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Shame, Fear, & Despair vs. Freedom, Joy, & Life

While perusing the TRP discussion forums where we’ve recently finished reading Wes Hill’s Washed and Waiting (3rd time for me now), I was particularly struck by what Brian criticized as Hill’s despair and shame based approach to his orientation. I guess I’ve never really seen Hill’s approach as such… I just always thought it was an honest recognition of his situation. But when I think back and recall my own depression and shame based fear from that period in my own life along with the continuing testimonies of so many Side B friends, I just wonder… is this the best way to approach Side B-ism? Apart from embracing an affirming view (my personal wish!), what might a more healthy approach look like for people who are honestly convicted that there is no healthy expression for their sexuality… ever? I don’t have a problem with the “celibate” part, but more with the reason for pursuing the celibacy being from fear of one’s own orientation rather than from a positive choice to pursue what one feel’s to be God’s wonderful calling for their life! 

Hill rationalizes his own oppression, shame, and loneliness, using a generic appeal to “costly obedience” as justification. It’s terribly sad. Here’s a list (from the second half) of Hill’s description of his agony that specifically results from his rejection of his desire for same-gendered intimate relationship (either self-expressed or in agreement with the lament of other authors):

  • "…loneliness…immobilizing fears of rejection…" (87)
  • - “…isolated, tormented, and worse, numb to whatever love, affection, and support my friends and church family were trying to extend to me.” (87)
  • - “Loneliness…has been a defining struggle of my life.” (92)
  • - “…rejection, alienation, and isolation…” (92)
  • - “…desperately, helplessly lonely…” (97)
  • - “…crushing lonlieness…I felt like I was in a grave.” (97)
  • - “…lost and adrift in the world…without someone, a lifelong partner, who wants them, who longs and yearns for them.” (105)
  • - “I felt more insecure and lonelier than I had ever felt before.” (115)
  • - “That year – and countless times since – I have pondered the question that haunts me still: Why do I so often feel agonizingly, desperately hungrily outside?” (117)
  • - “…confusing loneliness…fighting loneliness…pain of isolation” (118)
  • - “…nagging feelings of being constantly displeasing to God.” (127)
  • - “…unshakeable loneliness…” (128)
  • - “…no matter what I do, I am displeasing to God…something is seriously wrong with me…” (134)
  • - “For many homosexual Christians, this kind of shame is part of our daily lives…grievous affliction…feeling that we are perpetually, hopelessly unsatisfying to God.” (137)
  • - “guilty, and vile, and worthy of contempt for my failure…” (142)
  • - “loneliness and sheer longing threaten to extinguish hope” (147)

Of course Hill attempts to bring all of these feelings of despair and shame under the healing compassion of Jesus – and that’s good at least, but he also justifies these feelings (in agreement with Martin Hallett) as a “positive thing”…a “gift” both to the lonely and despairing celibate and to the church at large as a testimony! (148-149). Hill also quotes Gerard Hopkins in saying, “…battles with despair and darkness were somehow included in God’s loving purposes.” (128

I continue to be so very touched by Side B bloggers like SacredTension who honestly point out the gaping holes in the current Side B approach. My prayer is that in all of this, Christ will be honored and that people really would step into a place of living from freedom and joy in Him as He created them rather than suffering incessantly from what they perceive to be a unique curse created just for them.

— 8 months ago with 17 notes
#Side B  #Washed and Waiting  #Wesley Hill 
  1. skshim reblogged this from aniledodi and added:
    Considering that my own sister was the most homophobic — and yet she didn’t outcast me or anything — I would say that it...
  2. aniledodi reblogged this from godinthebrokenness and added:
    As a side B Christian I find this very sad to read. When reading Washed and Waiting the same thoughts came to my mind....
  3. onewyldandprecyouslyfe reblogged this from godinthebrokenness and added:
    Side A and Side B are unequal. Side B is a forced celibacy, whereas Side A is a chosen celibacy (I would put those who...
  4. vivirdesenmascarado reblogged this from heyodavo
  5. godinthebrokenness reblogged this from heyodavo and added:
    I struggled with fear and shame for years as a Side X, and then a Side B gay Christian. It took me a long time to get...
  6. heyodavo posted this