Whether we’ve had anything to do with putting them there or not doesn’t really matter; many feel like they are being kept outside by the church, and sadly, these are people who desperately want – and need — to come in.
Marti reveals a counseling relationship with Tim, a homosexual, who has struggled all his life against the confines of mainstream evangelicalism, which, in his opinion, is a human structure which captures everything in the universe into a finely woven net. Many we have counseled, like Tim, have broken themselves time and time again trying to get into that net — trying everything under the sun, including traveling thousands of miles to meet the big names of the inner healing movement.
Now, most are encamped more or less permanently outside the door, just over the rise.
They, like many of the single mothers Marti knows, do not have the respect of those on the inside. What they have wanted all their lives is for someone on the inside to engage with their questions seriously enough to help them to find real answers, even if those answers are replete with more questions, as long as there was some way for their lives and processes to fit into the Biblical model. After several decades, most stop; postponing all further questions along these lines to the afterlife. They avoid the Bible, as it only breaks their hearts. Some have trouble even praying.
“Our Bible partakes of language, thus of cultural information-carriers;” says Tim, “meaning it only works in the structured imaginations of members of the great heterosexual creation. If you are to any extent an outsider to this creation, the Bible, as it is taught in the evangelical system, is a revolving door: welcoming you in, and batting you back out on your bottom. A few turns at this and one sits down a while to consider, in a comfortable spot, where childhood hopes and dreams can be comforted, as needed, with a nice cup of tea.”
I think the chief desire in anyone’s life is to be allowed into the temple, to sit at God’s feet and gaze upon His glory — to come home to the church. Many gays we counsel have hearts, in many cases, that reach out to the church, over and over again. They exchange strong words with God on the church’s behalf. They try to become some kind of contributor like you and me. But there is this fundamental difficulty; they end up preaching an anti-gospel, because that is, in the end, what they have received for now. This ends up with a longing they have learned to keep in a cupboard, locked. We must respect this and be very gentle if we ever ask to see the key.
It is harder by far to describe where a gay person’s faith, hope and love do lie, if they do not rest comfortably on the Bible. Still, it’s amazing that they are there, and that is all Tim can say about it.
“In Marti-land, there are these great gulfs which can, and must, be flown across,” says Tim, “and I am flying as your wing man. Don’t forget that I am there.”