Thursday, February 17, 2011

an e-mail from Brandon, and my reply

Wow, this is exhausting.  I've said the same things over and over, and here is the latest effort from a guy named Brandon, who wrote to me.  My reply to him follows, but I simply don't have the time or energy to dialogue with him. 

From: brandon

Date: Friday, February 11, 2011, 8:31 PM

Hello Carol,

My name is Brandon ********, I live in **************** and now
serve as a pastor at a little church.

I can't shake the burden I have for your husband.  I'm sure
you've gotten many letters that may be similar to this, however
I am sharing this with you in love.

My heart breaks for you first of all and your family.
My dad left my mom after being married 23 years,  it was
the hardest thing I ever went through in my life.  As an
8th grader to hear my mom lay her head on her pillow at night.
Many times I was the one who went in to try to console her.

I Know you must have dealt with some of that in the last 5 years,
have you not?

I was preparing a message for valentines day and considered singing
with my wife the song.  Let's begin again.

And then all the thoughts about Ray started burdening me again.

I would like to start a dialogue with you , if you would be willing
to talk between you and I.

I really have a burden that Ray has believed a lie from the father of lies.  How could it ever be God's will for Him to leave his wife and family and embrace and now endorse a lifestyle that is clearly frowned upon in scripture.

As you know, we live in a culture that wants to excuse sin as a disease or even a genetic inhereted state of being.

So let's follow that reasoning.  Let's say I've wrestled with pornography and know it's a sin to look at another woman lustfully,
instead of doing what scripture says and putting to death the misdeeds of my body, I begin to entertain the idea that pornography is ok, all of the men's magazines say it's ok, the culture says it's okay, and my lustful sinful heart says it's ok,  then I begin to believe the lie that it's okay, and instead of fight the good fight, I say, Oh I shouldn't fight this, I feel so inclined to it and it feels so natural and good, I begin to believe satan's lie that adultery (looking at a woman to lust after her is okay.  And instead of repenting and conforming myself to God's word, I begin to conform God's word to my own sinful desires.

I'm afraid that's what Ray has done.  He has believed a lie from satan, designed to render him ineffective and ruin his ministry to the Christian church.

And if you are okay now with His lifestyle, you also have believed the lie.

Are you okay with his lifestyle?  do you see it as sin or a state he just had to yield to.

The Bible says homosexuals and any unrepentant sinner, will not inherit the kingdom of God, does that trouble you.   

7 Therefore, it is already a total defeat for you that you have lawsuits against one another. Why not rather put up with injustice? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you act unjustly and cheat—and this to brothers! 9 Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: no sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, 10 thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom. 11 Some of you were like this; but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor 6:7-11 (HCSB)

I struggle with sinful lustful thoughts sometimes,  but that doesn't mean that I should yield to them and just admit that I have a drawing to these things, so I am coming out as a sinner and it's okay now, everyone says it's ok.  What a lie.

My heart breaks for you and Ray and your family.  I would be willing to fast and pray for Ray, that God may grant Him a repentant heart.

What are your thoughts on these matters?

Seeking His Face,

and my reply...

Hi Brandon,

Thanks for writing a kindhearted e-mail.  Yes, I've received many like yours, and I can tell you mean no disrespect.  Perhaps because you didn't hear from me right away you assumed I was avoiding you.  That wasn't it, but rather because I was out of town visiting a new grandbaby.  Your e-mail just was WAY down the list and I just now have seen it. 

I've heard your comparison of being gay to all kinds of sins, and I don't consider it a fair comparison.  I rather see sexual orientation as one of many characteristics that make up one's being.  These are characteristics that one doesn't decide upon - much like the color of one's eyes, or whether you are right- or left-handed. 

It is up to each person to determine how he or she will live one's life, that being with or without integrity.  Ray has always lived with integrity, except he hid from me his true sexual orientation for the first 30+ years of my knowing him.  He tried to be someone that nearly killed him, and I know he is now honest, both with himself and with me. 

People such as yourself think you have an answer, but you do not.  I don't say that flippantly or without thoughtful consideration.  It's not what you assume in comparing sexual orientation to lust or porn - although both straight and gay men use this for their own desires. 

I'm pretty sure you present as a straight male, and I assume that you have sexual relations with a wife of your choice.  Great for you. I won't even venture a guess on whether or not you were both virgins when you married.  Perhaps (or perhaps not) you were married prior to your existing marriage.  One way or the other, you have loved and had relations with a woman.  But can you tell me this?  Just when did you decide to be attracted to girls?  

Not one thing of what I think will probably change your mind.  I can guarantee you that Ray fasted over this, and his simple prayer every day of his life was that his orientation would change.  He did not live a gay life, nor did he get seduced by porn.  That was not our life.  It was not a change that overcame him, or a lie that took over.  It was that he could no longer live a lie, and that he had to come clean with the truth: he is gay. 

I don't wish to speak for only Ray.  I speak for hundreds for whom I've heard their stories.  And if God condemns these folks for being who they ARE, then I don't intend to hear from the ones who won't listen to the very people who have already prayed, fasted and bruised their knees begging God to change something that is inherent.  Considering this, I don't think we have a discussion. 

I respectfully decline your wish for further correspondence.

Carol B.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Your spouse just came out as gay . Now what do you do?

Getting asked "I'm married and I'm gay.  What should I do?" or, "My husband is gay...What should I do?" are two of the hardest questions I am asked.  Sometimes it's a married and closeted gay man, and sometimes it's from a wife who is straight, newly learning her husband is gay.  I've met wonderful people on both sides of this question, and I'm not convinced there is only one right answer. 

Multiple books are devoted to how others have solved their questions. (see insert below)  Counselors address authentic living and self-acceptance.  Fundamentalists insist that there ARE "no homosexuals, only heterosexuals - with issues."  (my own punctuation for emphasis).  Bloggers share their viewpoints and offer free advice.  Needless to say, I cannot answer for anyone else besides myself, but I've tried to share my heartfelt emotions (on MY blog) as I've adjusted to the fact that I loved and married a gay man.   So far, I don't have a book to sell.  I only have my life and my opinions, and even those are subject to change.   

When I'm asked that desperate question of "...what should I DO?" - I wonder how my answer will affect people.  I've discovered that others will come to different conclusions than me.  I've talked to couples who recognize that one partner is gay and they want to work things out and stay together monogamously.  Others decide to open their marriage - and yes, some can do that and deal with the emotions that come with new definitions of marriage.  Still others divorce, whether it's with contempt of with ongoing friendship.  The choices are all new when a couple examines the value of staying together versus separating.

One thing that I believe is that once there is loss of trust in the relationship, re-establishing that trust is going to take time and effort.  It may be that being gay was hidden from an unknowing spouse.   It can extend to horrible unfaithfulness (and the lies that go with it) that break down the framework of married life.  No matter where it is lost, trusting one another again is critical to go forward.  And whether it's trusting a partner enough to honestly "come out" or proving trust is there enough to raise young children together - whatever the situation - deciding what to do is going to take all the "good emotions" that you might not know you had:  love, patience, trust, acceptance, honesty, generosity.  And that's just the short list, and it goes for both partners.

So far, I've been one of the lucky ones.  I've come through divorce with my own home, grown kids, and the ability to choose whether to go back to work.  Some women have young kids, or never have the chance to have kids.  Some wives lose their home, and others have to find ways to support themselves from the ground up.  Sure, there is a lot that I miss.  On the other hand, I don't have to cook or clean after anyone but myself.  I come and go as I please, and I never argue with myself over money!  (keep it positive!)  Yes, I've lost a lot, but I've discovered a lot of self-confidence.  My shaken faith is re-building.  I've learned to accept others without judging (on-going effort), and I have some true friends that I can't do without.  Through this all, I still have my best friend.

So, really, What to DO when one spouse is gay, remains something only you can answer.  My advice?  Be honest.  Live with authenticity.  Decide how you want to live, and what is most important.  Finally, let the good emotions prevail.