Photo by jk5854
Bridging the Gap invited me to do join their syncho-blog today as they’ve gathered over 60 Christ-followers, both gay and straight, to break open conversations on christianity and homosexuality.
Wendy of New Direction writes a great introduction
The culture wars surrounding the topic of homosexuality have sucked up tremendous resources, have left devastated casualties in their wake, and continue to perpetuate polarization and enmity – most clearly seen in the divide between the Christian community and the gay community. The diversity and divisiveness surrounding gay issues is staggering. Even the above statement needs to be unpacked. The sense of polarization is not simply between the Christian community and the gay community as if both of those communities were completely monolithic and mutually exclusive. Rather, we see fractures within the Christian community and disagreements within the gay community. In the midst of this wasteland are gay Christians – a diverse group of people too – who often find very little safe harbour on either side of the divide.
Several years back I had a series of conversations with a friend of mine who I consider a serious and honest follower of Jesus struggling with his faith and sexual orientation. I’m pretty sure I responded with kindness and tolerance, but that’s just the problem. Tolerance is too low of a bar. I don’t think I had a clue of what conflicting emotions and hurt he was feeling. He needed more than my acceptance and tolerance. I often wish I could go back and offer him the love and embrace that I now know.
Even when we speak of tolerance, it seems like we’re reaching down, beneath us, to accommodate another person. And there are times for that. But I don’t think we in the church, realize just how far down we’ve already pushed the gay community. Christ calls the church to be a community known by our love. We are so far from that today.
My views on homosexuality have continued to evolve over the years. If anything my devotion to Christ has deepened, while my understanding of the human person has widened.
I limited myself to 10 thoughts for starters:
1. I couldn’t care less if there is or isn’t a gay gene
2. We are so much more than our sexual orientation. Sexuality ought not be the primary divider when it comes to faith in Christ.
3. Having said that, pushing homosexuality to the peripheries doesn’t seem to do it justice either. If it is the cause of your oppression, it’ll likely be fairly central to you.
4. I believe there are biblical default modes of life ie. a covenant relationship between a man and a woman, work, children, cultivating life, caring for creation, etc. But does veering off from any of this make you any less human? or sinful?
5. There are some very strong biblical passages warning against ‘unnatural’ behaviors that we need to honestly struggle with, along with the thousands of passages on caring for the poor.
6. Sexuality is not clear cut. For example how do you respond to individuals born intersexual (with both sexual organs)? Could these conflicting physical expressions also be a ‘natural’ expression of something much deeper for them, and many others?
7. Christians often feel righteous and reasonable when they say ‘hate the sin, not the sinner’. But how do you do that when that ‘sin’ is so deeply a part of who that person is?
8. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with identification – I do however have a problem with over-identification – whether it’s about your sexuality or your christianity. Identifying with certain labels ought to help us, not reduce our humanity.
9. If we trust that God is sovereign, just, and loving – why does it seem like christians act like he’s not, when we interact with those who are gay?
10. If there is a cultural war between the church and the gay community, we lost the battle ages ago when we abandoned the culture for our traditions.
What do you think?