Recently, I came out to one of my best friends–and my only friend who didn’t know I was bisexual. She was the last one I told because I knew her own Christian journey was one that had led her to believe that homosexuality (and bisexuality by extension) is not “God-honoring” (her words). I told her because I finally got to the point where I’d rather have an uncomfortable friendship than a dishonest one.
We’ve entered into a dialogue that is difficult and painful at times because it’s not hypothetical for me; this is who I am, and, I believe, the way God created me to be and the way God wants me authentically to live. Part of this dialogue has included my understanding that many of the Christian arguments against homosexuality center around an outdated and incorrect idea that same-sex love and attraction are “unnatural.” Research in biological, evolutionary, and social sciences is making great strides in creating a more complete understanding of homosexuality (certainly more complete than the one in existence when the Bible was written). It’s also quickly debunking the idea that same-sex love and attraction are “unnatural” (i.e.: homosexuality and bisexuality does, in fact, occur in the natural world outside of human sexuality; rates of homosexuality have remained constant throughout time, implying it’s an evolutionarily beneficial adaptation; and brain research is beginning to find that sexuality is often “programmed” before birth). Her response to this evidence was that just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s sacred.
I agree with this to a certain extent. I think we all have biologically programmed drives that may not necessarily inspire moral decisions. For example, our drive to survive at all costs may tell us to hoard our food rather than sharing it with our hungry sisters and brothers. But for the most part, I am amazed by the beauty and intelligence that appears in nature. I wrote earlier this year about how fruit makes me believe in God, but it’s not just fruit. It’s the fact that my back muscles, torn and strained in a car accident, could generate new cells and heal themselves with nothing more than time, rest, care, and patience — that a physical pain I thought would never go away had disappeared within two weeks. It’s the fact that a pregnant mother who is so ill that she can hardly eat during her pregnancy (as my mother was when she was pregnant with my sister) can still deliver a healthy, full-term baby–because the baby will draw directly from the mother’s body for its nourishment if the nourishment isn’t coming adequately through food. It’s the fact that stomach aches, muscle aches, the common cold, and a bad mood can all be significantly improved through the healing that takes place while we do nothing at all but close our eyes and sleep.
In noticing all of these things, I think often of Psalm 139:14: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” This is what runs through my mind when I feel my body healing after illness, when I feel the rush of a good workout, when I feel the pleasure of a gentle touch, and when I fall in love. And I do believe it’s all both natural and sacred.