a troubling announcement

At the close of last week, we heard bothersome news that Ray Boltz had granted an interview to the Washington Blade, a gay-advocacy publication. For those of you who might not recognize the name, Boltz was a composer and singer who had multiple hits in the contemporary Christian music genre in the 90s. Barely a single teacher-appreciation service or funeral went by without hearing his song, “Thank You” being played.

Boltz made the announcement in the Blade that he was gay and that he had ended his 33-year marriage to his wife Carol. He told his family the earth-shattering news in December of 2006, although the article didn’t mention what the response was. From this side of the table, I know there was devastation — emotional and spiritual — and sadness. Boltz’s kids (who are grown at this point) still love their dad, of this I’m sure. But the realization of what his choice has done to their family must be incredibly hard. And now, through the publicity and stories that have been written and will continue to be written, they’ll get to re-live their pain, this time in the public eye.

Boltz’s announcement, however, affects far more than just his family. As the news spreads in the upcoming weeks, there will be fans of his who are devastated. Some will respond in anger and judgment, some will throw in the towel in their own struggle with same-gendered attraction (SGA). Neither of these responses is good or helpful. Those who are angry or judgmental might go so far as to ‘burn their CDs’ in protest. This misses the heart of the matter, I believe.

The heart of the issue is that Boltz struggled with his SGA in silence. By his own admission, he “tried everything,” but he never mentions that he sought outside help and/or accountability. That could’ve been because in his industry (CCM), artists who “fail” morally are held to an incredibly high standard and he didn’t want to lose all he had worked so hard to achieve. It could also be because in the Church as a whole, we have demonized SGA and “gay” behaviour more than other moral struggles, and Boltz felt as though he had nowhere to turn.

In turn, those who struggle with SGA and a desire to ‘act out’ and fulfill those attractions have someone who was prominent in the church and who otherwise ‘gave in’ to his desires and ceased fighting. It’s a demoralizing thing to realize, but it’s also a chance to steel one’s resolve to walk in purity and faithfulness to God and spouse. And that resolution will be blessed by God in the process.

Scripture tells us that we’re not to be slaves to the flesh, but slaves to God and His righteousness (Romans 6:19). When we go off and fulfill our urges and desires, we quench our ability to hear from God’s Spirit and we lose out in our relationship with Him. It’s a hard row to hoe, no matter what the struggle. And yet, it is a struggle — oftentimes, not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces that set themselves against us and against God (Ephesians 6:12). I don’t think it matters if you struggle with SGA, alcoholism, or some other battle that makes you feel slavish and separated from God; the point is to keep fighting. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 that we should run our races as though we intend to win. It means that we subject our bodies to training and tough workouts (in this case, denying our fleshly desires) in order to win the prize and not be disqualified. It’s hard work and it’s a hard word, and yet it’s all worth it in the end.

How do I know it’s worth it? My family is living proof. My husband could have gone off and followed a path like Boltz did, or I could have left him at some point in the struggle. Neither would have been what God wanted, and although the road back is hard (incredibly hard at times), it’s worth the work. It’s worth it for my husband to understand the root of his SGA and to know that he was created to be my husband and our son’s father, not someone who merely feeds his flesh and lives for the moment. It’s worth it for me to fight for normalcy in my heart and mind and seek wholeness, not just tell myself that “I deserve better” and go off, leaving my soulmate to struggle on his own. It’s worth the work to have a whole and healthy family, to know that we’re setting our son on a path to emotional and spiritual health and freedom. Is it hard? Without question. But we’re not alone. God has promised His Spirit and His help in our struggle, and has given us a promise of a bright future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

If you or someone you love is struggling with SGA, take heart and don’t be weary. Turn to God and ask for His help in the struggle. He *will* provide it. Don’t be discouraged by the news that someone has stopped fighting, allow it to strengthen your resolve and allow it to urge you to pray — for yourself, for your family, and for the person who has ceased fighting. Paul admonishes us to keep going and to look for the harvest we’ll reap when we don’t give up (Galatians 6:9), and those are words my family lives by.

I hope they are words that encourage you, no matter what the struggle is.

His and his,

This entry was posted on 151405H Sep 2008 and is filed under Forgiveness, Path to Healing, Sexual Brokenness, SSA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

  • http://mylifesafreakshow.blogspot.com Liz

    bless you for openly blogging about this. My husband has dealt with this too.