Is He Gay?

About 20 years ago on a random cold night I was hanging out with my brother and sister. We had planned to go to a movie but got snowed out. So we settled for a snack at a nearby McDonald’s and as so often happens when you actually stop and share a meal, a real conversation broke out.

My sister was dating a guy and it was heading to marriage.  As we were talking somehow my sister brought up that they were not going to kiss until they got married.  My brother and I both must have had some sort of astounded look on our faces as she quickly said, “It was his call actually.”  My brother and I both looked at her and one of us jokingly said, “Is he gay?”

Now it’s not my intention today to get into homosexuality per se.  Not because I’m afraid of that conversation (in fact I have a lot of thoughts about that), but because that isn’t the point of this post.  Neither is my point really about the decision my brother-in-law made. I’ve talked about kissing before, but almost oddly I’ve never really done a post on “how far is too far” in the two years I’ve been writing here.  I have a post on fleeing sexual immorality coming soon.

What I want to talk about today though is how we think of single men who are living virtuously.

Our current culture obviously thinks everyone should sleep with anyone.  But our evangelical culture is different, they think everyone is sleeping with anyone and even they find it weird when they aren’t.  The funny thing is, the Church’s answer to singleness is “Don’t Have Sex” but when someone doesn’t, it shocks even them.

We have a totally warped view of Christian men.  It starts with the assumption that we are all (all men including Christians) driven primarily by lust.  In a sense the message is that the truest thing about us is that we, if not held in check, will have sex.

But when a man, actually lives a virtuous life then he’s sort of weird.  And if he does it into his 30’s then he is really different.  Between what our culture says, and how we handle it as evangelicals, it’s no wonder that eventually men become what we tell them they are.

The older you get as a man, if you stay a virgin, the more you are viewed as, well, different.

This plays out in a lot of different ways.

Take for example a man who may be called to celibacy.  Since we have no teaching on celibacy and what it is, (and I mean absolutely none as in nada, as in I’ve never in 23 years of church heard one sermon, attended one seminar, men’s retreat, heard a podcast, or read one book), we view those called to it as “different”.  We think for example that a man called to celibacy is someone who, because he has “the gift”, doesn’t struggle with wanting to be with women.  And wait. . . you know who else doesn’t struggle with that . . . men who are attracted to men. . . hmmmm.

The reality is that men, especially early on in their call to celibacy, might very well be very attracted to women.  It’s just not their call to get married.  But we have no reference point for that.  Because we don’t, we don’t know how to encourage them, and we certainly don’t know how to help a man determine if he is called to it.

Now a lot of this can be in our own heads, but it’s not only there.  I’ve led a ministry that reaches out to high school kids for almost 20 years.  When I was younger and single I never thought about it.  But as I reached my early thirties, it creeped into my head, “I wonder what people think when I as a single 33 year old talk to a group of high school girls, or for that matter guys?”  In our environment I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought it.

The problem is that when we see a thirty plus year old single guy, we want to put them into a neat little category.  Here are a few

First we assume sin

  • He is a player who won’t settle down.
  • He is struggling with secret sin – porn, habitual masturbation and the like

If he is virtuous in actions then

  • He is really nice guy who doesn’t have what it takes with women
  • He is too focussed on work/ministry.
  • He lives with his parents and or plays video games all night
  • He is attracted to men

Now any of those could of course be true.  But should we really assume any of them? Should our only answers to singles be based on that assumption?

I want to say a lot more about this in the coming days.  But we need to change two major assumptions.

  1. Just because a person is celibate does not mean they are not “attracted” to women and
  2. Men are not inherently controlled by lust

If we don’t change these two, at the end of the day we are actually pushing single men towards them.

So church let me ask you this.  When you see a 35 year old single, never married man, what first comes into your head?

14 thoughts on “Is He Gay?

  1. Of course in the world being a single, never married 35-year-old man is no big deal; primarily because in the world you can be single and have sex, babies and be in a ‘committed relationship’ and co-habit without actually getting married. For us Christians the single component speaks more than just not married; it means we aren’t getting any 😉 no co-habitation, no babies so although we all have the single title, yet our situations and what we are ‘allowed’ to do are vastly different.
    The first thing that I presume when I meet a single Christian man is that he is celibate; because that is how it should be. Second, I hold a high level of respect for my single brothers, it must be torturous to not engage in sexual activity when the world finds nothing wrong with it, and even encourages it.
    This post made me laugh because I’ve been dating a single, never married, 35-year-old Christian man for four months now and a lot of what you say rings so true: “But our evangelical culture is different, they think everyone is sleeping with anyone and even they find it weird when they aren’t. The funny thing is, the Church’s answer to singleness is “Don’t Have Sex” but when someone doesn’t, it shocks even them. I must admit that I am also guilty of this. Although we expect it of our brothers yet when they actually practice celibacy we have a sense of awe about it and on a ‘worldly’ level might even think there’s something wrong with them. Which must confuse the hell out of them, I’m sure!
    All in all I found out that being celibate doesn’t exempt him from wanting to have sex, he is after all a hot-blooded, healthy man and of course nature wants to take its course. The only thing that is keeping him in check is his love for Jesus and he has said on more than one occasion that it is only by the grace of God that he is able to live the life he is living.
    Great post Justin!

  2. I apologize, but that is what I meant. If a man, or woman, is a virgin at 25, or 35 or 65 it’s no big deal. If you, or anyone else, wants to be celibate, that’s fine. More power to ya! Why are you being so judgmental?

  3. “First we assume sin

    He is a player who won’t settle down.
    He is struggling with secret sin – porn, habitual masturbation and the like
    If he is virtuous in actions then

    He is really nice guy who doesn’t have what it takes with women
    He is too focussed on work/ministry.
    He lives with his parents and or plays video games all night
    He is attracted to men”

    All of these assumptions about a man’s life are based on the Feminist belief that a man has no real value apart from a woman’s approval and validation of him as a “real” man.

    Our whole society has been marinating in Feminist doctrine for so long, that women think their opinions and perspectives are the only ones that are really important in life, and that a man must win the approval of a woman before we as a society are willing to accept him and extend worth to him as a man. This explains why society doesn’t even care what most men think in general, but do care very much about what women think about pretty much everything in life, and as a result we have adopted a (Feminist) female-centered, female-focused, female imperative value priority system that makes negative (female-perspective-only) judgements about most men before we even care to learn about the lives, details, and opinions of those men. We would rather serve the Feminist narrative, female imperative value priority system by silencing the voices of most men (as a lower value priority), gossip about, and mock these one-dimensional, false-perception, stereotypes we have about men than withhold our judgements, seek the truth, and honor them enough to listen to their views.

    As a society, and as a Church, we have decided that the opinions and perspectives of men are not important or relevant to our societal Feminist value system, and so we treat men as one-dimensional beings that must fit into and prove useful to a woman’s self-interests. If a woman takes one look at a man, and assumes he is not interesting or useful enough to fit into her world and serve her self-interests, then she (even in Church) is given freedom and permission to ridicule and shame him for not being exactly what she wants him to be, as if God created men to be a reflection of a women’s desires over His own desires, or that God is more interested in making women “happy” than holy and obedient. The details of a man’s life are not even important enough to be looked at or considered – just the final female analysis of her opinion of his life during that moment. And rather than Churches holding that woman accountable to treat and honor her brothers-in-Christ well, and rather than blaming her for her selfish assumptions and judgements of men, Churches choose to “love” her by accepting and validating her poor opinions and treatment of men as a higher value priority than even those very men themselves.

    In society, and in Church, a woman’s opinion of men has more priority and worth (is granted more significance, value, and weight) than the very existence of the men themselves, and the “Granter” of this perceived worth is our willingness as a society (and Church) to pander to and submit to this Feminist narrative, female imperative value priority system that praises the opinions of women at the expense of our thoughts and treatment of men and their lives and opinions.

    Thus, men only “exist” (are granted value and worth) in society and Church by the acceptance, validation, and affirming “worth” of a woman’s opinion. Without this female-centered praise of men, we men are assumed to be any of those negative, one-dimensional stereotypes on your list, and we will be silenced, gossiped about, and mocked as a result, because that is all part of the script that society and Churches follow in the Feminist narrative.

    This Feminist doctrine also shapes our views of God in a similar way, believing He is not really good, sovereign, capable, or trustworthy, and that he is too passive ever to judge us for our actions. We assume He is wimpy and pathetic, and not capable of helping us, and that we can just keep pressuring, over-powering, and resisting Him to get our own way. We think he will always “love” us by accepting our idolatry, pride, and disobedience without ever demanding any holiness and righteousness from us, and that we can keep on sinning against Him and receiving His grace as if His blood and death and commands were no big deal.

    We trample the blood of Christ underfoot, and act like our opinions, perspectives, and desires are more important and have more worth in our lives than His very life, death, and resurrection. We think our opinions and perspectives are more important to God than our obedience to Him. We are full of pride and idolatry, and many other horrendous sins. We are deceived.

    If Jesus were here now, what would we say about Him?
    Would we assume He was a really nice guy that was too focused on ministry? Would we question whether or not He was gay? He did have 12 male disciples. Why not more women among those elite 12? Shouldn’t it be “equal?” Does he “hate” or “fear” women? (Again, another female-perspective-only question, that does not consider the male perspective to be important, relevant, or of any worth.) Would you call Him a sexist? What about His Job and Status? He quit his trade to do full-time ministry for free, and had no other source of income or financial savings. He didn’t own a house or any animals for food and transportation. Wouldn’t God want a “real” man to save-up a lot of money before starting a ministry, so that he is not a burden to others? Aren’t we all supposed to be “strong and independent,” rather than to trust and rely on God? Certainly, you might tell him to “Man-Up and get a real job, and stop sponging off of all the people you meet. Buy a house, find a woman, and get married (because the Feminist, Female Imperative Value Priority System believes men only have “real” value when they become useful to women, as if He is not ever fully mature and possessing of His own worth as a man and human being until He is granted “real” worth by a woman, so that her affirming opinion of Him grants Him and His life the “blessing” of her worth.) ” We would probably expect Him to focus on loving and pleasing His wife, valuing (and submitting to) her desires and opinions more than the call and commands of God upon His life.

    And had Jesus done that back then, what would become of us all now?

    • I was going to post something similar to what Justin said in his reply, but I won’t. I will instead say this:

      When you “see” this single man in your church, have you ever made an “attempt” to get to know him? Say hello? Have you ever understood the pain of asking hundreds of women out over the years, and you always get the reply of “I just want to be friends.” and “I don’t feel a spark!”

      Maybe, just maybe he got tired of it. Maybe he realized that chasing a woman “wasn’t” worth it.

      Is it because men have no feelings? Men pursue and that’s it? They are unable to feel loss, sadness, loneliness?

      He’s single because he’s shy, and quiet. Are men supposed to be entertaining women with sort-of-dirty-humor and making her laugh non-stop to win a “chance” at a date with her?

      There is nothing “interesting” about this. What I am a bit surprised at is this behavior IS actually in the church. Men like myself ARE viewed with this attitude, mostly by women.

      I thank God daily that He indeed wanted me IN church serving Him; because if I had a thinner skin, I would probably leave church, and turn my back on Christ, call all the people a bunch of “hypocrites” and do exactly what satan himself wanted me to do: Leave. Not be involved. Not be with Christ. Be conformed to the world of chasing women, making crude jokes, watching football on TV for six months straight.

      I don’t apologize for my calling, and gift of celibacy. I ran from it for decades, and it made me angry, hurt, jealous……EVEN before I finally came to understand God’s will, purpose and potentials for me here. Even before Sometimes God indeed has other plans for a person because He is God. Who am I question His will at this point in my life?

      I still deal with the snickers at times from younger couples in my church who don’t understand this gift. I still know for a fact that some of the women and single moms in my church say behind my back “He’s too picky,” but I know for a fact that Christ died for me. Not just the marrieds. Not just the “cool” people of the church, or the cliques that form around it. Not just the women. Not just the children.

      All of us must submit to the cross equally. There is no “favortism” with Him, and nowhere in His word does it say I must be married. I must father children. I must marry before the age of 35 or I am too picky.

    • I wonder if thinking, “He’s too picky,” or “Men are too picky,” is just how women project their own motives onto men, so that they can make sense of and feel better about their own singleness and “justified” pickiness.

      Most single Christian men I’ve met should actually be pickier than they are about who they date, not less. Few of them had more than a couple basic, easily-attainable expectations of women that most Christian women met. Only one or two of the men I’ve met would I ever consider “picky.”

      Most of us have considered Christian women to be very picky, and if they’re still single at 35, then there are probably some very good reasons not to date them.

  4. What is right has become wrong and what is wrong has become right. The church has gone so far off course with their marriage and family idolatry, I’m not sure it will ever be corrected or that they will ever be able to recognize the gift of celibacy. In the socialist state coming to this country, I see them functioning as no more than social services agencies – handing out bread, milk, and diapers on their front steps. Sadly, Paul wouldn’t make it up the front steps of any church today. Thanks for writing this Justin.

  5. Pingback: The Protestant Celibacy Problem | More Than Don't Have Sex

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