Gay men and aging - when it's all been said and done
In the MRT somewhere in Singapore, two elderly Gay men greeted each other farewell as one of them exited from the train. The old man was left alone with his eyes staring aimlessly. His badly wrinkled face, white hair, and balding patches had seen much better days when he was once young, handsome, and had many partners. But now, his expression was motionless without a glimpse of joy as if life itself had treated him harshly. If only he had been straight, he would have had a family and they would have taken care of him. That would have been possible, but he is gay and loving men came naturally just as for straight men loving women. However, all is waters under the bridge as now at 70 years old, he is left alone with nobody on a one way trip of loneliness, poor and in pain before his inevitable passing from this world. Gays dread the day when they would not look handsome, or eligible and at their old age, who will take care of them. They would not have descendents, and their property and name would not be passed on.
Jesus Christ offers to the Gay old man what he had not received in his lifetime in Singapore. Through His gift of redeeming grace, Jesus offers full acceptance and a place and a name to be remembered as being in the household of Christ, a greater joy and honour that having "sons and daughters". It is an everlasting name because circumstances, death, sicknesses, and oppression will not separate him from God. He may not have his family to be with him in this time of aging, and loneliness and could not boast of the many grandsons and grand daughters, but he will have Christ and fellowship with God that will be everlasting.
(Phil 1:21-23 NKJV) For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
It must have been sad for Apostle Paul, writing the letter to Phillipians in AD62 and seeing their need is so great for Paul to continue to labor on in Rome but after so many years of toil through Israel, Syria, and Asia Minor longing for a rest, to return home to Christ. For Paul, whose fellowship with God was so close, it would be far better to return home rather than contending with the Legalistic Jews (Phil 3:2). But Paul had nothing much to proof having been humbled many a times, and lost all in forsaking Judaism (Phil 3:7,8) that he may know Christ. Paul hinting that he may be absent from them permanently soon (Phil 2:13) to continue on in their faith to declare to the world that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil 2:11) and He is God (Phil 2:6). and to work harder to understand this aspect of faith in view of his absence to support them. The record of Paul's jouney ended in Rome and it is rumoured that he went on to Spain
We would not have known the legacy of Paul if his letters now forming part of the bible were banned together with the entire bible. Paul's legacy and work amongst the Romans concerning humility and of centrality of Christ appeared in vain 400 years later when the Bishop of Rome, Leo 1 claimed rulership of the universal church. In order to legitimise his claim of power biblicaly, Leo 1 (440 AD) declared himself to be the successor of Peter hence authoritive rulership based on Mat 16:18. In order to fit their theology and greed for power, new traditions and writings were added to declare that Peter was in Rome and died there despite no firm historical references of him being there as the first Bishop of Rome. Peter remained steadfastly a apostle to the Jews and probably died in Jerusalem soon after AD70 after the temple had been secrecated by the Romans and it became the Babylon of old. Peter send many letters to the diaspora in Asia Minor from Jerusalem (babylon) 1 Pet 5:13 urging them to remain steadfast in their faith. Peter's final exaltation was for his Church now dispersed in Asia minor, not to forget the truths spoken in the bible and not to let people twist it especially the many teachings of Paul. (2 Pet 3:15,16). Paul never did mention Peter in his greetings to the leaders in Rome ( Romans 16: 1-15 ) or his greetings from Rome of his fellow labourers (2 Timothy 4:9-12). All the disciples died a quiet death without much drama (except James in Acts 12:2).
The foundation of the modern day church, the mainstream christian churches can be traced to Leo 1 assertion that that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome and that he was the successor of Peter. A closer look at passages Mat 16:16-18 reveals a totally different meaning. The core theme of the passage is on Christ, the foundation and cornerstone of the Christian Church. Jesus was merely stating that Peter will be a leader of his church as his name suggest. However, the basic truths that Jesus as the saviour, the Christ, and the Son of the living God would be the foundation stone of the church of Jesus Christ. The gates of Hell, Satan cannot overcome if it is based on this foundation rock.
The gates of Hades has prevailed over the church because its foundation is based Peter, a mere man rather than Jesus Christ. If based on Peter, it will follow the ways of men. When Jesus remarked soon after that He would die, Peter being humanly minded objected. He did not understand that Christ needed to die so that Christ can be the foundation stone. Jesus rebuked Peter as an agent of Satan. The church has in many ways brought much destruction as agents of Satan and not mindful of God but follow the ways, practices, traditions and cultures of men. As a result, the keys for the kingdom for spiritual authority over the world have been lost. One can only see glimpses of the power of God in the church especially the charismatic and churches who is founded on Jesus Christ as God and Saviour as the central core of their faith. The Church of the New Testament reflecting the first 70 years of Christendom is a far cry from the 21st century church who chose to oppress the sexual minorities. The "true Jesus" church died 300 years after His death. For the last 200 years, God is resurrecting the church from its death bed from the foundations of men to the foundation of Jesus as God and Saviour. It is from a dead church and dead theology that condemns Gays as 'sinners' not realizing God's grace and mercy in slowly reviving the church. Ironically, just as Jesus needed to die and be resurrected, the Church likewise had to die and be resurrected before it can be raptured. It is only a matter of time when God's promise to Gays in Isa 56:3-5 will be fulfilled for Jesus is coming back for His Church in the Day of the Lord.
Back to the MRT train....
The train ride did end at Marina South, a quiet MRT station opening to a large empty part destined for future development for the downtown Casinos and blessed with the best city view. Where would the ride of our lives end? as we reach old age especially as Gays. As Christians, we have a hope that never fails despite whatever comes and we too like Paul dearly long for the life with Christ as we are so oppressed as gays. But as long as we are alive, we need to be mindful of God's calling in our lives, to live is Christ bearing the news of God's love, salvation, and acceptance to the Gay community that God accepts them just as they are.
The general election has come and gone yet for our lives as gays there are no impact. Gays will still be oppressed in the main line churches with very few credible alternatives to worship God. Great churches such as the Cornerstone, Church of Our Saviour, and the Methodist Church, will continue to be anti-gay and for many of us who lived and been through the charismatic and church revival for over the last 25 years, God has been very slow to judge for the fruits of oppression they bore against the gay community. Fortunately for the churches, It is by God's grace and mercy that judgement day will not be by the fruits we bore rather than by whether we believe Jesus as the Christ or messiah, the Son of the living God. At the end of our journey of life, let us not forget to make this idenity card, our identity with Christ, to have a name that is everlasting in eternity to be with God. Our journey does not end with the train journey, not even with our deaths but it goes on forever till eternity.
By the time the Integrated Reorts have been completed in 2011, the train ride will probably continue throught the new downtown lines. Gay rights and marriage in USA and Europe will probably have been won and Singapore although relunctant and conservative will need to re-address the issue of equality as not to be left behind. God has placed each of us at a juncture of history. We will grow old and we will die, but to each has a destinity, a role to play, be a small piece of rock in God's plan and purpose just like Peter in Jerusalem and Paul in Rome. I do not know when tommorow may come or what it hold. But I do know that when I see God again, it will be a very long hug as I collaspe into His shoulders after running this race of life and fighting a valiant fight for truth. I will return to heaven, my true home and take leave to rest in Christ Jesus.
Did I live my life for Jesus? when all is said and done, did I use the "keys of the kingdom of heaven" He has given me as His child to bring Gays their freedom from bondage, healing and salvation, His acceptance in the year of Jubilee of them as Gays.