This is not a post about a homosexual named Frank; rather, it is my attempt to wrestle with an important issue and present my own personal viewpoint. Since everyone has a blog these days, it’s very possible that I will present no original or unique ideas. Having said that, I haven’t heard many people saying what I’m about to say so maybe it’s worth a read. Just for full disclosure, I would like everyone to know that I am a seminary student at Ashland Theological Seminary. I have been a practicing Christian (meaning actually pursuing God) for about five years now. Before you stop reading because you think this is going to dissolve into gay-bashing, let me assure you that my relationship with the all-powerful, all-knowing God of the universe has had the exact opposite effect. This could be because I “don’t get Christianity” or it could be because I get what Jesus was about more those people who hold up signs like those below.
In fact, it is those signs so often referred to, the ones so proudly held by hate mongering “Christians” that say ‘God Hates Fags’ or some other offensive slur, that led me to really pursue what God thinks about homosexuality. Of course, by now, everyone knows about Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman, it is an abomination.” It is often pointed out that this is in Leviticus so it doesn’t count; if we start using Leviticus then we have to use ALL of Leviticus which no one does. Well, I would argue that this isn’t a ritual law; it is God laying out the proper manner in which relationships should take place. Be that as it may, I bring up this passage to point out that God doesn’t say the people involved in the act are an abomination. On the contrary, God says “it” – the act – is an abomination, not the people involved. But you might be saying, surely this is the only place where the strong word ‘abomination’ is used. Not even close.
One of my favorite passages in the whole Bible is Proverbs 6:16-19 because it lays out, plain as day, seven things that are an abomination to God. “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty (read: proud) eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that hurry to run to evil, a lying witness who testifies falsely, and one who sows discord in a family.” Notice two things: (1) homosexuality doesn’t make this list and (2) the people who partake in these things AREN’T an abomination, rather it is their actions that are displeasing to God. In this way, Proverbs 6:16-19 and Leviticus 18:22 are very similar except that Leviticus is emphasized far more often despite the fact that Proverbs 6:16 is very blunt and direct in regards to God’s distaste for the seven actions listed. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a sermon about pride or lying but I’ve heard many about homosexuality.
Unfortunately, homosexuality, and more specifically same-sex marriage, has taken center stage in this country much to the detriment of the Church. I say it is unfortunate because, more often than not, this debate pits Christians against the wider world. This is not always a bad thing. I mean Christians should campaign against greed and serve the interests of the poor; this could certainly pit Christians against the world. In the debate over same-sex marriage, however, Christians often come across as judgmental and condemning which is the exact opposite of how we should be carrying ourselves. The last time I read through the Gospels, Jesus – God incarnate – was hanging out with the worst sorts of sinners; tax collectors who betrayed their fellow Jews, loose women (doubly troublesome in the patriarchal world of first century Israel), and anybody else rejected by society. He was constantly around these people, not endorsing their lifestyle, but validating the fact that they were children of God deeply loved by their creator. I believe that if today Jesus was walking on the earth he would spend his time with homosexual people, not to turn them into straight people, but simply to validate who they are as a created being. At a time when homosexuals are treated as second class citizens, I believe Jesus would spend his time encouraging and loving them.
In Psalm 139: 13-14 David (or the psalmist, if you prefer) writes, “For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” If you know anything about David’s story then you know it is the stuff of a Jerry Spring show, yet he recognizes that he is a beloved CREATION of God. I guess my major fear is that a portion of the population is going to miss out on hearing this message because Christians are preoccupied with campaigning against same-sex marriage, and in doing so, often spew pure hatred, filth, condemnation and judgment.
While I do not believe that homosexuality was part of God’s plan in Eden, we have to recognize that we are far from Eden. We live in a world that needs the hope and love of Jesus, yet we push people farther and farther away from him. And let me be clear, my desire for homosexual people to encounter to Jesus isn’t driven by a belief that if they do encounter Jesus they will be instantly transformed into straight people. On the contrary, I believe that an encounter with Jesus represents a complete identity shift. In a world where we are labeled as gay, straight, bisexual, or however else, Jesus says “Nope, you are the child of the God of the universe. You have been fearfully and wonderfully made, and I love you.” People need to hear that and if we Christians stuck to loving our neighbors as ourselves, they would.