INFLATING A GAY BALLOON
(This is Part I of a three part series addressing the question, “Why do I talk about homosexuality so much?”)
My first response to the question of “why I talk about this issue so much” has to do with a simple matter of physics. If you bottle something up for long enough, and it builds and builds with no release valve, the moment you open the valve there’s going to be a significant release of that built up pressure.
Like blowing up a balloon, you fill and fill and blow with air, inflating the balloon to massive proportions. Three possible end scenarios await you: either you keep blowing and it explodes, or you tie it off and it maintains, or you let go of the valve and the balloon flutters and sputters through the room as all the air is released.
Well, the issue of homosexuality has been blowing air in to my theological balloon for many years now. But I have been pastoring in a context where there was no release valve for the things I was thinking through, wrestling with, and discovering. I had no space to let that air out, but the journey Christ was taking me on continued to inflate the balloon anyways. My only option was to find a way to tie it off and keep the air trapped.
So I carried this balloon around for years.
Occasionally adding more air IN, but never letting any air OUT.
That all changed back in September of 2011 when the leadership at my church discovered I even HAD a gay balloon! When they learned what was inside that balloon, well, as you know by now, I was fired. Meaning, I no longer had to keep the balloon tied up.
Thankfully it never exploded, but boy was it getting full!
However, once I was freed from the anti-gay-balloon faith community I had been serving for 5 years, I slowly untied the knot at the end of my balloon. And, as physics would have it, the built-up air immediately started pouring out.
So why do I talk about this issue so much?
Because I haven’t been in a safe environment to do so until fairly recently. It is only natural, then, that things that have been floating around in my heart and head for years, and are now finally able to be expressed, would logically take up a good portion of the hot air streaming from my mouth (or, flowing through my fingers, if you will).
To not expect that this would happen is to not fully understand my history. And most of you don’t fully know my history, and that’s okay. But now maybe you can appreciate the very practical reason why I talk about these issues so much.
Because of the gay balloon.
STAR WARS LEGOS
Have you ever been passionate about something?
Passion is what happens when you have that emotive force that compels you towards something. You have very strong feelings about something. You have a lively eagerness and intense interest. Passion moves you, it shakes you. It can wreck you and save you all at once.
Sometimes it’s a physical passion. For instance, you can be passionate towards your spouse, partner, significant other. You dream about them, long for them, want to be with and around them.
Other times it can be non-physical passions. George Bernard Shaw declares these the mightiest of all, superior to physical passion: intellectual passion, mathematical passion, passion for discovery and exploration.
Or, it can be Star Wars Legos.
My eldest son, Zeke, is obsessed with Star Wars Legos.
The Playstation video game.
The actual Lego figures and sets.
But most of all, he is obssessed with a Star Wars Lego Book. For within the pages of this book one can discover every single Star Wars Lego set ever created. What year it came out. What film it goes with. How many pieces it is made up of. The size and scale of it. The backstory of the character or vehicle or environment. It is the end-all be-all for all things Star Wars Legos.
And Zeke, one might say, has discovered a PASSION.
Well guess what… so have I.
As it turns out, once the air started being let out of the balloon, I quickly discovered that I am passionate (or, it’s probably more accurate to say, God placed this passion in me) about the following things:
- Understanding the Bible as it relates to homosexuality
- Exploring how the church has treated the LGBTQ community
- Learning what it even means to be gay
- Standing in solidarity with those who have been marginalized, ostracized, demonized, and many other “ized”
- Speaking in to the lives of LGBTQ Christians and affirming them that they are loved, wanted, accepted and valued. That not all Christians think alike.
- Discovering the vast complexities of the “Gay Agenda,” and how society is currently trying to navigate through Equal Rights issues.
When you are passionate about something you tend to invest energies in TO that something. Perhaps you even redirect energies that were flowing in to other things in your life. That’s what passion does. It drives. Consumes. Compels. Energizes. Excites.
We all are passionate about something. Many of us are passionate about many things. And throughout life our passions change, evolve, disappear and emerge.
Zeke reads all sorts of books, all the time.
But his go-to book right now? Star Wars Legos.
Zeke used to be passionate about other things (Thomas the Train, Cars, drawing monsters, etc), and certainly in life he’ll develop other passions.
But right now, it’s Star Wars Legos.
I have many different passions in life. And like all people, during some seasons I am more passionate about one thing than I am others (you would have loved my years of being passionate about all things Lord of the Rings. It was awesome.)
During this season of my life I have found myself following these passions, and trying to be faithful to what I believe Jesus has been placing on my heart and in my mind.
So I’ll start off by saying: Why am I so focused on this issue?
Quite simply because practically speaking I haven’t been able to. So now that I can, well, I have a lot to say! And also because I’ve discovered it’s a passion that God has placed in my heart. And what we are passionate about is generally what we talk about, think about, read about, and write about.
But what about Jesus?
Part II will address the question, “why focus on homosexuality? Why not just focus on Jesus?”
What about you? Have you ever NOT talked about something for a long period of time and then discovered that once you finally did or could that that was ALL you talked about? Or, what is it that YOU are passionate about right now? If you have a blog (or could start a blog) what would the majority of your posts be about?