In Which I Totally Let Go of a Deep-Seated Fear

So my last day in Boston was one I spent largely on my own, walking around and seeing things I wanted to catch before I went back to Charlotte. Examples of this might be a unique store or the inside of the public library at Copley Square. At Copley Square there was a farmer’s market going on and as I went over to check it out after seeing the library a man came up to me and put his hand out to shake it. I took his hand in your basic handshake, curious about what he was going to say.

“I’m HIV-positive,” he said. That’s not quite what I expected, and I thought it was kind of funny he told me that after my hand had touched his. “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” I said. I mean, what are you supposed to say to that? He then told me he was doing an AIDS benefit walk and wanted to know if I could help sponsor him. I told him I’d like to and began to look at the sheet he had, and gave him some of the money I had on me. He then gave me a hug and said “I’m HIV-positive, you know, my partner used to be with a guy who used needles, so I got it from that, you know, I’m gay.” Again, all I could really think to say was that I was sorry he had HIV. He then said “I’m gay, I hope you don’t mind, I hope that’s okay.” And without even thinking about it, out of my mouth came “Absolutely, man, it’s fine, of course it’s okay.” We talked for a few more seconds and then he said “God Bless,” and I said “Good luck with the benefit,” and then did the sort of handshake-hug thing and walked away.

And I realized later that day that all this sort of fear and prejudice I had from the teaching I had as a kid is completely gone now. Not that meeting this guy got rid of it, although it was unique and, for a second, a little scary when I found out I was shaking hands with an HIV-positive person, but meeting this guy showed me that I didn’t have this fear and prejudice anymore.

Growing up I’d heard, like every kid growing up in a conservative Christian home, school, and church, that homosexuality was wrong and was a perversion. As I got older I began to think that maybe it wasn’t so terrible, but still not right. Then I began to think that maybe people are predisposed one way or another, but it’s still their choice to make. Then, it was “maybe they were born this way, but they don’t have to live this way, because it’s still not right.” That thinking began to change during college as I came to understand more about God and creation and love, and especially changed quite a bit when one of my best friends from school came out. I began to realize that while cultural influences may affect people’s sexual preference, it’s an almost totally proven scientific fact that people are born predisposed to being hetero- or homosexual. And if I believe that God is the creator and sustainer of all things, and that He creates us in His image, and that He is love and wants us to love Him and others, then how can I think of part of His creation as wrong? If I believe that everything God does is good, if in fact He is the definition of good, and at the same time I believe that it’s been shown that homosexuality is something people might be born into, and God breathes life into us before we are even born, then how can I condemn homosexuality? It’s like condemning a part of God’s creation.

So that’s been my view on the issue, getting stronger and stronger for the last year or so, and on Tuesday it all came to a head as I automatically said, without thinking, “Sure, it’s okay.” And I really meant it. And it was beautiful and good, just like all those things that come from God.

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10 thoughts on “In Which I Totally Let Go of a Deep-Seated Fear

  1. Fred says:

    I suspect the man did what he did to try and provoke a reaction, but you did the right thing.
    I believe that homosexual behavior is sinful, just as is any sexual behavior outside of marriage. I do not believe that it is any more of a sin than anything else, or that homosexuals are people that we should attack or condemn. Because all people are created in God’s image they are worthy of respect.

    While God’s creation is good, it is also bent and broken because of sin. While we may have a proclivity toward certain actions and feelings, those actions or feelings are not necessarily good. A person with a genetic disposition toward alcoholism still needs to avoid alcohol; a person with a bent toward little children still is responsible for staying away from them. A genetic disposition toward something doesn’t mean that it is the way God intended it to be. It’s part of “creation groaning” waiting for the time when the King will make all things right.

    It is good to remember that we are to treat everyone with respect and love and remember that we too are in need of God’s grace.

  2. josh says:

    i understand the view that homosexual sin is wrong in light of the view that extramarital sex is wrong, i can see how one necessitates the other. but being homosexual doesn’t necessarily mean you have sex, just like being straight doesn’t necessarily mean that either.

    and it didn’t seem like he was trying to provoke a reaction, he seemed like a very genuine guy.

  3. Fred says:

    Right, that’s why I said I believe homosexual behavior is sinful. A person can be predisposed toward the same sex yet be celibate, just as a straight person can remain celibate.

    The reason I thought he was trying to provoke a reaction was that he kept mentioning that he was HIV positive. Maybe he was just shocked because your reaction was a bit out of the ordinary.

  4. josh says:

    if we’re going with the celibacy issue, does that leave room for someone to be in a homosexual dating relationship? and if states pass laws allowing for homosexual marriage, does that then change the view, since it’s within marriage?

    and it seemed to me like he was telling me he was HIV-positive because he was doing an AIDS benefit walk. Maybe he was looking for a reaction, I don’t know. I’m glad to have met him though.

  5. Fred says:

    I’m not quite sure on the dating or marriage issue. Marriage today seems to be nothing more than a legal, contractual thing, even among Christians. It is far from what God intended. I believe God intended for marriage to be between a man and a woman, but I’m still thinking through the whole civil partnership thing.

  6. josh says:

    yeah, i think marriage these days is more a government thing than a sacred thing too, which is why i’m in support of allowing homosexuals to marry and then let the individual churches determine what to do on that.

  7. Fred says:

    As long as the government lets individual churches have the freedom to decide not to marry homosexual couples. I think that in some countries that would be considered a crime.

  8. josh says:

    well, i think churches will always have the freedom to marry or not marry couples, either hetero- or homosexual. churches now can decline to marry people if they want to.

  9. Dan says:

    Dude, good read. I’m proud of you. It’s weird because I followed the same path, except that I just had a first person point of view. I went from thinking I’m awful and going to hell, to I’m just supposed to be celibate, to realizing how absurd a lot of those feelings were. So it’s an interesting journey.

    Have you seen previews for Milk? They made me cry. I’m a total fag.

  10. josh says:

    I have seen the previews for milk and am pretty excited about seeing it. i think it’s a really interesting story, no matter my feelings about homosexuality. just the politician/murder/activism story interests me.

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