As most of you remember, the topic of the gay community started when I decided to listen to the opinions of gay Christians. With a motive only to learn and make friends, I wrote an interview and contacted over a hundred self proclaimed Gay Christians.
One of which was Rachel.
Rachel, answered my questions, and asked me a few of her own. After several long winded facebook messages, an internet friendship formed.
Come to find out, Rachel lives with her wife, Sarah, in London, and they wrote a book together.
Living it Out - “A survival guide for lesbian, gay and bisexual Christians and their friends, families and church.”
“London, no way. My wife and I will be in London for the next three months.”
“If you're in London on January 27th you'd be very welcome to come along to an event we're having in a bookshop in London about Living It Out. I'll send you an invite.”
So there Cait and I sat, on the fifth floor of Waterstone Booksellers, second row, far left.
Circumstances like this are too big to be called coincidences. Rachel and I randomly began discussing controversial topics in late December. The first time I traveled away from North America is the same week she releases her book. Her book is the only one of its kind, a survival guide for Gay Christians. The book store that hosts the release launch is a short train ride away from my house.
Sitting there on the second row, it felt too big to be a coincidence.
Maybe it’s a God thing.
For years, I have felt a deep appreciation for the diverse branches of Christianity. And in our diversity, unity. From Catholics to Protestants. From Traditional to Post-Modern. From Calvanist to Open Theology. From Conservative to Liberal. Underneath all of these branches, we are unified in our beliefs of God the Father sending his son Jesus to die for our sins. In Jesus we have restoration of relationship.
The church is big. The church is diverse. The church is unified as one bride.
And now, it seems that a new branch is forming. And to my knowledge, it has no clever name yet. But there are Christians who believe a gay lifestyle is a sin, and those who believe a gay lifestyle is of God.
There will be arguments. There will be tears. But like it or not, they are unified in our faith of Jesus.
Last week I spoke of a lifestyle called ex-Gay. When an individual decides they are gay, there are three ways to respond to the call of Jesus.
1. They can deny him, and remain a non-Christian Gay.
2. They can accept him, and leave the gay lifestyle.
and there is a third option
3. They can both accept him and embrace their gay lifestyle.
Those who choose follow Christ and be gay have wrestled with the passages of Scripture. And their conclusion is that a homosexual monogamous marriage is right in the eyes of God. Homosexual infidelity, adultery and fornication are sinful, but a marriage is of God.
I’m sure that you have already made up your mind, but I found it fascinating and challenging to read counter arguments.
In America, there are several Christian leaders who have taken the stance of godly gay marriage (Mel White, Jay Bakker, Brian McLaren).
The American Church has changed a lot in the past 50 years. For decades, if someone in the church were to get a divorce (a biblical sin), many would refuse to talk to the divorcee. Today, painfully enough, divorce is common. Although divorce is not encouraged, we have a much holier response to divorce. We cry with the hurting.
Until recent years, most in the church would consider the consumption of alcohol a sin. Yet, frustrated, we read the Bible closer and realized that Scripture does not say such a thing. Drunkenness, abuse, brokenness and poverty caused by alcohol are sins, yes. But the consumption is not. Rather, consumption of alcohol is celebrated in the Bible.
“Praise the Lord, O my soul...He makes grass grow for the cattle,and plants for man to cultivate,brings forth food from the earth,wine that gladdens the heart of man.”(Psalms 104)
In my honest opinion, the awkwardness between Christians who think homosexuality is a sin, and those who think gay marriage is godly will dissolve. Though everyone may not agree, it is my prayer that unity will prevail.
My father wisely told me,
“Chris, you will find many people you disagree with. But remember this one thing. Unity begins at the Cross. It is the most important place to agree. As you move further away from the Cross, the disagreements become less and less important.”
Though you disagree with the lifestyle choice, agree in the salvation of Jesus Christ. For it is what makes us all ‘Christian.’
And this is how I choose to finish this series on the gay community. Though you disagree, do not let that prevent fellowship. Be accepting, loving. If you agree on the Cross, let nothing else separate you.
And this may bother you. Accept gays as Christians?
Follow me for a bit.
What if someone struggled with arrogance. He prayed his entire life that God would make him humble. He fasted. He served. He went to counseling. At times he would defeat his arrogance, living in humility. But years later, he would become prideful again.
What if one day he told you, “I think I’m arrogant. And I will always be arrogant. I still love God, but I am not going to change.”
Would you accept him as a Christian? Does he in fact have a relationship with God?
Why is it easier to accept this fictional prideful man than to accept someone who is gay? The Bible has many more passages condemning arrogance than it does homosexuality. The Bible speaks much more strongly against pride than it does homosexuality. Why is a lifestyle of pride accepted more than a lifestyle of homosexuality?
I admit, the example is far fetched. But doesn’t it say the same thing? Gay Christians have spent years in prayer for God to remove their nature. But it seems that God’s hand remains motionless. God, all too often, does not turn gay people straight.
If they, after years of prayer, fasting, and counseling, accept their lifestyle and embrace God, are they not Christians as well. Should we not accept them as Christians?
I believe we should.
She is the Church. She is beautiful. She is to be fought for. She is to die for. Let her be unified.
This blog series has stretched, challenged, and strengthened me. And I pray it did for you too. I have made great friends (gay and straight). Yet it has been draining as well. ‘Is this can of worms worth opening up?’ ‘Will this hurt my chances of getting a job in a church?’ And most of all, ‘Will people receive this?’
Here are the two most common responses I have received.
1. “Chris, I have felt like this for a long time. I just didn’t know how to say it.”
2. “Chris, thank you.”
So I say, thank you for being a part of it. Thank you for reading. Hopefully you will come back to read future posts. Though not on the gay community, there are other areas that we need to grow in.
Though I am finished blogging about the gay community. I invite any more questions via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or facebook.