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|1. Pastor Fung Chi Wood - Is homosexuality sinful?- A brief narrative|
3. Flavours In My Heart
|1. Is homosexuality sinful?- A brief narrative|
In a religious sense, an act of sin refers to the thought,
word or deed of damaging oneself or others physically or spiritually. It is
childish, therefore, to simplify sin as an act of disobedience to some teachings
(even teachings from the Bible), as moral standards change from time to time and
vary among cultures and geographical locations. Two thousand years ago, the
Church did not allow women to preach, but today some churches are beginning to
ordain female ministers. Homosexuality is an issue that has only been discussed,
researched and understood publicly for the past five decades. As new findings of
homosexuality are being revealed, people in the modern age should have a new
understanding of this issue. People in the past were anti-gay, but we in the
modern age are not obliged to be anti-gay merely because our ancestors
When considering the topic, it is appropriate to reflect if homosexuality fits the definition of sin. In order to answer this, yet another question should be asked. Can homosexuality in itself be damaging to oneself or others? Medical science and psychology have evidently proved that homosexuality is not harmful in terms of physiology, psychology, or mental health. Therefore, engaging in homosexual relationships or behaviors is absolutely not sinful for a person born with a natural homosexual orientation. Were a person not born homosexual to behave in such a fashion, however, this behavior would be questionable as it is against the individual's natural orientation. Likewise, engaging in a heterosexual relationship or being forced not to have a homosexual relationship is damaging to a homosexual, as this course of action would also run counter to his or her natural sexual orientation. Therefore, allowing people to be in a relationship and to enjoy sex according to their own sexual orientations is most appropriate and beautiful. This is also the will of God.Since homosexuality is not sinful, gays and lesbians are absolutely eligible to be baptized and can accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. In fact, we are all sinners and we all sin; the difference among us is just a matter of forms and degree. Since we are sinners, inevitably we need to experience God's grace through baptism. One is making a judgment of others to think someone is not eligible to be baptized. Similarly, a candidate for baptism can decide if he or she should come out to the minister before baptism. A minister cannot and is unable to know everything about the baptized, as baptism is purely a business between God and the baptized. A minister's job is simply to facilitate this matter by performing baptism for those who have decided to be baptized.
Several Old Testament verses mention homosexual behavior between men but fail to mention a loving homosexual relationship; meanwhile, no verses related to homosexual relationships or behavior between women can be found in the Old Testament. Apostle Paul in the New Testament was against male and female homosexuality which he described as being against one's nature. It is therefore evident to see that the Bible only discusses the issue of homosexuality from a negative, sidelined and local perspective; subsequently, there is little support for saying that the Bible is totally against homosexuality. People in both the Old Testament and New Testament times only knew of homosexual behavior, and had no knowledge of homosexual relationships. Christians should uphold Jesus' teaching as their moral standard, and verses that are not directly related to Jesus' teaching, especially those in the Old Testament, should be interpreted in the light of Jesus' teaching. Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, and yet He accepts and is sympathetic to those who are oppressed. Jesus is surely standing on the side of homosexuals, because they are being judged and oppressed constantly. Anyone using the bible as a rationale to support anti-gay theories is standing on shaky ground.
The important question to ask is if people are born homosexual or instead have they chosen this lifestyle, but the phrasing of this question is not precise enough. Instead, the issue is if homosexuality is natural or unnatural. According to my personal observation of gays and lesbians and reading of related literature, most of them are naturally homosexual. Similar to heterosexual experience, homosexuals find themselves, without realizing it, emotionally and romantically attached to people of the same sex. Those that are natural are of God and created by God: God created all things bright and beautiful. Asking someone gay to become straight is as much against God's will and nature as asking someone straight to become gay. It is not a coincidence that the proportion of homosexuals in society always accounts for 10% of the total population at different times of human history, for different races, cultures, and nations.
Some may argue that what is natural is not necessarily without sin; for instance, greediness is the nature of man and yet it is sinful to be greedy. Therefore, they claim, even though one may be a born homosexual, their behavior can still be sinful. This argument contradicts itself, however. Arguing along this line, one can also make such ludicrous claim as that since heterosexuality is natural, therefore heterosexuality can also be sinful. Or, it is natural for man to have compassion; therefore having compassion can also be sinful! Such an illogical stance should therefore be totally discarded.
When considering man's nature, it is important first to establish that man's nature can be both good and evil; therefore, different methodologies should be employed to distinguish good from evil. For those who are born straight, to enter a heterosexual relationship is widely accepted as good. Such a principle should also apply to homosexuality, and thus it is also good for those who are born homosexual to be in homosexual relationships. All men are equal, and we should all be in a romantic relationship according to our own sexual orientation.
I would give you another example. A good number of Christians believe that masturbation is harmful, but an equally good number of medical doctors do not agree with such a claim. The Hong Kong Family Planning Council also believes masturbation is a natural behavior. Even though obviously no damage whatsoever has been documented after one has finished masturbation and experts from different disciplines all point to the fact that masturbation is not a problem, some Christians are still strongly against masturbation nowadays. My position is very simple. We should allow those who like to live a rigid life to continue denying themselves the pleasure of masturbation. There is no point in changing them. But those people who have chosen not to masturbate should not demand that everyone be like them, as others have the right to choose whether and how to enjoy sex.
Those people who are outspoken and making a big fuss to promote their anti-masturbation stance may subsequently inflict an unnecessary sense of guilt on youngsters, who lack the experience to make their own judgments when they enjoy the joy of masturbation. Masturbation in itself is harmless, but a self-inflicted sense of guilt is even more harmful. Masturbation is an act of nature, yet a self-inflicted sense of guilt is always implanted by others. The issue of homosexuality is similar to this example. Homosexuality is natural, so there should be no problem. But because of other people's objection, gay people experience unnecessary self-inflicted guilt. I am extremely sympathetic to gays and lesbians! When are people of the world going to wake up from their own stupidity? Gay and lesbian friends, fight on and boldly make your sexual orientation known to those who are ignorant. Educate those who are arrogant! More and more people are supporting you. The world is progressing, and the first light of dawn will soon break! I would estimate that the global homosexual movement will experience a significant development and breakthrough within the next twenty years. May God show His mercy to all!
By Rev. Fung Chi-wood in Chinese on 29th Dec. 2000, edited on 11th July 2001 and 4th August 2001.
'Lego' is an outgoing young woman with a passion for life. She treasures what she
learns from her mistakes, rediscovers values in life through failures and
re-establishes her faith. The process was paved with tears and sorrows, and was
never easy. These are her own words, straight from her heart.
What Lego is longing for now is to do something meaningful,
but what are meaningful things? To share with others, or to support them? What about
you? What are meaningful things for you? Do you still cling to self-righteous,
self-protective values of living for the sake of survivial? Or...
3. Flavours In My Heart
"24 Flavours" is a welcomed figure in the gay community--being both optimistic and witty, he is always the one to liven up the atmosphere, the catalyst of merriment within a crowd. He has many good friends in the community. But, those close to him will get to know his serious side as well as his depth of emotions. Therefore, the topic "Flavours In My Heart" served as the prologue of the conversation between the writer and him.
"24 Flavours" is a self assured fellow who knew how to protect himself. Since childhoood, he never had the ordeal of outright discrimination-he was only ridiculed as "being sissy" by friends and classmates when he was small. The remarks were sometimes friendly, sometimess less so. He wouldl not dignify the remarks with much response, but kept on minding his own business. In the bottom of his heart, he was hurt by the vile behaviour of those looking down upon him. He used to care much about the criticisms regarding his appearance and manners. Now, he felt quite matter-of-fact about it: "So be it--this is I."
"24 Flavours" is an outspoken person. Towards friends, he will be candid: to deceive others is to deceive oneself. To live is to live merrily, and to respect one's conscience! Therefore, having contemplated for a while, he revealed his sexual orientation towards the pastoral staff in his church. The pastor and the preacher were very liberal about the issue--they did view homosexuality as one of the sins, likening it to greed, deceit, adultery, theft, etc. They did wish "24 Flavours" would "convert" as time went by; But, they kept it confidential and encouraged "24 Flavours" to attend church meetings as usual.
The breathing space alloted by the pastoral staff provided more confidence for "24 Flavours" to come out to other people. Later on, he chose to tell his kid sister. The delicate sister reacted with sorrow and rage. After a lot of arguments, they were in cold wars with each other. After things were sedated somewhat, "24 Flavours" introduced to her his gay friends and had her joined activities in the gay community. Two years later, his sister actually engaged in cultural performances with his group of friends, gay and straight, in a harmonious fashion.
This experience, in retrospect, consisted of a lot of scare, frustration, pain, hope, confrontation, explanation, revelation. All these were shown on "24 Flavours"'s weathered face. The outcome was the ever-closer intimacy between the siblings. To face your destiny with fortitude--and blessings will follow after hardships. There are always opportunities during crisis. It is wished that every homosexual can seek acknowledgement in his/her expereiences, and that one's true self can be discovered. Otherwise, life would be trifling and meaningless.
As for the affairs of the heart--perhaps due to his personality, "24 Flavours" often cast off the impression of willfulness. Perhaps the synonym of willfulness is insecurity, and the antithesis of willfulness is the inability to be in tandem with others. Therefore, his love life seems "so close but o so far away". There were relationships these years. Who does not crave having a loved one at your side all the time? But, being used to an untrammelled life, attachments are not as easy to bear.
"24 Flavours" will not hide his identity furtively--he sees his colleagues as friends and friends are not to be deceived. Surely, he is not naive enough to tell everyone, "hey, I am a gay". Only in suitable occasions, under mutual respect and frank sharing will he remarked on it offhand. "The identity is not unlike knowing how much there is in your wallet: Only you will keep on calculating; Others will not harp on the answer and there is no need for you to mention it constantly....after all, in interacting with others, what is important is to have others see your character, style and capability in thoughts and judgement."
"24 Flavours" does acknowledge that the gay community is a social minority. Discrimination within society is, more often than not, the majority discriminating against the minority, the rich discriminating against the poor, the outspoken discriminating against the reticent. Therefore, gays have to be strong. The first priority is to seek financial independence, planning for one's own life. Aside from work, "24 Flavours" often volunteered in various organizations: church, youth centers, organizations for the mentally handicapped, and BMCF. This had been his life long habit and his ideals as well. The main reason: "To be able to serve others is a pleasant experience...I was helpless when young; So, I do wish to help others now, and to share these expereiences with others. Moreover, I am liberated through helping others... We should treasure those around us who are special, like the physically or mentally handicapped. It is in their lives and interacting with them that we can see the blessings of God."
Life is full of sunshine. Having known "24 Flavours" for four years, we have served and participated in cultural events together. We bickered a lot and had our own stands, but we were always reconciled at the end. "24 Flavours" 's biggest wish is not having to work and have dear friends on his side. This is my wish as well. Chatting with "24 Flavours", anyone can feel his ambience of "pains and seperations. I shall fear not, as the whole world is full of compassion and love"