A recent post of mine entitled The Question of Homosexuality is the Wrong Question has received quite a bit of feedback, both positive and negative. One church in the city has even read from my post in a sermon this past Sunday on the lies that the church should not believe. There are a number of outraged people and a number of people who are glad I wrote a post like this.
I will admit, where the post went in the comments was far from where I was intending to go with the original post. Nevertheless, I thought I would take the opportunity to explain myself, this site a bit and further clarify my views on homosexuality and the church.
- This site has always been my way of wrestling through issues that are important to me and the larger church. Anything I say doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of my past self or my future self. I have taken the liberty of being able to change my mind whenever I want about whatever I want on this site. Sometimes I say things I don’t mean at all to pull out reactions or to help bring perspective from the other side. There are many people who don’t understand the blogging world and what it is good for, but I find it useful to rant and wrestle with issues in a public sphere. If it was my statement of faith, well then no one would really have a clue what I believe.
- For some reason people care way too much about what people believe and not nearly enough about the lives people live. I can write a post about approving or disproving homosexuality and I’ll have 50+comments of people excited or pissed off at me for whatever words I am stating. If I write a post about a story where someone was taking care of the orphans and the windows, I’d get a few comments saying nice things and then it would never be read again. What is our obsession with what we believe? If we go back to James then we all know that whatever we believe is dead if there isn’t action tied to it. It doesn’t bother me nearly as much if someone is a heretic with their mouths but is living a life that is striving to be like Christ.
- I am extremely glad that I wrote the post the way I did. The reactions I got both in the comment section, but more specifically in person, only served to prove the very point I was making in the post. Homosexuality for some reason has become the epitome of sin in the church. Homosexuals are used constantly has examples to make poor theological statements about the sinfulness of our country. They are also used as examples about how the church is lowering its standards. The very fact that so many people are so repulsed by the idea that someone would approve of such a “sin” proves my post entirely. The question of whether or not homosexuality is wrong or not is not the only question the church should be asking. The question is a fine one to ask (like Tom and I discussed in the comments section of the last post) but only with a mutual understanding that wherever people end up on the issue, it is not grounds for divorce. We should also be asking different questions, like John pointed out in the comments. Maybe the question should be how do we treat all sinners? What types of roles can any sinner, repentant or not, have in the church? Why are we more inclined to hate some sins and not others? Should sexual identity really come before faith identity?
- This is an extremely difficult question for me. I find myself defending both sides at times. I can’t really accept the militant way of either side. When people attack the church and say the church should open their arms up completely to homosexual couples, bless and affirm them and hate those churches that do not, I find myself defending the church. The church has a long way to go to truly embody the Kingdom of God, but give them a break. Their founding story is based on the idea of one women and one man. Churches and large institutions need time to formulate and wrestle with issues like this and there is nothing wrong with that. The Church eventually or at least certain sects of the church, like in Acts 15 will come to find what is good for this time. As long as someone’s humanity is recognized and people are truly loved then it’s probably not worth getting that upset over. On the other side, when people make homosexuality to be the worst deviance known to man and refuse to give homosexual people a rightful voice and treat them like humans, well then I will fight pretty hard on their side and hopefully give them a voice. There is no easy answer right now to this question and we need to be aware that we are dealing with questions that are at the core of who people are, and black and white regimented laws don’t work well with real people.
- Sin will always be an issue no matter what. Which is why I think we need to figure out what we are going to do with sinners, more than what is a specific sin or not. We all have sins that we don’t think is sin that we willingly take part in every day. Whether it be our bad eating habits, are over-consumption, gossip, our bad attitude, our supporting of sweat shops by what we purchase and the list goes on. The fact is that we are all sinners and we all fall short of the glory of God. Whether you think homosexuality is wrong or not has little to do with the final equation. The church is compromised of people who want to be the hands and feet of Jesus. People who sin, people who intentionally sin and people who refuse to repent at all for things that you think are sin can still be attempting to follow Jesus. We are all on our journey somewhere and trying to figure this out, and that’s the beauty of grace. Grace makes room for our intentional sins too. So whether or not someone is a homosexual, really does not have much to do with if grace is coming their way or not. Whether or not someone agrees with homosexuality or not, also doesn’t have much to do with the grace that is coming their way. So if it’s going to turn into that big of a deal, then it’s worth downplaying the importance of the question all together and focusing on better ones.
- So really, anyone can take what you want about my opinions of homosexuality that became a little clearer in the comments section. I do believe the church has the freedom to decide where to take this issue. Some respected denominations have decided to marry and ordain homosexuals and others have decided not too. Any side that you land on should not equally land you in expulsion from your faith community. Any side that you land on should not make it out to seem like you are for or against Christ. There are beautifully passionate Christ followers on both sides of the fence.
- At this point in my life, with the biblical evidence before me, I don’t think the Bible says a whole lot about two same gendered people coming into a life-long commitment with each other. There are verses throughout the Old Testament that reference homosexuality as an abomination, but there are also some that say misbehaving children and those that work on the Sabbath should be killed. There are verses in the New Testament that say that it’s unnatural to be homosexual, but there are also verses that say women should not teach in a church. I wrestle with the interpretations of these verses and struggle with where to land with them. Somehow we were able to understand the context of the time that these were written for these other laws, and I think it’s only a matter of time before we make room to understand the context of which Paul speaks about homosexuality. I agree that if we are speaking of a purely sexual and physical act, then homosexuality doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. However, I’m also aware that homosexuality runs a lot deeper than physical attraction and I don’t want to come against the good in a relationship in fear of the unknown or what I believe to be unnatural. So if my true beliefs were to be really known, I’m truly stuck in the middle. No side fully convinces me right now. So I’ll sit in the middle and play both sides when the time is right and keep praying and seeking.
My challenge isn’t to those who hold different views than me on the topic of homosexuality. My challenge is to those on either side of the equation that refuse to be in community with those on the other side. If the church can’t uphold and make room for both perspectives then we are failing to be the church. Both sides need to understand both sides. If we want to kick someone out of the church because of their views on homosexuality (right or wrong), then I feel like we have completely missed the heart of Jesus. Jesus on one of his beautiful rants leaves his listeners with this in John 5
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
The Pharisees didn’t get it. They thought salvation came through following laws and that unless Israel was holy enough then their Messiah wouldn’t come and save them. They spent all their time seeing if Jesus matched up to their laws that they missed Jesus. I don’t want to miss Jesus. Frankly, I’m willing to say the same thing to the church today. We try so hard to study the scriptures and make sure we have everything right because we think that we find salvation in them. When Jesus is just standing there and the only way to truly find salvation is through him.