For a while now I have been thinking about starting a discussion about homosexuality in the church. The church’s (at least most Churches that I have encountered) current position seems to be that if you are gay then you are evil and the enemy. They may talk a bit about “loving the sinner, but hating the sin” but that is just Christian double-speak to hide what they really feel. This is such an emotionally charged issue, that it is hard to start a conversation about it without just in the very opening of the dialog offending someone.
I think if I am really going to get into this (and honestly I may start to talk about it and find that other things keep me from giving this enough attention and simply going back to writing about basketball and my cute wife) but if I am going to get into this then we have to start by defining some terms and getting some general things out of the way.
- I believe that the Bible is clear that homosexual acts are wrong
- I believe that some people choose homosexuality as a result of their environment or events in their lives. I also believe that some people are born with a natural leaning towards homosexuality.
- I don’t believe that this natural inclination changes the right and wrongness of homosexual acts.
- I don’t believe that simply because I disagree with a certain lifestyle that I am a homophobe or a bigot.
- I believe that homosexual acts are no worse sin than other sexual wrongs.
So there we have my basic assumptions. The problem is that these basic assumptions on their face are very offensive to some people. Of course if you told me that for me to be with my wife is a sin I would react very strongly too. So how are we as the church supposed to reach out to and help homosexuals? I believe just as we help everyone else.
Here are some other things that I believe are wrong: 1) Gossip 2) watching South Park 3) not telling people about Jesus 4) pride 5) meanness 6) bitterness 7) holding grudges 8) envy 9) lust 10) taking credit for the things that God has done. Each and every one of these sins is just as serious as homosexuality, and some of them are far more damaging on a Kingdom level. These are all sins that I struggle with from time to time, and I am allowed to not only be an active part of the church, but I am allowed to be a pastor. For some reasons when dealing with sins like these we may preach a sermon or two about them, but we really turn our heads the other way when people fall back into them. And frankly we could get way too legalistic if we berated people for each little thing that they do or don’t do. There is something really wonderful about grace.
And I think that is where the real crux of this matter lies–with grace. You see when it comes to homosexuality I think our job is the same as with everything else. We teach truth, and we let the Holy Spirit deal with conviction. We let God be God and trust that he can influence people and help them to change, or if not, that His grace is sufficient even if they don’t. I know that there are many things that I see as wrong now that I had no problem with several years ago. As I have grown closer to God I look at my life differently and I look at what is right and wrong differently. I don’t see why we can’t as a church allow everyone to grow in knowledge like that. Why do we have to choose a few sins and single them out.
Of course the church has been so hard on gays for so long that it will be hard for us to take his message of love and acceptance to people who’s only experience with Christians is a picket line. If we are going to reach a generation of gay and lesbians we must make the effort to understand them and to go out of our way to show the love of Christ to them. And at the same time we have to understand if they don’t welcome us with open arms. Those people who call themselves our brothers and sisters hate them. As Christians we have to stand up against messages of hate with all of who we are and scream for all to hear the central truth of the Bible GOD IS LOVE! and he is pursuing you with a redeeming love.
Alright I think that is enough for a first post. I have some more ideas on this subject (mainly about the whole “born gay” stuff) but I will wait and see what you guys think. How can we reach out and share God’s love with people who have mostly heard a message of hate from Christians? In light of our world today what stand should the church take on Gay marriage? homosexual clergy? homosexual adoption? and if we should get involved what side should be be on?