Author Topic: Celibate gay man encourages students at Christian university to abandon cultural, sexual identities  (Read 1085 times)

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Offline happyg

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Nicole Lafond
A renowned Christian professor and author who crafts his message around his struggle with his identity as a celibate gay man living with HIV told Olivet Nazarene University’s student body Wednesday to forget their sexual and cultural identities.

“My identity should never be defined solely by my sexuality,” Christopher Yuan told the audience of university faculty, staff and students. “My identity should not be defined only by my passions or desires or feelings.”

Yuan was speaking at a chapel service at the Christian school, which is located about 50 miles south of Chicago, Illinois and affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene denomination.

“My identity is not ‘gay,’ ‘homosexual’ or — get this — even ‘heterosexual’ for that matter,” he continued. “But my identity, as a child of the living God, must be in Jesus Christ alone.”

Yuan is an educator at Moody Bible Institute, an international speaking minister and the co-author of the book “Out of Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God, A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope,” and he centers his message around his “redemption story.”

As a former promiscuous gay man and drug dealer who served a prison sentence and now suffers from HIV, Yuan now travels the world sharing the story of how he “turned his nightmare into an exciting and inspiring story of redemption, grace and transformation,” according to his biography.

Although Yuan currently makes a living publicly testifying about how he has been freed from his former sexual identity, he made it clear that identity should not be found in sexuality, or any cultural stipulation.

This paradox resonated well with the audience at the private Christian institution as students live-tweeted their thoughts throughout his message using a popular university hashtag #onuchapel.

“Amen!!! Your identity is not in your sexuality. (Hetero or homo sexual) it’s in Christ! #onuchapel,” Molly Shirosky tweeted.

“I think Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty would be pleased with this sermon #onuchapel,” another Olivet student, Lucas Fritch tweeted.

“Definitely came into this chapel with negative presuppositions… But praise The Lord I didn’t skip #onuchapel,” Jake Hileman wrote.

Some students were skeptical of the topic being discussed on campus.

“The sad part is, gays will be discussed around campus for months just b/c #onuchapel,” Evan Sherar wrote.

“God said, ‘Be holy for I am holy,’ and what he’s telling me is, ‘Don’t focus on your sexuality, your passions, your desires, your temptations, but focus on living a life of holiness and living a life of purity.’ Because change is not the absence of struggles… but change is the freedom to choose holiness in the midst of our struggles,” Yuan said.

Yuan delivered a similar message at Yale University in 2011 and garnered a very different response from an audience of self-identified LGBTQ allies and Christian students. Yale student Hannah Zeavin, a writer for Broad Recognition, a feminist magazine at Yale, challenged the way Yuan discussed identity during his talk.

“Though Yuan does not like labels, stereotypes, or generalizations, and stated, ‘I am Christopher Yuan, I am unique,’ he applied labels to everyone else. He told the audience he ‘has Gay friends,’” Zeavin wrote. “Yuan did not provide concrete answers about sexuality and religion — but instead stated that queer sex was not holy. Though attendees saw photographs of Yuan as a baby, as a student, in gay clubs, in a mug shot, and heard him testify to the love of God and his own personal redemption, I am left with many more questions than I entered with.”

Olivet senior Rebecca Wilkinson said the response to Yuan’s message probably differed based on the views of the audience.

“I think Olivet students were responsive to his message because it aligned with their preexisting world views,” Wilkinson said.


Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/13/celibate-gay-man-encourages-students-at-christian-university-to-abandon-cultural-sexual-identities/#ixzz2tECbj6EH

Offline mountaineer

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stated that queer sex was not holy.
Considering that God has condemned it ... yeah, I'd say it's not "holy."
The skeptic is never for real. There he stands, cocktail in hand, left arm draped languorously on one end of the mantelpiece, telling you that he can't be sure of anything, not even of his own existence. I'll give you my secret method of demolishing universal skepticism in four words. Whisper to him: "Your fly is open." If he thinks knowledge is so all-fired impossible, why does he always look? — James Sire (from, The Universe Next Door)

Offline mountaineer

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Unfortunately, some "gay" students at Christian colleges still don't get it.
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Students sat on the front steps of Edman Chapel holding signs and singing on Friday morning, Jan. 31, in a demonstration of solidarity and a desire to be heard before chapel guest Rosaria Champagne Butterfield gave her testimony and address to the Wheaton College community.

The demonstration, named “More Than a Single Story” by its organizers junior Justin Massey and sophomore Jordan-Ashley Barney, featured students holding signs that said “We’re all loved by God,” “This is not a protest,” “Rosaria’s story is valid, mine is too,” and “I’m gay and a beloved child of God. This is my story,” among many others. The students remained on the steps until just before chapel began, at which point they prayed together and then entered into the chapel to hear the message. Plans for the demonstration were formed on Wednesday, when Barney and Massey learned about Butterfield’s coming to Wheaton and heard from friends about their concern for the possibly negative impact that Butterfield’s story could have on Wheaton students.

Butterfield, who is the author of “The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert,” gave her message on her conversion to Christianity and her thoughts on sexuality through a Christian lens. Chaplain Stephen Kellough, who is responsible for inviting speakers to campus, felt that Butterfield’s “thoughtful and passionate articulation of a life transformed by Christ” would be beneficial for students to hear.

“My invitation to Dr. Rosaria Butterfield was intended to help us to think through issues of sexuality, to be sure,” Kellough said. “But really, my interest in having her speak in chapel was much more than that. It was her profound and winsome description of an entire life — sexuality and all — transformed by the gospel that was the most compelling reason for her being invited to speak in chapel.”

Massey said that he feared that students would be isolated or marginalized by Butterfield’s story of transformation from “radical, lesbian, leftist professor to this morally good Christian,” which could make LGBTQ or feminist students feel that those two identities were “oppositional” or mutually exclusive.

“We feared that if no conversation was added to the single message of the speaker that students who are not very well informed were going to walk into chapel, hear the message, and have misconceptions confirmed or that students who are LGBT would be told that this story is the absolute way that things happen,” Massey said.

Following the demonstration, Massey, Barney and other students who took part in the demonstration were invited to a “talk-back” discussion including Butterfield, a few alumni, associate dean of Student Care and Services Allison Ash, dean of Student Engagement Steve Ivester and ministry associate for discipleship and Grad Chapel Clayton Keenon. There, students had the opportunity to discuss with Butterfield their concerns about her message and its impact on students who have expressed feelings of marginalization and hurt on Wheaton’s campus.

“At the meeting after the chapel, the students explained that their demonstration was meant to express concern that Dr. Butterfield’s story would be interpreted by the community as prescriptive rather than descriptive,” Ash said. “They expressed the desire for other stories to be told among the community in order to represent more than one person’s individual experience.”

At the talk-back, which was held at the suggestion of Butterfield, students were also able to discuss their personal experiences of being gay and being feminists at Wheaton, as well as the general attitude that they felt that the Wheaton community held towards them.

“We shared basically all of our thoughts with her, and she was really appreciative,” Barney said. “It was great, because she was able to say that homophobia is a real sin, and that it should be repented of and made amends for, so it was really good to have that conversation going, because our direction was not ‘hey, we don’t want you here’ or ‘we want to change what the administration or chapel is doing about their beliefs,’ but we really wanted to combat the isolation that students feel on campus on a daily basis, and how that really is not okay right now,” Barney said.

Additionally, Massey and Barney met with Chaplain Kellough before the demonstration to give him advanced notice that they would be holding a demonstration before chapel and to inquire towards his reasoning for inviting Butterfield to speak on campus.

“I think he was really grateful for us coming and talking with him,” Massey said.

Kellough voiced his appreciation that students were expressing their concerns and that the topic of sexuality is a challenging one, particularly in an evangelical Christian college.

“I am glad that students have felt the freedom to express their concerns about the manner in which we discuss issues of sexuality on campus and in chapel,” Kellough said. “These are things that matter. It is especially important for us in an evangelical Christian college to challenge one another to think Christianly, to think biblically, to think compassionately, and to be willing to think counter-culturally.”

The demonstration and talk back has inspired further conversation and action as to what the campus can and should do to help those who are feeling marginalized and hurt. Ivester said that he, Ash, vice president for Student Development Paul Chelsen, and associate dean of Residence Life Justin Heth met with several of the students who participated in the demonstration to learn more about what led the students to hold the demonstration and to hear their thoughts about Butterfield’s visit. Additionally, the administrators sought students’ opinion on homophobic attitudes on campus.

“We discussed an interest in opening public and private discourse on campus that would engage a process of defining terms surrounding same-sex attraction and identity, understanding the student experience, and ways we can better support students identifying as gay or experiencing same-sex attraction,” Ivester said. “We genuinely desire to address issues of harassment, prejudice and homophobic attitudes,” he added. Ash also said that although no specific course of action has been decided as of now, she is hopeful that students felt heard and cared for, and believes that there is more to be discussed. ...

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The skeptic is never for real. There he stands, cocktail in hand, left arm draped languorously on one end of the mantelpiece, telling you that he can't be sure of anything, not even of his own existence. I'll give you my secret method of demolishing universal skepticism in four words. Whisper to him: "Your fly is open." If he thinks knowledge is so all-fired impossible, why does he always look? — James Sire (from, The Universe Next Door)

Offline aligncare

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I believe God made us in all our imperfections. So to me the difficult nature of this issue is easier to reconcile if one keeps in mind the possibility, the strong possibility, that homosexuality is probably a genetic variant, which puts any judgment beyond the scope of morality. Others may see it differently.
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Offline mountaineer

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We have to distinguish the temptation - homosexual urges or desires - and acting upon that temptation. The Bible clearly says that homosexual activity is wrong. It doesn't say that the temptation is wrong. In fact, it says we're all tempted to do some sort of sin - but God can give us the strength to resist giving into that temptation.
The skeptic is never for real. There he stands, cocktail in hand, left arm draped languorously on one end of the mantelpiece, telling you that he can't be sure of anything, not even of his own existence. I'll give you my secret method of demolishing universal skepticism in four words. Whisper to him: "Your fly is open." If he thinks knowledge is so all-fired impossible, why does he always look? — James Sire (from, The Universe Next Door)

Offline aligncare

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Yes, I see. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to be both Christian and gay. Those gays that I have known over the years have been, for the most part, wonderful people.
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Offline DCPatriot

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You'd think that a global institution like the Catholic Church would have had a rational explanation [read: alibi] for homosexuality.

...one that would be accepted in 'enlightened' civilizations.
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Online EC

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As I remind people often - homosexuality is condemned in the bible between 2 and 4 times, depending on your version. Pride is condemned several dozen times.

When someone talks about a gay man looking at their butt, which is the worse sin? The looking? Or the assuming your ass is an eye magnet?
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Offline Atomic Cow

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As I remind people often - homosexuality is condemned in the bible between 2 and 4 times, depending on your version. Pride is condemned several dozen times.

When someone talks about a gay man looking at their butt, which is the worse sin? The looking? Or the assuming your ass is an eye magnet?

Being tempted is never a sin because we all are.  Giving into it is the sin.

The Bible also refers to homosexual acts as "detestable" to God, something few other things get called.
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Offline DCPatriot

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Being tempted is never a sin because we all are.  Giving into it is the sin.

The Bible also refers to homosexual acts as "detestable" to God, something few other things get called.

I reject the notion that a human being not be allowed to engage in carnal acts, just because they have a genetic defect.

And it's been going on since Adam was only a great grandfather, I'm sure.

Where the line has been obliterated, is not keeping it away from polite, moral society.

Now...the enlightened USA and its media have been pushing GAY RIGHTS...all the while the economy and business is hemorrhaging.

We're smack dab in the middle of Nazi Germany, 1930's.....only with WiFi.
"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

"If you want to change the world, go home and love your family".    ...Mother Teresa

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Offline aligncare

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I reject the notion that a human being not be allowed to engage in carnal acts, just because they have a genetic defect.

And it's been going on since Adam was only a great grandfather, I'm sure.

Where the line has been obliterated, is not keeping it away from polite, moral society.

Now...the enlightened USA and its media have been pushing GAY RIGHTS...all the while the economy and business is hemorrhaging.

We're smack dab in the middle of Nazi Germany, 1930's.....only with WiFi.

Your point is an interesting one. Sexuality in premodern times was a private matter. Today it's no holds barred! Ever see the images from a gay pride parade?

So in many ways, "don't ask don't tell" is a pretty darn good model for how the two sides of the issue should deal with matters of sexuality in general, homo or hetero: leave it in the bedroom.
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Offline Rapunzel

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So in many ways, "don't ask don't tell" is a pretty darn good model for how the two sides of the issue should deal with matters of sexuality in general, homo or hetero: leave it in the bedroom.

 :amen: :amen: :amen: and off our TV and movie screens.
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Offline mountaineer

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Rosaria Butterfield comments on the Wheaton experience:
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You Are What—and How—You Read

I just returned from a well-known (and well-heeled) Christian college, where roughly 100 demonstrators gathered on the chapel steps to protest my address on the grounds that my testimony was dangerous. Later that day, I sat down with these beloved students, to listen, to learn, and to grieve. Homosexuality is a sin, but so is homophobia; the snarled composition of our own sin and the sin of others weighs heavily on us all. I came away from that meeting realizing—again—how decisively our reading practices shape our worldview. This may seem a quirky observation, but I know too well the world these students inhabit. I recall its contours and crevices, risks and perils, reading lists and hermeneutical allegiances. You see, I'm culpable. The blood is on my hands. The world of LGBTQ activism on college campuses is the world that I helped create. I was unfaltering in fidelity: the umbrella of equality stretching to embrace my lesbian identity, and the world that emerged from it held salvific potential. I bet my life on it, and I lost.

When I started to read the Bible it was to critique it, embarking on a research project on the Religious Right and their hatred against bleep, or, at the time, people like me. A neighbor and pastor, Ken Smith, became my friend. He executed the art of dying: turning over the pages of your heart in the shadow of Scripture, giving me a living testimony of the fruit of repentance. He was a good reader—thorough, broad, and committed. Ken taught me that repentance was done unto life, and that abandoning the religion of self-righteousness was step number one. The Holy Spirit equipped me to practice what Ken preached, and one day, my heart started to beat to the tempo of my Lord's heart. A supernatural imposition, to be sure, but it didn't stop there.

I'd believed gender and sexuality were socially constructed and that I was the mistress of my own destiny and desire. Through the lens of experience, this was self-evident. I'd built my whole house on the foundation of "gender trouble" (the title of Judith Butler's book), and then stood by, helpless, as it burned to the ground. But the Bible was getting under my skin. Hours each day I poured over this text, arguing at first, then contemplating, and eventually surrendering. Three principles became insurmountable on my own terms: the trinitarian God's goodness, the trinitarian God's holiness, and the authority of Scripture. And then, Romans 1 nailed me to the cross: "claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man. . . . Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts . . . because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie. . . . For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions" (Rom. 1:22-26).

Homosexuality, then, is not the unpardonable sin, I noticed. It is not the worst of all sins, not for God. It's listed here in the middle of the passage, as one of many parts of this journey that departs from recognizing God as our author. Homosexuality isn't causal, it's consequential. From God's point of view, homosexuality is an identity-rooted ethical outworking of a worldview transgression inherited by all through original sin. It's so original to the identity of she who bears it that it feels like it precedes you; and as a vestige of original sin, it does. We are born this way. But the bottom line hit me between the eyes: homosexuality, whether it feels natural or not, is a sin. God's challenge was clear: do I accept his verdict of my sin at the cross of Christ, or do I argue with him? Do I repent, even of a sin that doesn't feel like a sin but normal, not-bothering-another-soul kind of life, or do I take up Satan's question to Eve ("Did God really say?") and hurl it back in the face of God?

I had taught, studied, read, and lived a different notion of homosexuality, and for the first time in my life, I wondered if I was wrong.

Three Unbiblical Points

As I write and speak today, 14 years have elapsed since my queer activist days. I'm a new creature in Christ, and my testimony is still like iodine on starch. I'm sensitive to three unbiblical points of view Christian communities harbor when they address the issue of Christianity and homosexuality. Everywhere I go, I confront all three.

1. The Freudian position. This position states same-sex attraction is a morally neutral and fixed part of the personal makeup and identity of some, that some are "gay Christians" and others are not. It's true that temptation isn't sin (though what you do with it may be); but that doesn't give us biblical license to create an identity out of a temptation pattern. To do so is a recipe for disaster. This position comes directly from Sigmund Freud, who effectually replaced the soul with sexual identity as the singular defining characteristic of humanity. God wants our whole identities, not partitioned ones.

2. The revisionist heresy. This position declares that the Bible's witness against homosexuality, replete throughout the Old and New Testaments, results from misreadings, mistranslations, and misapplications, and that Scripture doesn't prohibit monogamous homosexual sexual relations, thereby embracing antinomianism and affirming gay marriage.

3. The reparative therapy heresy. This position contends a primary goal of Christianity is to resolve homosexuality through heterosexuality, thus failing to see that repentance and victory over sin are God's gifts and failing to remember that sons and daughters of the King can be full members of Christ's body and still struggle with sexual temptation. This heresy is a modern version of the prosperity gospel. Name it. Claim it. Pray the gay away.

Indeed, if you only read modern (post 19th-century) texts, it would rightly seem these are three viable options, not heresies. But I beg to differ.

Worldview matters. ...

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The skeptic is never for real. There he stands, cocktail in hand, left arm draped languorously on one end of the mantelpiece, telling you that he can't be sure of anything, not even of his own existence. I'll give you my secret method of demolishing universal skepticism in four words. Whisper to him: "Your fly is open." If he thinks knowledge is so all-fired impossible, why does he always look? — James Sire (from, The Universe Next Door)

Offline Oceander

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As I remind people often - homosexuality is condemned in the bible between 2 and 4 times, depending on your version. Pride is condemned several dozen times.

When someone talks about a gay man looking at their butt, which is the worse sin? The looking? Or the assuming your ass is an eye magnet?

At this point in my life, I'd be quite pleased if somebody else's eyes were so bad they mistook my sorry, flabby, dragging bum as something attractive!


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