April 8, 2010

Reaching Out

2010 1511 page24 capome people say I’m an impossibility. Some don’t believe that a close connection with God is enough to keep me from what has always felt natural to me.
I believe I was born gay. Is that possible? To scientists and biologists it’s still an unanswered question. But ask a few thousand gay people that question, and you will be held captive with countless convincing stories.
My natural mother was very outspoken during her pregnancy, declaring that she would give birth only to a girl, scoffing at the suggestion that she might end up with a boy. Upon my arrival her disappointment was obvious to everyone, and there were no requests for the nurses to bring me to her arms to cradle with love and affection. Before I was 2, she had broken my arm in two places on separate occasions. My father was a career Air Force man and rarely home, so he was unable to witness the anger and abuse of my mother. But one day he was forced to confront her about my arm injuries. She told him I had bursitis, and he knew then that he had to get me out of there.
An aunt and uncle offered to adopt me—and ever since that time I’ve called them my parents. The effects of my biological mother’s hate, however, were still with me. Before I was 3, I ran around the house screaming, “I don’t want to be a boy. I want to be a girl!” I didn’t emulate traits of masculinity, so I was easily poised as an embarrassment to my adopted brother, which generated ridicule and constant discord.
2010 1511 page24 linkAs I grew older teasing and harassment were nearly everyday occurrences. Once, a classmate was mistaken for me and beaten up by insensitive school bullies. I hated school. I thought of it as a living hell—one that even some of my teachers participated in creating. There were times I would come home, go into the bathroom, lock the doors, and while crying punch myself in front of the mirror. I would angrily say that I should never have been born and ask why God put me here. The anguish of my childhood rarely left me alone.
Concerned, my father and sympathetic friends tried to interest me in sports or cars, but these boring “guy things” held no appeal for me. I wanted to be involved with interior design and flower arranging. They were the only pastimes that brought me any sense of escape. I was a social mishap, but somehow I survived.
During one particular phase of my childhood, I believed that I had finally been accepted as just another one of the guys. For a split second, I thought I was normal, but the brief contentment quickly ended. These guys suddenly had girlfriends, developed normal relationships, and got married. It was very confusing and puzzling to me.
I thought I was stuck in some process—like a needle skipping on an old scratched record. I was sure that any day I was going to wake up and fall in love with just the right girl and everything would automatically fall into place. But my feelings didn’t change; they only grew stronger toward same-sex attraction. I tried to circumvent the whole thing by forcing myself to have a girlfriend now and then, but the effort always proved futile. I felt like I was forced to accept my bondage to same-sex attraction. The key word here is “felt.” If we live by our feelings alone, we are sure to find ourselves in a heap of trouble, no matter what orientation we have.
Searching for Answers
My parents searched for direction; I searched for answers. The harsh and tragic reality, however, was that the church offered little advice, other than to “stop sinning.” Waiting in the wings were the open and seemingly loving arms of the gay community with all the “right” answers. No judgments, no bullies—just people lovingly willing to accept me for who I was. Something was very wrong with this picture. How could the love of God I was supposed to be experiencing in the church be more evident among people living a lifestyle I was continually cautioned about? The reflection of God’s truth and love carried out by His children, the church family, was obscure and without answers. The only fact clear to me was that I must be one of those people who were going to be caught up in the “worst of sins.” The “unforgivable sin.” This particular type of sinner has frequently been made to feel unwelcome in God’s house of worship.
There are many like me who are growing up loving Jesus, but wondering what has gone horribly wrong. To many, it’s a painful realization to consider how little is written in God’s Word regarding homosexuality. But there is no more or less than what God intended. I believe that our loving God would not leave a single soul trapped or stranded on the devil’s playground without a way of escape and the ability to become more Christlike.
God’s Deliverance
Today I can say with certainty that God delivers, but it took many years for me to recognize that. During that time I caved in to my natural tendencies, living an active gay lifestyle.
One Saturday morning after wandering down Satan’s road of deception for nearly 40 years, I sat in front of my computer, considering many of the “meaning of life” questions I’d had as a kid. Searching the Web using the words “gay” and “Adventist,” I was led to a Web site of an Adventist woman named Inge Anderson. For years she has shared God’s love with His children who are same-sex attracted.
2010 1511 page24As I read through Inge’s site, I found God’s love. Strangely, I didn’t feel condemned. I felt convicted by the Holy Spirit to deny my selfish desires and inclinations, and to find refuge, hope, and forgiveness in Jesus. I found that truth is exactly as God states. Kneeling in shame over my self-absorbed past, I confessed my sins, sought forgiveness, and submitted my life and will to Him. Shortly after this I visited a nearby Adventist church. The roof didn’t cave in, and after a few months of personal devotion, I declared my life for Christ and was rebaptized.
The solemn realization after all these years was that I had sought my own desires instead of following God’s direction. I discovered an important truth: it’s not about homosexuality or heterosexuality—it’s about sexual purity. It’s about continuously abiding in Christ and becoming like Him. The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality; it’s holiness. Romans 6:19 says: “Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.” And verse 22 says: “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”
Psychological treatment, immersion, and reparative therapy are not the cure. The solution is in sustaining an honorable and committed relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the solution for all Christ’s followers. Too many of us are still reaching for the remote control instead of the Bible.
Victory in Relationship
Strength in overcoming sin is certain through personal devotion, prayer, continually abiding in Christ, and submitting our will to His. This sounds like a simple solution, but I’ve found that it’s not very effective just to have prayer before starting the day and again before crawling into bed at night. A committed relationship is successful only when I spend quality time with my Master and Savior. I’m not safe for one moment without Christ.
By having this kind of relationship with Jesus, I have found that although sin has marred me, I can have victory in not succumbing to evil desires. It’s possible to accept who I am and still live a life of sexual purity.
First Corinthians 6:9-11 says: “Neither the sexually immoral nor . . . adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders . . . will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were.”
Overcoming the “Fear Factor”
Church members can no longer afford to be ignorant and distance themselves from the reality that God loves and offers salvation to every sinner. The church’s “fear factor” must be overcome. God is calling His leaders and members to embrace the sinner, offering hope and salvation through Jesus. God can and will reach same-sex attracted individuals, rescuing them from sinful sex practices.
It’s important that we study God’s Word together in search of truth. Otherwise, rampant and unbiblical interpretations end up shaping people’s lives. In the church’s unpreparedness, well-meaning groups with a distorted theology and a gay agenda, such as Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, capture unsuspecting individuals with a lure of sympathy and pity. Sadly, groups such as these seem to have an agenda of pressing for equal gay rights and justification rather than accurately interpreting God’s Holy Word.
An upcoming documentary film, Seventh-Gay Adventists, is currently in the making. Its focus is on Adventist homosexuals who have felt jilted and unwelcome in the Adventist Church. To date (it is currently in production), it appears that only one side of the story will be told, without offering representation of Christian same-sex attracted individuals pursuing a pure lifestyle.
Many Christian same-sex attracted individuals take their temptations and attractions to the Lord continuously. These dedicated souls choose to abide in Jesus, resist temptation, and live according to God’s Word.
Surprisingly, many seem to be under the assumption that when same-sex attracted people are baptized, they go under the water gay and come out straight. While God is capable of any miracle He wishes to perform, He does not always remove every likelihood of temptation.
When a same-sex attracted person is converted, the gay community often sees the Christian as a traitor, and the converted soul is sometimes shushed and neglected by the church body. Imagine the loneliness and despair this person experiences again. When this happens, Satan has us in a “catch-22” setup for discouragement, and some return to the lifestyle from which they were just rescued.
A Call to Self-denial
Jesus calls everyone to self-denial. The road for the single heterosexual is no different from that of a same-sex attracted individual. Each of us is called to celibacy unless God leads us to that very special person of the opposite sex. Temptation may be as enticing as the shiny fruit was to Eve, but we don’t need or require it. We may want it, but we’ve been warned and are directed to obedience instead of worshipping self.
As it is with all controversial topic discussions, we must be grounded in knowing the truth Jesus gave us to live by. God’s Word does not need to be rewritten, and the church’s manual and guidelines for the church body should remain intact.
Many people struggle with this life issue, but if we prayerfully seek God’s counsel in His Word and lovingly reflect His love to all sinners, we can break the silence, bridge the gap, and welcome them into a loving, supportive community in which they can experience the freedom that only Jesus gives. 

Blakely is happy to communicate directly wth readers. To contact him, email [email protected].

Blakely Wayne cropWayne Blakely, an account executive for an Ophthamology practice in Oregon, lives in Vancouver, Washington. Blakely was a speaker at the marriage, homosexuality and the church conference held at Andrews University October 15,-17, 2009.  To read the Adventist Review news report click here.  This article was published April 15, 2010.