An Evangelical Approach to Homosexuality - A Proposal

Saturday, December 26, 2009

There is a lot of talk among Evangelicals about whether homosexuality is "right" or not. There are people on both sides of the debate, each quoting their Bible. I don't know if this will ever really be resolved, but there is one thing that I think we all can agree on:

We as the church ought to demonstrate love and grace towards people who are gay.

At this point in the argument, however it is common for someone to say, "Yes, but there is a difference between accepting someone and condoning their behavior."

It is at this point that my proposal comes in. Let me begin with some very sobering facts: Statistically, homosexuals have a higher rate of drug abuse, mental illness, and suicide than the larger population. Alarmingly higher in fact. This is well known in the LGBT community, and the reason is quite clear: the rejection they experience - being kicked out of their homes, hiding who they are, being threatened and hated, and so on can easily make a person sick, depressed, broken, and even drive them to suicide. So when gays talk about the importance of being accepted, this is not just political, its something very very close to home for them. It is quite literally, a matter of life and death.

Because of that fact, I think it is rather clear where our priorities should be, and where the priorities of Jesus would be. In his time he was known for "fellowshiping with sinners". Religious folks saw how he welcomed sinners, and concluded that he must not be a prophet. And what did Jesus do? Did he defend his reputation? Did he make sure not to give people the wrong impression? No, he went out of his way to reach out to these people on the margins, often causing open confrontations between himself and the religious leaders of his day. That is our model. Jesus who cares waaaaay more abut loving people than he does with if that looks proper or not.

So based on that model of asking "what would Jesus do" taken together with the severity people in the gay community have of hearing more than anything "you are loved," I propose an indefinite moratorium on pronouncements of the morality or immorality of homosexuality. Let's put that on hold for something much more important.

Regardless of where we stand on the rightness or the wrongness of being gay, I think we should all realize that none of that matters much when people are dying. We need to change our priorities and focus on the critical issue of communicating love and acceptance to these people. Communicating it to a fault, communicating it so completely that we are "misunderstood" and get a "bad reputation," because that is exactly what Jesus did. I want to hear sermons only on how we should love and welcome gay people into our churches, and I want those sermons to be completely unbalanced.

We have spent so much time being "balanced" in the other direction, so much time worrying about "giving the wrong impression" that it is time to shift our lopsided boat the other way. Because as long as our priority is in looking moral rather than in showing compassion and grace to those on the outside, we simply do not have the priorities of Jesus. And when we do not reflect Christ, we are giving the wrong impression. So let's change that.

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At 1:19 AM, Blogger duopastorale said...

Great thoughts. But really quite sad that these things still need to be said. Why have parts of the church singled out this sin as worse than all others? Gay people need Jesus just as much as anyone else, and they are as loved by Him as anyone else. They also need to repent, the same as anyone else, no more no less.

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Hearty Amen.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Amen. I think the more helpful thing if you are in this position of wondering where the boundary is between "accepting someone and condoning their behaviour" is to just sit with that, mull it around in your head, taste it on your tongue, to try on different hats, to not be scared that you are going to fall into great unbelievable licentiousness by loving someone you do not condone. Because the other side of that space shows how ludicrous it is to believe that it is ever your right or your space to be the person who is condining someone else's behaviour.

At 1:21 PM, Blogger kc bob said...

I think that it is mostly the Fundamentalists that have the big issues here.. even though they call themselves Evangelicals their behaviors towards gays betray them.. and their words and actions are loud ones in our country. They are really OT folks at heart and prefer a legal solution to one of the heart.. compassion is in their theology but not in the practice.

At 4:22 PM, Blogger Pastor Larry said...

Well said!
Some church goers understanding of The Way of Christ is beyond me. If we stop letting sinners come to Church we would all be at home on Sundays watching football and shopping online. When did one sin become worse than any other and who said "they" could decide what sin is for someone else?

At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This brought tears to my eyes more than your post at the top of the page. I agree with your viewpoint - Jesus loved sinners, and made every effort to show that, allowing himself to be tortured and killed (for all of us humans), so we could see that it was a possible thing. I find myself remembering that every time I begin to question another's life, choices, or lifestyle. Thank you for allowing me to read this.

At 7:34 AM, Anonymous Billie said...

Thank you for what you have said. I pray that more Christians who profess to love their neighbours, but clearly don't, will read and ponder on your post.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger kc bob said...

I excerpted a few of your thoughts at my place asking readers to endorse your moratorium.

Blessings, Bob

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagere, there's a different between love and aceptance. They are not the same.

Christ ate with repentent sinners, that's the difference. Many elements of liberal protestantism now days don't see homosexual acts as anything to repent of. The Christian anthropological understanding is dead, replaced by a sense of entitlement, specificly an entitlement to sexual activity and a consideration of chastity as impossible or bizarre.

At 8:29 PM, Blogger Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

This is an old post and I'm coming upon it new. Too many people have said and written too much about the issue of homosexuality, even me. The OT legislates against homosexual actions and schedules punishments. The NT excludes people who live homosexual lifestyles from salvation (possibly). Jesus Christ Himself, I don't believe, deals with this issue at all, but He does say things that seem to put personal behaviors on a lower footing than having personal faith in Him: "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…" Even holy apostle Paul seems to say things of the same kind, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved," and this even in the same letter where he condemns homosexual behaviors (Romans). Obviously, the one modifies the other. The question is, does the inclusive statement modify the exclusive, or the other way round?

Orthodox Christianity deals with homosexual issues on a one by one basis, using a broad interpretation of scripture, and not letting anything get in the way of a person's salvation, in the spirit of Romans 8:38-39, "nothing can separate us from the love of Christ…" unless we let it, of course. I am not promoting Orthodoxy as better, just stating what I know as a member of this faith. The issue is not simple; in reality it is an amalgam of many issues, and must be treated as such. That's why it's harsh and unbiblical to simply lump it all into a single category and condemn it.

For anyone actually interested enough to read what one Greek Orthodox Christian has to say about these issues, here's some links:

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