Lance was an exuberant participant amidst the day’s festivities, in a ‘Gay Pride Parade’ in Houston, Texas, raucous revelry, perverse promiscuity, orgiastic opulence, he cavorted in the ethos of liberated excess. A member of an evangelistic team, inviting people to a Bible study conducted for people interested in deliverance from such excesses, found Lance cocky, idealistic, and tragically self-assured. He, Lance that is, wasn’t long ‘out of the closet’. The two men were as different as chalk and cheese. The Christian only recently married, Lance was appalled at his mission and the Christian evangelist no less appalled at Lance’s. They quickly became friends. The tensions of likes and dislikes, similarities and differences, comparisons and contrasts had to be delicately balanced for plain comradeship to become genuine, sincere openness.
The relationship grew in fits and starts. Lance periodically attended Bible study, but always left infuriated. Bringing to bear second-hand arguments from wishful thinking like-minded folk. He railed against the plain teaching of Scripture on sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular. He tried first of all to destroy, by argument, the authority of the Bible. That not working, he tried some twisting of the meaning of the Bible, with some creative interpretation. This all failing he turned then to some onerous periods in Church history, to some of the gross inconsistencies in Church practice. His tortuous contortions became convincing evidence that all too often a man’s theology is shaped by his morality, not the other way round. He simply would not give up a fancy under the shock of fact.
Even so, Lance seriously sought for a substantive justification for his sexual orientation and practice. He had first yielded to his homosexual urges while serving a hitch in the army. In the beginning he thought he had come to the end of a lifelong search for meaning and significance. It turned to be just another false start. Because of the then strictly enforced ban on homosexual activity in the armed forces, he and his lovers felt more than a little inhibited. So, he opted out of the military at the first opportunity and joined Houston’s ribald homosexual community. But even that failed to satisfy him. His unhappiness continued to gnaw at him, mind, body, and spirit. He yearned for something more than what the gay bars offered. He yearned for something more than what the gay parades offered. Working night and day like a factory, he poured through every scrap of literature he could find on the subject, both what his Christian friend had given him and what he could dredge up on his own.
“I had become desperate” he later said. “I knew that I was so lost I didn’t know which way was up. I was so lonely, and the anonymous sex I had at the bars and bath houses only intensified that loneliness. The only place that I found any kind of authenticity was at the Bible study. But that grated on me terribly. I can remember sitting outside my friend’s apartment in my car debating whether or not I should go in. I felt damned if I did and damned if I didn’t. Now I know that I was simply under conviction, but at the time I just knew I was miserable.”
For a few months Lance tried to assuage his anguish by going to the services of a local pro-homosexual congregation. “I thought that might relieve the pressure I was feeling,” he explained. “But it only made things worse. The inconsistency of that kind of pick-and-choose Christianity was obvious to me right away. I determined that I had only two choices: accept Christianity as a whole or reject it as a whole. The option of winnowing out the parts I liked and trashing the rest, cafeteria style, just seemed like the height of hypocrisy.” Indeed, hypocrisy is the tribute error pays to truth, and inconsistency is the tribute iniquity renders to integrity. For several years Lance struggled with the enigmas of grace and truth. He watched as several of his former friends and lovers were alternately rescued by the gospel or consumed by AIDS.
Meanwhile, the downward spiral of his promiscuity accelerated alarmingly. There were times when he would cut off all contact with his Christian friend, for months on end. Then he would show up at his front door for desperation counselling. Finally, late one Friday night, he yielded and trusted Christ for the very first time. “There was no instant flash of revelation”, he said. “No fireworks. No bells and whistles. I had just come to the end of myself.” For the longest time, he had resisted the inexorable tug of grace in his life. But all the while he knew that he did not have an opposing theory so much as a desperate thirst. Ultimately that thirst drove him to drink at the sure and eternal Fountain. Lance has been a different person ever since. “I had become convinced that I was born a homosexual. Now I know that I was just born a sinner. I never could find a cure for the former. Thankfully, the cure for the latter found me.”
As a result, his life has become and emblem of hope to anyone trapped in the vicious downward spiral of licentiousness. He is happily married and the proud father of four beautiful children. “People can change. Sexual orientation is not cruelly predestined by some freak genetic code. There is hope. I’m living proof.”
(From, ‘Legalising Immorality‘, by George Grant & Mark A. Horne, 1993 Mariposa Ltd, Moody Press’ used with permission)
(© James R Hamilton, written 8th, October, 2014)