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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ray Boltz, Kirk Talley, and The Struggle

There are two Christian singers whose struggle with homosexuality became public, and both under different circumstances.

Back a few years, 2003 or 2004, I'd say, Kirk Talley, a Southern Gospel singer - was "outed" as someone who struggles with homosexuality. I have no idea if he ever pursued the sexual part at all, but one evening was in a gay chat room, chatting with another guy who I believe was claiming to be a Christian. When he found out who Kirk was, he tried to blackmail him - tell his record company and the public. Kirk did the hard thing and called the law in. The man was arrested, but Kirk's struggles became public. He made a comeback with his ministry/career, and speaks publicly about his struggles and is an encouragement to other people who deal with it.

Ray Boltz is more well known, having a music career in the better known Christian Contemporary field, writing and singing some great songs. He too struggled with homosexuality for years, though married with a family. He finally reached a point that he decided since God didn't remove the desires, that it must be ok with God. He divorced his wife, and is pursuing life as a gay man, still claiming to be a Christian living in God's will.

It is easy to knock both men. Kirk was out singing for God, yet in a gay chat room. Ray Boltz decides the lack of deliverance means God's approval. If that were the case, all of the Christians who still fight the desire for the drugs or alcohol they used to be slaves to, may as well go back to them and say it is ok with God.

My struggle would be more like Kirk's, though I do not know if he acted out as I did. For so many years, I bounced back and forth, trying to quit, rise above it,and serve God, only to fall over and over again. Along the way, people found out about my struggle. My family found out, which wasn't pretty - they all know except one brother-in-law. At a Christian business I worked at, a co-worker and "friend" outed me to everyone. I have lost track of how many people know, though I am not public with my struggle. More people don't know than do, that is for sure.

There were many times I felt like completely throwing in the towel. Quit church, openly live as a gay male. I met guys who wanted a relationship with me, but I never went that route for two reasons. I didn't think I could carry it off and not have anyone know, and I was afraid if I did that, I might never come back.

Unlike Ray Boltz, I never once entertained the thought that the lifestyle was ok with God - and I am not putting myself above him for that. I am very thankful I never struggled with that. Possibly because of how conservatively I was raised....I really don't know. The battle for me was never if I could live for God and live as a gay man - the battle has always been trying to serve Christ and not give into the desires & temptations that assail me.

I do wish more churches openly dealt with the issue of homosexuality in a loving and Christ-like way, so that so many people wouldn't struggle in silence, yet there are too many churches openly accepting homosexuality and saying you can be a Christian and be gay. You don't have to change. I really am not sure which God would judge more harshly. Christians who act hateful and judgemental toward people who are gay, or the churches who help ruin and further enslave people who struggle with homosexuality by telling them it is ok. Either attitude can help send people to hell. The second is obvious why. The first extreme can turn homosexuals off on the church so badly that they never have a chance at finding God. And it can hurt those who struggle in silence.

I know of a young man - Lutheran - who was struggling with homosexuality, and had already acted out as a teenager. He went to his pastor, and the pastor told him it was ok - he could be a Christian and be gay. That those verses in the Bible didn't condemn a loving gay relationship. The last I knew, that kid was in college in a relationship with another guy - still professing to be a Christian. If he misses Heaven, his blood will be on that pastor's hands.

It may be a pipe dream, but I believe that every person preparing to be a pastor should learn how to deal with issues like homosexuality. Not every person they come across will have issues like unruly kids or marriage problems. Some of them will have issues like pornography, homosexuality, and worse.

I have often wondered what Jesus would have said to the homosexual when He was here on earth. His silence on the subject is a reason the gay "theologians" say it must be ok. (Most likely, it was not much of an issue where Jesus had His ministry) But what would He have said - and done? Would He have turned aside in disgust, or would He have embraced that person, forgave him, and changed his desires? I believe it would be the latter.

The phrase "what would Jesus do" was a fad for a few years back. You saw WWJD everywhere and on everything. What would Jesus do today with homosexuals? I think He would love them - yet know it was a sin. He would be their friend, and never reject them because He disagreed with their lifestyle.

The world is full of hurting and broken people. People who have never struggled with same-sex attractions have no idea what is like to deal with that issue on a daily basis - likewise, there are people dealing with things I could never relate to. We as a church - as Christians - need to do better at loving the sinner - yes, still hating the sin, and where needed stand up against it - but we will never win the lost - whether it is the homosexual - or the neighbor next door - without love.

11 comments:

mustangmama1224 said...

Yes, I struggle each and every day. I can't seem to have the strength to leave the relationship, but where do you turn? I KNOW it is wrong, but I am trapped, trapped, trapped! I pray every day and every night that God would deliver me. I was a Christian before I fell into this sin. Please pray for me!!!

Tonja said...

awmi.net This is one of the best ministries I have ever come across. Though, there are no teachings specifically on homosexuality, there are MANY teaching about the mind, which I think would help you. And he does mention homosexuality, but never in a condemning way...only that there is hope and victory in Jesus!

You are not supposed to live in this torment. God wants you to live in freedom and victory.

I admire your honesty. The church does not make it easy for someone to be honest. There are two roads, either "you're totally OK, nothing to worry about", or "wow, you're bad!"...

We ALL struggle with something. And according to the Bible, there isn't one struggle that trumps another.

I pray you find peace of heart mind. I know this, if you search for insight, understanding and wisdom, with all your heart, you WILL find it! Check out the sight I gave and read some of the "teaching articles"...This man's teaching brought me freedom in another area...I really believe it'll do the same for you!!

God bless ya! :)

th said...

You hit the mark with your observations about the church and its responses to the homosexual. God's Word says "...some of you were like that..." but it goes on to say that God can deliver you.
We forget this verse in our teachings. We also forget that many strong Christians struggle with their pasts throughout their entire lives...smoking, the desire to drink...they may never be completely delivered from the desire, but God gives them the strength required to obstain. While God does deliver some people completely, others he does not. Paul struggled with a 'thorn of the flesh'. No one truly knows what this 'thorn' was, but he was never delivered from it. He was still a godly man.
I know Kirk. He has been a friend for many years and my children all love him dearly. I also have a friend who has left the church, after trying to live as a "gay Christian" for many years. My children know and love this man also. Their father and I have never hidden the truth from them about these fine people, but we also stress that God loves the sinner and hates the sin. And that they were our friends before we knew about their struggles and so they are our friends still. I believe it has helped them be more loving and less judgemental.

Michael said...

Well said, my brother. We really don't do the right thing in condemning the sinner for their lifestyle, losing them for all eternity. I have a seasonal job that puts me in contact with a large amount of gays and I admit it is difficult sometimes to deal with them. I would really like to know how to properly love them in a way that will present the Christ of unconditional love, yet help them realize there can be deliverance. Is that even possible? Yes, through Christ all things are possible. I just need the how.

susanne said...

What a wonderful testimony although I am sad for your struggle. I agree with some of the comments regarding everyone struggles with sin and we all have different areas of sin where we are weaker. If we are not tempted by the same gender sexually, likely we are tempted by the opposite gender, right? That doesn't mean it is ok to have sex with anyone of the opposite gender just because God doesn't take away the desire. Sex is always sin except in the marriage bed between one man and one woman. Homosexuality is an addiction if it is pulling at you....just like any other addiction. First you have to entertain it in your thoughts, then maybe try it out in your behavior and then it can become an addiction.
Fighting addiction requires support and prayer and love and ONLY by the power of the Holy Spirit can we do "anything through HIM who gives us strength" (to do His will) We are strengthened by God to do what God has called us to do when we lean on Him moment by moment for that strength. Our deliverance is in Him alone and we all must desperately cling to Him to avoid falling victim to our unique areas of sin.....I will pray for you and you pray for me :) Bless you and Praise His Holy Name!

John said...

I found this blog from doing a search on the Talley Trio who happen to live in my small town here in East Tennessee. My Grandmother use to love the Talley's and I have met Kirk a couple times when I was younger ( he does not know me ), the last time was a year ago. I was shocked to see him waiting tables at a restaurant in Sevierville, Tn. I was curious as to why a man with his talent was working as a waiter. I looked up his name and found a couple stories that he was / is gay and also saw some pretty ugly things being said about him on so-called Christian web sites. First of all let me say that I am a 45 year old straight man who has been married since I was 18. Several years ago my 20 year old son called me and asked if I would like to go to lunch and talk. During our lunch he told me that he was gay..........yes, I was shocked. After the initial shock wore off I started to worry about him and would God except him in to Heaven. I prayed about it and I found peace in knowing that this is the way God made him and I know he would not turn his back on my son. In the 45 years I have been alive, not at one time have I ever thought I might be gay or any desires that would make me think that. That being said I knew at that point it was all going to be alright. It's almost like someone saying you can only get into Heaven if you are black, or female, or......well you get the point, we can't change who we are. I know without any doubt that God loves my son more than I do and that's a lot of love. I don't personally know Kirk but if I could set down with him and talk, I would tell him to stop living his life the way man thinks he should live and just do what God has put him on this earth to do. I am so happy that when the day comes that I leave this world I won't be judged by our high profile Christian leaders of today and they should also be as thankful. Our God expects a lot out of us, but to be something we're not is not one of them.

If you really want to lead people to Christ, stop trying to figure out a way to change them, it's not your job. Love them, witness by example, let them see the joy in your heart, after a while they will want the same peace and joy you have.

Bill said...

Jesus loves everyone and will forgive any sin. Sin is sin.
No big sin, no little sin. Homosexuality or sex outside of marriage are sin but.God's grace and mercy.is available
For all. I don't struggle with those.sins but with other sins.Every Christian struggles with something. I will pray for y'all.and covet your prayers for me.
I love you all in Jesus?

Kyle said...

Thank you for expressing your struggles so honestly. My son is an openly gay Christian. He has also struggled with wanting to serve God but also wanting to experience a loving relationship with someone. As a parent I have had to walk that careful line between defending the Bible's stance on homosexuality and being a loving, supportive parent. We have experienced hatred from both sides of the issue; which is surprising since both sides pay lip service to tolerance.

Many conservative Christians seem to believe that being a homosexual is a choice and that a person only needs to pray and God will deliver them. Yet there are many instances in scripture where God chooses not to deliver someone from their struggle. In the case of the righteous, it is because God chooses to be glorified through their reliance on Him in their struggle. I can relate to this with my own marriage. My wife is a cancer survivor. The cancer and the treatments have rendered her physically and psychologically unable to have sex. It's not a struggle for her, but it is for me. Sometimes God says, "I'm sorry, but you'll just have to live with it and lean on Me."

I think Christians need to understand that not all problems have an easy answer or go away just because we seek God's deliverance. Some problems need to be recognized as ongoing and that those who struggle with them need love and support. No one asks an alcoholic to overcome his addiction before coming to Christ or being allowed to worship with other Christians. There is only the understanding that one has genuinely repented of their sins and has chosen Christ as their Savior who will help them with their struggles. I think that homosexuals should be given that same benefit.

Steven Stanley said...

and if a man lays down with another man like a man does a woman he shall be surely put to death.its more than sin its a abomination unto the lord.the new and old testament both count. ....you either believe its the insprired infalible word of god or you dont

Denise O. said...

my heart breaks for Ray Boltz simply because the songs would alway touch a place in me that most gospel songs did not. I did not know about Kirk Talley, but his voice is just amazing, but when I heard of Ray, I just could not accept it, but I immediately turned to the Lord and cried out to Him on Ray's behalf, because I firmly believe that no one could write the caliber of songs he wrote and believe God is in favour of his lifestyle. Romans chapter 1 verses 18-27 speaks clearly and directly to this lifestyle. I still believe that Giod can reach Ray and restore him. In the mean time, accusing and pointing fingers at the church or anyone else does not solve the problem. Each person who knows the God and His Word has to teke responsibilitgy for their actions. I speak as a single person who struggles with sexual desires and thoughts, but the love of God amazes me and wins me over everytime. People will be who they are and want to be, we need to stop looking at and to people and look to God, that's where our help comes from - Psalm 121.

Denise O.

Jeff said...

Struggler, I can relate to the nature of your struggles, if not all the points. I appreciate your spiritual honesty in identifying the problem and not compromising, and the need for repentance etc. But there's one point you perhaps missed, which Denise O. touched on - "want". J. Vernon McGee (Thru the Bible Radio) used to say that the bottom line reason people don't believe in God is they have sin in their life and they don't want to give it up. Any excuse about intellectual difficulty with the facts, or any other excuse, is just a dodge. And the same applies to me in my struggles as a Christian - I enjoy my sin. Period. More than I enjoy Christ. And until I come to the point where Jesus is more to me than my sin can offer, when He becomes my greatest joy, deepest delight, and fullest satisfaction, when I fully and truly and deeply WANT to give up my sin for Him, it will always be a stumblingblock to me. I can say from experience that in one particular area I did come to that point. I began to wonder about a habit I had, searched the scripture and could not find a conclusive answer, tried to reason it out and could not convince myself whether it was good or bad, so finally went to the Lord and said, "I don't know, I can't figure it out, but You know what you want in my life so I'm ready to give it up if You want it gone." And that was the end of it. One day four months later it occurred to me that the thought had never crossed my mind and the desire had never surfaced. It was just gone. And I know full well that any return to it in the years since, along with any indulgence in any other sin, has been for one reason and one reason only - I wanted to because I enjoyed it. My struggle is not with God delivering me or taking the desires away. You can pray yourself blue in the face for that to no avail. My struggle is with spending the time with Him in His word and in prayer, basking in His glory, soaking in His love enraptured by His perfection, filled with His fullness, as I used to on that mountain top. That's what we all need; the particular sin is irrelevant.