Mar 302013
 

Dear brothers and sisters, I wish you the peace of the Lord; clarity in discerning His will; and a humble, yet fulfilling, walk.

You may have noticed we’re in the middle of a national discussion on gay marriage.  Now whether a U.S. Supreme Court decision is the best way to go about this is certainly debatable by reasonable people.  However, this reasonable person declares that question outside the scope of this post.

I do have a few words, however, on our faith and gay people in general.

Our pastor recently quoted research on outside perceptions of Christianity in a sermon.  Essentially it asked non-Christians “how do you see Christians?”  The third-highest answer was anti-homosexual.  The leading answer was hypocritical.

Think about what our faith has to offer.  Consider all of the wonderful things Christians all over the world do in His name, in an effort to be His hands and feet.  Think of His grace.  Think of His compassion.

Now consider that an awful lot of people say “yeah, they don’t like gay people” when they think of Christians.  Consider that even more of them say “they talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk.”

You know, though, Jesus is pretty good at telling us what’s important to Him.  He tells us a lot about helping others for its own sake.  He tells us of service with no expectation of reciprocation.  He tells us of giving.  He tells us of modesty.

I cannot document anywhere that He had a single word to say about homosexuality.  Please, take that into your heart.  Think about it.  Pray about it.

I’ll play devil’s advocate for this next point.  Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that it is a sin.  A woman taking a woman as her spouse, or a man taking a man, is sinning just by doing that.

So what?

If it is a sin, it’s just another one.  Who among us is without sin?  Raise your hand high.  Stand up and be counted.  (By the way, number six on that list of perceptions of Christians was judgmental.)  You do know that to God, sin is sin, right?  Want a few verses to reflect on there?

From time to time, a representative of this evangelical church or that will knock on my door.  Almost all of them open their spiel with hell.  “If you were to die tonight, do you know where you would go?” is common.  They like to say “hellfire” and “damnation,” and sometimes I’ll even get one who’s fond of “brimstone.”

And my first thought is always the same.  “You and I share this incredible faith—this faith of kindness, grace, and service—and you’re leading with this?”

I feel exactly the same way about Christians, purporting to act in the name of Jesus, who lead with anti-homosexuality.  Even if you believe the Bible tells you God disapproves of homosexuality, is that really one of the most interesting things about it?

My brothers and sisters in Christ, please hear me.  This is no hill worth dying on.

We—Christians—have a major PR problem.  We have a God of endless love and grace; of helping the least among us; of giving for its own sake.  Largely—nearly totally—through the actions of people purporting to represent our faith, we’ve gotten a persistent perception of being anti-gay.

I don’t think homosexuality is a sin, which probably doesn’t surprise you if you’ve read this far.  But if you do, consider this with me.  Even if that really is part of the deal—even if the Bible really does tell us God disapproves of homosexuality—what makes it worth the disproportionate attention it receives?

We are instructed to spread the good news.  Is it good news you’re spreading?

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 Posted by at 6:04 pm

  9 Responses to “To my brothers and sisters in Christ on homosexuality”

  1. Nicely done, my dear Mr. Williams. I would hope that people take it to heart.

  2. Thank you, Kelly. I appreciate that, and me too. We need very badly to get past this.

  3. A particular form of hypocrisy, namely silence concerning open and state-sanctioned disregard of Matthew 19, is a serious credibility problem for many who invoke the sanctity of marriage. Nonetheless, what do you understand porneia to mean? How did first-century Jewish audiences understand it?

    I’ll leave it to you big-government liberals to quibble over whether Caesar recognizes this-or-that relationship as being a marriage.

  4. Bravo!

    As someone who went to religious schools for 12 years and grew up in a mildly religious environment, I have a moderate grasp of the Christian faith. I recognize the “bigger” stories, know the main themes, etc. I’ve got the highlight reel down. And it never ceases to amaze me how so much of what Christianity is about is not what the public discussion is about. I know some deeply religious, absolutely wonderful Christians, but since they tend to let their actions speak their faith (which I applaud), they get drowned out and overshadowed by the Westbrook Baptists and others. It’s really sad because so much of what Jesus (and other religions) taught is badly needed today.

  5. Bo, most folks do not believe in God today. Most everyone I know anyway seem to be nonbelievers or they have bad things to say about God. So, I don’t see the point in this discussion.

  6. Great post! I feel much the same way, and that is one of the reasons I don’t openly claim Christianity or talk with anyone about religion/God. I wish everyone could learn to be more tolerant, if not accepting, of one another.

  7. Greg, I can truly say that nothing has been so consistently disillusioning and heartbreaking about adulthood for me as my realization that my generation isn’t going to budge the 50% divorce rate at all. As for government recognition, well, yeah, the best thing would be for government to not be in that business. But that’s peripheral to what I’m talking about here.

    Carol, about three-quarters of the country identifies as Christian, with another several percent professing another monotheistic religion. In the United States, most folks do believe in God.

    MrsDragon and Kim, y’all are on exactly why it’s important to me to readily identify as Christian: because I think it can be effective witness. I want to be someone who someone else can look at and say “well, if he’s Christian, then maybe there’s something good here after all.” (Which is not to say I’m claiming to be some sort of exemplary person. I would just like to think someone might read the above, for example, and think “hey, I didn’t know you could fully accept gay people and still be a Christian.”) And thank you for your kind words!

  8. You didn’t answer my question about porneia.

  9. Greg, I’m not sure I understand what you mean when you say porneia well enough to give you an answer that will satisfy you. I did Bing it and read.

    I’m concerned primarily here with those Christians who would call homosexuality a sin. I’m saying to them “OK, it’s exactly as you see it. It is a sin.” I’m putting that in evidence. It’s a fact. If you’re gay, you’re sinning.

    Now what?

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