Washed and Waiting thoughts

I’ve almost completed Wesley Hills new book entitled Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian faithfulness and Homosexuality. I first saw this book reviewed on Darryl Dash’s blog, and found the review, as well as the content, not only fascinating, but highly pertinent. And ever so pertinent with things like “It gets better project.”

Instead of writing a “official” review on it, I’ll just share some fresh (at least fresh to me) insights I received from this book.

1.) While the book doesn’t give any kind of numbers, Wesley Hill does give an indication of a group of folks within the church who struggle with same sex attraction. In other words, they are only attracted to certain members of the same sex, yet recognize that following their desires to the bedroom truly dishonors God. I realized that such folks existed, but hadn’t thought much about it. Hill’s real life battle with unfulfilled desires really puts flesh on something many of us may not deal with or even care about. But we do need to care about and care for such folks in our church. I’m thankful for the courage of such folks to a.) remain in the church b.) not run to the gay community or simply go to a gay church to support their lifestyle.

2.) It’s not that easy to know why some folks have same-sex attraction. One of my electives in seminary at RTS-Orlando was on human sexuality. We studied some of the factors which lead to homosexuality, such as the distant father, overbearing mother, lack of same sex-friends growing up. Some homosexuals have this kind of background, but not all of them. In fact, Hill actually describes his loving Christian parents, as well as his leadership in the church youth group. Why does he struggle with same-sex attraction? He and we just don’t know.

3.) You can change? Some folks struggling with same sex attraction, can over time, slowly see their desires begin to change with the intake of the Word, good counseling, and good community. However, sometimes such desires never change. Some folks marry but don’t have sex. We cannot hold out a false hope, or expect a false hope, that same-sex attraction will necessarily change by becoming a Christian, growing as a Christian, or getting good counseling. Some times those desires will never change, as he gives the example of well known priest Henry Nouwen who remained celibate despite these intense struggles. That was sobering and saddening to hear. 

4.) The struggle for Christians with same-sex attraction is similar to that of the bachelor-to-the rapture (I’m assuming Jesus will not return in 5 months) Christian. Both sets of folks will live with unfulfilled sexual desires. Both folks will emotionally ache for that companionship of a special “help-mate” but not have one. In a way, I felt Hill expressing this to his readers: “We’re both on similar, very different, counter-cultural paths so I’m not asking for your pity. We both have crosses to carry.”

I’ve nearly completed this book and commend it to you. It will help you learn how to best minister to, and pray for such Christians struggling side-by-side with you throughout the week. In addition, you’ll be challenged by the similarity and difficulty of our struggles, as well as the need for intimate community in our ultimate journey to the promised land: The New Heavens and New Earth. 

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