Rethinking the idea of a 'Gay Christian'

That title ought to get you reading. A couple of news stories have got me thinking about this. The first is the California Supreme Court decision that the Mayor of San Francisco acted out of line in granting same-sex marriages. The second is the recent announcement that the governor of New Jersy stepping down because of an extra-marital affair with another man.

In the first story the Mayor, of course, portayed himself as a crusader for civil rights, standing up for the oppressed. Nevermind that California state law explicitly states that a marriage is between a man and a wonan. The mayor clearly was flaunting the law. What got me thinking was the idea that this was a civil rights issue. That only holds water only if you consider being gay to be a human characteristic, in the same category as things like being black, hispanic or a woman. To me that's a bit of a leap. I understand that to those who identify themselves as gay it seems that's just how they are, but I'm not aware that there has been any evidence that supports the idea that folks just are gay. In fact many folks become gay later in life or stop being gay. No one ever stopped being black (Micheal Jackson excepted) and very few have stopped being women (and even then they must continue to take hormones becasue their bodies don't know that they aren't women anymore). We grant civil rights to people based on the unchangeable characteristics of who they are, not based on their preferences or tastes.

It was with this in mind that the story of the NJ Governor, a twice married man and father, came out. Setting aside for a minute what his actual intentions might be (I'm not even sure waht they are, haven't looked into it), let's assume for a moment that he is ashamed of his homosexual behavior and desires to change and save his marriage and family. It struck me that he might, in the same way a clean alcoholic still considers himself an alcoholic, may feel like he is gay. He may get counciling and treatment and stop his sinful behavior, but, just like the alcoholic still craves a drink, he may still be drawn to that life. Perhaps he stays 'clean' for as long as he lives, but in his mind he's still 'gay'.

In the church, perhaps we should not, then, be so quick to dismiss the idea of the 'gay Christian' any more that we dismiss the idea of the 'alcoholic Christian', the 'addict Christian', the 'lustful Chritian' or the 'liar Christian'. We are all recovered or transformed from something, and are likely still are drawn to it today to some degree. The alcoholic longs for his drink, the liar is tempted to decieve, the lustful craves that look and the gay man or woman desires the same sex. As long as we not remaining in that life, but fighting against its call, we are still His. We do not celebrate that of which we are now ashamed nor to we accept or tolerate it. But we cannot refuse admitance to God's family or shun anyone because one has this particular sinful leaning. In doing so aren't we much like the Pharasee in Matthew 18:9-14? Jesus criticized him for looking down his nose at the tax collector and He praised the tax collector for his humility. God accepts us all, in spite of our sinful leanings, if we submit to Him and not to those leanings. We should do the same.

4 Comments

Salguod - Excellently expressed. This has been my position for years now. Thanks for plainly stating it so well in this post.

Peace

Salgoud-

As a future marriage and family therapist, I've been struggling with how to deal with this issue for some time (and for even longer as a Christian). I attend a graduate program in clinical psychology at a large Christian university, and have a friend and fellow student who is gay. He's very close with a gay student at another Christian school in the area.

The attitudes of most of the faculty and students is more liberal than one might imagine, but for those with a more conservative view (that homosexuality is sinful) there is a struggle between ethical and legal requirements not to discriminate or impose values and addressing the spiritual issues surrounding homosexuality in a sensitive but biblical way.

I've gone from thinking that homosexuals are excluded from Christianity by verses such as 1 John 3:9 to realizing that if it applies to them, I'm in big trouble myself. I read something today in My Utmost for His Highest that, although still difficult, gives some perspective on this question:

"'Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.' (1 John 3:9.) Do I seek to stop sinning or have I stopped sinning? To be born of God means that I have the supernatural power of God to stop sinning. In the Bible it is never - Should a Christian sin? The Bible puts it emphatically - A Christian must not sin. The effective working of the new birth life in us is that we do not commit sin, not merely that we have the power not to sin, but that we have stopped sinning. 1 John 3:9 does not mean that we cannot sin; it means that if we obey the life of God in us, we need not sin." http://www.myutmost.org/08/0815.html

Of course, my gay friends, and probably most gays, do not think that homosexuality is a sin, and it seems that although they identify as Christians, their worldviews are postmodern in the extreme. This makes "understanding before being understood" extremely challenging for me, but the effort is well worth it. Thanks for your post.

Thanks for the comments. I hope you will come back again.

For me the notion that Homosexual behavior isn't sin is real hard to stomach. I think the only way you can come to that conclusion is by going in looking for a reason to think that way. The Bible pretty clearly protrays homosexual behavior as deviant and sinful, but in reality no more so than heterosexual sex outside of marriage. What I've come to realize is that the Christian world, myself included, have treated homosexuality as a special case worthy of nore scorn. Where is the call for that? Even more so, so much heterosexual sin is given a pass it's rediculous. Let's be consistant and hold the standard that God does, not water it down for some and raise the bar for others.

I agree that sexual sin is sin, whether same-sex or not, and it should be given the same emphasis. (The bible probably makes more mention of adultery than homosexuality.)

Homosexuals resent being made to feel as if they are the focus of the Church's teaching on sexual misconduct, but as I've tried to explain to some, I think the Church's seeming emphasis on homosexuality stems from its frustration at the crumbling of the family in general. After all, the Church hasn't even been able to maintain a lower than average divorce rate in the conventional marriages of its own members.

Overall, I tend to think that the conflict has just as much or even more to do with familial and political issues than spiritual ones. Culturally, the life styles are an affront to each other, making true dialogue rare; the absence of communication is probably the most unfortunate aspect of the situation.



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  • I agree that sexual sin is sin, whether same-sex or not, and it should be given the same emphasis. (The bible probably makes more mention of adultery than homosexuality.) Homosexuals resent being made to feel as if the...

  • Thanks for the comments. I hope you will come back again. For me the notion that Homosexual behavior isn't sin is real hard to stomach. I think the only way you can come to that conclusion is by going in looking for a...

  • Salgoud- As a future marriage and family therapist, I've been struggling with how to deal with this issue for some time (and for even longer as a Christian). I attend a graduate program in clinical psychology at a large...

  • Salguod - Excellently expressed. This has been my position for years now. Thanks for plainly stating it so well in this post. Peace...

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