people would put these high expectations on me, and felt that God was going to do the same. "Religion" was just too hard. It was too much effort. I didn't know anything about having a relationship with Jesus---I just knew a bunch of stories that sounded so 'way out there' and how we were supposed to follow a bunch of rules and laws that I barely even understood at that age. And although I did believe in God and prayed to Him once in a while, it brought out feelings of guilt and shame all the time. When I went to church, I'd ask my mom while people were getting up to receive communion, "Should I go too? I didn't go to confession in a long time." She always let me go up, but in my heart, I felt that I wasn't worthy enough to receive communion. I felt like I literally stole bread from them, even though it tasted like dry cardboard. By eating the bread, I just wanted God to be apart of me. I've always longed for Him, but people kept putting this scary image in my mind---like God throwing me into a lake of fire if I didn't do my chores or if I fought with another classmate.

Planting the Seed

At the age of 23 is when I became born again. I attended one of those Assembly of God churches where did they did praise and worship, along with a "service" (not mass) that the pastor did for about an hour after the music and dancing. I welcomed Jesus into my heart and was never the same after that. I have never seen a church so happy before. It was a 'spirit-filled'' church as they call it. I learned about God's undeserving favor and grace. I learned that you could repent to God by yourself through prayer. I also learned that it's never too late to get baptized and that you can actually have an intimate relationship with God---not just a Sunday morning meetup with other people listening to some priest say the Lord's Prayer like a robot.

Where Do I Belong? 

Struggling through life as a Christian, there were conflicting thoughts of whether I was 'right with God' due to other Christians judging me. I soon left the church so I could study the Bible more and to study God to a degree I never knew was possible. I realized that "church" starts at home first. "Religious people" can sit in the front row pew every Sunday morning, yet when they come home, God is no longer in their lives. What I've learned through my journey of getting to know God more, was that you can have heaven on earth---you can talk to God anywhere, anytime. I made it a point to make what's called a "prayer closet." This means, you choose a particular room or spot in your home that's conducive to your prayer time. Keep in mind---prayer can be anywhere you want, even if it's all spoken in your mind. But the act of verbalizing prayer is much more effective and beneficial for us. Just as I find writing down scriptures to be more beneficial for memorizing them. Same concept.

The Bible Can Be Scary

If you're a new Christian, the Bible can be quite scary if you randomly open it up and point your finger down on a paragraph where God's destroying cities and blasting people out of this world. But if you read the story, absorb the meaning of what's going on, it'll become much clearer. Before you open up the Bible, place your hands on it and pray to God for understanding and discernment. Sometimes when I would open up the Bible, it was all Greek to me. I had no real understanding of it when I first started. And now? The scriptures are as clear as day. The Bible is alive! I know this is true, because many times, that bible has given me the answers to already spoken questions to God minutes afterwards. When you believe---that's when the magic happens. And as they say, even if your faith is as small as a mustard seed, you can move mountains.

Why Do So Many People Disagree With Some of the Bible? 

The Bible was written a very long time ago. It was written by man and inspired by God. Nothing should be added or taken away from it. So don't get discouraged when you hear that there are other 'books' or scrolls missing. During those times, it was customary to have servants (yes slaves) and although many people of today will shun the Bible due to that historical fact, it was quite different than what some of our ancestors have encountered. There are laws in the Bible that condemn certain foods and general everyday practices, but most of them do not apply to Christians. The Old Testament (most Jews rely on) will keep most of these laws, like not shaving their beards, eating crustaceans of the sea (shellfish), wearing two different fabrics or even sitting next to a woman who is menstruating. No tattoos or marking of the skin, no pork, no consuming blood from an animal or mixing beef with milk (kosher laws.)
Although the Old Testament is important for everyone to read---we have to remember that when Christ came to die for us, the old law was abolished for the gentiles. Jesus came to fulfill the law by dying on the cross for us. For it says, "'So we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be accepted by God because of our faith in Christ--and not because we have obeyed the lawFor no one will ever be saved by obeying the law." --Galatians 2:16


"For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die." --Galatians 2:15-21

What Does This Mean For Christians? We Can Sin? 

Yes and no. God gave us free will, right? But the question should be: what are the specific laws for Christians? For instance, The Ten Commandments are still applicable. When you have the Holy Spirit inside of you, it's by no effort of your own that you become right with God. It takes time, and little by little, you'll see that you're less interested in things that were not really good for you. As the Bible even states, the more you try to keep the law, the more you learn that you can never "earn" God's approval. It's not by good deeds that you go to heaven, it's by faith alone. However, faith without works is dead. So if you truly do not accept the Holy Spirit, then they'll know you by your fruits. So if a healthy tree provides good fruit, you know it's good. But if the tree's roots are rotted, it can't produce much of anything. The most important commandment in the Bible for ALL of us, is this:

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself."---Luke 10:27

Aren't You Gay Though? Isn't That A Sin? 

I am a person who is in a same-sex marriage with my partner of 25 years, who also happens to love God just as much as I do. Homosexuality listed in the Bible first started in the Old Testament with Leviticus. It says,

"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination." Chapter 18 verse 22.

"If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them." Chapter 20 verse 13.

I'll point out a couple of things here: first, this is being taken out of Leviticus, laws which only apply to Jews. Secondly, it speaks of only a man with a man---if you read it over, "to lie with a male as with a woman," ---this was an act of promiscuity and uncleanliness, due to the man's genitals being defiled, and then entering his wife afterwards.

In the New Testament, when they do speak about homosexuality, it's about sexual immorality and promiscuity.

There is a specific progression that leads to this “orgy” of anger. First, men “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (v. 18). Then they exchanged “the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (v. 25). Next, “God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity” (v. 24). They “exchanged the natural [sexual] function for that which is unnatural (v. 26). Therefore, the wrath of God rightly falls on them (v. 18); they are without excuse (v. 20).

In layman's terms, it's essentially stating that these people put "idols" before God---not to be confused with worshipping other gods, but to put their lusts and desires before the Lord. I mean, if you really wanna get silly with this, even watching too much TV or going on social media too much is an "idol." If it takes more time than your time with God, then it can become an idol.

In Romans, they were having orgies---having sex with anyone, whether it be male or female. This was "lust"---not love. This was promiscuity and reckless sex---not two people uniting as one who love one another. These scriptures were taken out of context and used as a way to condemn those who were gay or lesbian. In Sodom and Gomorrah, the story is solely about rape and humiliation. The men came to Lot's door and asked for his sons---not his daughters, in a way to rape and humiliate them. This had absolutely nothing to do with being in a same sex relationship or marriage. This had everything to do with unnatural ways to humiliate somebody for punishment.

What Does Homosexuality Really Mean Then? 

The origins of the word "homosexuality" doesn't necessarily mean same gender sex. The passage in the ancient Hebrew is clearly talking about male-male sex acts, specifically anal sex. The issue was penetrating an anus with a penis, this making the penis literally “unclean” to the point of forbidding entry into a vagina. (Thank you Pastor Nick for showing me this, and God rest your soul. RIP buddy.)


I'm OK With Who I Am and Who I Am In the Eyes of God

To conclude, my faith and relationship with God is the most important aspect of my life. I believe in Him so much, that it's just become my knowledge. It's more of a 'I know that I know that I know' type of faith. Through deep prayer, meditation and through studying the Bible, I realized how easy it is for many of us to read one thing, yet it mean another to somebody else. I also believe that the Bible speaks to all of us in such individualistic ways. I've been told that I "cherry pick" my scriptures, or that I twist the scriptures to suit my own needs. Not at all. I read what's there, I pray about it -- (prayed about it for years upon years) and I receive revelation and truth. God knows our hearts. If what you do in life goes against God and you have the Holy Spirit inside of you---you will no longer desire those things. My life has changed so much after I gave my life to Christ. I know that I'm in right standing with Him, because I don't feel the guilt or shame---things that the devil would like you to feel. I'm not perfect, I even curse here 'n there and sometimes I make mistakes. God loves us and all of our imperfections. The most important thing to remember is where your heart is. Pray without ceasing and when you feel unsure about anything, ask God---talk to Him about it. You'd be surprised by how He answers you. I'm living proof.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Conspiracy Theories, Beliefs & Facts

Whenever I touch upon "conspiracy theories," I always let people know that I also dabble in these ideas as well. Many have prove...