Sunday, February 27, 2005

Contrarian View From the Pew: Gay Gradations

I have more posts planned regarding evangelism, but I have also been planning to write about homosexuality and as I was reading A Detente in the Culture War by Rob Asghar on Saturday, I decided to tagalong with some of my own thoughts now.

For some reason, I like to start with questions.

Is a Pastor who studies, practices, writes, and rewrites a sermon, but who has trouble delivering an effective sermon the same as a Pastor who is content with being an ineffective speaker, but continues to preach anyway? Is a Catholic who participates in "Right to Life" marches the same a vigilante who kills an abortion doctor? Is Pat Robertson the same as Tony Campolo?

Most believers nowadays are frustrated by the way we are portrayed and broad brushed by the mainstream media. Their portrayal does not match our experience. We hear a wide spectrum of ideas and beliefs about God within our circle of friends, an even wider spectrum on the internet, and an even wider spectrum from all of the sources within the entire community of believers. The spectrum is so wide that almost all believers designate certain other believers as non-believers, because we believe others are practicing heretical theology if we don't agree with them on the essentials. As insiders, we know more about the nuances, and we have a better understanding of the gradations regarding Christian beliefs, than the outsiders who try to tell our story.

When I hear most Christians talk about homosexuals and homosexuality, I hear the same narrow band of stereotyping and condemnation as I hear when I listen to the mainstream media describe Christianity and Jerry Falwell. Just because most of us believe that the cause of homosexuality is irrelevant when deciding if it should be labeled sinful, does not mean that we should respond to all of the nuances and gradations of homosexuality in exactly the same way.

Is the homosexual who makes an effort to remain celibate, but who occasionally gives in to the desire for sex, the same as the homosexual who has multiple partners and has no desire for a lifestyle change? Is a believer who after years of struggle has been unable to change their orientation the same as a proponent and advocate of gay marriage? Is the homosexual who serves the needy the same as the homosexual who lives at gay bath houses? Is the homosexual who is in a committed long term relationship the same as the homosexual who sleeps with as many partners of the same sex as is humanly possible?

Should we continue to judge from the outside or is it time to listen to more of the insiders, and make more of an effort to understand? Is it time to remove a few planks from the eyes of our Churches before ridding the world of splinters? Should we keep condemning and not showing any grace to those struggling with the difficult sin of homosexuality, while we give Pastors who spend 45 minutes to deliver a 15 minute sermon a pass?


Teresa said...

No one is brave enough to comment here? Sisses you all are! Are you following my issues here? I am getting to this one David, but as you know, I have so much to say. I have not posted on this one yet, because I am setting the stage. It is a sensitive issue and I want to get it right. A short comment--yeah right :): Lets take it out of the homosexual thing. If a heterosexual who is not married has sex out of marriage, is it not sin? What about if it is just one time? What about they are making an attempt to lead a pure life, but they mess up? They are all the same--God does not distinguish. SO-because we all mess up at some time, in all areas, we are all sinners and should extend GRACE to ALL regardless of the severity of their sin!!!!

Buz said...

We look at some sins as harmful to the individual and others as harmful to society. In truth, all sin is harmful to the individual, and most is also harmful to society.

Those who are trapped in a lifestyle of sin are to be pittied. Only those who revel in their sin are worthy of our condemnation.

How do you help someone out of a controlling lifestyle? Well certainly, by disdain and condemnation (NOT!)

Homosexuality is no different than alcoholism or drug addiction in that respect. After God has brought the person to the point where they realize that they are headed to damnation because of their lack of trust in Him, then the Holy Spirit convicts them of personal sin, and then they begin to look for a way out. We should be there to help them on that way out.

Condemning a non-Christian because of their homosexuality (or alcoholism) is like telling a passenger on a sinking ship that his striped tie does not match his checkered shirt.

Homosexuality does not send one to hell, nor will renouncing it send one to heaven. It has become the distraction of our generation.


Teresa said...

Yes Buz, yes--big distraction!