Thursday, June 26, 2014

Salvation in choice

John Paulk explains what it was like to be “converted” to heterosexuality:

We know our orientation hasn’t really changed. What has changed is our behavior. Our way of life. How we see ourselves. Our sexuality has not changed.

Bingo. To varying degrees we all are naturally disposed to one thing or another that God abhors. Our training is in modifying our behavior, our choices. Practice proves that repetition physically strengthens neural pathways in the brain, reinforcing predilection for chosen habits. As C. S. Lewis writes: “Morality is concerned with the acts of choice themselves.”

But then Paulk lost faith, and he got some bad advice.

The older I got, the lonelier I was becoming. Three years ago, I was driving down a suburban street and I saw two men holding hands. I burst into tears. I realized that ... I wanted to be one of those men. I knew my decision would hurt my wife and family, but I began to move toward authenticity. I went to see a therapist—a conservative Christian therapist. I told him, “I’m on a journey of self-discovery.” He said he didn’t believe that you had to change fundamentally who you are to be acceptable to God. I began to embrace what I had been all along.

Baptism is to share in Jesus’ death on the cross, to die to oneself. You’re the same person, but you let God inside you to reclaim His creation, which had fallen away in sin. In that sense you are changed fundamentally. The transformation doesn’t happen on its own or even right away, but that doesn’t change its necessity or its import on the individual.

The life takes faith and discipline. It’s supposed to be hard, but not impossible. We wouldn’t freely let God in if living for Him was impossible. On the other hand, if living for God was easy, it wouldn’t be much of a choice, would it?

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