Author "Calling the Rainbow Nation Home"
What is “Natural”?
In Romans, we are introduced to a group of people who knowingly reject God. From this point on their lives begin to spiral downward and they commit all sorts of sins. One of which is turning away or “exchanging” what is “natural” to them for that which is “unnatural”.
The problem of course is, what is “natural”? The word “natural” comes from two Greek words phusikos (Strong's #5446) and phusis (Strong's #5449). These words literally mean that which is a persons "natural disposition" and something that comes "instinctively" to them. In other words, it is who you are naturally; without reprogramming, counseling, or any other form of behavioral modification that attempts to change your behavior to that which society has deemed acceptable.
It’s not easy accepting yourself as a gay person. Like most everyone else who has come to terms with this issue. I fought the idea for years. This problem was only compounded by the fact that I was a Christian and had been taught that homosexuality was some sinful “choice” that I had made along the way.
For years I fought that “choice”. I had boyfriends and almost got married. I find it ironic that when I was praying about whether I should get married, the Holy Spirit used this very scripture to help me ‘see the light’. I’ll never forget the moment. Bill had just proposed and I had practically bolted from the room in fright! What should I do? I knew that I loved Bill very much but only as a dear, dear friend. As with every other boyfriend before him, I simply wasn’t sexually attracted to Bill! I had always been attracted to women, but not men in that way. But it wasn’t ok to be with a woman! So I had pretty much made up my mind that I would be single and celibate for the rest of my life. I really didn’t see another way out of my quandary. Then Bill proposed. Now what?
After leaving the restaurant, I drove down the road mulling over my options. Bill was a wonderful man and I thought I’d never find a more perfect match. He was everything I had been looking for in a husband. Except... there just wasn’t any sexual attraction. But would I ever be sexually attracted to a man? Highly doubtful. Knowing this should I marry Bill? What was the right thing to do? Was this going to be fair to Bill? Could I handle being married to a man when I wasn’t sexually attracted to him? What would this do to our marriage over time?
Not a mile down the road, I stopped for gas and to wash my car. My mind so absorbed in this question, I hardly paid attention to what I was doing. In the car wash, ‘out-of-the-blue’ the Holy Spirit brings to mind this passage in Romans. I thought about the story and how these people had rejected God and then had turned away from what was “natural” to them. Women going after women and the men after the other men. "OK," I thought, "God is telling me that being with another woman is not an option. I already knew that!"
But then the Holy Spirit asked me a strange question. “Elaine, what is natural for you? Being with Bill or being with a woman?” Lying to God was futile, so I truthfully answered, “with a woman”. There was simply no comparison between the two!
As I reflected on my answer, half expecting a lightning bolt to strike my car, the Holy Spirit brought up the Romans Scripture again. This time though He emphasized the ORDER in which things occurred in the story. These people weren’t ‘gay’ and then they had turned away from God. No, they had first turned away from God, and then they turned toward that which was unnatural for them.
The Holy Spirit prompted my spirit again asking; “Elaine, have you ever really turned away from God?” I answered truthfully once more. “No I haven’t Lord”. Sure God and I have had our disagreements over the years and I’ve sinned like everyone else. But there had never been a moment since becoming a Christian when I had willfully pushed God out of my life. Even now, with this issue, I was earnestly seeking God’s will in this matter.
The car wash was on the final rinse cycle now as I thought long and hard over these things. I had no idea where God was taking this and His line of questioning didn’t make any sense at all! Frustrated and a little angry that God wasn’t answering my prayer for guidance, I just sat there and waited for the car wash to end. It was then that the Holy Spirit asked the most difficult question of them all. “Elaine, what do you think will happen if you marry Bill?”
I realized instantly that this question was where God was headed all along and in my reply lay God's answer to my prayer. Clearing my mind, I tried to imagine what life would be like after we got married. There were many good things to look forward to. But what about the nights? As Bill’s wife he had every right to expect a sexual relationship with me. How would this affect me? I knew I wasn’t sexually attracted to him and I also knew that that would not change after we got married. How would forcing myself to have sex affect me? How would I cope?
I was instantly repulsed by what I saw. Making love with someone was perhaps the most intimate thing two people could do. For me to successfully follow through with Bill’s sexual advances meant I’d have to block off all of my feelings and wall off my emotions at the deepest levels of my being. Could I survive this? What would it do to my psyche? Would it only resurrect the wall around my heart that had existed before I had accepted Christ? Yes.
I knew then why the Holy Spirit had taken me through Romans. Making love with Bill would be such an unnatural act for me that I would have to harden my heart in order to survive. I might be able to do this for a while but eventually there would be ramifications. It was inevitable. It would probably start first with growing anger and resentment at my predicament. That anger would most likely be directed first at myself. Somehow I had failed. But it wouldn’t end there. Soon my silent pain and growing resentment would be directed towards Bill. Had he done anything wrong? No! Of course not! But that wouldn’t change anything. If anything, it would only make me hate myself even more!
Invariably, our marriage would suffer. How could it not? Eventually my pain and anger would be directed towards God Himself. After all, He had made me this way! Only a cruel and merciless God would place me in such an impossible predicament! As I pictured the end playing out, I could see what that lay ahead. I would hate myself and my marriage would be a sham. In the end, it would reach all the way to my relationship with God. Did I want this to happen? No.
I knew then that I could not marry Bill. It wouldn’t be a loving act towards him, towards myself or towards God. Marrying Bill would, for me, be as much a sin as it was a sin for these people to turn away from God. Our paths may have been different, but the end result would be the same. If I truly loved Bill, the most loving thing I could do would be to say, “No”.
God was trying to tell me the obvious. What was natural for me was to be with a woman, not a man. Later on in my life I discovered the literal meaning of this word “natural” and realized that what the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me that day in the car wash was exactly how the verse was written.
That being that these people had first turned away from God (I had not) and then they had turned away from what was natural for them. If I had turned away from God’s advice that day and accepted Bill’s proposal of marriage. I would have been committing the same sin these people had thousands of years ago.
What was Natural?
After years of studying the Word and talking to people about passages such as this, I’ve come to the conclusion that the real problem concerning this text is that people want to take whatever is natural for them and then try and apply to everyone else. This problem is only amplified if the majority of people share your same experience. Making what is natural for you the accepted norm – or "normal," if you will. The small minority of people who do not share your experience are now seen by the majority as the "ab-normal" ones.
This problem is only compounded when laws and religious doctrines are built around the majorities shared experience. Thus solidifying and codifying this view of the world as not only what is "normal" but also that which is considered "God ordained".
So what is the truth? What is truly natural for you? Only you can answer that question. One thing that constantly amazes me though is that we have any gay people with us at all! With the intense socialization process we go through from our youth on up, coupled with the fact that society rejects homosexuals in almost every way possible, for someone to come out the other end of the process still desiring a mate of their own sex is truly amazing! We are the proverbial fish swimming upstream. Yet in spite of the obstacles throughout history and across all racial and cultural lines, there has always been a small minority of every population whose sexual orientation is homosexual. How can this be?
It can only ‘be’ because homosexuality is a naturally occurring phenomenon in nature, affecting every species including humans. For some reason, in God’s magnificent plan of creation – He has planned us to be this way.
For a more in depth look at this subject read "Calling the Rainbow Nation Home"
by Rev. Sundby
Counter reset 9/16/2005