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    Give Me an ‘E’

    By Dr. Tim Seelig–

    You just never know when you are going to have to “buy a vowel.” Well, there are some folks out there who seriously want us to do that.

    Just before SIP (Shelter-in-Place) began, a friend decided to do some spring cleaning. Little did he know that he was going to have the entire spring and summer to SIP. And clean! Regardless, as he was going through his books, he laughingly said, “Look at this one. My parents gave it to me. I’m going to throw this one out for sure.”

    His parents are dyed in the wool Independent Baptists. I mean fully dyed. He handed me the book.

    I was immediately fascinated. If you know any of my storied past with organized religion, that will not surprise you at all. But the title was a surprise: Born That Way After All. He kept cleaning. I kept reading. His parents had gifted him with the new “Revised, Updated, and Expanded” version. Exciting.

    I turned the book over and right there at the top of the back cover: “You will learn a biblical truth that is changing lives all over the world. You will learn about men and women who were created different and special—not gay, but unique servants of the Lord.”

    The author believes his study was “led by the Holy Spirit” and brought him to the conclusion, “the reason why many feel they are gay is that they have never realized they were born as Eunuchs.”

    Born that way. After all. Eunuchs. Give me an “E.”

    I am going to tell you oh so much more, but the entire book is about how the Lord loves his “special” ones—not the gay ones because in co-author Pastor Nixon’s world, there are no gays. The revelation for me is that fundamentalist religions are bringing back eunuchs! Yes, the word and the concept. Now let me hurry to say they are not suggesting the removal of any parts. Well, not body parts, just parts of your soul! Or all of it.

    The content in the book is oh so bountiful. I can’t wait to share highlights.

    The vowel we are buying is an “E” for Eunuch! Not sure we are going to add it to our already long alphabet: L-G-B-T-I-Q-C-A-P-G-N-G-F-N-B-A, aka Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Curious, Asexual, Pansexual, Gender-non-conforming, Gender-Fluid, Non-binary, and Androgynous.

    Just can’t think we are going to add an “E.” Ever.

    Of course, there is great misunderstanding about what co-authors Pastor Nixon and Rozzie Hamm mean by the term “eunuch.” Most people make the leap right to castration, something quite different. Let’s look at that first, put it out of our minds, and get back to our regularly scheduled programming of being born a eunuch. The earliest records for intentional castration of eunuchs date from the 21st century B.C. Over millennia since, castration has performed a wide variety of functions in many different cultures, from warriors to guards to singers! 

    India is the only country where the tradition of eunuchs is prevalent today. There are about 1 million and they are sometimes referred to as India’s 3rd gender.

    All of this, of course, led me on a little detour to the singing eunuchs, or castrati. If eunuch-ized before puberty, their voices retained a childlike quality and other-worldly flexibility. As women were sometimes forbidden to sing in Church, their place was taken by castrati. Singular: castrato. The last eunuch/castrato in the Sistine Chapel choir died in 1922.

    Now, if that piqued your interest in any way, there are two absolute musts for your SIP enlightenment: a book, and a movie.

    Ann Rice’s 1982 Cry to Heaven has to be one of the most enthralling novels I have ever read. She does her homework! Set in eighteenth-century Italy, Cry to Heaven focuses on two characters, peasant-born Guido Maffeo, who is castrated at the age of six to preserve his soprano voice, and fifteen-year-old Tonio Treschi, the last son of a noble family from Venice. Drama ensues. Who doesn’t want to read that? Seriously. You must.

    Farinelli is the 1994 biographical film that centers on the life and career of the 18th-century Italian opera singer Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli, who was considered to be the greatest castrato singer of all time; as well as his relationship with his brother, composer Riccardo Broschi. This is a movie not to be missed and includes some of the most glorious singing you have ever heard.

    Oh, boy, that was a detour. Back to the book. And the eunuchs. It is, in many cases, an even more tragic tale than Guido or Farinelli! 

    OK. We all know that many religions love to deny our existence in many creative ways.

    The Bible affirms the value of celibacy for both lay Christians and church leaders, most notably in Corinthians. Paul speaks of his own unmarried state and commends celibacy as a way to focus on pleasing the Lord. Paul emphasizes the liberty unmarried Christians have in contrast to the obligations married Christians have.

    I’m thinking Paul just needed to come out.

    The Mormons have historically done the most damage to our community, even though they have taken baby steps recently. The choices are to be straight or be celibate without any sexual expression, including masturbation.

    People, seriously? Jesus.

    The Catholics have been beating this dead horse since the fourth century. And with that began centuries of double speak resulting in this ridiculousness: “The Catholic Church does not forbid marriage. Those who choose celibacy, do so voluntarily. The Church simply elects candidates for the priesthood from among those who voluntarily renounce marriage.”

    Huh?

    Here is my Cliff Notes version of the book. The co-author/pastor described himself as “a fundamental, red-blooded, macho, queer-hating, heterosexual male.” Then, a nice lady in his church told him her grandson was “gay.” He calls him “Sam.” He begins studying the Bible and praying a lot. That is where he makes his revelatory discovery about eunuchs. Armed with his new revelation from God, Grandmother sets up a “surprise party” for Sam. It was an intervention! Sam had no idea what the party was for.

    Surrounded by ministers and family, “sometime after midnight, after 4 hours of talking, praying and reading scripture, ‘Sam’ finally accepted the reality that he was not gay, but a eunuch.” In the pastor’s words, “It was thrilling when he realized and confessed his true purpose. Those words still ring in my ears. ‘I’m a eunuch!’” The Lord was praised vociferously. A soul was crushed.

    From there, it really just gets better. I’ll give a quick overview of his “Eunuch Signals” and advice on how to come out as “E.”

    Eunuch Signals

    These are provided in the book for church leaders to identify eunuchs among their flock:

    • Eunuchs are sensitive individuals. Kind. Affectionate.
    • Eunuchs like flashy colors and things we may equate with femininity.
    • Eunuchs are touchy feely. Pastor Nixon’s proof: If you watch a men’s professional golf tournament, the men shake hands. If you watch a ladies’ professional golf tournament, they hug. (wow)
    • Eunuchs are both courageous and insecure.
    • Eunuchs often feel comfortable in the company of women.
    • Eunuchs are very fashion conscious.
    • Eunuchs are predisposed to being protective and caring for others.

    So, score yourself! I’m a 7 out of 7. I, like Sam, am a EUNUCH. That felt good. But wait, there’s more. I’ve never actually played golf, but I’m sure I’d be a hugger.

    So, once the Eunuch is identified and presumably been brought to a “saving knowledge” and accepted his new role, the next chapter helps him with some tips on coming out. It is delicious.

    “Every eunuch must choose this for themselves.”

    • Pray diligently.
    • Do not rush out and tell everyone. Take it slow. Be patient.
    • Rehearse your explanation.
    • Consider beginning with an email or letter.
    • One of the greatest fears is that people will not understand.
    • Most people in the church are not capable of hearing the details of your past sin (as much as they secretly want all the details).
    • If you see someone in your church you feel may be struggling with the same issues, introduce yourself and share your testimony.
    • Most eunuchs are sensitive to signals from others who are in the same situation.

    Oh my. I found myself humming, “I’m coming out.” Maybe we need a national Eunuch Coming Out Day? A Eunuch Pride Parade? Wait, Pride cometh before a fall. OK, forget that.

    More chapters include: “Female Eunuchs,” “Lonely Eunuchs,” “The Prodigal Eunuch,” and, wait for it, “Macho Macho Man” (wondering if he got permission to use that).

    In the brilliant research by the authors, they finger one of Jesus’ disciples at being a eunuch. Jesus had three disciples in his inner circle: Peter, James, and John. John had traits of a eunuch. I quote these verbatim from the book. Can’t make it up:

    • John was not afraid of physical intimacy with Jesus.
    • John was tender.
    • John described himself as being the disciple that Jesus loved, not once, but four times in his gospel.
    • John wrote much on the subject of love and became known as the “apostle of love.”
    • John possessed a caring nature.
    • John was the one who penned prolific and glowing words about eunuchs in Revelation 14:4.
    • John was a little temperamental and emotional. (What? That hurts.)

    We do not know if John chose to be that way or was born that way.

    Finally, the road ahead includes:

    • Your confusion. Identify it.
    • Your comfort zone. It’s why people born as eunuchs gravitate toward being “gay.”
    • Your cross. Lay down your wants and desires.
    • Your crown. “The crown for chastity is wonderful, but it becomes a glorious crown when you add celibacy.” (Who doesn’t love a glorious crown?)
    • Your Christ. Your sacrifice does not compare to His. Don’t forget it.
    • Your choice. Repent.
    • Your confession. As “Sam” proclaimed, “I am not gay … I am a eunuch.”

    I’m not sure how to even begin to wrap this up. It is so unbelievably ludicrous. It might be amusing if these people weren’t serious. They have an entire ministry and are sharing this with churches everywhere. If you google it, they are actually around the world. They wrote an entire book about it.

    The heartbreaking part of all of this is that families are being convinced that this is biblical, and that their young ones can be saved from the homosexual lifestyle by simply declaring they are eunuchs. This is no different than the ex-gay movement that has been thoroughly debunked and defamed, thank goodness. We’re still fighting reparative therapy, of course.

    All the young victims of eunuch-ism have to do from that point on is to deny who they are. Lie. Subjugate all-natural desires to be with another human. Live with the heartbreak of being alone, misunderstood, and ostracized. And, not masturbate. That’s crazy!

    Hard as my coming out was, I am grateful no one tried to convince me I was a eunuch! Let’s don’t buy that “E.”

    For more information, you may reach out to co-authors Pastor Nixon and Pastor Hamm at www.bornthatway.org

    Or, if you need immediate help, at gethelp@bornthatway.org

    Dr. Tim Seelig is the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

    Published on July 30, 2020