Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When A Christian Comes Out Of The Closet

This is probably old news to a lot of you in the Christian community (well, those who know all the latest on the CCM scene anyway), but I just learned yesterday that on September 12th Ray Boltz publicly announced he was gay. Yes, as in a homosexual. According to the article published by the Washington Blade, he had been living a lie for 30 years. Boltz has several well known songs to his credit, many of which are tear jerkers about life and faith.

Read the article, it is well written. Before I took my counseling degree I sadly would not have had very much compassion for someone like Boltz, but I do now. Who (or what) you are attracted to sexually is not just a choice and for someone who is a Christian this makes homosexual ideation that much more difficult to deal with. Though I fully agree with the Bible that homosexual behavior is a sin I can also have some compassion for those who it is a constant temptation. Just like I can have compassion for alcholics, gossips, slanderers, spouse abusers, liars, angry people and gluttons. As I mentioned before in my post on reparative therapy, once a sexual preference is burned into one's brain it is extremely difficult to change.

The difficult thing is what to do when a Christian announces they are gay. How should one react? How should we treat them? The tension between not condoning sin yet loving the sinner is enormous. It seems to me that most people choose one of the polar opposites; condemnation or ignoring the sin problem. What is an appropriate Christian response? I'd be interested in hearing others thoughts/feelings on the matter . . .

9 comments:

Mark said...

What, no comments on this one? I'm shocked. Is this one to scary to venture an opinion on?

Anonymous said...

I remember singing a Ray Boltz song in church for special number. I almost feel betrayed by Mr. Boltz. I guess the question is whether he is now a practicing homosexual or has just admitted that it is something he has always struggled with.
-Eric

Anonymous said...

OK i guess i should have read the article before i commented. I guess he is a practicing homosexual. His comment "This is the way God made me" at the end of the article is a little weak; God made alcoholics and gamblers too, it doesn't mean that those things are right for them to do.
-Eric

Aneta said...

I had to think about how to reply to this. It's so easy to be repulsed and disappointed and feel offended.
Yes, I really loved Ray Boltz' music way back when. It's a sad story, really, for a number of reasons. Struggling with homosexuality and never feeling free to share his struggles for all those years; I mean, really, how would it have been received? How is it received NOW in church circles? It's often joked about, even among Christians. How would a Christian who is struggling with homosexuality feel about that?
Secondly, to break up a good marriage (by his own admission) of 33 years. Maybe this struggle was his burden to bear and work through, just as we all have challenges to deal with in our lives. It's sad that he believed the lie that ending the marriage and living the homesexual lifestyle was the only way he could be 'real'. I feel for his wife and his kids.
I wished he could have found (or chosen to seek out?) the help he really needed to live 'free', but at some point, he choose to live the lifestyle.
This is an important topic. How many of us know someone who is struggling with this issue? There are no easy answers, and I'm pretty sure avoiding or shunning the person is the wrong approach.

Anonymous said...

There is enough hate in this world without us adding to it... God is the only one who can judge and will He love us less for loving our brother? I realize that I am not as versed as others on what the religious aspect says on the subject, but I do believe my opening statement that there is an abundance of hate and ill will in this world and if it can be helped, we should make every effort no to add to it (contrary to what some think my beliefs are after a hard day at the "office")

Lynne

Mark said...

Agreed. In the past, homosexuality was such a "terrible" and secret sin that when it was discovered, hate and condemnation were almost inevitable. Today I think most Christians (though not all) are a little more compassionate. Many are in a quandry; they believe what the Bible says about homosexuality but they don't know what to do when family or friends struggle or embrace it. When it really gets tricky is when someone says they are gay and the are a Christian. How do you stand up for what you believe is true and yet keep the relationship open so that you can be salt and light? That is hard work and I wonder if most Christ-followers are courageous enough to go there?

Lindsay said...

I have friends in my life who I love dearly who wear both gay and Christian labels. I'm at a place where I believe that their lifestyles are their business - a matter between them and God - and my only job or responsibility is to love them.

Whether that's 'right' or not in a larger sense, I don't know. It's what feels right to me. I keep on going back to the whole 'remove the splinter from your own eye' concept, and God's teaching that 'the greatest of these is love.' I'm gloriously imperfect, just in more secret or socially acceptable ways.

Anonymous said...

What I find interesting is that if Mr. Boltz had come out and admitted to being an alcoholic, something that actually puts others in danger, there would probably be less of a reaction.

It seems to me that homosexuality is regarded as this uber-sin and it's more socially acceptable, within the church and without, than alcoholism or drug use.

Anonymous said...

That last statement should read "It seems to me that homosexuality is regarded as this uber-sin and it's more socially acceptable, within the church and without, to be an alcoholic or drug user."