At Fuller Seminary’s Burner Blog, there are a pair of posts up about how that school (with which I am affiliated as an adjunct professor) is dealing with the issue of homosexuality in the church. In the first post, the worst-kept-secret at Fuller is revealed: former provost and emeritus professor Sherwood Lingenfelter has a gay daughter. Lingenfelter writes,
Initially, this was distressing and even disheartening news to me. This is not what I had imagined for my daughter, and yet it did not come as a complete surprise… How should we respond? Was it our fault? I could remember many times when I was clearly a failure as a father, and wondered how that might have contributed to this momentous decision by my daughter to become partner to another woman. [Read the rest]
That will strike some readers of this blog as a surprisingly self-centered reaction in this day and age. But Lingenfelter goes on to write about his growth in this area — and his ultimate acceptance of his daughter’s partner as a member of the family…and as a friend. He concludes that he continues to hold to a biblical interpretation that we’ve explored here a couple weeks ago — regarding Daniel Kirk’s book — that the Old Testament passages regarding homosexuality are not normative, but the New Testament passages are.
The second post is by a Fuller D.Min. student who writes that she was “born to be a lesbian.” But then she decided to stop being a lesbian:
After several years of being out of the closet and fully engaging in the gay community, I lost a close friend in an accident. Ray’s death was one of the most painful times in my life. Despondent, a friend asked me to go to a retreat in San Francisco to help me grieve and set aside time to deal with the pain I continued to feel. There, I began to examine my lifestyle and realized I didn’t want to be a lesbian anymore. During a quiet time of prayer, I realized I didn’t want to return home and go back into the lesbian lifestyle. I was strongly impressed by the emptiness of seeking fulfillment in another person rather than God and no longer wanted to desire sexual intimacy with a woman. I wanted to desire God to fill my life. It was at this point I made a deal with God. I asked Him either to end my life or change it. [Read the rest]
What’s interesting about this post is that Maria does not conclude by stating that her attraction has shifted from women to men. She seems only to imply that she no longer shares sexual intimacies with women. She concludes,
It has been a number of years now since this process began. Today I am secure in the love I have found in God and His people, people who have helped me take the extra step toward God through their tough love. Instead of condemning me or compromising God’s standards for me, they supported my journey of restoration and transformation set before me in Christ.
And that makes me wonder, is Maria really “No Longer Lesbian”? Or is she simply no longer having sex with women? It seems to me there’s a difference.