God Wouldn’t Make People Gay if it Was a Sin?

Today I would like to address a statement that was thrown around after the publication of an article from this blog on the very popular Chastity Project Blog. After reading about my friend Jake, who experiences Same Sex Attraction and has found peace and love in the Holy Roman Catholic Church, many readers felt that it was “so sad” that Jake would be “unable” to “live a full life”, and that the Church was just “so bad” for denying Jake what is clearly a God given right, the joys of a romantic relationship with whomever he should choose.

I’m going to try to make this really clear. I’m even going to put it in capital letters, but don’t feel like I’m yelling at you. I’m not yelling.

BEING GAY IS NOT A SIN. ACTING ON IT IS.

God “makes” people certain ways all the time that he doesn’t want us to act upon. It’s called a cross. In Christian circles, a cross is often referred to as a struggle that one must carry throughout life.

Here are some examples of crosses that many people are called to carry, but called NOT to act upon.

Many people suffer from Depression; it is a combination of life experiences, hormonal imbalances, and natural (usually obsessive or anxious) tendencies that cause depression. Being depressed is not a sin, but committing suicide, or hurting yourself or others, is a sin.

Many people are naturally inclined to anger. Being angry is not a sin, acting out on it in a way that is unnecessary and hurtful is.

Many people (myself included) suffer from Anxiety. Being anxious is not a sin; acting on it in a way that makes one cold, hardened, and controlling, and therefore hurts others is a sin.

Many people struggle with pornography, which is a result of struggling with lust. Desiring sexual intimacy is not a sin, using others in order to gratify your desires is a sin.

God makes people with these crosses all the time. Actually, every single one of us is made with a disordered inclination (or a few) that we need to work our entire lives to control. This is the path to Christian perfection. Just because we are “born this way” (thank you Lady Gaga) doesn’t mean we have the “right” to act on it. A question that I get when I speak to young people about abstinence is, “But haven’t you wanted to have sex with your boyfriends?” The answer shouldn’t be shocking at all. Of course I wanted to have sex with them, that is why I dated them… I was attracted to them, they were attracted to me, I found out they were a good person, they love Jesus…Bam- the recipe for a great potential sexual partner. (aka. Husband)

But here is the catch… just because we want to do something doesn’t mean we should do it. Especially if it would disrespect the dignity of another or myself- and in comes the Catholic definition of chastity:

2339 Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery, which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy.126 “Man’s dignity therefore requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere external constraint. Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses forward to his goal by freely choosing what is good and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suited to this end.”127

2349 “People should cultivate [chastity] in the way that is suited to their state of life. Some profess virginity or consecrated celibacy, which enables them to give themselves to God alone with an undivided heart in a remarkable manner. Others live in the way prescribed for all by the moral law, whether they are married or single.”136 Married people are called to live conjugal chastity; others practice chastity in continence:

There are three forms of the virtue of chastity: the first is that of spouses, the second that of widows, and the third that of virgins. We do not praise any one of them to the exclusion of the others. . . . This is what makes for the richness of the discipline of the Church.137

137: St. Ambrose, De viduis 4,23:PL 16,255A.

The above is taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and is by far not exhaustive, there are many more passages regarding chastity. However, there is not much regarding Homosexuality. It is treated as any other disordered passion, including lust, pornography, etc.   Here is what its says:

Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

That last paragraph (2359) could easily replace the words “Homosexual persons” with any of our names.

“Janelle is called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teaches her inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, she can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”

That is not just for me, or people who struggle with SSA (I dislike defining people by their sexual orientation, or referring to them as gay), this is for each and every one of us. Right now, broader society is really bringing attention to this particular group. Soon I am sure people who struggle with polygamy, pedophilia, and other disordered tendencies will make their rounds much like those who support pornography and prostitution have in the past and still do. It is what it is. Our responsibility is to continue to live out chastity, continue to proclaim the Truth, and continue to hold our brothers and sisters to the highest accountability and respect.

In the same way that the Church and faithful friends help Jake to remain accountable, Jake also helps me, as a woman who experiences sexual attraction, to remain accountable to my vow of abstinence until marriage. None of us is better than the other nor are our disordered inclinations more or less holy. We are all just people dealing with various struggles, and we need to come alongside each other to help bring each of us closer to Christ. This is the true purpose of our lives.

“So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.13For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work.14Do everything without grumbling or questioning,15that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,among whom you shine like lights in the world,16as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.17But, even if I am poured out as a libationupon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you.18In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me” – Philippians 2:12-18

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If God Hasn’t Revealed His Plan, Keep Asking

Today we are going to talk about prayer. More importantly, we are going to talk about the way God responds to us when we pray. Recently I have heard people say, when asking what God has revealed to them when praying abut a certain situation, “ Well, God has pretty much left the decision up to me.” (Insinuating that God supposedly doesn’t have an opinion one way or another). I mean, sure, God does leave pretty much everything up to us- its part of the whole “free will” thing. But God also has his own will. I am going to attempt, as well as I can, to not describe God as if I (or anyone) truly can- but when it comes to whether or not there is a right or wrong decision to be made (This is concerning something important, not what toothpaste to use or which type of burgers to buy at the grocery store –> that answer is always BUBBA BURGERS!)… it seems, biblically, that God has a road on which He would like us to go, and pretending not to see that road when approaching a fork usually means that He is telling us something we don’t want to hear.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. “- Jeremiah 29:11

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”–Prov. 3:5-6

“And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”- Isaiah 58:11

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” –Psalm 27:14

In the Christian walk, there are certainly times where it seems the Lord is utterly silent and distant and you have no idea where He is or what He is doing (this is part of our purification process and it is good, even though it stinks at the time!) (“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthian 10:13) However, this lack of response or distance from God doesn’t seem to be the constant. (“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24) It may be so for particular periods of difficulty, but it always seems that God’s will is revealed in the end.

While there are thousands of various ways to pray, prayer, in the Christian sense, is meant to be a conversation. A conversation is where one person speaks and the other responds. (“At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved.” Daniel 9:23) There are two parties to a conversation. God speaks to us in a multitude of ways, indeed, however it pleases Him. He speaks most especially (according to the testimony of various Saints) through hardship (“If there be a true way that leads to the Everlasting Kingdom, it is most certainly that of suffering, patiently endured.” — St. Colette), but also through adoration, other people, music, books, realizations, apparitions, and visions; as well as direct dialogue while journaling or in quiet prayer, or in the silent places in the depths of your heart, where the Holy Spirit reigns and where you feel His presence.

God wants communion with us, He adores us, and He wants us to know him, even as He knows us and was willing to lay down His life for us. Will we make the attempt to truly know Him? “‘Many cry to God, but not with the voice of the soul, but with the voice of the body; only the cry of the heart, of the soul, reaches God.’” –St. Augustine.

It was once shared with me that God is the perfect combination of the masculine and the feminine. We can see His masculinity in the strong sequoia trees that rise solid and strong above the earth, masking many in its shade. We can see His femininity in the beauty of a field of wildflowers, delicate yet glorious and moving. How many times have hikers climbed up to untraveled heights, encountering breathtaking scenes of beautiful landscapes? Who sees that? God delights in decorating the Earth and showering it in his majesty, the way women enjoy making each part of a house a home- even if it seems hardly anyone will see or appreciate it.

While I am not an expert in prayer (or much else for that matter), I could say that I have enough experience in being a woman to be somewhat of an expert in that. The thing about women is, deep down inside, in the deep recesses of our hearts, we want to be known. And even more than that, we want to be delighted in. (Boys, let me know if this resonates with you). God has this quality. He wants us to know and delight in Him.

“Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.” –Psalm 43:4

May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD.”- Psalm 104:34

“…then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.’ The mouth of the LORD has spoken.”-Isaiah 58:14

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,”- 1 Peter 1:8

In prayer, in communion, adoration, mass, or any other time that we spend in the worship of our Creator, we are learning more about who He is, and we are delighting in God our Savior. Yes, this can include petition, intercession, supplication, etc- but it could also include mutual sharing and loving and delighting in one another. A Priest once advised me, when I was in a particularly anxious time of my life, to simply sit at the fountain of Jesus’ love and mercy; and to allow myself to be filled with His love for me.

That’s all. He told me to just sit and let Jesus love me and to love Him back.

While this is often much easier said than done, it is my prayer that each of us experiences this type of communion with the Holy Trinity. Let us be open to knowing and acknowledging Him with all of our hearts and let us be patient in waiting on the Lord to reveal Himself to us.

I Don’t Want Reproductive “Freedom”

If I have to make the choice between being a baby and milk machine for the rest of my life or having the decision to abort and use contraceptives, I choose the former, every time. Bringing life into this world is far more worthwhile of a calling than even having the option of ending the life of my child and using group 1 carcinogens (hormonal and oral contraceptives cause cancer) on my body (this list also includes the Nicotine compound, known as N’-Nitrosonornicotine (NNN), meaning oral contraceptives are on the same list as cigarettes).

Fortunately, I don’t have to choose between those two options, as there is now the gift of the Natural Family Planning, including NaPro technology, which is an idiot proof way of determining whether or not you are fertile. Yes indeed, planning your pregnancies naturally has never been easier or safer!

Now, before I am accused of committing treason against my gender, you should know that I believe women are equal to men in merit and intelligence and all that jazz.

I just also happen to not find killing babies justifiable, in any circumstance.

If you are tremendously offended at one or more of the statements above, take a cold hard look at why this sets you on fire. Does the idea of not being able to do whatever you want with your body just make you red with anger? Well, in a country where you can’t even attempt to kill yourself without being committed into an institution (the nerve!), how can we have the ability to kill a child?

If you, right now, are about to even THINK about using the word “viable” in an argument against this, please stop- go volunteer in a nursery, and then get back to me. Children are not viable until they are about 5 years old. Get over this argument. If you are about to say, well it’s not a person; it’s just a clump of cells! Again, stop, give yourself a hard slap in the face, and then ask yourself the question, “What am I? What is every living thing?” Thank God for science. And then lets think, “What can two humans create?” The only answer being, obviously, another human. So the growing clump of cells CAN ONLY be a growing human. Humans cannot grow anything else. Unless it’s an abnormal growth, which would be growing inside of you NOT because of the contributions of another human (unless its an STD…) but because of other reasons… and, obviously, that abnormal growth won’t pop out 9 months later with ten fingers and toes and a personality to boot. Ain’t nothing abnormal about the fact that sex makes babies. You don’t need a college degree to figure that one out.

Here’s the good news, if you would prefer not to have a child, you have a few options: first, don’t have sex. Second, use contraceptives (Oh wait, they don’t work all the time, as noted author and former Planned Parenthood Clinic director Abby Johnson informs us, as she got pregnant THREE TIMES while on contraceptives, and she was considered an expert! Off the list.) Second, use your brain to learn about your body and determine when you (or your wife) are fertile so that you and your loving spouse can plan intimacy accordingly. There are many gynecologists and family planning experts at various Churches and institutions across the United States. Google them. Third, don’t have sex. Oh wait.

Since I can already hear the tirade of morons chirping, “You think sex is bad! You are getting your ideas from an archaic institution that needs to get with the times!” Stop it. Sex is wonderful. I’m very excited to have it. The intimacy of the marital union is something that is unparalleled on this earth and the fact that GOD CREATED IT AND ORDAINED IT (and because the Lord ordains it the Catholic Church does too, so…) makes it even better. It’s good. SEX IS A GOOD THING. I am not saying otherwise.

However, it is something to be participated in responsibly. And the lack of such responsibility should not be greeted with the option to murder a baby human. So you can keep that freedom.

Please Note: While I absolutely welcome comments and discussion, please keep them intelligent and respectful, free from cursing and nonsense. Thank you!

Why Your Kids Leave the Church

We have an epidemic of children leaving the Church as soon as they are 18, despite coming from seemingly normal, happy, Christian homes. Why is this the case?

Go to any Church, any. Go to the people who are the absolute most involved. Go find the members of the Women’s Guild, or the sacristans, or the secretary. Go find the bible studies and the people who seem to always be at Church. There you will find parents of children who no longer go to Church.  We’ve all heard of the Catholic Grandmother who mourns daily for the children and grandchildren who have fallen away from the Church. The grandmother who has ten different altars in her home, she prays rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets and Novenas galore. Now, please note that there is absolutely nothing wrong with prayer and sacred places within your home. But, do the children understand why? Did she talk to them? Did she teach them about the gift the Lord has given us in the Holy Roman Catholic Church? Do they know, do they understand? Do they get it?

No. And that is why they leave.

Fortunately, some of them come back. Right off the top of my head I can think of five different people who I personally know who left the Church when they left home, a few came back, a few didn’t.  However, all of the people who returned did so because at some point they were convicted to investigate for themselves why their families believe what they believe, and they did this despite receiving zero answers from their families.

I am all for investigating what you believe, I am all for checking the science and the philosophy and the morality to ensure that you are following the true path instead of just being blindly lead. What I am not for is children being blindly raised in an institution where the parents don’t understand what they are teaching their children.

If you are Roman Catholic, whether you are a parent or a child, answer the following questions for me.

  1. What is the Eucharist?
  2. How do we know the Eucharist is what it is? (Specifically, what verses in the Bible tell us so?)
  3. Who is Jesus Christ, and what type of relationship should we have with him? What specific Church councils clarified who he is amidst much controversy?
  4. Why are the books that are in the Bible in the Bible? At what council were these books chosen? By whom? By what authority?
  5. What does the Church believe about how the Universe was created?
  6. What are the Church’s teachings on Human Sexuality? On marriage? Why do they teach these things?
  7. Why do we have a Pope? What verses in the Bible establish the papacy as a succeeding office? What gives him Authority over the Church?
  8. Why do we go to confession? Specifically, what verses in the Bible establish the sacrament of confession?
  9. Why are the teachings of the Church Absolute Truth? Why is doctrine unchanging? What specific verses of the Bible establish them as such?
  10.  Why do we revere Mary, Jesus’ mother, as the Mother of God? What specific verses in the Bible establish her as such? What Church teachings? At what Council was this determined?
  11.  Why do we regard the Bible as accurate and reliable?

I’ll stop there. If you don’t know the answers to most of these questions, or at least where to find the answers, you are blindly following a faith that you do not understand. If you are a parent, you are doing your children a huge disservice.

Please, I beg you. Go, tonight, tomorrow, this week. Research the answers to these questions. It should only take you an hour. Google them, Go to Catholic Answers, buy a copy of the Catechism, open a Bible.  Figure it out. Then, once you do, call a family meeting. Get your kids off the computer, turn off the TV, ask your spouse to support you in this. Then, share what you learned with them. Sit around the kitchen table and talk about what you believe and why you believe it. Show them that you are a leader they can follow, someone whose word they can believe in. Answer their questions. Tell them if you don’t know an answer, encourage them to research their questions, even research it with them.

Please, do this. Help us to stop the epidemic of people leaving a Church they do not understand, at risk of their salvation. Raise up a generation of people faithful to and able to defend the Holy Roman Catholic Church. We need you.