NOTE: I originally started this post in 2008 and it's been sitting as a draft until today.
Oh yeah you know that's a title that'll put you on one side of the stadium or the other. You might find yourself trying to sit near the end zones but everyone knows you can't really be participating in the game from there. Is there a much more polarizing discussion than this? It's one that for personal reasons I've shied away from, but not the IMonk, nope he's gone deftly in where some fear to go.
So in case your part of the blogdom doesn't normally get you there please take the time to read these articles. If this is at all something that you are interesting in (from either perspective) I think it will do you a great deal of good. At least it will make this post make sense.
The post that started it all – What do Gays and Lesbians Hear?
Here are a series of three posts that Michael Spencer wrote in response to a comment.
I believe Michael does a very good job of explaining both sides of this issue. He is as humble as possible and willingly takes a look at the plank that most evangelicals refuse to see in their own eyes. In the end though scripture wins out against feelings and while we may have ended the battle with no blood shed (the comments were all quite civil) there is a divide which must remain.
One of the commenter's remarks sounded very close to my own regarding this issue. So I started to add my own comment but figured it was getting to be too long…
Jesse – sounds like you and I are right in line with one another. I haven't heard one person who, in referring to them self as a Christian in these comments, has not admitted to a plethora of personal sin(s). And (with one exception) all have admitted to a self loathing for said sin(s).
I think the great uproar that comes from the evangelical right when talking about homosexuality is largely due to a small fraction of the overall gay and lesbian community who are openly militant in their demands that we must ALL accept their choice/decision/biological bent/fallen nature, or we're labeled as being a bunch of close minded, bigoted, homophobes.
Here's the skinny from a guy that the gay and lesbian community would consider their worst nightmare. And I label myself as such because I'm a conservative (politically and spiritually), middle aged, upper middle class, white guy, attending a Calvinist leaning Protestant church whose ex-wife left him after 5 years of marriage and 2 kids because she decided she's gay. Now if I'm not the poster child for what a gay bashing, homophobe (gee I detest made up words) would look like, well you must be living in an igloo on the North Pole.
So what does a guy like me (who likes to stand up on a soap box and rant) think about all this? And no I'm not some magnanimous push over when it comes to my feelings. I've been hotter under the collar more times than I care to relive. But…
I recognized a long time ago what a horrendous sinner I truly am. I can look at most peoples trespasses and easily think that but for the grace of God I could easily be walking in their shoes. I know the sins that I struggle with on a daily basis. Even more intimately I know the ones that I fail to curb. I cannot, without being the worst of all hypocrites, point to someone else's sin and pass eternal judgment on them. However that's not to say there aren't consequences for those who are not seeking forgiveness for or who are unwilling to acknowledge the depravity of the sin in their life.
I believe that the church should be open to anyone who is searching for the Truth. I don't even think that the church should necessarily shut the doors on an openly gay person any more than it should shut the door on someone who is an acknowledged alcoholic or drug addict. If we barred all the sinners from entering the church the building would be empty come Sunday. I know the Bible takes a hard stance against homosexuality but I personally don't think it's worst than any other sin, although I do believe it is an outward sign of a heart that is more hardened to the Word of God.
As an aside on that (because I can just imagine how I'm going to get flamed for that comment), when my son was young and the world was still black and white for him he asked me, how can Mom be a lesbian and say that God is OK with that. My ex and I have always had a rule in place with the kids and that's no dissing the other parent. We raised our kids to respect us as their parents no matter what our views of each other may be. Treading dangerous ground my response now is no different than what it was then, and that's like most sin we find ways to sell it to ourselves. We are great marketers selling ourselves lies from so many directions… Even though I'm well over weight – I deserve that piece of cake, because my day was rough. Cracking that piece of software is OK, it's overpriced and I'm only going to use it a couple of times. Taking these blank DVD's from work is OK, they haven't given me a raise in years. Everyone speeds … Jump right in here and add your own excuses for the things that you do. My response to my sons question was that his mom truly believed what she was saying, so she wasn't "lying" to him as much as she was lying to herself.
But of course here lies the rub, as Jesse commented, "I haven't heard one person who, in referring to them self as a Christian in these comments, has not admitted to a plethora of personal sin(s). " But that's the essence of our eternal impasse. Openly practicing homosexuals don't see their actions as being sinful. If you believe the Bible to be true…. if you do, then there are some pretty clear cut statements made in regards to homosexuality being a sin. You either accept the word of God as spelled out in the Bible or you walk away from Christianity. If you want to talk about the sin of homosexuality that you find yourself constantly drawn and falling into, then there is an open door for dialog and accountability. If you want me to believe that homosexuality is a natural, God created, state of existence, then I'm afraid you've deluded yourself.