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?


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!

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