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Four Phobias

Homophobia is an especially dangerous threat to the kingdom of God not only because it shortens the arms of Christ to reach those who embrace a gay identity but also because it stifles the progress of those who are overcoming homosexual attractions. As far as the church is concerned, promises of hope and healing sometimes translate into uncomfortable looks or polite smiles from people, who, truth be told, are disgusted that a member of their church has been involved in “that lifestyle.” That’s homophobia.

Lenny Carluzzi writes about ten fears that represent the different facets of homophobia in the church. The first four phobias apply to those who are in the process of overcoming homosexual attractions:

  1. Inherency: Christian people who struggle with a homosexual orientation fear that their condition is, as they’ve heard from the media, inborn. What if all these psychological theories that Christians perpetuate on how to change from gay to straight are bogus? What if all these “ex-gays” are just faking it? What if it really is inborn?
  2. Identity: Sometimes it is other Christians who doubt that anyone can really change; in doing so, they put the blood of Christ on trial. What if I will always be viewed by other church members as a homosexual? What if people are afraid to get close to me or continue to judge me because of my past?
  3. Inadequacy: Men and women who have struggled with homosexual orientations often have a hard time relating to members of their gender. In some cases, this is because they were rejected by them during the formative years of their lives, a factor that many psychologists believe contribute to the development of a homosexual orientation. What if I can’t relate to heterosexual men? What if they get together to watch sports and they can tell I don’t find it interesting? What if I get nervous when I’m around them and make a fool of myself? (It’s important to note that these thoughts do not apply to all men who struggle with homosexuality.)
  4. Incompatibility: Homosexual strugglers often question their capability to function in a heterosexual manner.What if we get in the bedroom and I make a fool of myself? What if I am not able to fulfill a woman emotionally or sexually in the context of marriage? (Interesting to note that these fears can apply to heterosexual men as well!)

CHAD W. THOMPSON
Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would (2004) Brazos Press: Grand Rapids, Michigan

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