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Re: GLBTQ--Questions about "Questioning"

> Last June, I became a daily visitor to your website.  My reasons were
> twofold-it was an amazing wealth of information about the Episcopal Church
> and it provided me with a great deal of insight into the hearts and minds of
> those in our church with whom I disagree.  I discovered a man that was
> incredibly open, honest, and loving in his responses to those with whom he
> disagreed.  It is because of this that I felt I could write to you.  It is
> my great hope that you will not view my questions as an "attack" and that
> you will believe me when I say that I ask these questions because I truly
> don't understand.

Thank you for your interest, *******.

> If GLBT persons are "made that way" by God, how can an individual (usually a
> teenager) fall into a "questioning" category?  If your sexual orientation is
> set/determined by God-why don't you know it automatically?

I don't recall ever saying that GLBT person are "made that way" by
God.  I don't know anyone who knows enough to make that assertion with

Orientation as I understand it is a matter of 'involuntary'
attraction; so by that definition, orientation is not something one 
'chooses.' However, one has lots of other choices regarding involuntary
attraction:  for example, one of the marks of being a human being is
being able to choose to delay gratification.  One may also choose to
affirm orientation, deny orientation, sublimate it, repress it, act it
out in a loving and caring way, act it out destructively....

Most mature GLBT adults looking back over their maturation perceive
that we had little choice the gender of the persons who characteristically
attract us, but lots of choice in how we act, or don't act, on the 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has said that the
biblical writers conceived of all people as heterosexual in
orientation.  He thinks that the biblical proscriptions against
homosexual behavior refer to homosexual behavior by heterosexual
people -- people who choose to act against their natural desires.  He
says that the bible writers had no conception of a homosexual
orientation, nor had they even considered homosexuality in the context
of faithful, life commitments.

I'm still thinking about that position, and have not come to my own
conclusions about it.

> If a questioning teen experiments in both heterosexual acts and homosexual
> acts, why is the end result (an acknowledgment of a heterosexual orientation
> or a homosexual orientation) not a "decision/choice/preference" to be one or
> the other?

I believe that we should leave off prescriptions or judgments about
adolescents, but instead encourage for them the access to best
information available.  I believe that we should nurture them and
encourage to seek  wholeness -- the integration of sexuality,
spirituality, intellect, feeling.

I love what one male wag wrote several years ago:  "If my sexuality
had been shaped by my teachers, I would be a nun."

Someone who by orientation (i.e., involuntary attraction patterns over
a long period of time) is predominately of one orientation may choose
or decide to act in a pattern opposite to the orientation.
Prisoners sometimes do that, as do others isolated from the primary
objects of their affection.  As I understand it, they would be
choosing to act in a way that their body chemistry does not 'prefer.'

As I noted above, the Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested that the
decision one has is whether (and how!) to act within the pattern of 
involuntary desire one discovers in oneself, not a decision of what 
pattern involuntary desire one might force on oneself.

I have heard of almost no heterosexuals who say that they chose to be
heterosexual.  When I have asked heterosexuals whether they chose to
be attracted to members of the opposite sex, almost all have looked at
me as if I am some kind of fool even to ask.   Put more crudely,
people don't stand on the corner watching members of the opposite sex
and thinking, "Please turn me on."  It either happens or does not.  It
sometimes happens even when one would prefer that it didn't.

> Is it possible to "question" your orientation and get the answer
> wrong?

Yes.  It happens often, especially when the culture privileges one
answer more than another.

> How do you know when you've gotten the answer right?

That's a bit like asking, "How do you know when you are really grown
up?"  There are some good bits of evidence that can support a
conclusion that you have grown up:  you are able to take
responsibility for yourself; your emotions are in harmony with your
intellect and your spirituality; your are not 'stuck' but experience
freedom, and are comfortable with those who are not like yourself.
You do not demand validation by others because you experience your own
validation. ......

Those all fit a sense of being comfortable in your own skin in a
variety of ways, including sexuality and spirituality.

The bad news is that growing up has no fixed point of arrival.  It's a
matter of degree.  And perhaps we should pray that will will not fully
grow up until at last we are in the arms of Jesus.

> If God made you gay (or lesbian or bisexual) and you reject it, is that a
> sin?

As I said earlier, I don't know anyone who knows enough to say for
certain that God made one straight, or lesbian or .....   Much of life
is a holy mystery.   The best mystery for me is that God made us all
and loves us all and wants for us to experience wholeness.

The holiness of God's creation is the most compelling reason for us to
treat one another, and our own bodies, with immense respect.   Your
body, St. Paul reminds us, is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

I hope this is helpful.

May God bless you in your own journey toward wholeness.



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