A couple of weeks back we talked about possible reasons why it may be difficult for some in the church to love those with SSA (same-sex attraction), especially for those of us who hold the belief that acting out on SSA is not in one’s best interest. One person there had even had a pastor ask him, “how can we do a better job of loving those of you with SSA?”. If I were in his shoes I might have answered with some incredulity, “just like you love anybody else – don’t treat me like a project!”
As we talked together about his experience we explored why these sorts of awkward responses occur. One thing we discussed was that there is simply a lot of sexual brokenness in the church that has not been dealt with in a healthy fashion. Outside of special series targeted at teenagers, at most churches there are rarely opportunities for men and women to talk freely about sexual issues.
Sex was created by God, and it is good! It’s a beautiful thing, but we are all familiar with the difficulties that exist when talking about sex in church. In many churches the subject is pretty much relegated to “just say no!”, while others are more progressive. Often the pressure in men’s groups to perform or act in a certain way will prevent men from admitting to any serious problems in this area, other than the occasional P&M (porn and masturbation). Not being a woman I can’t speak from experience on how often sex is a topic on the agenda at women’s retreats, but I’m pretty sure it’s not often enough that women can discuss their real experiences without pressure to be “the good wife”.
There is tremendous societal pressure on everybody to be hip when it comes to sex. Those in the church who may not glibly agree with common sexual practices are often made to feel uncool or old-fashioned. Add to this the religious practice of needing to act like everything is “just fine” when we’re in church, and you can see why there are difficulties.
May God grant us the grace and freedom to talk more openly about our own sexual brokenness in the Church, instead of judging the planks in our brothers’ and sisters’ eyes. If we could learn to deal more graciously with one another about all of our own brokenness, we would not speak so glibly, awkwardly, and yes, sometimes stupidly to our friends with SSA.