Fan Friday: About Sex

I had a great conversation with a friend last night about the place for sex in a relationship. At the risk of ruffling some feathers, I’d like to take the time to address what I believe on this sensitive subject.

In a culture that is sex positive, and belonging to the LGBTQ culture which is dramatically sex positive, I come across as archaic and old-fashioned IMG_1658in my beliefs. I believe that sex was designed by God to take place
within a committed covenant that over the centuries has evolved into what we now recognize as marriage. I word it this way on purpose. Marriage wasn’t always a state recognized union, and is some places it still isn’t.

In North American culture, our covenant unions are surrounded by  ceremonies and paperwork. In other cultures, if you sleep together you’re married. One thing h
olds true along this spectrum, sex is sacred and our culture has lost that.

IMG_1386I’m not here to shame anyone, I can only speak from my experience and my convictions. I believe the Bible is true, which is why coming to terms with my sexuality as “other than
straight” and Christian doctrine was so hard—is so hard—in the first place. There are more verses about covenant, marriage and faithfulness in scripture than I can count. Marriage is so important to God and to the LGBTQ community.

What are we gaining by promising to be with someone we haven’t really treated any different from the last person we were with?

We gave the last person(s) our heart, our mind, our body…we probably thought we’d be with them longterm too (unless it was casual sex—which I’ll leave for another discussion). What makes sexual intimacy intimate is that it’s sacredness isn’t for everyone to enjoy. It’s a promise to be vulnerable and fully open to another person. If you wouldn’t trust someone with your life, your heart and your future, why would you trust them with the most tender parts of yourself?

Ultimately, if you’re a Christian, you need to figure out where your convictions are in light of the Bible. Do you believe it has authority or is it a nice book to you? No judgement. My sincerest heartfelt hope is that you learn what your convictions are and live a life of integrity. Don’t feel pressured to feign someone’s idea of holiness and don’t feel pressured to be sex positive simply because the people you identify with most are doing it. there’s glorious freedom in knowing who you are in Christ and living accordingly.

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Cheryl

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It’s Pride Month: The Need for Rainbow Spam

As you’ve probably noticed, your newsfeed is filling up with Pride flags, coming out stories, controversial bathroom hate crimes and cheeky memes about being a unicorn. 

As an ally, or impartial person –you know one who considers themselves tolerant but doesn’t like to take sides–you’re likely to be annoyed or even grow numb to the sentiment behind these posts.

The fact that Pride Month Celebrations can be annoying is the reason we need them.

If it were Hunger Awareness, Cancer Awareness, Autism Awareness, Heritage Month, or any other issue not pertaining to sexuality–would the reaction be the same?


I’ve been speaking out actively to those close to me why it’s important for me, as a Christian, to be involved in this year’s Pride activities. My city is having it’s first Pride Festival and when I mentioned that it would be from a Wednesday to a Sunday–the audible eye roll went around the table like the wave at a football game.

In that moment I felt small, I felt foolish and I felt dirty. This is why we need Pride Month. 

Pride isn’t about promiscuity, it isn’t about sexualization, it isn’t about getting drunk and having a techno dance party in the street in our underwear –it’s about acceptance, love and integrity. In a culture where someone can get the audible eye roll for attending an event that celebrates and encourages marginalized people (which by the way–Jesus spent 95% of his ministry with marginalized people)–this month is important.

Instead of getting annoyed, why not engage. First, ask yourself why you’re uncomfortable. Annoyance is just the polite version of anger. Why are you angry that people are fighting for acceptance? 

Second, engage with your friends. Ask your friend why that post is so important for them. Explain that you want to understand the importance but that you’re having a tough time. Hear some firsthand stories about how LGBTQ people are dehumanized daily and why it needs to stop regardless of personal or religious convictions. 



Above all listen to your mom: if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Loneliness–Or as I like to call it, Black Hole of Doom

Talking with my fellow LGBT Christians, a real honest question that effects every person regardless of orientation, race, economical status or religion came up. How do you deal with loneliness. My first thought was my previous post about singleness you can read here.

Then my second thought was “I punch it in the face”. My tongue and cheek response received a few likes and comments on our Facebook page, but I sat back and chewed on it for a bit. How DO I deal with loneliness?

In my experience, I deal with it in one of two ways: horrible indulgence or optimistic resilience. There is no in-between. When I’m feeling lonely, alone, unwanted, invisible, awkward, prickly, forgotten…ect…I either disappear into Netflix and Youtube binges whilst devouring whatever salty carbohydrates fried cheese covered creation I can manage or I get out of my own way and have fun.

Loneliness is less about being alone and more about being discontent with whom you’re with/without. Think about it. I imagine at some point in your life , think a new situation/high school/or meeting someone’s life long friends–you have likely felt lonely in a crowd. You weren’t alone…but you felt alone. Surrounded by others and their happiness and memories, you felt like an outsider and were lonesome.

Then there’s those times when you are alone and feel lonely. We dislike being alone with ourselves. Self talk and silent lies are the most oppressive when there is no one fun and exciting around to distract us from all the ways we’ve disappointed ourselves. We begin to ask questions that have no answers outside of timing. Why are all my friends getting married? (If this were true, you would have no engagements popping up in your newsfeed next year…it’s likely an exaggeration.)

Which leads to: why am I single? Why haven’t I received that promotion? How come I wasn’t invited? Why don’t I have any texts….so on and so on.

STOP.

Get up.

DO SOMETHING.

The best cure for the loneliness of self loathing is to go out and enjoy something other than the prison of your thoughts. Go to a park and take the best Instagram photo of clouds ever offered to mankind.

Take yourself on a date to a new vegan fusion cafe you’ve been dying to try and snapchat the world how jealous they should be of you.

Sign up for a new class, cooking, dancing, painting, gardening…you won’t meet new people on your couch.

Lastly, write that friend that you miss. Not a text. Not a Facebook message, send them a long email or a long letter telling them about everything and nothing that you miss about them. Talk about the toast you made and how unfortunately seedy the bread was. DO something.

You can thank me later.

The thing I can’t live without.

Is there something in your life that you can’t live without?

I posted a short video about my need for authenticity on my YouTube Channel today. It got me thinking that authenticity is a tricky creature and yet I cannot live without it.

In order to fully embrace myself I have to be willing to fully embrace others–even if that means that they might not see their behaviour as damaging to others.

I was talking with my mom today, something that’s happening more and more as I embrace how I was made, and I said, “So many hurtful things happen to people with love as the motivation.” As much as I see bigotry and hatred cited as the reason for injury towards LGBT people (myself included), those who are close to me are motivated out of love for me.

In their sight, through standing by their convictions, they are displaying love for me by trying to step in and stop me from going a direction they don’t agree with. Though it hurts, I can see where it comes from, and I am thankful that there are people who care enough about me and my well being to risk relationship.

The issue I have is the methodology.

Ever feel like you’re the last one to know something really important?

Ever feel like your life has become a series of question and answer periods when all you’d like is to have a cup of tea and watch a movie with some friends?

Me too.

When your friend comes out to you, whether you are Christian or not, whether you agree with them or not, it’s their journey. Let them share with you at their speed. You might have a lot of questions, and that’s great! It shows that you care. Consider how many others in their life also have that many questions and how many times they are asked them in a day. Every conversation becomes about this one part of their life–and they need space to process the new normal.

You didn’t become best friends understanding one another over night, and you won’t understand them through this new lens right away either.

Give it time. Let it breathe and be there for them how they need you.

You Have Heard It Said…

Reading through The Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5:21-44 specifically I noticed something in the way that Jesus addressed the crowds that spoke to my heart.

In this passage, I see Him being radically counter cultural by speaking against the old understanding of religious teaching and tradition. When He speaks the words “You have heard it said…”, it’s no secret to the crowd, the disciples, or the religious leaders that He is directly addressing Pharisaical teachings. The Pharisees over the years added to the Levitical and Mosaic Laws in effort to mark clearer the lines in regards to sin.

This did a few things. Mainly, it missed the point of the law at all. Which is about selfish and rebellious hearts seeking after their own desires rather than God’s. The Law was never about following a set of rules, but rather about revealing the deficiency of broken and fail humanity and their need for a salvation outside of themselves.

It got me thinking about what Jesus might say if he were addressing our culture.

“You have heard it said that …living a good and moral life, being good, will bring others to faith in Christ”

While I don’t doubt that this helps draw people to a place that invites conversation, scripture is clear both in the Great Commission and in Paul’s writings that we are commanded to preach the goodness, make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:12-15.

In my life, I’ve been convicted lately and very aware of how I speak with my mouth and what my actions might say to others. I might be the only glimpse of Jesus they ever see. If I really do take Jesus at His word that He is “the way, the truth and the life” and that all who don’t know Him are truly lost in their sin–what am I going to do about it? Just be nice?

I know it’s not my job to save people but it is my job to love them. How loving is it to have the cure to the deadliest ailment known to mankind and not share it?

All around me people are starving for healing, for real love and affection, for security not based on their performance–and I have the answer.

So what’s preventing me? If I am really honest, two things prevent me from running into the burning buildings of people’s lives–fear and apathy.

Fear of losing my job, losing friends, stepping out of my comfort zone, being laughed at. The list goes on. My example was Christ, who endured the shame of the cross so that I might be free and I am  usually unwilling to endure the scorn of words from strangers to give others that same hope. Seems a little ungrateful to me.

Apathy is tricky. We do live in this world. Lately, I’ve been guilty of being so caught up in my plans for the now, the temporary , that I’ve completely dropped the ball on Kingdom investments. Scripture says that where my heart is, there my treasure will be also. I want my heart to be in the throne room of the King. I want it to be set on things that last, things that won’t end when my last breath does. That begins with remembering what my life is for.

What have you heard being said lately?

** I’d like to add, if you would like to join my support network and help me in this journey of radical obedience http://www.gofundme.com/cherylfolland follow this link to donate and share. Every little bit helps. **