Trey Pearson and Sexual Orientation as Identity

I’m responding to an article posted on the 614columbus website about Trey Pearson, a musician in the Christian Rock band Everyday Sunday. The article is focused on Trey’s recent coming out as gay. The entire article is incredibly helpful and insightful to me. It reveals the struggles of someone who has lived with same-sex attraction as a Christian. It explains how difficult we have made it as the church for people who struggle with what has historically been viewed as a particularly ugly sin.

I sympathize with Trey, and I am disappointed that he did not find the freedom to talk to someone about his struggles until just recently. The church should be a place where we can be open about our struggles. We should be a place where judgment is rare and grace is common.

I want to address an important theme in the article about Trey Pearson, and throughout our society as it is shifting to be more accepting of alternative lifestyles.

The theme is homosexuality as an identity. I was listening to news radio the other day and heard that Justin Trudeau will be the first Prime Minister to participate in a Pride Parade, and how this marks a dramatic change in Canadian culture. I read and hear about the celebration of the LGBTQ community and how we are crossing over into a new era of acceptance.

I am saddened by this. I am saddened because we are celebrating a part of humanity that is so very broken. It is not broken because we have rejected those with alternative sexual orientation or lifestyles. It is not broken because of the fact that many do struggle with sexual identity.

It is broken because we have put such an emphasis on our sexual orientation and expression. I am saddened because we are celebrating the fact that we have completely lost sight of what sex and romantic intimacy is meant to express between two people.

Trey Pearson, in the article mentioned above, said this: “Despite our best efforts, however, I have come to accept that there is nothing that is going to change who I am.” He is referring to his marriage and any attempt at being a good husband and lover for his wife.

That statement from Trey broke my heart. It breaks my heart just as much as it breaks my heart knowing how the church has failed to be a safe place for him to be open about his orientation. The church has failed Trey not only by making him feel guilty about his orientation. The church has also failed to tell him that his marriage is not dependant on his sexual relationship with his wife. The church has failed to teach him that being a husband–being human–is far larger than sex.

Not long ago someone asked me for my opinion on public washrooms becoming gender-neutral in our country and in the United States. She was concerned that it would cause problems and wanted to know what I thought would be a better option.

I said, we have a much larger problem. Our problem is that we think our identity can be reduced to our sexual orientation. We think we have to distinguish ourselves as straight, homosexual, bisexual, transgendered, etc.

I said, this problem would go away if we saw ourselves and each person as unique not because of their sexual orientation, but because they have been made by a very creative and loving Father, who has filled each of us with characteristics, personalities, desires and passions that are meant to reflect his infinitely deep character and imagination.

I believe that we need to stop this nonsense of celebrating the freedom to express our sexual identity and orientation.

I don’t have much to say about whether or not God made Trey Pearson to have same-sex attraction. I honestly don’t know and frankly don’t really care too much about that. It’s a reality he faces every day. But I don’t think the issue is same-sex attraction. I think his issue is that we have made such a big deal about it being a source of identity.

By identifying himself as a homosexual, Trey is limiting and reducing his uniqueness to sexual orientation, and that is the greatest tragedy in this entire issue. I don’t blame Trey, I blame the church. We have failed to disciple people like Trey in the true Way of Jesus. As a pastor, I want to be part of the solution by standing on the truth that, for Christian people, sex does not give us our identity. Jesus Christ does.

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