I have a public service announcement for all the celigaybies* out there:
I suspect that at least some of my readers wrestle with how to keep their families and manage those family members’ expectations of them. I suspect also that there are many for whom the reasons they choose celibacy are cloudy sometimes. I resonate with that very deeply; I’m simply trying to turn on some fans to disperse the smoke so that others might see clearly.
If you are gay & celibate because you think it’ll earn you enough brownie points to keep a relationship with your blood relatives, I can tell you first-hand that it doesn’t work that way all the time. It hasn’t preserved my relationship with one member of my family. Nothing I do, save for engaging in utter self-loathing, would likely satisfy this person.
My decision to remain chaste outside of heterosexual marriage revolves around what I read Scripture to say regarding the nature of sexual relationships and their relationship to marriage. Ultimately, this decision has to be mine, made with an understanding of what God expects (viz, sex is out of place unless one is married). To some folks, however, nothing will ever be enough.
For those who think that shame is a grace (and my family member may or may not actually go that far, in fairness to them), holiness is found when one sees one as a low-down dirty sinner. There are at least two things wrong with this approach: first, by virtue of my baptism (my being united to Christ by faith, if baptism stuff weirds you out), I am not only a sinner and having that sort of view of oneself isn’t only psychologically harmful, it’s untrue to what God’s word says about me as a Christian. Second, Christ has removed my shame. He clothes me in His righteousness which is the appropriate covering for that shame. Shame is not a grace; shame is, instead, something that Jesus died to take from us.
*Celigaybies: I’m writing to celibate gay folks who are perhaps young in their being ‘out’ or who are in the early-ish stages of considering the broader implications for the intersection of their faith and sexuality.