Guest post by Joben David
I do not believe that homosexual relationships are wrong. Essentially two factors — law and story — build up life, the way we live it and the way we share it with those around us. As Christians we, most often, begin at the law and write our stories in accordance with it. At least we try. We teach our children: obey your mom and dad, do not lie, do not steal and do not cheat.
We read our bibles, interpret, decide what the law is and influence culture with what we think “appropriate” is. The law informs culture and this is good. But there are those times when this formula gets turned on its head.
Often times, those outside the Church get things right before the Church does. Society understood the abomination of Jim Crow laws while churches (not all) embraced it, the trans-Atlantic slave trade endured for decades after Wilberforce abolished it in England and we shut our doors to the LGBTQ community even as societies’ laws begin to embrace them. It is unfair, you might say, to rank Jim Crow and slavery on the same line but then you would be missing the point. I am not equalizing the “crime” but rather our response to it. Here is a good example:
Peter was wrestling with the direction of the early church. Gentiles had been welcomed into the church but were required to be circumcised. Peter, through a series of events, begins arguing for the acceptance of uncircumcised gentiles in contradiction to the laws of Leviticus (the same book that contains instruction against homosexuality). Peter saw the big picture of God’s plan, a plan of inclusivity, a plan for all of creation.
Is homosexuality a sin? That, in the end is what the question comes down to. Not being circumcised, eating unclean animals and working on the Sabbath were all sins once. We cannot kid ourselves that the law, even our measure of sin, changes with time and circumstance.
I believe that homosexuality is not a sin but a reality that our culture needs to come to terms with. I–this is my opinion–do not think the scriptures or the love of God provide for the exclusion of members of the LGBTQ community. Cultural Christianity is separate from the purity of the gospel. I hope the gospel, unadulterated, pure and inclusive will speak into the culture we hold above it.
It must be acknowledged that, much like most questions that we humans try to find concrete answers to, there are a lot of unknowns. While I empathize greatly with my LGBTQ friends and will stand with them in their quest for justice, I am not myself gay or queer and do not have personal experiences with the dynamics, the biological nuances of nature or choice.
Some see homosexuality as deviant sexual behavior and others see it as not a choice but a natural biological reality. I, myself, acknowledge the ambiguity and want to lean into it. Jesus leaned into the ambiguous. He did not throw stones at the adulteress, and he defended the prostitute despite the law. In that place of finding my footing, I want to place my feet beside the people, the people who are looking for their own place within the kingdom of God despite the jumble of opposing voices.
The complications do not stop there. Our choices on what we believe about homosexuality do not affect us directly if you are not in fact gay yourself. They create laws and systems that affect others. That is a troubling reality and places us church leaders in a powerful, even dictatorial, position.
We might be asking gay men and women to “fix” themselves, asking parents to send their “sinning” children to conversion centers. We are asking people to leave our churches and parents to disown their children. We might, if so purposed, cause a whole group of people to be outside our doors, segregated and without representation.
In a world looking for bridges should we be building moats?
Our response to homosexuality is a human one. It is human in its ugliness and human in its love. Homosexuality is not some far away idea or theory but real people with real lives, real names. Jesus is the good shepherd, he calls his sheep by name and the sheep know his voice. We are simply one of the sheep, no more.
Can we to close the gate on sheep that respond to the shepherds’ call? I do not believe I can.
Joben David is intrigued by words and their power to influence change. David writes primarily because he loves a good story. His own story has taken him through a myriad of experiences from his childhood in rural India to travelling and working around the world. David has a bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Baylor University and a Master in Christian Ministry from George W. Truett Seminary. He lives in Washington, DC and is always on the lookout for his next adventure.