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‘Do you want to change your sexual orientation?’

A well-meaning Christian friend recently put this question to me and I confess that it made me quite angry. I was surprised by the strength of my reaction and have spent some time subsequently reflecting both on the question and my response to it.

I think that on this topic Christians can tend to reflect our secular culture’s obsession with all matters sexual. This is combined with an underlying suspicion of those who have feelings different from the majority and the belief, often unspoken, that a satisfactory sex life, in a married heterosexual context, is important for everyone. As a result, the possibility of change of orientation is sometimes suggested to believers struggling with same-sex attraction. But this is not everyone’s journey and why should it be? God uses our life experiences in a broken world to increase our dependency on him and to give us a clearer sense of who we really are in Christ. His ambition for us is in stark contrast to the identities the world seeks to fix upon us such as ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ or ‘lesbian’. These labels have a ring of permanence about them. Your life journey and mine are, in contrast, about on-going transformation, growing freedom in Christ until heaven when we will experience full liberation from all the stresses and strains of this life.