the church and homosexuality

While not a part of my continuing posts on the central theology of Christianity, I wanted to write a small blurb about what I think about the current issue of Proposition 8 before the Supreme court. I will make no statement as to whether or not I’d vote for or against same-sex marriage (because I believe that for candidates, there are far greater issues, and on referendums . . . well then I shall think and chose what I believe most accurately reflects a Christian application of ethics and social justice).

I will say first, I am a staunch defender of Christian orthodoxy with regards to what is clearly defined as sin within the Bible. I will say second, that my heart is torn for the church and her treatment of those with homosexual tendencies [1]. In rushing to fulfill a certain vision of what society should be, the Church has so far neglected larger issues for pursuing one cause with undue prejudice. Yes, I believe homosexuality is a sin, but then in rushing to condemn the courts and people through the courts, we fail to remember the thousands of children with same sex parents, we fail to really think deeply about the effects of what we say has on those these laws most affect, and I openly ask everyone in the church to think deeply before rushing to wantonly condemn through the law, for in rushing to condemn one sin above all others, might we in fact be rushing to create more harm to society as a whole and less stability? Indeed, while I dont necessarily approve of same-sex marriage because homosexual actions are clearly condemned in the bible without hermeneutical acrobatics,  homosexual marriage in the context of civil government is also an issue without a simple yes or no, especially because Christianity that has tolerated so much the destruction of what it says is “biblical marriage.” I urge the Church to think deeply about what it considers to be consistent behavior for the defense of marriage, because in my opinion, the church tolerates far more the premise of no-fault divorce (in my opinion a far larger blow to Christian marriage and theology of humanity), and abortion (an issue which assaults deeply an individuals great intrinsic worth, being created in the image of God). So yes, while the the context of the church, marriage should be between one man and one women, might the issue be more fluid in the context of civil government? [2]

Homosexuality is a hot-button issue of the age and the zeitgeist of the age in the West is against the church. That does not mean that the church needs to change to accept homosexuality (for to do so would be to forget that the church was started in a society far more tolerant of homosexuality [3]) but it does mean that the Church needs to relearn compassion, for in trying to fight against this changing society, the church has come to be characterized by hypocrisy and an overall lack of compassion towards humanity. For where we rush to condemn what is unfamiliar to us, we have forgotten compassion [4], and especially within the context of the church those with same sex attractions have been marginalized and forgotten. The Church has, in large part, forgotten its call to care for all, especially those marginalized in society. In many ways, this focus on the rights of homosexuals should strike deeply at the core of what we, Christians, believe because it reveals, more than anything else, a marked lack of care by the church for people that disagree with it. Gone is the Church that was once characterized by its love, love to such an extent that St. Augustine had to defend it for its perceived softness in his treatise, The City of God.

I call for the Church to remember that while homosexuality was only referenced six times, the bible far more often condemns general adultery, a fact far too often forgotten as the Christian divorce rate approaches the national average and as we no longer fight against a society that itself promotes promiscuity and a lack of commitment . The Bible also condemns greed, a sin marked by our unwillingness to give to the Church of our great wealth (for we in the West are, more than any king of the ancient world, wealthy) and our utmost love of material possessions to the extent that we have lost our vision for the gospel, a message that is for the broken. So while we the Church have tried to appear externally holy, we are in no way holy and the scriptures approaches society and the Church on so many other sins that we have been easy to give up and allow the members of the church to practice. So yes, homosexuality is a sin, but it no more condemns us to hell than the misapplied heterosexuality Christians so often try to defend. We the church have also not yet taken the beam out of our own eye as we forget that we too are sinners equally in need of grace, and equally deserving of death before a just God.

O Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us miserable offenders of thy holy and just law.

[end rant]

Notes

[1] I say homosexual tendencies because, quite clearly from personal testimony, that homosexuality is not something many would chose upon themselves. To that end I do not see the compulsion towards same sex attraction to be a sin as many of my Evangelical brothers and sisters do. Certainly it is wrong to lust, but just as I can be attracted to a woman and not lust, the same can be said for same sex attraction.
[2] the argument of evangelicals is that marriage is a civil institute, but one that was defined by God. We live in a democratic society, what then is the balance between civil government and practical application of Christianity on a people that are not Christian (or Christian in name only)
[4] the male form was quite popular in ancient greco-roman culture, as was pederasty.
[4] http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2013/03/21/an-open-letter-to-the-church-from-a-lesbian/ –Only serves to point out our glaring lack of compassion as a church.

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