As we speak of addictions (or “besetting sins” in religious lingo), we often find ourselves consciously (or unconsciously) rating behaviors connected with those addictions on a “scale of shame.” Certain behaviors without compulsiveness carry little or no shame—for example, eating in moderation and sexual activity within the confines of marriage. Some would place masturbation or the occasional viewing of erotic materials in this category, though in my experience, I cannot do so. I’m convinced that every addictive behavior produces shame and isolates us from God and healthy relationships with others.
As if it’s not shameful enough to struggle with lust and compulsive sexual behaviors, many pastors find themselves struggling specifically with attractions to the same gender. Some would contest that having homosexual attractions should not induce shame because sexual orientation is not a matter of choice. This is neither the time or place to debate that issue. Much said and written on this divisive and complex topic offers little compassion for the individual who experiences these attractions and finds them in conflict with his or her core values, ministry context, or biblical interpretation.
On this website, I would like to offer hope to the Christian leader whose lust or sexual desire is directed toward his or her own gender. Resources and support groups are available, but many of these “fly below the radar” because of the cultural and political hullabaloo centered on this issue.
May I suggest a few recent publications to provide fresh insight on this subject:
- An Alternative Script for Same-Sex Attraction (A blog entry on John Piper’s website)
- Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends by Mark A. Yarhouse
- Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality by Wesley Hill
If you struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction, please feel welcome on this website (Sex Addicts in Ministry) and feel free to call the helpline listed in the sidebar or request to join the phone support group. You are not alone! There is help for you.