Love and Respect

Every now and then, I have a recurring dream. It’s not a very holy dream, but I dream it nonetheless. In it, the Colombian singer Juanes appears at my door, shirtless and on his eleventh beer. He confesses that he came across my writings and, through them, has developed a man-crush on me.& nbsp; Me… a 42 year-old, minivan-driving, dreamboat of an office manager from New Jersey. He then authoritatively grunts “I must have you, Robert”, journeys his hand to the back of my neck, and, with confident ownership, pulls me in closer to kiss me. It is always at this point where I awaken, with an unresolved outcome.

Because this dream never plays beyond his mouth coming to within a few millimeters of mine, I often speculate how, in real life, I would respond to this absolutely wonderful stroke of good fortune…I mean grueling test of faith. I have come up with three possible scenarios and cannot, in all truth, tell you which one would play out. It would all depend on the state of my spiritual health at the moment the doorbell rings.

Scenario #1: I boldly turn my lips away from his, genteelly close the door, calmly call my accountability partner to report the temptation, virtuously pick up my Bible, and then peacefully enter into an intimate session of thanksgiving, knowing that I had once again put on the full armor of God and resisted sin.

Scenario #2: Upon opening the door, I become stupefied by raw lust. Unable to pull myself together, I just stand there useless, with my shoulders arched forward, my tongue rolled out and a retarded gaze on my face, looking like a lobotomy patient, 12 hours post-operative. I then quiver a little, drool a lot, and break out in a horrible and spreading nervous rash. Juanes notices the rash, chivalrously hands me a napkin for the drool issue, loses interest in me, turns away and goes home, knowing in his heart that he will never again touch alcohol.

Scenario #3: I yank him into the house, draw the curtains, and make him forget he’s straight.

When I bring up “the Juanes dream” to friends, they typically mumble “whatever” to Scenario #1, nod in unanimous agreement at Scenario # 2, and, with eyebrows raised, smirk and say they wouldn’t put Scenario #3 past me. Who needs friends anyway?

So, why do I…why do WE…continue on this road less traveled if we are still very much homosexually attracted? Why aren’t we out picketing for gay rights and social reforms?

While I was attending the 2008 Exodus International Freedom Conference in North Carolina, I got a better feeling for why we, the “whacked out, repressed, and intellectually-unsophisticated men and women of the so-called ‘Christian ex-gay’ movement do it.

At the conference, there were about a dozen homosexual protesters picketing alongside the conference center’s main gate. They were waving banners stating “Supporting My Queer Community” “Hate is not a Family Value” and “Happy to be Gay”. They did a lot of smiling and waving at passing cars. Whenever someone honked a horn or waved back at them, they cheered, and seemed to count that as a form of positive feedback from the community.

Inside the conference center were more homosexuals. They had only one banner… it mentioned freedom. They had some smiles, sang a lot of songs to God, and whenever they sensed that the Holy Spirit had accepted their invitation to dwell among them, they would cheer and seem to count that awareness of “presence” as a form of positive feedback from their Creator.

Both the homosexuals outside and the homosexuals inside seemed at peace with their lifestyle choices and both seemed to know that God, their Creator, loved them enough to send His only Son to die for them.

So why were we, the homosexuals inside, all gathered there that week? If God loves the homosexuals outside as much as he loves the homosexuals inside, what was it that we felt differentiated us in our Creator’s eyes?

In 2007, my friend Kevin left the homosexuals inside to join the homosexuals outside. He now feels that the Bible contains many social prejudices, misinterpretations and cannot be trusted when it speaks on homosexuality. He rationalizes that “it’s all so iffy” and that he will just have to rely on God’s grace, just like any other sinner. Kevin and I now “agree to disagree”.

One morning at the Conference, I decided to play hooky. I took my writing pad and sat down in a wooded lot between the homosexuals outside and the homosexuals inside. I wanted to observe both groups as an impartial outsider, hoping to gain more insight into Kevin and myself, and ultimately figure out what my own reason was for choosing to be one of the homosexuals inside. (I sat there for over 6 hours and observed both groups privately without drawing any attention to myself, until a spider the size of a Kennedy half dollar with hairy legs boarded my open-toe sandal and made me scream in a voice that would have made Mariah Carey sound like a tenor).

As concerned individuals from both groups approached the woods, looking for what they must have surely believed to be an eleven year-old girl being assaulted, I sneaked back to my dorm room and reflected on what I had witnessed.

I noted that the homosexuals outside were about “coming out” and celebrating “who they are”, while the homosexuals inside were about “opting out” and celebrating who God is.

With their picket signs and chants of “the Bible has been misinterpreted”, “justice and respect for all” and “I’m gay and God loves me”, the homosexuals outside were stating “God, I know that You love me, but I cannot see why gay sex is a sin, so if I am wrong, let grace abound”.

The homosexuals inside also seemed very aware that God loves them, but were offering up a different response to that love. The homosexuals inside were stating “God, because you love me, if there exists even the remote possibility that homosexual acts are disrespectful to You, then I choose to opt out. Period.”

By surrendering their free-will right to homosexual relationships, the homosexuals inside were, I believe, demonstrating something called respect.

Respect. When God whispers “I love you”, it whispers “I love You” back.