N2 — Doubt

By Nick Norton | Dec 6 2013 1:46PM

Since becoming a part of The Reformation Project I’ve been communicating more with young gay Christians, emailing back and forth. The number one question they ask: ‘how do I get through reconciling my faith with my sexuality?’

In reconciling same-sex attraction with Christianity, LGBT people have to ask monumental questions. Going against a perceived cultural norm can cause emotional and spiritual unrest. The powerful assumption we when we’re younger is that everyone straight, and it takes personal discernment to get through the realization we don’t fit in that box.

I think we can work through our doubts if we ask a safe community our questions.

This time of confusion lead some gay people to just abandon their spiritual roots. The doubt in the divine and their human representatives is too real. Christians never doubt their faith right?

Wrong. Doubt plays a big role in our spiritual formation. Faith traditions all have one thing in common – they ask the big questions. Who am I? How do I know God? How should I live my life? For Christians the answers vary from denomination to denomination, group-to-group, and person-to-person. Christianity isn’t a monolithic entity; it is a dynamic collection of different perspectives, changing with the generations.

When someone asks me how I reconcile my faith and sexuality, I can only speak from my personal experience. To me it’s pretty black and white. I grew up in an affirming environment, and was free to grow in my spirituality and sexuality guarded from prejudice.

I came at the question of how to live as a gay Christian – already accepting myself as a gay man who couldn’t be changed. I approached my Catholic faith as a meditative experience where I grew closer to Christ’s love personally and in community. I have been protected for so long as a gay Christian, that I can look into the face of those big questions without fearing they will swallow me whole.

That context obviously isn’t universal. If you are coming from a different place — you will have a different set of questions to ask, and that is okay.

As we studied the Bible at my Catholic high school, we inevitably came across those passages that many claim condemn same-sex relationships. I approached the Bible in a more holistic way, and I saw the overall trajectory of Scripture to point toward love and justice. In that regard, I didn’t necessarily have a solid biblical scholarly argument for why the Bible doesn’t condemn same-sex relationships.

We had to read this intense course packet full of scholarly articles and James Brownson’s book Bible Gender and Sexuality to prep for The Reformation Project conference. There still so much left to learn.

Even after studying for months at The Reformation Project, I’m still in the process of learning all there is to know. I’m still maturing in my faith, and I don’t claim to know everything about the Bible. What I do claim to know is that I’m supposed to do Jesus’ work with compassion and openness.

A basic philosophical tenant is that no one steps in the same river twice. This means that even as we come back to a place, person, or experience – we change overtime. Similarly, as Christians we visit the same rituals over and over again. By approaching these tried and true customs regularly, we are able to gain new insights from each visit because people always bring something new to the ritual.

So whatever stage of your faith journey you’re on – embrace it. Whether you are loving going to church, laying aside your faith, reading the Bible daily, or just simply not caring – you are at the stage you are supposed to be at right now.

Keep asking the big questions, keep faith, and don’t be afraid of doubts.

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Nick Norton


Nick Norton, 22, lives in the heart of Detroit, Michigan. A senior studying Mandarin Chinese at Wayne State University, Norton loves teaching yoga and everything urban. Nick came to MatthewsPlace.Com after doing some activist work with Matthew Vines’ nonprofit, the Reformation Project, which seeks to reform Christianity’s stance on homosexuality and gender identity. Read more from him on his website, N2Writes.Com, or follow him on Twitter @N2Namaste.

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