Sunday, 28 December 2014

A brief review of 2014

It has been quite a year for anyone who's got an eye on all things LGBT in sunny Singapore. It started at the beginning of the year with the Health Promotion Board's FAQ on sexuality, followed by the wear white movement (to protest against Pink Dot) initiated by a Muslim and supported by Pastor Lawrence Khong of FCBC. Check out the sea of white in the auditorium they were in. Then came the National Library Board's saga over 3 books that they banned that had the whole nation talking.

I guess all these events could have been used as conversation starters and must have also provided much food for thought. Many articles and blog posts have been written both for and against these issues raised. But what's been ignored has probably got to be the closeted gay Christian found among various sanctuaries in this country.

How has this minority of minorities been supported this year? Could there be an FCBC member silently struggling with his or her sexuality but unable to express their thoughts in this militant atmosphere? Has the need to be right usurped the call of Jesus to love your neighbour as yourself?

Still, not all hope is lost. There has been at least one pastor from Grace Assembly who tackled this issue one Sunday morning. It was the middle of the year and he opened his sermon by pointing out how some people wore pink and others white. That must have captured the attention of many as the congregation waited in rapt silence. He then read a letter of a gay Christian from his church and declared that the church would be exploring how to provide support groups to these people in the near future. "That's progress," I thought.

Well, as the year closes, I would pray for Christians to be more understanding and seek to be better educated on all things LGBT. "All things work together for the good to those who love God", and with that, I hope that all these events would work together to create more loving Christians in 2015.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

X-dot (X-Men & Pink Dot)

I finally caught the latest X-Men movie, Days of Future Past, last Saturday. It was brilliant. I thought I'd blog about both the movie and the Pink Dot event because I felt like they were pretty related.

In X-Men, one line that stuck in my head was this:

"People are often afraid of the things they do not know."

I reckon that many in white that 28 June 2014 probably fall into that category. Of course, this is largely an assumption on my part but a valid assumption nonetheless. They probably (I'm assuming again) don't have a gay friend, or if they do, they probably don't have quality conversations with him/her. If they did, they'd probably realise that the average gay person doesn't have a "homosexual agenda". He or she just wants to love and be loved. That's it. That's all.

Yes, there are activists with an agenda, but they are few and far between. In any case, the government has indicated that it will not shift in its stance until the majority do, so repealing 377A is out of the question. Why are you so worried my friend? And even if it is repealed, how will it affect the basic family unit? I could go on on how there are a multitude of family structures out there, single parent, grandparent only, etc, but the arguments are out there and you can read it.

But what I want to talk about is this: How will wearing white in protest reflect Jesus whom we are following?

Jesus is the man who ate with the tax collectors and prostitutes while the Pharisees looked on in contempt. Jesus is the man who talked to the woman at the well who was ostracised. Jesus is the man who agreed to dine with Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector.

He didn't call out their sin immediately. He first befriended them, spent quality time with them, and it was the love of God that transformed them. Zacchaeus, on his own accord, said that he would restore four times the amount of anyone he'd cheated. The woman at the well went to tell all her friends about Jesus.

And while we are at it, what is the sin?

Is love a sin?

Is orientation a sin?

What is the sin?

Think about it.




~




On a different note, I thought that Pink Dot 2014 was extremely well organised. I loved how the community tents had booths that people could go to to find out more about the resources available for the LGBT person. I also collected a free pink flashlight and I LOVE it!

My friends and I reached Hong Lim Park at around 5pm and managed to get a spot about 30 metres from the main stage. We had a pretty good view.

The community voices were great. Rather repetitive at times, but you can't really help that. I thought SKL0 was pretty cool. Mr Miyagi's kid was pretty cute. And the emcee was pretty good.

We left 5 minutes after the concert started at 6.30pm because I was bored, the music was mediocre and my friend didn't like loud music. (I heard the concert got better at some point?) We spent a good 3 hours at the nearby Chinatown Point sipping coffee and having an insightful conversation.

Keep up the excellent work Pink Dot volunteers and organizers, we might be back next year. :)

Friday, 6 June 2014

June holidays


It's June! During the very last session of the Choices (it's a support group that the Church of our Saviour runs for people dealing with same-sex attractions) that I went to, the pastor spoke about the importance of rest. 

That reminds me of something my mom likes to say: 休息是为了走更长远的路, which means that "Rest is required to complete the far longer journey that is ahead of you". 

So, I'm gonna take a holiday from blogging this June to rest and recharge. 

Bye! 

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Free Community Church


I made my first trip to Free Community Church on Easter Sunday with my good friend Ian. He wanted to visit and I decided to come along. 

Anyway, it was a surprise. I was expecting a rather traditional setting based on what I'd seen on their website - namely, readings from lectionary texts, but I was in for a surprise. 

The church was located in a building, not unlike one you might find in an industrial estate, but the sanctuary was rather "contemporary-evangelical" like. Spot lighting. Cushioned chairs set in a semi circle over a slightly raised stage. Modern looking musical ensemble plugged in and ready to worship. 

Worship was lovely. The keyboardist was really good looking and he played really well too. The rest of the musicians weren't too shabby either. 

The pastor wore a white collar and I was rather surprised by that - over how traditional he is. So Pastor Miak Siew preached and I tried to be as attentive as I could. What I couldn't shake off was the fact that there was a reason why they changed the song they sung for worship from "Jesus died for our pardon" to "Jesus died for our freedom". The reason was because he did not believe in substitutional atonement. 

And I was like in a state of shock as he said this midway through the sermon. As he continued explaining, I just stared at him in wonder. 

What about this verse then: 

He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. (1 John 2:2 NLT)

Okay never mind that. 

Ian and I were invited to have lunch with some of the girls in the church. They were extremely friendly to these two newcomers. It was nice eating with them. I personally prefer the fellowship to the service. That's saying a lot. 

Well, I feel like FCC is a great place for Christians who feel like they are outcasts in their church, people who have been kicked out of their church, those who want to find an LGBT affirming church and non-Christians who are LGBT who are exploring what Christianity is about. 

However, after the second visit, I can safely say that I wouldn't be visiting again anytime soon. Their theology just doesn't gel with me. It's a pity because I really enjoy the company of the people, but I have a difficult time trying to reconcile what the pastor says and what I have come to learn about God from the Bible that's all.

That being said, everyone should go take a look before labelling it as evil. I don't think they are evil. I believe they want to follow God with all their heart but the theology's a bit warped. So to each his own. Now I kinda understand why they're not in the National Council of Churches Singapore and with good reason. Still, it's what some people call home. It's what they call home after being unable to find it in another church. So you tell me what needs to be done.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

City Harvest Church


Just came back from dinner and service at church earlier. I love my church. Despite it all, this is home. I came to church in 2006 and have been here ever since. This is home truly, where I know must be; this is where I won't be alone, for this is where I know it's home. Haha. 

Anyway, some have told me that City Harvest Church was kinda homophobic in the past but I never knew that side of CHC. All I know is that my pastor is one of the most accepting and loving people I know. Why do I say this? Well, even before I had what I call my "orientation conflict", in the 20th anniversary message right there in front of 20,000 people in the Singapore Indoor Stadium, he declared,

"We accept everyone, male or female, young or old, gay or straight, ...."

And I was like, "What did he say?!?!?!"

That just sealed it for me. Years later, I remembered that and I felt safe being in church. 

Accepted.

Welcomed.

Things in my cell group could be rosier. I am out to my entire cell, but some pretend they don't know. (To be fair to them, I think they just don't know how to respond, so it ain't really their fault. I'm asking for too much.) The closest ones tell me that I am very brave and are extremely supportive, and without them, I might not have killed myself but would probably have done something drastic in those desperate moments where I struggled so much with this SSA (same-sex attraction) thing.

Well, that's all for today folks, gotta go sleep to go visit a different church to hear a different testimony tomorrow.

Adios!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Kinsey and me


I am 4.8 on Kinsey. How do I know that? Simple. 80% of my crushes and fantasies are on girls. And the remaining 20% on guys (this is based on a sample size of my 10 most recent crushes, 8 were female, 2 were male). Actually, I don't identify as lesbian, straight or gay. I am just me. My own label I have for myself is that of a "Child of God".

But labels help people understand me. So on this blog, I call myself gay. Because that's what society calls people who are attracted to those of the same-sex. I don't quite like how "lesbian" sounds, that's just me, and "queer" just doesn't click with me, and the churchy "same-sex attracted" is too much of a mouthful. Moreover, when you go, I have "SSA" it sounds like some sort of disease, and I bloody hate acronyms. So gay it is.

Anyway, a gay Christian is a happy Christian.

Get it?

Okay, maybe not, but moving on.

My cell leader (who most likely has not encountered Kinsey) obviously thinks that focusing on guys would make me more straight, and focusing on girls more gay. Well, I have no qualms with that only that I have been focusing on guys and have not straightened up. Instead, my (totally uncontrollable and unintended) crushes on girls this year has intensified. I have had 3 major crushes and all of them are female. And they are not just passing acquaintances but people I know and got to know rather well over a long period of them. Sadly, nothing happened. Sigh.

Ah well, life goes on. She says I need to have a vision for myself. I tried that for 6 months and then forgot about it. Too trying. Too many people have been asking me to "ask and keep on asking, knock and keep on knocking," not knowing that what I ask and seek might be diametrically opposite to what they want me to ask and seek for.

You know, having a vision of becoming an entrepreneur doesn't make you one. You gotta go out and do it. So in an effort to be straighter, I went out and asked a guy out. And we had a tiny date. And that was it. I was still as gay as ever. Don't you dare say I didn't try. I did. >_<

(Please note that I am a traditional girl and have only asked a guy out once. Just once recently. In the past few years, I have been on lunch date, dinner dates, concert dates with men but zilch. Nothing. No sparks. No chemistry. No fire. No interest. Haha.)

I probably would be asking God for a girlfriend, or at least someone closer than a regular friend I can relate to and share my problems with. She doesn't have to be a girlfriend. We don't have to sleep together. Just chat over coffee or tea; over prata and mee. Deepen the friendship over walks and jogs; over lemonade as she reads my blogs.

Rachel the Rabbit is just rambling on as usual. This blog needs to have more structure. Anyway, the main point today was that it's hard to label people who are somewhere on the spectrum on Kinsey. I can't just go, "Hey, I'm Rachel and I'm 4.8 on Kinsey!" like I go, "Hey, I'm Rachel and I'm Singaporean."

You get the idea.

So lay off the labels people. Unless they come out to you and label themselves. Then respect that they trust you enough to muster up the courage to do so. That they are willing to be so vulnerable and honest enough to share even though they risk facing rejection or people asking them to have a vision to be straight. At least in church.

Finally, you must think me I'm swinging back and forth on the issue of labels. I think it is generally easier to present a label to someone when you first encounter a new friend. I have chosen the three adjectives at the top of the masthead of this blog very carefully. But as the friendship deepens, I pray that you will begin to appreciate the nuances found in these labels and that you'll eventually tear down all these labels and see the person for who they are: A beautiful child of God.

Till next week. Adios.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Introduction

Hello there. I'm Rachel and I'm a Christian living on the sunny island also known as Singapore, and guess what? I'm gay too.

I started this blog because I couldn't find anything like this out there and I know that there are others like me. If we conjecture that if a tiny 1% of the population's gay, that makes 50,000 gay folks out there. And if 20% are Christian, that makes 10,000 of us. So, know that you are not alone. 

Next, I hope that this platform would serve as an educational tool to all. Christians and non-Christians, gay and straight, male and female, young and old. Because there are some who aren't able to believe or even begin to comprehend how one can be gay and Christian at the same time. Haha. Sad but true. More on that in later posts. 

In addition, I believe that this place will also act as a journal that will chronicle my journey of how I try to reconcile the dichotomy of being a gay Christian. It's kinda like fried ice-cream. Sounds impossible to execute but is heavenly bliss. Haha. Of course, I exaggerate. Sometimes it is anything but heavenly bliss to be in my shoes. But God is good and He sustains me. I'll be sharing how I endeavored, and am still endeavoring to be in the perfect will of God. 

Well, I've decided to start this blog on Resurrection Sunday just because of how symbolic it is. Jesus died and was buried for three days before coming out of that cave. Alive. People couldn't believe it. Sometimes in this journey of mine, I feel like I've died and been buried. And so this blog marks a beginning where I come out, alive and kicking.

I'll post every Sunday unless I'm unable to, then I'm unable to. Haha. Whatever that means. Anyway, I'm keeping this lighthearted and irreverent so try to get used to my sense of humour. ;)

If you're viewing this on a non-mobile platform, good for you! I've set up a "Good Reads" blogroll of a list of helpful links of Christians, some of whom also happened to be gay. They were really helpful in helping me discover myself and I'd encourage you to go check out those links. My favorites are as follows, in alphabetical order: Alan Chambers, Justin Lee, and Wesley Hill. I've been in touch with all 3 on twitter and they are all incredibly gracious gentlemen who don't mind answering the many curious questions of a geeky Singaporean girl who's slowly finding her place in life. 

Hmm. Looks like more female representation is in order isn't it. Haha. Well, I'm female, and I hope to bring a different perspective and new insights to the gay Christian scene here in this little red dot. 

Well that's all for today folks. Cya next Sunday!

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