I had not previously heard of Vicky Beeching but she was celebrated a couple of days ago in a slanted interview from a British newspaper The Independent for "coming out" as a self-affirmed lesbian ("Vicky Beeching, Christian rock star 'I'm gay. God loves me just the way I am'" Aug. 13). Judging from the interview, this attractive and sympathetic 35-year-old remains spiritually impoverished in her theological reasoning—and this in spite of the fact that she has a B.A. and Masters in Religion and Ethics from Oxford University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Durham University. The "focus of her doctoral thesis" will be on (surprise) "what the Biblical texts actually say about same-sex relationships/marriage" (http://vickybeeching.com/about/).
In the article she states that the battle between her same-sex attraction and her picture of God as opposed to homosexual unions "was ripping me in half." I am sympathetic to her struggles because, though I do not struggle with same-sex attractions, I regularly struggle with an array of other innate feelings and desires that are at cross-purposes with God's will for my life. Do I feel a strong disjuncture between that "old human" me and the "new human" me in Christ? Not much. Only nearly every day.
She says, "I was trying to align the loving God I knew and believed in with this horrendous reality of what was going on inside me." How do I align the loving God I know and believe in with the horrendous reality of what goes on inside me? I start by dropping the pretense that God must be aligned to my innate desires or at the very least must meet me "half-way." That is a childish way of thinking, a "fleshly" mind-set. "Father, you're not a loving God unless you end this pain inside of me and give me what I want." "Father, let my kingdom come; let my will be done on earth, consistent with my inmost urges." No, I must align my life to God. There is no question of God aligning himself to me. God is God, I'm not. Jesus, not some supposed biological predisposition of mine, is Lord. When God and Jesus created the material universe, they managed without my advice.
She adds, "I remember kneeling down and absolutely sobbing into the carpet. I said to God, 'You have to either take my life or take this attraction away because I cannot do both.'" Actually I think God is indeed out to take our lives. I've had moments of agony in my life when I begged God to change things to make life easier. But I gaze at the cross of Christ and recognize the beauty of the one who aligned himself fully to the will of God, at the most excruciating cost to himself, in order to save the lives of the many. God and Jesus love me so much that they want me to die; that is, to die to myself and to live for God.
She contends, "I feel certain that God loves me just the way I am." I feel certain that God loves me because Jesus handed his life over to death on behalf of the world, including on my own behalf. I do not think he loves me only if he makes life easy for me by removing any or all of the deprivations and difficulties of life. Nor do I take the image of the cross to mean that God loves all my innate urges. Yes, God loves me in spite of my sin-saturated self but, no, he does not view me as a biological robot, the sum total of my biological urges. I know that Jesus loves me enough to require me to take up the cross, deny myself, and lose my life.
She declares, "What Jesus taught was a radical message of welcome and inclusion and love." What Jesus taught and demonstrated was a radical outreach to even the biggest violators of God's demand, fraternizing with them even as he called them to repentance and radical discipleship. When some had consigned offenders to hell and others celebrated their immoral practices, Jesus made every effort to reclaim them for the kingdom, lest by continuance in their practices something worse happen to them than a stoning in this life: forfeiture of an eternity with God. Ask the woman caught in adultery. She knows. Jesus didn't rescue her from stoning so that she could gratify an innate desire to be loved by a true soul mate (who apparently wasn't her current husband). She could repent, even if that repentance needed to be done 7 times a day, or 77 times, or 70 times 7.
Rather than reconfigure God in her image and distort the witness of Jesus and the apostles to satisfy her own desires, Ms. Beeching (who now supports homosexual marriage) would do well to explore the question of why she thinks that her true sexual other-half is a person of the same sex. On the sexual spectrum her gender is truly only half intact in relation to the other primary sex, not in relation to her own sex. She is not a half-woman, so why attempt gender completion through sexual union with someone of her own sex? Her error lies in thinking that she can rectify any deficit in her feminine self by absorbing in another woman what she perceives to be lacking in herself. Instead of wishing that she were the women to whom she is attracted, instead of being aroused by the essential femaleness that she shares in common with them, she would perhaps benefit from exploring past wounds to her sexual identity that drive her desires to an inauthentic life: a deep sense of female inferiority and shame, a perceived deficit in affirmation of her femaleness from important females in her life, and/or hurts inflicted by males.
For God made her whole as a woman, half in her sexual being only in relation to man. Jesus cited as the foundation for all human sexual ethics two pivotal texts of Scripture, back-to-back, Genesis 1:27b, "Male and female God created humanity," and Genesis 2:24, "For this reason (i.e., the principle enunciated in Gen 1:27b) a man may … become joined to his woman and they (i.e., the two sexes) shall become one flesh." If she wants to appeal to Jesus on issues of sexual ethics this is where she needs to start. The divinely-intentional duality of the sexes, Jesus claimed, was the basis for limiting the number of persons in a sexual bond to two.
Anatomically, physiologically, and even psychologically the appropriate sexual complement or counterpart to a woman is a man, not another woman. Seeking to "marry" another woman only regularizes her misperception that she is incomplete as a woman. She may be in need of affirmation regarding the integrity and beauty of her own creation as female. She is not in need of structural supplementation through union with another who is too much of a sexual same and not enough of a complementary other. Intimate same-sex friendships are vital for her healthy emotional development. A homosexual relationship, however, would only lead to further arrested development.
God loves Vicky Beeching enough to say to her what he said to the Apostle Paul two millennia ago when Paul pleaded with God to remove from him his "thorn in the flesh": "My grace is enough for you, for my power is being brought to completion in the midst of (your) weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). While our thinking "in the flesh" says that we thrive when God's will coincides with our desires, the truth of the Christian life is very different: The power of God is at its greatest when God maintains his will against some of our innermost urges. I have found that to be true of my life and I pray that it will be true of Vicky Beeching's as well. If we need any further proof of the veracity of this principle we need only gaze on "the wonder of the cross" about which Ms. Beeching has sung, the wonder that the supreme moment of human weakness, Christ's shameful and excruciating death, was the greatest triumph in salvation history.