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Friday, July 20, 2007

The Church is Homophobic


In evaluating They Like Jesus But Not The Church I concluded that there are some differences between how emerging generations in the US and UK react to the church (see here and here) as well as some similarities (see here). I think this topic has to be chalked up under similar.  I know plenty of people, including my younger sister for whom this is one of many issues they have against orthodox Christianity.

Just this week an Anglican Bishop was judged to have unlawfully discriminated against a gay man. The continuing fiasco in the Church of England (from whichever angle you approach it) only exaggerates the perception that Christians have a very odd attitude to sex. I should point out that I take the same scriptural view as Dan K that the Bible considers homosexual practice a sin. The issue of orientation is so complex and so emotive both for those who feel it personally as well as theologically that I'm not sure I can offer any hard and fast answers. 

The theological question I wrestle with, having come to the above conclusion, is what does it say about God if His creative act orients people towards sinful behaviour? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts. 

Anyway, I've never preached on this topic not out of ostrich-head-in-the-sand-denial, but perhaps I should. I couldn't preach a 'what to say to a gay friend' sermon because I don't have any gay friends. I know of some people who are gay (friends of friends), and it just feels false to go and seek out a gay person so they could be my gay friend. 

If someone asks me what I'd say to a gay person, I usually answer 'hello, how are you?' because if we're serious about the church being a grace community then we must know how to love sinners (gays and otherwise) and see what difference an encounter with the living Christ makes rather than ask them to change their ways before they can encounter Jesus. 

It seems to me that gays & lesbians are in a difficult situation. Evolution offers them no comfort for as a group they have no survival mechanism yet when they turn to religion (and almost every religion has issues here) they find little comfort. Yet surely God has a purpose for all His creations? Although on His terms not ours. 

We do no-one any favours by waving 'Adam & Eve NOT Adam & Steve' placards around, it just creates hostility and pushes people away. We can hold to a Biblical view without being rude. Well it would be nice if we could. 

2 comments:

Blue, with a hint of amber on 23 July 2007 at 10:05 said...

I find the whole area of "orientation" a real minefield, because if homosexual practice is sinful then surely orientation is also a sinful mindset?

How can we want paedophiles to renew their minds but homosexuals to stay celibate?

Or are they different?

I have an openly gay friend, and have known him since school. In fact I am meeting him for a drink later. He isn't a project for me, he is a mate.

I won't talk to him about his lifestyle unless he asks, in the same way I wouldn't talk to a co-habiting heterosexual friend about their lifestyle unless they asked for an opinion. I do however ask him how his relationship is going, because that is what friends do.

ianjmatt on 23 July 2007 at 17:27 said...

I like Tom Wright's position on this that we need to seperate out the theological and the pastoral. The theological position may not be the best pastoral response, and that we sometimes need to let the pastoral inform our theology as much as we allow our theology to informal the pastoral.

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