Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Not letting my limelight become my spotlight


So last Sunday I was at church and Pastor Chris preached about Job and one part struck me.

He was talking about how sometimes when we are suffering, we focus so much on ourselves and our pain that we put them in the limelight. And then how, if we are not careful, it would crowd out everything we know that is good about God, as our pain becomes our spotlight.

I think this is very true for me.

At least we can see from my previous post, I've certainly been spending a fair amount of time dwelling on my hurt.

Well, it's time I moved on I guess.

Recently I've been meditating on this verse:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 

And I have. And I think it helps.

Well, that's all for today. So long.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Reflections on suffering and the book of Job


My church is going through the Book of Job and I have the feels. During DG (Discipleship Group which is essentially a small group meeting on a weekday), we talked about how even though God answered Job at the end of the book, he still didn't give an explanation for all his suffering.

We discussed it a bit, and came to the conclusion that we just have to trust God. And that perhaps even if he were to answer, it would be hard for us in our human wisdom to properly comprehend what he's saying. A friend gave an analogy, that she often gives advice to her teenage daughter, for example, how she has to be more responsible because that is a quality valued in the workplace. But her daughter just brushes it off lightly. I thought that was an excellent example that really illustrated the concept of the gap in wisdom between individuals. What more, between us a mere mortal, and the omniscient God?

Then, I had a question. At the end, Job "surrenders" to God claiming that he is no one to question God. That was after God talked about Creation and asked Job a couple of difficult-to-answer questions of his own.

I wondered if the story was telling us that encounters with God are what will change our mind because suffering really blinds us to the presence of God doesn't it? At least it does for me. I constantly question where God is in my pain. But perhaps it isn't? Perhaps the book of Job exists for us to point us back to God in times of suffering. By the fact that it is there.

Another friend mentioned that when people can't see past their pain, it is often that they are relying on their own strength to understand things instead of relying on God's comfort. I took note of that, because it could very well apply to me. And so I jotted that down in a notebook I had.

I felt that tonight's study was very personal to me as I feel like I have suffered quite a fair bit. Once as I was praying, I asked myself, "If God is a good God, why did He make me gay?"

And then I cleverly decided to text a bunch of my closest friends and they had no answers. I cried and I cried as I read their replies and pondered on why God could be so cruel. Only Alan Chambers, over Twitter, said to me that "So that his glory and power could be shown in you! You're amazing" and I was comforted.

Every time I'm at a wedding, a little something dies inside of me.

Every time pastors preach about how depraved LGBTQ+ people are from the pulpit, I die a little inside as I sit among the congregation.

Every time I see my Christian friends share certain articles on Facebook, I die a little inside.

I have a gay Christian friend who told me that if he did do it, he'd hang himself in a church toilet to make a point.

I felt that that was really sad.

But I understood.

Anyways, I thought that going through the Book of Job was really helpful to make some sense of my suffering and to just trust that God will bring me through all this. I just have to continue walking alongside him, difficult as it may be, one day at a time.

Monday, 13 November 2017

On reading "Georgia Peaches and other Forbidden Fruit"


Just finished reading this amazing YA novel just about an hour ago and I have so much feels. Mostly because the story resonates so much with me.

My friend from GCN recommended this book on Facebook and I bought it on a whim, book lover that I am. It did not disappoint.

I started reading it earlier today in the morning and immediately connected with the main character, Joanna, who was known as Jo in Atlanta, before she moved out to small town Rome, Georgia, after her father, a radio preacher, married his new wife.

Jo is gay and her father wants her to keep her sexuality under wraps in the small town they are moving into. She reluctantly does and then finds herself crushing over straight girl Mary Carlson. Things then develop between the two of them, and I found myself rooting for her in the book. It has a happy ending and I was in tears at the end of the book.

I don't usually cry over novels but I ended up having a good 10-minute crying session after reading this one.

Perhaps because I know firsthand how difficult it is being gay in a conservative church. Where hate spews from the pulpit and you're not out to church friends in your small group. Where we preach a God of love, and that we are to love our neighbour, but then hate on LGBTQ folk, all rolled up into one big mess.

It's hard to come out to a conservative family. It's hard to come out to friends. It's hard. Period.

And that speaks so much of my experience too.

I have a gay friend who said if he ever came to it, he’d hang himself in his church to make a statement. I share similar sentiments. 

That probably explains the bucket full of tears.

Recently in the book of Job my church's been studying, a common theme that keeps coming up is to "not put God in a box". And I am trying to learn how not to. And I try again, step by little step. Because this is the way God's made me, and I know He loves me too.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

On meeting Wesley Hill and attending his lectures

So this week I met Wesley Hill as he was invited to Singapore to do a conference and speak a little. After listening him speak at Prinsep Street Presbyterian on Monday night on the Old Testament and how it relates to marriage and sexuality, I was intrigued and signed up for the entire course with the Biblical Graduate School of Theology for $90 which I thought was a rather good deal.

Wow. It was amazing. I have been shortchanged by my church man. 10 years in church and never once have I heard a holistic picture preached on Sexuality, Marriage and the New Testament like the good professor did in a mere 4 sessions.

I'll be blogging what I've learnt over in the next couple of posts to consolidate my thoughts and also to reinforce what I've learnt.

What can I say, God's got my back.

I was doing just the exact opposite of what Dr Hill's been preaching almost right before the lecture and God just convinced and convicted me this week.

How good God is.

And with great power comes great responsibility.

I cannot turn back now that I've been fed good theology.

How can I? I'd be letting God down.

Well, I guess now I'll be spreading the word on God's plan for Sexuality, Marriage from both the Old and New Testament to those who would care to hear. More people need this man.

That's all for tonight folks.

Till tomorrow!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Thoughts of suicide

Today a gay Christian friend of mine told me that if he were ever to kill himself, in his own words, he'd "hang himself in the church toilet" to make a statement.

It's the third time in as many days suicide has been in my mind.

Yesterday a friend in Australia alluded to it for reasons unbeknownst to me.

The day before that I was super upset about the tension of holding on so tightly to my faith, and yet being created to be someone like myself - queer.

That night I was crying out to God, "Take me, take me already, won't you?"

It was hard.

I have a feeling when pastors counsel their gay Christian members, they don't see us as any different from the person watching porn, or one committing adultery. Which is all fair and good, all sins created equal (although I don't agree and that's a post for another day).

But how many can comprehend the deep hatred we have within ourselves, cultivated over years of internalised homophobia set in place by the church?

The place where it's supposed to be a refuge for the weak?

Jesus, help us Lord.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Pleasure is God-glorifying (an extract)



God's creative intention was to bring glory to himself by the pleasure that he created. Each pleasurable thing was perfectly created and designed to reflect and point to the greater glory of the one who created it. These things were designed not only to be pleasure inducing but also for a deeply spiritual purpose. They were meant to remind you of him. They were meant to amaze you not just with their existence but with the wisdom, power, and glory of the one who made them. They were put on earth to be one of God's means of getting your attention and capturing your heart.

You see, you will never understand pleasure if you think that it is an end in itself. Pleasure is pleasurable, and you should never feel guilty that you have enjoyed its pleasure or that you want more. This is all according to God's design. But you and I must understand that pleasure has a purpose beyond the momentary enjoyment it will give us. Pleasure exists as a sign of the existence of one in whose arms I will enjoy the only pleasure that can satisfy and give rest to my heart. Pleasure exists to put God in my face and remind me that I was made by him and for him. Pleasure, like every other created thing was designed to put God at the center, not just of my physical joy but also of the deepest thoughts and motives of my heart. Pleasure exists to stimulate worship, not of the thing but of the one who created the thing. The glory of every form of pleasure is meant to point me to the glory of God.

The pleasure of sex is meant to remind me of the glory of my intimate union with Christ that only grace could produce. The pleasure of food is meant to motivate me to seek the heart-satisfying sustenance of the bread and wine that is Christ. The pleasure of all things beautiful is designed to cause me to gaze upon the Lord, who is perfect in beauty in every way. The pleasure of sound is meant to cause me to listen to the sounds of the one whose every utterance is a thing of beauty. The pleasure of touch was created to remind me of the glory of the one whose touch alone has the power to comfort, heal, and transform. The pleasure of human affection is meant to induce me to celebrate the glory of God's eternal, underserved, self-sacrificing love. The pleasure of rest is meant to draw my heart toward the one who in his life, death, and resurrection purchased for me an eternal sabbath of rest. 

Pleasure doesn't detract from God's glory. It doesn't necessarily deaden your heart. Rather, it is one of God's means of reminding you of the satisfying glories that can only be found in him. Pleasure in Eden and now, like every other created thing, was created to lead you and me to worship.

From Chapter 4, The Highest Pleasure, from the book, "Sex and Money" by Paul David Tripp

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Coming out (again)

Sometimes a closet can be nice and neat.
So I came out again today. For the nth time. This time, a first for me though, in my conservative church, with a friend from my DG (Discipleship Group) aka cell group, aka care group.

Having honed the skill of coming out discreetly for a number of years now, I did so rather subtly.

We were talking about a couple in our DG having given birth prematurely, and how my friend went to visit them the day before.

I commented that I'd rather not have children at all, for various reasons.

She commented that she too had been thinking, if she were to have a kid, what would she say to them if she found out they were gay? How to parent them in the most Christ-like way?

She continued with some other questions I forgot, for I was battling in my mind what I should do. But in the months that I've known her, she seemed like a rather nice and decent person, so I said,

"Well, you know, you can ask me."

And she went, "Oh."

And then, "Oh?"

And "Oh!"

Haha, the most epic reaction ever.

Well, I texted her after church to keep it quiet cos I'll come out in time to the others in the DG when I was ready. And she was so sweet, she texted me,

"Okay sure, if there is any way we can pray with you or support you please let us know and thank you for sharing something so personal."

I feel so loved and cared for. Just a simple message and a gentle reaction to a rather sensitive topic.

Thank you Lord for friends like her.

We shall see where this goes from here.

That's all for today folks!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

A response to an anthropologist



So I was reading this article that appeared in my Facebook feed. It's titled, "Youths in Singapore shunning religion" and you can click on the link to read the entire thing.

What struck me was one particular sentence. It was this:

Social anthropologist Lai Ah Eng of the National University of Singapore (NUS) said this group might therefore find religions "variously limiting, irrational, oppressive, unreasonable and unscientific".

I thought I might address each adjective here in this post.


1) "Religion is limiting."

I can understand when people say religion is limiting. Christianity, Islam, Buddhists among other faiths have dos and don'ts regarding many things in life. For Christianity at least, fornication (i.e. sex before marriage), lying, and gossip are not encouraged. 

This is in direct contrast to the world today. In movie after movie, song after song, giving in to one's sexual pleasure is not only encouraged, it is perceived as normal. That's how the movie "40 year old virgin" can be marketed as a comedy isn't it? Lying for one's career advancement, to cover up for one's self, is taken for granted. No one questions all these unspoken rules present in society today.

However, I would like to suggest that having rules is freeing. 

Timothy Keller has this to say about the law (it's a little long but very worth reading),


At Redeemer we talk a lot about how we are saved by grace, not by our good works or obedience to the law. Indeed, Paul says we are not ‘under law’ but ‘under grace’ (Romans 6:15.) But what does that mean as far as having an obligation to submit to God’s will as written in his Word? Do we still have to obey the law? Absolutely. To be ‘under the law’ refers not to law obeying but law relying (Galatians 3:10-11). When we think we can win God’s approval through our moral performance and obedience becomes a crushing burden, then we are ‘under law.’ But when we learn that Christ has fulfilled the law for us and that now we who believe in him are secure in God’s love, then we naturally want to delight, resemble, and know the One who has done this. How can we do this? By turning to the law! Paul puts it this way. Though he is not under the law, ‘I am not free from God’s law, but I am under Christ’s law” (1 Corinthians 9:21.) Though he is not ‘under’ the law (as a way to earn salvation) he now is freed to see the beauties of God’s law as fulfilled in Christ, and submits to it as way of loving his Savior. How does this work?
First, we embrace the law of God in order to learn more about who our God really is. Leviticus 19 is a magnificent chapter which both expands on all the Ten Commandments, and also summarizes them into ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ It shows how God’s law was not a matter only of ritual purity, but was to transform every corner of one’s practical life. In Leviticus 19:2, however, God introduces the whole law by saying, ‘be holy, for I am holy.’ In other words, if you want to know who I am, what I love and hate, if you want to know my heart and become like me, obey my law.  Second, we embrace the law of God in order to discover our true selves. Deuteronomy says, “What does the Lord require of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you this day for your good?”  Here we see that the law of God is a gift of  grace that is the foundation of human flourishing. It is not “busywork” assigned just to please the arbitrary whims of a capricious deity. The law of God simply shows us what human beings were built to do—to worship God alone, to love their neighbors as themselves, to tell the truth, keep their promises, forgive everything, act with justice. When we move against these laws we move against our own natures and happiness. Disobedience to God sets up strains in the fabric of reality that can only lead to break down. Third, we understand the law of God as fulfilled in Christ. This means two things. One we already mentioned. Christ completely fulfilled the requirements of the law in our place, so when he took the penalty our sins deserved, we could receive the blessing that his righteousness deserved (2 Corinthians 5:21.) However, we also recognize that many parts of the Old Testament law no longer relate directly to us as believers. Since Jesus is the ultimate priest, temple, and sacrifice, we observe none of the ceremonial, dietary, and other laws connected to ritual purity. Also, Christians of all nations are now members of the people of God, and God’s community no longer exists as a single nation-state under a theocraticgovernment. Therefore, the ‘civil legislation’ of the Old Testament is no longer appropriate. Adultery in the Old Testament was punishable by a death, but in the New Testament it is dealt with through exhortation and church discipline (1 Corinthains 6-7.)  Fourth, we realize that the law’s painful, convicting work is ultimately a gracious thing. When we fully comprehend the kind of life the law requires of us, it can be intimidating. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus expounds the Ten Commandments in this comprehensive way. He shows us the attitude we should have to the world, being salt and light, investing ourselves in the needs of our communities. He shows us that if we even disdain and ignore our neighbors, calling them ‘fools’, we are attacking their creator, in whose image they are made. He calls us to never look on another with lust, living lives of purity and chastity. He insists we should speak with as much honesty in all our daily interactions as if we were testifying in court under oath. We are told to forgive and love our enemies, turning the other cheek rather than seeking revenge. We are to give to the poor without expecting any thanks or acclaim. We are to give our money away in astonishing proportions, and carry on a dynamic, secret, inner prayer life. We are never to be judgmental or condemning of others, and we are to live a life free from worry. One minister said, after reading through Matthew 5-7 carefully, “God save us all from the Sermon on the Mount!”  If you listen at all to the law of God, you will feel naked and exposed, ashamed and helpless, and you will seek out the mercy of God. That is why Paul says that though the law, when listened to, is devastating (Romans 7:9-11) it is nevertheless ‘spiritual, righteous, and good’ (Romans 7:12, 14) and its work is ultimately gracious (Romans 7:7.) It acts as a kind but strict schoolmaster who leads us to Christ (Galatians 3:24.)  Fifth, we turn to the law of God in order to get a true definition of what it means to love others in our relationships and in society as a whole. There was once a school of ethics called ‘situation ethics’ that rejected the Biblical law as too rigid. Instead, we were told, we only need to always do the loving thing, what is best for the person. But this begs the question—‘how do you know what is the best thing for a person?’ Is sleeping together with someone before marriage the best thing or the worst thing for him or her? How do you know? The law is God’s way of saying, ‘If you want to love others, act this way. I created people. I know what the best thing for them is.’ That is why Paul could write:  The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:9-10 The law of God, then, gives Christians guidance not only in personal relationships, but helps us as we seek to make our society a more just and merciful one. What do people need? What does it mean to treat people with dignity? The law informs Christians’ political and social involvement. Finally, we turn to the law of God because sometimes we need to do things just because God says so. In the garden, God told Adam and Eve not to eat the tree, but he never told them why. Some of us simply hate to follow a direction unless we know all the reasons why the direction was given, how it will benefit us, and so on. But God was saying to Adam and Eve, I think, ‘Obey this direction, not because you understand, but because you recognize that I am your God and that you are not.’ They failed in this. But every day we have the opportunity to put this right. Do God’s will, not because it is exciting (though it will eventually be an adventure) not because it will meet your needs (though it will eventually be a joy) not because you understand why this is the path of wisdom (though it will eventually become more clear.) Do it because he is your Lord and Savior and you are not. Do it because it is the law of the Lord. And if you do it—if you obey him even in the little things—you will know God, know yourself, find God’s grace, love your neighbor, and simply honor him as God. Not a bad deal.

Okay you might have gotten lost in that whole chunk of text there. What Keller is basically saying is that religion might be limiting to some because of the restrictions on certain behaviour, but that's what's best for us, according to the Bible.




It's kinda like us being a child in a parent-child relationship. At 2 years old, we are told not to touch the hot stove, not to stand near an open window, and hold our parent's hand while crossing the road. Limiting for a 20 year old for sure, but essential for the 2 year old. To me, God is infinitely wiser than I am, and I am content to live by His rules even though I might not fully understand why.

To me, I feel that religion is freeing because I know the boundaries I am supposed to operate under, and can to anything I want as long as it is not forbidden. It is paradoxical, and I don't expect everyone to get it because I think I didn't argue it coherently enough here due to a space restrictions, but try reading Keller's passage above a couple of times and maybe you'll get an insight into my psyche.

Moving along.

2) "Religion is irrational."

Yes, religion can be irrational if the millennial looks at their grandparents burning paper (hell money) during various times of the year so that their dead can receive it in the underworld. It doesn't make sense, is not scientific, cannot be proven, and seems superstitious to say the least.

Also, practices such as not attending funerals when one is pregnant, not attending consecutive weddings of close relatives, staying home during the Hungry Ghost month, are but some of the dozens of practices many Chinese engage in.

Although I do not subscribe to these practices, I feel that they are not irrational. They are born of the rational human instinct to honour one's ancestors (burning hell money), to protect the unborn (not attending funerals when one is with child), to protect oneself and one's family (staying home during the 7th month).

I believe in the presence of evil and that the demonic world is well and alive. There are things one cannot explain in terms of demonic possession as a Washington Post article elaborates on. In that piece, a reputable, board-certified psychiatrist relates his experiences to the influential newspaper. He writes about how he has seen plenty of people convinced they were possessed when they weren't, and diagnosed them as such. But he had also seen people suddenly spouting "perfect Latin" a dead language, and among others, these are things the DSM and science has no explanation for.

Religion might be irrational to the modern day skeptic because you cannot quantify the spiritual world, but that does not necessarily mean that it is untrue.




3) "Religion is oppressive."

As a gay Christian, I hesitate to elaborate on this point. In this blog, I have ranted on many a post where I felt oppressed by the church. And yes, this is a real thing. Gay Christians is just an oxymoron to many in the faith and an unexplainable quirk to the LGBT community.

However, I would venture to say that it is not just religion that is oppressive, but institutions that are.

Government is oppressive. Dictatorships are oppressive. Schools can sometimes be oppressive. Families too.

But all of us have to find a way to cope with it. I could take offence at the senior pastor posting pictures to demonise gay people, or I could sit him down and have a conversation with him. (Speaking of which, I think I ought to do that soon, God please open the doors.)

Society in general is just oppressive to the marginalised. To trans people. To the darker skinned. To the poor. To the disabled. I could go on and on and on but you get the idea.

Some people wonder why I still go to church even though it is "oppressive". I'd answer that God is much bigger than the people comprising the church. God is awesome and mighty, the creator of the world. He is the one I worship, not man, not the church, and he is a God who made me strong and free. 

I have my freedom because of Christ. Because He has set me free. I am rambling again, sorry. Anyways, I think this is good material for another blog post, so I'll just stop here cos this is getting too long.

4) "Religion is unreasonable."

Religion can be unreasonable to ask Christians not to marry the same sex. But is God unreasonable in asking us to deny ourselves? To forsake riches and help the poor like Mother Teresa did? To get whipped, dying bleeding, nailed on a cross? Is that fair? Is that reasonable?

Not at all.

Christianity is not a reasonable faith.

To die is to live.

To give all, is to gain eternity.

But isn't this the best way to live? Instead of living for oneself, we live for God, for others. Not for riches, which are transient and cannot be brought with us into the afterlife, but to live to spread the word of God so that others might life for eternity, to help the marginalised so that they can have a decent shot at life.

I think I'd like to live like Christ did.

It is difficult, and I don't do it perfectly, but I'll endeavour to try to, all the days of my life.

I think unless one absorbs the essence of Christianity, this will make absolutely no sense at all. But you are welcome to join me on my faith journey at ARPC. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have.




5) "Religion is unscientific."

Finally, the last claim. My friend said she was disturbed when people laughed at Sarah Palin when she denounced the theory of evolution.

And this has been huge, the creation vs evolution debate in America.

But why does there have to be a dichotomy?

I have been reading books of late, and come around to something called Evolutionary Creation. The super long essay, which you can read here, gives a brief overview of it.

For those who are short of time, it just says that evolution and creation can co-exist.

There are whole volumes of the topic (a good one I'm gonna buy soon is "Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution" by Denis O. Lamoureux, who is the Associate Professor of Science and Religion at St. Joseph's College and holds three degrees in dentistry, theology, and biology) so I won't go into detail here.

Prominent scientist such as Francis Crick (the guy who discovered the structure of the DNA molecule) among others, have proclaimed that science is in fact compatible with faith. More about scientists who have reconciled their faith with Christianity elaborated in this IVP book, "How I changed my mind about evolution" edited by Kathryn Applegate and J. B. Stump.

But I think science cannot explain why as humans, we cling on so tightly to morality.

Can science explain why there is evil in the world?

Can science explain why we have a soul and where that comes from? For all the AI (Artificial Intelligence) in the world today, sawing off the arm of a robot is different from sawing off the arm of a human being even if both can reason. Why is that?

Can science explain how we have compassion on the poor?

Also, going on a different tangent, atheists have to answer these questions.

If there is no God, where does morality come from? Doesn't it make sense to just kill anyone who offends us?

If there is no God, is killing a baby for fun evil? It shouldn't be should it? Cos there is no right and wrong either way.



Conclusion

In conclusion, I disagree with the quote in The Straits Times article and will continue to cling on to my faith in Christ.

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them in the comments down below!

Monday, 23 January 2017

On friendship, singlehood, and marriage



“Singlehood is good. Marriage is good.” - Timothy Keller, paraphrased

Today got me reflecting again about singlehood versus marriage. The latter of course, something the church’s made an idol out of.

As much as they’d like to deny it, it certainly is, at least in the former church I used to belong to.

Why else would they have a group especially dedicated to singles trying to get together? No harm in that, but why not form one dedicated to promoting friendship instead?

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.” - John 15:13

I mean come on, Jesus was the greatest friend. He died for us all.

How often today do we see friends laying down
their lives for one another? In this age of busyness (especially in Singapore) I find myself missing out on the lives of the ones I most dearly want to know and be known to, simply because of a lack of time.

We need to carve out time for one another.

I need to.

Anyway, on back to the original topic, I’ve been reading a book called Sex and the Single Savior and it has been profound.

How many pastors actually talk about the fact that Jesus was single? And if he was the role model we all look up to, how is it that we do not follow his marital leanings?

I think there needs to be a balance in sermon preparation. That for every sermon preached on the goodness of marriage, one should be preached about singlehood and friendship as well.

How else do you expect the gay Christian to flourish? We deny ourselves what the Bible prohibits against, yet still crave intimacy. And intimacy is still possible, perhaps through friendship with a close couple, as the popular celibate gay author Wesley Hill elaborates on in his brilliant book, Spiritual Friendship.

I do not see role models like Wesley Hill nor married couples welcoming me into their lives. But I am complaining too much. I have single friends that I am contented to hang out with, pouring our lives out to one another in Whatsapp messages, praying for one another in dark times which happen ever so often.

I ought to count my blessings.

And I shall.

For the friend who’s made time for me for a meal. Thank you.

For the friend who’s prayed for me. Thank you.

For the friend who’s celebrated my birthday with me. Thank you.


For the friend and reader who’s endured my always long and rambling blog posts. Thank you.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Why a gay Christian would transit from a liberal church to a conservative one

So I attended my very first DG (Discipleship Group aka Cell Group) for 2017 last night.

It was a great time of discussion on the book of Luke and we even prayed for each other after the sharing was done. The people were all kind to me, a newcomer, and took time to listen to my questions and answer them.

Still, I had a niggling feeling that might change if I came out to them. 

I might be wrong. They could possibly be accepting of gay people.

But even that might change if I revealed that I was involved in a relationship with a person of the same sex.

At Adam Road Presbyterian Church (ARPC), the senior pastor had talked about the topic of sexuality once before, late last year, at the Saturday youth ministry session, which I attended with my partner.

It was all sensible and pastoral. I liked it that he encouraged the parents in particular to journey with their children if they came out to them.
But at the beginning of the year, in the very first service last Sunday, I was dismayed to find out that when he preached against dying to pleasure (as part of dying to possessions, to position, to pride), that he put a photo similar to something like this:

Dying to pleasure?

Source: http://www.remotelands.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/taipei-gay-pride.jpg

I happen to know a great many celibate gay Christians committed to following the traditional Christian sexual ethic and I felt that the picture was a gross demonisation of gay people in general.

Felt like writing him a letter in protestation but then decided against it as I felt the Holy Spirit prompting.

Anyway, back to the topic.

In my previous church, although some cell group members were aware of my same-sex relationship and were generally accepting, the theology the church was preaching seemed more and more problematic over time.

It felt diluted and more self-help like than biblical and when I randomly chanced upon ARPC, it was like a breath of fresh air. After 2 years of struggling to wake up on Sunday morning, I now look forward to attending Sunday services to hear the gospel.

I must admit, it is difficult. 

Denying oneself of pleasure that heterosexual couples take for granted certainly is.

But that’s the cost of following Christ isn't it?

It’s not about my happiness, it is about obeying the Lord.

He was whipped and crucified alive, so who am I to talk about suffering?

Some may say it’s masochistic, but this is the life I’ve chosen.

I may not live a perfect Christian life, but I try my best to adhere to the calling of Christ.

Anyway, I’m rambling and shall end this post here since I kinda made my point.

Happy 2017!

Reflections on my friend's suicide (8 months on)

Photo by  Kat J  on  Unsplash In 2 days' time, it'll be 8 months since the day she passed. And tonight, instead of falling aslee...