By David Bennett

Gay-rights activist rediscovers love

David Bennett
David Bennett

I awoke to the fact that I was attracted exclusively to men as a young teenager.

When I came out at the age of 14 and experimented with all sorts of new-age spirituality, little did I know I was chasing a ghost that would never fulfil me.

The predominant message around me was that romantic love was the highest of the loves and how dare those pious Christians deprive me of the highest form of transcendence possible.

At university, I threw myself into political and creative clubs and joined the Queer Collective and Labor Left. I would rip down the Christian club's posters and would stick Queer Collective posters over the top.

At age 19 I ended up in a love triangle with a plotline much like a Woody Allen film. Why not? Life is short. In the end it wasn't worth taking Woody Allen's romantic advice.

I decided that after dating so many people, I would stay single for a year, but after my best friend's boyfriend fell in love with me and I reciprocated, I felt dead inside.

In the death of a close friendship I had become a moral hypocrite. My broken morality and selfish heart trumped my "rational" ethics every time.

“There is no absolute truth!”
I [had] proclaimed over the family Christmas table
At Christmas time I had a debate with my Christian uncle. "There is no absolute truth!" I proclaimed over the family Christmas table.

"To say there is no absolute truth is an absolute truth," my uncle retorted softly. "The truth is a person I know, not a static concept in my head."

My postmodern worldview was disarmed. I stormed out.

Three months later, in a Surry Hills hotel, I interviewed a young filmmaker from my uni who was a finalist in Tropfest Short Film Festival. She was the best local story the uni student magazine would have all year.

As she revealed her faith to me, I pushed back against her talk about God until she asked me one piercing question: "Have you experienced the love of God?"

I didn't know you could experience God. She offered me prayer and suddenly I just said yes. As she prayed fervently, a powerful sensation ran all over my body and then surged in power.

I started to weep and felt a voice say to me "Do you want me?" three times. This came as exactly the question I needed to hear at this time – a mutual desire. The third time I said yes.

I heard the Father's voice ask me: "Will you accept my son Jesus as your Lord and Saviour?" I said yes. God poured out His love in my heart and I was overcome with tears.

Three weeks later, my friend's film came up on the screen at Tropfest. As I watched, I prayed to God, "If I'm to give it all up, I need you to show me you are real."

My friend's film won the whole competition. As I spoke with her on the red carpet she told me, "David, this event is for God's glory ... I am just His servant. God has been reminding me to tell you that He exists ... you really need to know that He exists!"

I walked out from Tropfest floating. Jesus was real. He had answered my prayer directly after I'd prayed it.

That Sunday I interviewed my friend and I attended her Sunday church. As I entered the church I felt this overwhelming sense of God's presence and I spent the next six months weeping in church services and as the music played, lifting my hands in true worship to God.

My whole story was littered with undeniable coincidences and God's confirmation. I had met the love I had been searching for all through my life.

In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis says, "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world."

The only problem is that if you believe matter is all there is, then the ultimate source of transcendence is romantic love.

If I had not found the agape (unconditional) love of God I could not have given up the god of this age, romantic love. As per Augustine of Hippo, the real problem is that the heart is restless until it rests in God. What we all need is the agape love of God.

When people ask me whether homosexuality is a sin I point them to a greater sin – refusing to share or receive the love of God. Nothing is more transcendent or ultimate than the God who is agape love and for whom it is worth giving everything up.

David Bennett is a graduate of Wycliffe Hall, the University of Oxford and the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.

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