I have lots of gay friends. Lots. My whole family does, actually. Some people find that weird because we’re all also pretty radically ministry oriented Christians. My homosexual friends almost all walk on eggshells around me for a couple of weeks after they find out that not only do I love Jesus, but I’m Baptist and in seminary. (All of those things stereotypically add up to hating gay people, FYI.) My Christian friends, on the other hand sometimes judge me as if loving these friends means that I’m somehow not very good at loving Jesus, being Baptist, or going to seminary.
I had a pastor and friend say to me once that homosexuality will be the defining issue for the church in the early 21st century. We’re almost a decade in and I’m still not sure if he’s right or wrong, but I do think he has a fair point. A few weeks ago, some friends and I went out after work. During the course of the evening, one of my guy friends (who happens to be in a monogamous relationship with another guy) asked me what I think about gay marriage. I felt the table grow quiet and all eyes turn to me, and I’d be lying if I could tell you I remembered everything I said. What I feel, though, is that for Christians at least, it should be a non-issue. Our agenda, as directed by Christ himself, is to love God, love others, and share the love of Christ with others so that they may come to know him. Debating gay marriage, from one side or the other, damages that agenda for all Christians.
I’m not saying we’re not obligated to take a stand. Jesus was pretty clear to the contrary. The only times He ever took a confrontational stand to anything, though, was with those who considered themselves religious, and he NEVER let that impede his ministry. Can we say the same? Whether gay marriage, or alcohol, or R-rated movies, most of us are better at showing the world what we’re against than what we’re for.
Derek Webb is one of my favorite artists, Christian or otherwise. There’s a song on his new album that’s so controversial that his studio is releasing a version of the album without it. I think it’s a message that Christians not only need to hear, but to listen to and internalize.
This isn’t my favorite Derek Webb song ever. It doesn’t have his usual folksy style and the video is distracting. I deliberately picked the version that’s just audio, but if even that’s too much for you, at least read the lyrics by clicking on “more info” on the youtube page itself.
I’m not saying you should wholeheartedly agree with this song; I’m not sure I do. I’m challenging you, though, to pray about and ponder your own reaction to it.
4 thoughts on “That is the Elephant in the Room”
i’m right there with you. i stayed at a friend’s apartment when i was in new york, a gay, committed couple actually. they weren’t home and graciously allowed my sister and me to use their place while they were out of town. you wouldn’t believe the reaction of my Christian friends, the hateful remarks and strange looks, when i told them where i was staying. my gay friend is a Christian, and right or wrong, he has justified his relationship and sexuality with what he believes. whether i agree or not isn’t the issue. he knows that i love him as a friend, and that nothing changed when he decided to openly discuss, and proclaim, his homosexuality. Jesus is love. He reserved His fury for the hypocrites who proclaim their love of our Creator, but despise His created. the church as a whole, i believe, has done a huge disservice to the people of the homosexual community, to prisoners, and sometimes, to the less fortunate and the “lost”. what message of Christ does that portray?
yes sin is sin, and God always takes a hard line approach to that. there are no gray areas. but…we need to love, unconditionally, and in that proclaim the Gospel and the message of who Jesus really was.
Feb07 Good reflection Ben. I’ve long thuhgot similar thuhgots; in fact I just wrote recently about liturgy and sacrament What have you been reading in terms of the sacramental potentiality of the universe ?
Thanks for posting this, Loni. And way to go, Derek Webb for putting this song out there. Disappointed in the record label for releasing an album version WITHOUT this song…but I suppose money is money, and they knew that a censored version would result in better profit for them.
I can’t wait for the day that my grandchildern ask me what it was like when members of the gay community were treated as second class citizens. I have full faith that our nation will choose love over fear. The question is just what time line we choose for this to happen.
One could argue that people’s eternity is more important than their here-and-now. That is, if I had only one hour to spend either lobbying against gay marriage or sharing the gospel of Christ with a homosexual, who like all sinners, is in bondage to his sin and in desperate need of forgiveness and salvation that only Christ can provide, then I would forego the lobbying and commence sixty minutes of sharing.
But does that mean gay marriage should be a “non-issue?” Probably not. As believers in Christ, just as we must not tolerate sin in our own lives, we must not tolerate it in others’ lives either, lest we let them continue down a path to destruction.
Surely we seek to love people as Christ did, and always be gracious with our unredeemed friends, but simply loving people without showing them the remedy for their sin (the gospel) is not very friendly. Seems decidedly unfriendly.
I fear that those in the church who are loath to take a hard stance on gay marriage are in turn taking a soft stance on sin.