In a GOP event, Kevin Swanson proposed we ought to receive a view of the Bible that calls for the death of homosexuals. This “Christian” pastor clearly does not understand what the sacrifice of Christ is all about and his hateful rhetoric needs to be denounced. I’m not a political person (as you guys probably know by now), but a person does not have to be political to stand up against hate. It’s time that the church starts speaking against these false teachers. It’s long past due. Feel free to check out my video entitled “Death To The Gays: Kevin Swanson and a sick proposal“
According to a study conducted by the Williams Institute of Law at UCLA, 3.5% of the adult population in the United States is comprised of Lesbian, gay, or bisexual people. In other words, about 9 million Americans identify as LGBT.
Nevertheless, within the nucleus of these people there is a major discord when it comes to religion. In fact, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 48% of LGBT members surveyed stated that they had no religion (this is more than double the percentage of the general public that says the same thing).
On the flip side, 51% of those surveyed stated that they did have religion with 17% claiming religion to be “very important” in their lives. This would be encouraging news for the exception that a third of those who said they were religious also claimed that there was “a conflict between their religious beliefs and their sexual orientation or gender identity.” Of course, this is really not all that surprising since the majority of the general public (74 % white evangelical protestants and 55 % of all U.S. adults with a religious affiliation) believe that “homosexuality conflicts with their religious beliefs”.
So why is this important?
Why does this matter?
For someone who is straight, this may not seem all that important. It’s difficult to pay attention to the sinful or otherwise strange behavior of a group of people who seem to only identify themselves via their sexual orientation. For someone who is straight, it may seem like a trivial thing for a group of people to be demonized, ostracized, or otherwise debased in the face of humanity while they stubbornly hold on to their erroneous view of a sexually charged lifestyle.
But for those who grow up without a choice in the matter it’s a completely different story. Those who in the early years of their lives find themselves attracted to the same sex will face discriminations, abuse, alienation, shame, and ridicule for the rest of their lives. Sadly, this is a fate that will not change for them as readily as a simple action of “repentance” or “sanctification”. No, these people are born into something they will forever struggle with (even those who claim to be “ex-gays”). For this group of people, a life of pain, stress, unfulfillment, and utter confusion is what awaits them. A life, that lead many to the ultimate cry: Self extermination. In fact, numerous studies show that the suicide rate amongst LGBT members is considerably higher when compared to the rest of the population. According to the U.S. government report entitled “Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Youth Suicide” found that LGBT youths are four times more likely to attempt suicide.
It’s obvious that a large group of people are hurting and hurting badly. Nevertheless, the group that claims to have the answer, the hope, the way, or whatever else religious people claim to have, are the very ones that are causing the hurt to begin with. I know because I have been both the victim and the victimizer in this scenario. For 18 years I have had a “conflict of religion” with homosexuality. A struggle with something that I had been aware of since the age of 7. I came to know bible versus and prayers designed to help me deal with my struggle and before I even fully realized, I had associated something I could not change with something God wanted to change. Within my 18 years of faith so far I have been zealous for God and angry at God; loving life and, sadly, hating life (to the point where I too considered ending it).
This is a question i’ve asked myself many times. Why? Why me? What did I do? I didn’t ask for this, and quite frankly who would? But at the end of the day, here I am. I have not changed, and as I grow older the foolishness of attempting such change is overwhelmingly obvious, especially after this year.
And so, here I am. It’s time to get a few things straight with you people out there who keep claiming that homosexuality is a sin. Over the course of these few posts, I will share with you what has changed in the way I see homosexuality in the bible and why it’s so crucial for me to share it with you.
This isn’t about justifying my “sinful” lifestyle (though I know some of you will think so). This is about giving hope to those who have none. This is about revealing beauty where the church only sees death. This is about the truth setting you free, as opposed to binding you with the yolk of religiosity.
Won’t you come and take this journey with me? I want you to know what I know, and I want you to share it with those who are seeking God but feel as if God hates them. He doesn’t.
So tune in next week, as I start the discussion of “What does the Bible REALLY say about homosexuality”.
What happens when you live for 32 years and you start to get glimpses that you were so wrong? What happens when you stand on a platform that somehow has lost its footing? You realize how much a fall can hurt. You realize how much you can hurt.
I have struggled with myself since I was seven. I was mocked by many for being different, never given a chance to be free; or me. Few people stopped to encourage me. Even fewer showed me genuine love. Thank God for the few that did. Yet through all the mocking and the put downs, I stood.
I grew up to be a young man; idealistic in many ways but hopeful in all of them. It was here that I met the best person in my life. Ironically; I could not and still can’t hear Him. Yet there’s plenty of evidence to tell me that He’s real.
So I continue on this little stroll through a gamut of 17 years. Some of which were defined by moments which if described would make for a good late night movie (really late). Yet, some moments were awesome, like the clear orange light of a bright day after a storm. Through it all, I struggled with me.
Many times, I wanted so much to reach out and say “I need help” and sometimes I even did. But as fate would have it. You realize, you are pretty much alone. Now, I’m in my 30’s feeling as if I have missed something somewhere.
I think I missed the mark of my life. And now I want to aim straighter but I don’t even know how to use a bow. And what’s worst, I have no one to show me. Thank God for YouTube.
I think what it all boils down is simple (yet something I have much to learn off). Many people hurt because they don’t understand this; the deep pain of walking through a life, alone, constantly being accused of being evil, of being cursed. They don’t understand that hopelessness of coming to the realization that you can never love nor be loved like “normal” people. But even fewer will ever understand the sheer hopelessness of being hated by all.
On one camp you have the ones who hate you for your affections and on the other camp you have those who hate you for your love. You try to make sense of it all, but you end up being even more confused. Why isn’t this simple? Why can’t this be a black and white issue as well?
Why do I have these affections, and why don’t I love the person I see in the mirror? Why can’t anyone tell me if that person is worth anything? And why can’t I be given the opportunity to walk through these questions with someone?
But I’m a man now. Though, these questions are still there, I don’t have the luxury to entertain them. No, I must go. I must trust the fact that Someone knows what He has planned for me. I must also trust the fact that He does love me. I can’t let the ignorance of those who profess to be victims hold me. In truth, they will never love me. Yet on the other hand, I can’t let the dogmatic nature of those who profess righteousness, bind my questioning, wandering, highly inquisitive mind.
I walk my own path, dealing with the burden of two worlds. I walk my own path and that is who I am.
I’m seriously tired of trying. Seriously, tired of trying. No more on my end. No more.
There are seasons where you feel as if your struggles are so insignificant that for a minute, you forget you even have them. And yet there are seasons where this monster is all you see in front of you.
The season I am currently going through is definitely the second. But in many ways, this season has hit me harder than any other struggling season I have ever faced. It literally feels as if I am barely holding on to a lifeline with a unraveling sewing string as the lifeline.
I really don’t know how much more I can take. It’s like wave after wave of wall shattering waves keeps crashing into an already compromised construction. To be real frank, this is mainly about my homosexual struggle. But it’s not about having sex with men. I don’t know if I can adequately describe this feeling. But I am honestly almost besides myself. What do I want I keep asking myself.
What do i really want?
Well I know what I don’t want. I don’t want sex with a guy. I guess what I want is hope. Sometimes I wake up in the mornings and I just wish there was someone next to me, in my bed. But it’s not about the sex. It just isn’t. I mean common? Who doesn’t like a good cuddle? And why is it that all my male friendships have to be so…awkward. I have to be careful not to fall for my guy friends and be careful about…well, everything?
I look ahead and frankly, I can’t help but to cry.
You know, someone who struggles with a sex addiction, has the hope to find a true mate, live with them via holy matrimony and be under God
‘S graces. Me on the other hand (and those in my shoes) can’t. It’s not like I could ever live with a guy in that fashion and to make matters worse I am not remotely even attracted to women. (Sorry ladies). I mean, not attracted romantically. But I still want to be loved. I want to be someone’s world and someone be my world. I used to have that. Loved him dearly. He was my world and I was his…a world I have up to follow God. Am I bitter? Heck I don’t know. I just don’t know. But it’s just not fair. I guess life is not fair. I have to get used to hugging my pillow at night. And living life knowing, that I will never have someone who’s waking thought is how much they love me.
They say that people need 12 hugs a day for growth….well, growth seems to be far in the book of my existence. Oh God tell me I’m not bitter. Please tell me I’m not bitter. But I can’t help to notice all the other heterosexual guys wrestling, jesting, being comfortable around each other. Probably because try don’t have to worry about doing something wrong. I can’t help but to be envious.
Ait, so what to do from here. Self pity is not becoming for anyone and this state is plain pathetic. I could die tomorrow for all I know…so what do I do right now. Right now.
I don’t want to end up alone. But all the signs points to that inevitable event. The day where all my friends will be married, and I will be In a room by myself realizing, there’s no one to share or that I have shared a life with.
It’s easy to get into the mindset of perfection especially when you are a Christian. I mean we serve a perfect Father, why wouldn’t we have to be perfect right? On top of that, doesn’t the bible say we have to be perfect? (Matthew 5:48 by the way) and wasn’t Jesus perfect when He came to earth and we are to follow in His footsteps? I’m being rhetorical here but you can see how easy it is to start to believe perfection is our immediate goal. The problem with this scenario of perfection is the point when you realize that you are not perfect. You know, that point when you realize that after so many times of trying so hard to be good and not to fall, you fall anyways. It’s that moment when you are afraid to pray and ask for forgiveness because you have prayed that same prayer more than 70×7. What do you then?
It’s not easy when you are used to riding the spiritual highs and end up in a spiritual low, especially when you know you could have done something otherwise that would have kept you from going into the spiritual low to begin with. Indeed, this is where I found myself these past few weeks. It’s nice when you are at a spiritual point that you feel as if an atomic bomb could go off and you would remain unscathed. It’s awesome to look back and see how well you have progressed and how clean you have remained from the chains of the sins you are so used to battling with. Nevertheless, there are those times, when it feels as if all that is needed is a slight puff from the wind to send you rolling into 500 feet of murk and grime. There are those times when stumbling becomes almost second nature….Stumbling? More like hopelessly falling and breaking all your bones while heading down a 90 degree precipice of endless jagged rocks. What do you do then? Have you failed? Is the Lord disappointed?
I catch myself thinking these thought, feeling as if I am somehow the biggest failure ever. Saying things like “I know better”, or “I thought I was over this” only to be confronted with the harsh and Oh so painful reality that my sin is staring at my face once again. It’s enough to make someone (that being me) question their salvation, their standing with God, their hope for the future. If I’m honest (which I am) I have to say that these are things that I have been battling with; that is the anger and frustration of just utter failure…at least in my eyes. It makes matter worse when you grow in leaps and bounds to that point; that singular point, where you keep thinking “it’s done” or “it’s beaten” but the fact is, it’s not quite beaten yet. Better said, the manifestation of the defeat is not fully visible yet.
Nevertheless, this is why right now I rejoice. I rejoice because I have a savior. I rejoice because on the cross 2000 years ago He saw me as I am right now; and still died. I rejoice because I have a Savior who understands me, who was tempted just like I and even though He did not sin, He knows what I am going through. I have a Savior who desires for me to be free from my sin. But when the waves start to drown me; He is quick to extend His hand. That’s just it; I have a Savior. That’s all I have and really that’s all I need. I just wish it did not take 500 feet of murk and grime to see that. Nevertheless, I find that God is not good at math, because He keeps forgiving me…and I know is way past 70×7.
Recently, I had the great pleasure to meet up with good friends of mine (one of which I had not see. In eight years… EIGHT! I digress) over a short layover trip in Orlando Florida. Among all the subjects touched upon during our conversations, the issue of homosexuality came up. It was a short conversation but it brought to light a very interesting point concerning the issue. The issue being: we make much to do about nothing.
We would be hard pressed to find Jesus giving a lecture about any specific sin in scripture. But he often gave lectures about loving God, having faith, and following Him. And even when people where brought to Him who where caught “in the very act” of sinning. He merely said “go And sin no more”….done, no more lecture, not “our laws says this or that”. And you know what? These people, whom Jesus loved, did not preach down on, and merely stated the obvious, followed Him and lived a life for Him. Jesus didn’t have to sermonize them to death. He however did sermonize the Pharisees.
What brought me to Jesus after a period of complete rebellion, wasn’t people preaching to me about how wrong and evil homosexuality was. Many tried though, to which I simply erected my walls and drew closer to that what was comfortable to me, a life away from anything religious. But The Lord was at work in my life through moments of clarity, epiphanies, reflections, and spoken words (different than preached at word). In fact, the straw that broke my back was a simple question posed in a somewhat casual conversation. “Who is Jesus to Juan”.
So what’s my point? My point is that we as believer lack faith and have this whole evangelism thing backwards. We raise our pitchforks in the name of righteousness, vehemently denouncing the evils of sin while striping away the main ingredient to any change; love. We forget that God called us to proclaim salvation and to be lights on a city on a hill and to let our good works shine. But instead we try to force good works on others while proclaiming to be Christians. In other words, how can we ask someone to be Christ like when they may not have Christ. And if they do have Christ, why are we so faith deficient to realize that it is Christ in them that deals with their sins. Isn’t it the Holy Spirit that leads me to repentance? Or wait, is that only applicable in my life, but I have to somehow make other people repent by preaching at them? And where does prayer fall into all of this?
My standing in Christ is not because of any persuasion from church leadership or righteous Christians. My standing in Christ is because of the work He has done. That’s why when other Christians behave contrary to their professed faith or even leaders for that matter, I am unshaken.
The true work or redemption and sanctification is done by Christ. If Christ be lifted He will draw man unto himself. HE does it, not us. We need to lift up Christ and cease condemnation. We need to let the power of the Holy Spirit do His work.
So how does this apply to homosexuality? Understand first and foremost that love is the answer. Period. Cliche? Maybe, but true. I really could care less about what anybody knows, until I know that they care. This is especially true for gay people. We forget that they have had to deal with tons of abuse and discrimination. Fake love is not enough, not even “religiousy” love. The only Love that sets people free is Christ’s love. This goes for anyone really but especially for gay people.
Everyone has a decision to make. Why do we focus so much on the dos and do nots as opposed to our relationship with Christ is beyond me. It’s like approaching someone who doesn’t know Christ and saying to them, “are you clean? You must be clean first before I tell you about Christ”. What foolishness! Did not Christ himself say that we have to clean the inside of a cup first? And how does anyone clean the inside first. By trying really hard? Really!!? No, we don’t try, God changes us. For in Christ we are a new creation. IN CHRIST! Not in acting really good.
I don’t think the church body has taken hold of this yet. We may say we are saved by grace but we don’t live like it. And we don’t see people who need Christ through the lens of Grace but rather through the lens of the law. We see their sin and not the person.
This post is in the context of homosexuality but it really applies to everything. I am recently getting acquainted with the meaning of “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ”. Because for most of my Christian life I have been fed the lie, “you have to work hard enough”. The truth is, all the work that needed to be done, has been done. Once and for all. And the Spirit in me works for His good pleasure. I find that my desires and interest have changed. Not because I forced them to. They just have.
Let the Spirit do its work. Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit and let God be God.
I was chatting with a friend of mine (whose name I wont release cuz I don’t have permission) and the subject of homosexuality came up (figures). To make a long story short we came upon the whole subject of who I was going to be dating now, women or men? And I think God showed me something that I think I should share. Not because I need to air out my dirty laundry but because I think that is something that can benefit anyone and everyone.
When God called me back from 7 years of rebellion, there was something he impressed upon me. That fact that I am His. I was bought with a price the scripture says. Therefore, I no longer am anything but His. And that is more than sufficient. So, when I decided to turn away from the homosexuality, I decided to live for Him. So the question arises, am I going to date women now? am I going to marry?. I honestly don’t think so because I’m still not attracted to women in that way. God hasn’t as of yet given me a desire for a female friend in an amorous way therefore i doubt greatly marriage is an option for me. I probably wont ever marry, needless to say I wont have children, but the fact of the matter is that when God called me, he did not call me to be “straight” He called me to be His. SO whether I am attracted to women or not, I am totally God’s. Hard thing for some people to swallow, I know. But the truth is I am totally content with that. There is a scripture that says that heaven is not about marrying and being given into marriage. Mind you, that this part in scripture does not talk about marriage specifically, its in a totally different context. HOWEVER! it gives us a glimpse as to what happens in heaven, and if heaven is not about marriage and being given into marriage, then why is it so important here? I don’t have to procreate. In fact, its probably better if i spare someone the baggage of the many scars I obtained from living recklessly. But one thing is true and will always be true. God called me to be His. And only His. For He is a jealous God the scripture says. How awesome to be jealoused over by someone who is so much more than I could ever hope to be. Who sees me with nothing but Love and who corrects not to harm me but because he cares too much not too.
Now, how in the world does this apply to you. Well, my struggle is homosexuality, but that’s my struggle, your struggle could be something completely different, IE. porn, drugs, lying, gossiping, you name it. Giving this up will leave a whole that must be met. The world will say, you must not give it up because whats gonna fill it? But God says “Give it up and I will fill it for YOU are MINE” That is of course if you are truly His. For not everyone that calls him Lord is truly His.
SO for us, His Children, we know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. We can wake up every morning and look at the mirror and know that what we see is nothing compared to what God sees and we are His. We can face our trials and our falls with hope, for we know WE are HIS.
Someone said, your God is a crutch. and I say, YUP! A Mighty big one, and I lean on it with all I have for I am but a maned, handicapped, traveler, who was bought with too great of a price to ever pay it back.
- For Those Who Struggle with Homosexuality, and for the Ones Who Hate Them (juancastillojr.wordpress.com)
Lately, an event has been popping in my head. This happened quite some time ago. I used to work at a Christian book store. This particular evening, I was working in the music department when a gentleman came in. Immediately I could tell the gentleman was extremely flamboyant and so could everyone else in the store. He wore bright colored clothes and had long reddish hair. Nevertheless, the gentleman (whom I shall call Larry) was polite, very cheerful and talked to all the workers. Talking to him was as if talking to someone whom you haven’t seen in a long time and recently got re-acquainted even though you’ve actually never met the guy.
As he proceeded to listen to music in my department, I noticed another gentleman (Whom I shall call Bob) walk up to him and start a conversation with him. At first I payed no attention, he was so outgoing that who wouldn’t want to talk to Larry. I went to the back to grab some items to restock the floor, when I came back I noticed that Larry and Bob where still talking, but cheer was gone from Larry’s face. Instead, a face of pain replaced the once so bright of a smile. Before I could step up to find out what was going on Larry said in a loud voice, “I gave up my boyfriend to follow Christ, what have you given up!” and with that, stormed out of the store. It took me a minute to realize what had just happened, but by then it was too late. Larry was out the store, God only knows what damage Bob had done. I felt like grabbing Bob’s neck and wringing it off! But that would not make matters any better. That has stayed with me for over ten years now. Its a stark reality of what we deal with. Bob was wrong! God is seeking people just like Larry to wrap His arms around them and instill in them the Love that they so seek. Its hard for someone who is straight to understand how much a human being can long to be loved by another human being of the same sex. Larry that day showed a true heart for God. Willing to give up that which I am sure he loved so much to follow someone who he could not see, but im sure felt. He accomplished what few people could scarcely understand. For someone who is straight, giving up a wrong relationship (sex wise) is hard, but they still have hope of finding the right girl and eventually marrying. For gay men, that’s not always the case. As an ex gay (and someone who was partnered) I can attest to the fact that for us, giving up our relationship IS everything, since afterwards we have no hope for another “redeemed” relationship since most of us are not attracted to women and yet a sexual relationship with a man is biblically wrong. Can God give us the desire for women? God can do anything. But He doesnt always give us a desire for women Nevertheless, here is Bob, a straight man, probably struggling with similar issues but having a self righteous chip on his shoulder coming to someone like Larry and destroying his new found faith. The scriptures warns us about this, it says: “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Mathew 18:6.
As someone who knows about the struggle of homosexuality and the desires thereof let me warn you my brothers and sisters. Be true to the truth of the scriptures but lavish your actions with love for God says that even if you speak with the tongues of angels and have not love your actions are obnoxious (1 Corinthians 13:1). Oh Church, dont you know that you are the body of Christ? Through you, the Lord extends His love to those whom the world could care less about!
And for those of you who are reading this and struggle with this issue, make no mistake, the world does not care about you, and sad but true some churches dont either, but the truth is the the Lord God, He cares. And if you would just turn to Him. give Him your life without holding anything back. Trust Him, seek Him. The Lord will restore, He will fill that whole that no matter how many partners or tricks or flings you have, can never be filled (btw, before someone shoots me a nasty message. Im not saying that all gay men are “whores”). Dont let the foolish words of some of God’s people and some who pretend to be God’s people deter you from who the Lord truly is. His love for you is so astounding! If only you would let Him give it to you. The gay world is quick to say that God hates you and pervert the truth with a lie. But the truth is God HATES your sin, because He ADORES you. And He knows the wicked, plans and desire that the world has for you, and its not for good. But this is what the Lord says to those whom are His” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11, and else where he says” For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” Psalm 84:11. We can walk blameless because of Christ, not because of our righteousness I admonish you as someone who knows, turn from that world and rest in the Love of Christ. And for those who are of the Body but have the notion that God for whatever reasons hates gays? I admonish you to read and to study the scriptures more carefully. I also remind you that God’s strictest and more vehement scoldings where not for those who where “sinners” but for the “teachers of the laws” “for scribes” “for pharisees” . Repent and start loving those who are desperately seeking the Love of Christ but are bound to try and find this love in the skewed love of men. And if you still cant bring yourself to loving someone whom God obviously Loves, than may I suggest you keep silent for their sake and also for ours.
With much love,
Juan Castillo Jr.
The stillness is near me as the music plays
Loud bumping in the ecstatic night
I’m touched as the dancers come in and out
Shrilled the heart fights
Hiding in places that all see
Wanting for you to look at me
The game begins, we’ll see who wins
The dancers dance and I undress
Garment laid upon my belt reveals my chest
My body moves, I join the dance
In hopes that you complete my stance
And fall into schematic chance
My passion drips upon the floor
Selfish eyes wanting to break through me
You sit across my shore
And in this game it seems your winning
The night is young
Time has not retired
I may end up on top of your fire
You make your move and rise to meet me
Your eyes vain with illusion, promise of height
I cant help but loose, remorseful of this fight
My garments cant hide me
Nor walls protect me.
The mind is lost and the heart is deceived as I follow
The night’s labor comes to fruition in an instant
and for that second I see, the whole event leaves me shallow
I’m tempted to start it all again
as I have done all these nights with different fighters
Whom posses that same hollow promise
and at the end leave, spoiling my stash
breaking the walls
My battle was lost before I even begun.
I see Lord, and I’m coming back.
Juan Castillo Jr.