So last week a whole bunch of people changed their Facebook profile picture to a red and pink equal sign to show their support for marriage equality while the Supreme Court heard arguments over the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. This small act was criticized by some as another example of “slacktivism”–Where people do something that makes them feel pretty good about themselves, but the act actually has no practical effect on the cause they are supporting. Like wearing a rainbow bracelet for a couple days…. I may not be advancing any cause other than the cause of my own self-satisfaction. And I realize the SCOTUS justices are probably not getting on Facebook and doing an informal survey of profile pictures in order to decide how to rule, but I do think this very small act meant something. It meant something just like all those people last year standing in line for two hours at Chick-Fil-A’s meant something–Except this time, instead of people standing up to say “I’m against you,” people were standing up and saying to the LGBT community, “I’m with you.” And that means something…. Even if it’s something as simple and seemingly meaningless as changing your profile picture.
Many of the conversations and threads that followed underneath those little equals signs were very hard to stomach. I think it’s safe to say that most of the opposition to equal rights for the LGBT community comes from Christians. And this is really frustrating for me because I’m a Christian, and I hate when people do things to propel the misconception that Jesus is against gay people. He’s just not. But it’s not all frustration–More and more Christians are getting it. It’s encouraging to see so many Christians stand up and say, “I’m with you,” but it’s also very hard to see some of the reactions to that stance from other people in the Church. People act like fellow Christians who are coming out as allies for equal rights for gays are basically saying, “You know what? Screw the Bible–I’m going to do what I want!” Please understand one thing: THIS IS NOT WHAT IS HAPPENING! Christians are not wiping their butts with the pages of the Bible when they stand up in support of marriage equality.
Maybe they believe that the government should treat people the same regardless of race, gender, class, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or other aspects of what we look like or where we come from. Maybe they think that the government shouldn’t be discriminating against LGBT people and enforcing morality based on a particular interpretation of scripture from one of the many religions in this country (for example, if the majority of people in the US were Jews following kosher laws, I should still be able to eat bacon…. sweet, sweet bacon). Maybe they are a Christian like me–One who tremendously values the things the Bible teaches, but has come to a different conclusion about the inherent sinfulness of a committed, homosexual relationship. Or maybe, just maybe, they are a person like the woman in the video below, whose view changed when someone they knew and loved came out of the closet….
There actually is more than one way to understand a Biblical response to homosexuality (Here is an example of one that is AMAZING by Matthew Vines). I have landed on a response that believes we are called to love and not judge. One that understands that human sexuality is a mysterious thing that we probably know very little about. One that does not translate “LOVING” someone as “trying to convince them that same-sex orientation is something from which they need to be healed.” One that accepts and blesses a commitment that is made to love another person forever–Regardless of the gender of the person to which that commitment is made.
But the real question is this: What happens if we get it wrong? What happens if I’m wrong, and what Jesus really wants for his Church is to work as hard as possible to keep LGBT couples who have made a loving commitment to each other from having the same civil rights as straight couples? What if I’ve got it completely backwards, and followers of Jesus are supposed make homosexuals feel as damaged and uncomfortable as possible unless they repent of their gayness and live a life without the sort of companionship that my wife and I enjoy? What is God going to do to us for coming to the wrong conclusion about gay marriage? Do we believe that the loving father that Jesus revealed is actually the kind of God who would abandon us or even send us to some sort of eternal torture for an errant interpretation?
A lot of people believe in a God who is sitting at the gates of Heaven, holding onto a checklist. And then, when we die, he asks us a bunch of doctrinal questions. It’s a narrative where God’s like, “Baptized? Check. Believe in the resurrection? Check. Trinity? Check. Did you try as hard as possible to make gay people feel like their gayness was something that keeps them from accessing the same grace that you have access to? Check. Virgin Birth? NO!?!? I’m sorry–The answer we were looking for was ‘Virgin Birth.’ You almost had it. So close. Yeah…. I’m going to need you to step into this other line.” This is not the way that God works. It turns our right doctrinal beliefs into a work we do that makes us eligible for salvation. And that is NOT the portrait that is painted by any of the people who wrote the books in the back part of the Bible.
God loves us. He loves us like we’re his kids. He loves me way better that I could ever hope to love my own son. Imagine if my son made a collage for me, and in this collage he cut up some pictures that I really didn’t want cut up–But I could tell he did what he did because he was trying to be as loving as he could be–What kind of father would I be if my reaction to his attempt at love was only anger and punishment? And damnation? If this is actually the sort of God that Jesus reveals to us, then I am already so far off on my concept of God that I’m probably already going to Hell. Oh well….
This. One thousand, million times this. ❤
I’m glad you liked it, KM.
Hey Chris. I really enjoy your blog, and appreciate your perspective. I’d love to hear a little more of where you’re coming from when you say this… “Maybe they are a Christian like me–One who tremendously values the things the Bible teaches, but has come to a different conclusion about the inherent sinfulness of a committed, homosexual relationship.”
What up, Chad. Here are three earlier posts that hopefully give a little more insight into what I meant when I said that:
It might be more reading than you were wanting to do, but they will definitely help to understand where I’m coming from. In short though (if you don’t feel like reading the older posts), the Bible says a lot of things. Some, we disregard (or reason ourselves out of) fairly easily; others take a little more work. For example, women being able to preach took quite a while for people to see how the Bible might not have been literally commanding that women were forbidden from speaking in Church….
I completely value the Bible, but that doesn’t have to mean “The Earth is 6000 years old, or Jesus means nothing.” Hope this helps.
What are your thoughts?
Ok. Wow… some light reading to get caught up…
My question to start would be on the authority of scripture as God’s word. Is scripture God-breathed? Is it complete in revealing God to us? Or… is it flawed? Incomplete? Are portions of it obsolete, non-applicable, or silent?
If we start picking and choosing what’s applicable and toss out portions of it, then we stop being transformed by it. We stop being reconciled to God and instead work to reconcile Him back to us. We go from a God-centered universe to a man-centered one.
So, to me, saying homosexuality is not inherently sinful is not consistent with scripture… I can’t honestly get there. The Word just is too clear to me that His design for marriage is for a man and a woman. Therefore, I think homosexuality is a consequence of sin and our sinful nature.
But that’s a broader brush and all-inclusive. We all have our sin nature, are in rebellion against God, and are all totally dependent on grace to be reconciled back to Him.
So isolating homosexuals is like being in the mob that brings the adulteress to Jesus looking for a stoning… We ought to just drop our stone.
Picking and choosing what’s the truth about the bible is a very dangerous game. Your own ideas and beliefs began to interfere. The word is then changed to validate your point. A big problem with us as people is our obsession with being right. We have this fear about being wrong which cause us to fight even when what we are fighting for isn’t understood. It’s what causes people to judge. Its what causes people to hate. It interferes with understanding.
I have no idea what it is to be attracted to the same sex; therefore, its impossible for me to judge. Jesus commands us to love the person apart from whatever their actions are.
I was in church one day and two men gave their life to Jesus. The pastor said, “Now go home and don’t try to be perfect, because you will fail. Simply fall in love with Jesus.”
To label it a sin or not is irrelevant. It’s only a distraction from, which we Christians call the answer, Jesus.
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