Why Our Opinions About Gay Marriage Don’t Matter That Much

Same-sex marriage has been the topic of discussion and debate this weekend. The SCOTUS ruling this weekend has left many with hope, but many questioning the moral landscape of our nation. I have had trouble figuring out how to address this issue to both others as well as myself. Personally, I find it hard to put my view on the matter into words, so I refer to my very good friend, Gunner Briscoe, who addressed the issue very properly on Facebook today:

“My reaction to today’s Supreme Court decision and, more specifically, the reactions to it:

The Church has long permitted divorce and turned a blind eye to it despite biblical prohibitions to it. It is nothing more than blatant hypocrisy to tolerate divorce yet decry same-sex unions as an affront to the sanctity of marriage. Treat the two equally or say nothing.

Let us rebuild the sanctity of marriage within the Church, and then try to influence the world on what marriage is and is not, as it stands evangelical divorce rate is as high, if not higher, than the surrounding divorce rate of the world.

Yes, in accordance with scripture and orthodox teachings of the Church, it is my position that a same-sex union is not a marriage. But I am a child of divorced parents. My younger brother was born out of wed-lock. So long as we tolerate these, we cannot stand against same-sex unions. Reform the Church, then influence the world.”

Amen. I truly could not have said it better myself. For those Christians who think that this law is going to contribute to the moral downgrade of our society, why are you not concerned about the US government allowing divorce and other sins that the bible strictly prohibits? My personal fear is not whether homosexuals do or do not get marital rights. My fear is that a great many Christians who oppose same-sex marriage are putting American exceptionalism and patriotism above the love and respect that Christ has commanded us to have for one another. With that view in mind, I really don’t care about the Supreme Court decision. It honestly is really of no concern to me.  I care only about what God has to say.  Many people pull the “love the sinner, hate the sin” card and then jump on these rants about how the American government is falling apart because gay people can now get married. That is not to say that people who are defending traditional marriage in America right now hate homosexuals. What it means is that we have to be careful, because I do believe that there is a degree of hypocrisy involved with the person who rallies against gay rights and turns a blind eye to issues of divorce, abortion, etc. (and yes, for some reason people are taking this more seriously than abortion right now) and people notice that.

With that being said, all of my moral authority stands on the Word of God. I believe that Scripture has made it very clear that homosexual behavior is sinful. That does not mean that homosexual orientation is, but the behavior is. I need to preface my next statement by saying that the authority of Scripture is not bound by only the things that Jesus has said. However, it is important to make the point that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, and the bible does not say anything at all about gay marriage. Jesus talked about many things, but above all he emphasized the command to love our Creator and His image bearers. If our rants against sin overtrump that, we are doing a disservice to God. This is something that I, along with every other Christian struggles to do daily. In the end, all of us (straight, gay, whatever) are not sinners because we sin, but we sin because we are sinners. Keep the authority of Scripture the center of your life, and let the love of Christ bleed into the lives of everyone around you.

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Book Review: Reoriented

I don’t read much on the topic of homosexuality. One of my main reasons for this is because it is difficult, no, almost impossible to pick up a book on the topic without the author’s biases completely skewing the purpose of the discussion. That was not the case for Reoriented. I found this book very enlightening in so many different ways. The book is by Tyler Francke, a journalist and avid blogger who also runs the page God of Evolution. Not only did I find this book enlightening, but I found that Francke had a way of making it very personal.

The story takes place on a college campus where a gay student, D.J. Martinez, plans to start a school club called “New Day” to help further the discussion on homosexuality. I won’t go too much into the details of the story, as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but there are three “main” characters, if you will: D.J., Ally, and John. D.J. holds the view that homosexuality is not a sin. Ally, who supports D.J. and what he does for “New Day”, does not take a position on whether homosexuality is a sin or not. John takes a pretty hard conservative stance, claiming that homosexuality is definitely a sin and the Scriptures make this obvious.

Now, I’m not going to talk about my views on homosexuality for two reasons: 1. I’ve already written on it a couple of times, and 2. It doesn’t really have much to do with this discussion. Actually, I read the entire book and still don’t know what Francke’s position is on homosexuality, and frankly, I don’t really care either. The reason why is that I believe he wrote the book for an entirely different purpose than to persuade someone of one view of homosexuality over another. This being said, there are three big things that I got out of this book:

  1. Homosexuality might be a sin but that’s not the point.

The book is much more about a community of believers in Christ than anything else. This book brings together people who have many different views on homosexuality and they show love and support for one another regardless of what their personal views are. This is so very important, because if the church cannot show the love of Christ to one another, then we cannot even begin to have a rational discussion about topics like homosexuality. What’s more important: that we treat people with the love of Christ or condemn them because of their sexual orientation? Reoriented brings out the big picture in a brilliant way. New Day members are full of people who do not necessarily support homosexuality, but they are willing to be there because of their love for the homosexual community; something many Christians can’t seem to do for some reason.

  1. D.J. Martinez

D.J.’s character is one that anyone can get attached to. It showed me, personally, that even though he’s gay and I’m not, he is a normal human being just like me. I know this is intellectually easy to grasp, but when you read about someone living it out in a normal lifestyle, it gives you a whole new perspective on it.

  1. Grace

This was the most important part of this book. The recurring theme throughout is that no matter what you’ve been through and how much you have had to endure, Christ’s grace is still sufficient for all of us. If we are going to follow Christ and still persecute homosexuals, then either Jesus was a terrible evangelist or we just have to admit that he was full of love and we just don’t want to live like that. Either way, it’s bastardizing to God’s Word, and it’s evil. The message that we SHOULD be preaching is that of the grace of Jesus Christ; “the unearned, undeserved gift- it cost us nothing but cost Christ everything.”

Overall, this book was fantastic.  Highly recommended to all Christians and non-Christians alike.

Christians, It’s Time to Stop Saying “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin.”

judgementday

“Love the sinner, hate the sin” is one of the most abused phrases in the evangelical circle. Many Christians think that, in order to treat homosexuals “properly,” they should use this phrase. Now, it’s not that the phrase in and of itself is wrong, it’s that our culture has done such a bad job at treating homosexuals properly in the first place. I have written a few posts on homosexuality, so my views on the subject are pretty clear. However, I really don’t care who you are, if you claim to be a follower of Christ, it’s time to stop treating gay people different from everyone else.

I have seen pastors handle this issue the wrong way time and time again. First of all, and this should go without saying, the way that John MacArthur and people like him handle homosexuality is blatantly unbiblical. If someone comes out of the closet and professes to be gay, shunning and isolating them is evil, sick, and twisted. Nobody deserves this kind of behavior. Now that that’s on the table, let’s go to the bigger issue.

I see pastors and theologians say things like, “the homosexual community is a community of sinners, and we should reach out to them.” Now, once again, the content of the message is not necessarily demeaning, it’s more due to a cultural problem. Why is it that we say this to homosexuals, and NOBODY else? Why is it that homosexuals are looked upon as different from everyone else? This is something I will never understand. People who say things like this do not necessarily hate gay people, but they go about the issue with a non-Christian attitude. It would be one thing if we said “love the sinner, hate the sin” about everybody else, but nobody feels the need to do that. There are a couple of very important aspects we need to look at in order to determine how to properly handle the homosexual community.

Scripture

 

Jesus never once said anything about homosexuality. This doesn’t really mean anything about homosexuality being a sin, but it’s interesting to note. Jesus did not care about what kinds of sins people were committing, but he cared much more about reaching out to people of all different kinds of sinful backgrounds. This is very significant. One of my favorite verses is Matthew 7:1-5,

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

I love this verse because it captures a big part of Christian discipleship. Christians often get so clouded in their own sin that they cannot see clearly into other people’s lives. Why do Christians judge in this manner? I don’t know. I guess we’ll just have to love those sinners and hate their sins. Luke 6:37 says,

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

In the context of this verse, using the phrase “love the sinner, but hate the sin” is asinine. We have taken one specific community of sinners, labeled them as “different”, and we have built entire phrases built of the backs of these groups. It’s really disappointing.

Why are people gay, and how should we recognize this as Christians?

 

“People choose to be gay” is one of the most ignorant statements I can think of. Nobody chooses to be gay. Homosexuality is a tricky field to get into. So Christians, how do we handle this tricky field? First of all, understand that none of the homosexuals in your life chose to be gay anymore than you chose to be straight. I guarantee you that you will never find a homosexual who has consciously chosen to be gay. Second of all, recognize that there ARE biological factors that play into homosexual behavior. There are many genes that can cause, for instance, a man to be attracted to masculine traits. Simply ignoring this because you don’t want it to be true will not cause it to go away. Third of all, and most importantly, recognize that the Kingdom of God and Christ’s love transcends far beyond the sin in this particular individual’s life, no matter what kind of sin that is. Treat them as anybody else, and focus on how you can help use the Kingdom to build their life in a positive way.

A couple of final points

Remember, the Kingdom of God should be our focus here, and if it is, homosexuals will not be treated in a hostile way like they currently are. Secondly, gay marriage, whether you disagree with it or not, will not affect your own personal rights and liberties. That being said, be careful how you protest. And lastly, follow closely to the teaching of Jesus. Live amongst the sinners as opposed to preaching to others about them.

Make your ways known upon earth, Lord God,
your saving power among all peoples.
Renew your Church in holiness
and help us to serve you with joy.
Guide the leaders of all nations,
that justice may prevail throughout the world.
Let not the needy be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Make us instruments of your peace
and let your glory be over all the earth. Amen

Sexual Ethics and Homosexuality

god and gay

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

 

-Rick Warren

 

 

I am writing about this issue for a couple of reasons.

 

  1. I have been asked to by many people.
  2. I have been avoiding it too long and it is arguably the biggest issue our culture is facing today.

 

To start off I posted a quote from Rick Warren. Many people have criticized Warren for being hateful and a bigot because of what he said. Looking at this quote from any sort of viewpoint, I cannot see what they are talking about. He stated his opinion, and he stated it good. Now, in terms of the issue of homosexuality, I have recently, in the past few years seen a few very, very big issues on the news and in the theological world surrounding the issue of same-sex relationships.

 

  1. The Chik-Fil-A issue – S. Truett Cathy states his view on same-sex marriage… JUST HIS VIEW! What happens? Protests, protests, and protests. In this area, many people who supported same-sex relationships showed just what they were claiming to fight against: hateful bigotry.
  2. Phil Robertson stating his view on homosexual relationships. Now, while it was his own view, A&E did have the right to suspend him for whatever reasons. I don’t have much to say about this issue because it was blown way out of proportion on both sides.
  3. Then we have good ole John MacArthur. MacArthur recently released a video describing what he thought about how we should handle professing Christians who are gay, claiming we should completely alienate them. He gave a very hateful response to the gay community that should not be advocated by any kind of Christian group.
  4. Then we have a new book that’s been put out on the radar. God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines has grasped the attention of many in the evangelical community. He offers a new outlook on how Christians should view same-sex relationships.

 

While these issues may be big, all they really show is issues on both sides of; (a) People who support homosexual behavior and, if you oppose it, you are being hateful, and (b) Conservative Christians who take issues with sexuality way too far and end up becoming hateful themselves.

 

So, where does the heart of the matter really lie? Is homosexuality wrong? To ask such a question, as the great theologian N.T. Wright says, is to admit defeat right off the bat. If what is “right” or what is “wrong” is defined by social or cultural standards, then we have no choice but to subject ourselves to an arbitrary way of thinking when it comes the issue of sexual ethics. For instance, Paul wrote Romans 1 in an effort to describe to the people of that time what was honoring to the Lord and what was degrading. It is so incredibly easy for us to jump on the bandwagon of “this was just a cultural issue.” Once we do that, the game is lost. Every single ethic, and in this case, every sexual ethic, goes directly against what is considered “love” in our way of thinking. This is a mistake that our society has made, and it is the very lie that Pastor Warren was describing in that quote.

 

Now, it is very important to discuss WHY many Christians claim that homosexuality is not sinful. The argument often goes like this: “Every moral or ethical issue in the Bible has one central problem behind it: It causes harm to people. As long as an action is out of love, such as homosexuality, then there is no harm.” Wait, so as long as it doesn’t cause harm, we are to disregard it completely, right? After all, who am I, a sophomore in college, to tell someone that they can’t love who they want because I think the Bible says so? Yes, homosexuality is counter-intuitive to our culture. I completely get that, but let’s not be so quick to jump to a conclusion because of our current cultural state. I think everyone would agree that there is something that they think is pretty screwed up about our culture. The purpose of Paul’s teachings were to establish just exactly what the creative order should look like. Not only that, but they are about how to become a renewed human in the sight of God, to restore his very image within us. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about this. Homosexuality is just the wrong way. Yes, I get that it’s counter-intuitive to the culture, but that’s because the entire system of sexual ethics in the Bible are counter-intuitive. It’s not supposed to be abnormal to our culture simply because, well, our culture has accepted a huge moral lie. Everybody struggles with SOME kind of sexual sin that they can’t seem to shake off (Pornography, polygymy, pre-marital sex, lust in general, HOMOSEXUALITY, etc.) Everybody craves sexual intimacy, and everyone struggles with it for different reasons in the wrong way. This does not in any way excuse the behavior. Just because “that’s the way you are” doesn’t mean the behavior is beneficial in any way. THIS is the point that Paul was trying to get across. Not that “homosexuality is wrong because your culture says so”, but “this is literally God’s creative order.” We must be very careful about our biblical compromises, because, what may look beautiful on the outside may just be a lion ready to attack.

 

“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”

-C.S. Lewis

 

The Treatment of Homosexuals In Our Society

I recently watched a short 20 minute film that really stuck out to me.  This film was about a heterosexual girl who grew up in a world where homosexuality was considered normal.  This was interesting because everything was backwards.  This girl was often picked on growing up and, and when she got into junior high, many kids at school started to beat her up and call her names such as “hetero.”  The terms “faggot” and “queer” were used in association with heterosexuality.  One guy wrote “God Hates Heteros” on his garage door.  At one point in the movie, this girl sat down for dinner with her moms and they were talking about how disgusted they were with this heterosexual family that lived down the road.  She didn’t want her kids exposed to that “perverted” lifestyle.  At the end of this film, this girl was caught kissing her boyfriend, and some girls beat her up and wrote “Hetero” on her forehead.  She then went home and committed suicide.

 

I posted the description of this video because it kind of gave me a perspective on the issue, as even though heterosexuality is considered a sin in this society, the way that this girl was treated is completely wrong, regardless of the fact that what she was doing was considered wrong.  Now, why do I talk about this?  First off, I stated in one of my previous posts my views on homosexuality.  Here are some things I believe.  Homosexuality is a sin, and it is considered a perverted lifestyle in the eyes of God.  People do NOT choose to be gay, but rather it is based off of other things such as environmental factors and predisposed traits.  Sexual orientation is ultimately a status of identity.

 

Now, how should we regard homosexuals in our society?  Often times I feel as if people who struggle with issues such as alcoholism, pornography, drugs, greed, pride, etc. are loved by the general public, though their lifestyle is condemned.  So, the question arises of why people often consider homosexuals as second class citizens.  By any logic of the information above, should we not condemn their lifestyle but love and accept them as normal people?  To this I say YES!!  The way that homosexuals are treated by certain people groups in our society is ridiculous, wrong, and SINFUL.  The fact of the matter is that homosexuals are afraid to go to church because of they way they are treated.  Why should a gay couple not be allowed to go to church and feel safe?  To me, this is completely absurd, as Jesus came down to save ALL people, not just heterosexuals.

 

Another issue I see is the status of heterosexuals who seem to display “traits” of a homosexual person.  Often times I see guys who are effeminate, or girls who are masculine, and they are bullied just as if they were gay.  This just shows how  outrageous the situation actually is, as people who are not even gay are bullied for being gay!  Why do people often sit around and just assume that someone is gay based off of a certain characteristics they may have?  What could that information possibly do for you, other than spit vile about that person?  God may have not intended for homosexuality to be apart of someone’s lifestyle, but he certainly did not intend for us to treat homosexuals or people who are considered “different” the way that people typically do.

 

So, what can we do about this situation?  Love homosexuals.  Accept them as people, and treat them as people who are on the same level as you, not a level below.  It is important for them to recognize the way that God views their lifestyle, but bullying them to the point of suicide in the absolute worst way to handle the situation, and that is going against the very way that God intended us to handle it.  I really hope that many of you will reconsider your choice of thoughts or words next time you meet someone who you think might be gay.  Those thoughts and words lead to a society that is hateful and ungodly toward homosexuals.

A Christian Stance on Homosexuality

This may be the most controversial subject I talk about.  Is homosexuality wrong?  If it is, what constitutes it as “wrong”?  What does the Bible say about homosexuality?  Are people born gay, or is it based upon choice or environment?  And the most important question.  How should Christians handle this issue?  I am not going to be as blunt with this issue, because it is a very sensitive topic (probably the most sensitive one I’ve talked about so far) and it can have a major effect on peoples’ lives.  I may have people living in a homosexual lifestyle, or people who may be very passionate about supporting homosexual rights reading this post.  To these people I want to say that I am in no way, shape or form trying to degrade or ridicule you.  This is my approach and the Bible’s approach to the issue.

 

I am not going to pull out every single piece of Scripture that talks about this issue, however I am going to talk about one central passage.  Romans 1:26-27 says “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”  Fred Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church, claims that this particular verse holds homosexuality to a much higher form of sin than any other.  I am not going to spend time talking about Phelps and his hateful ministry.  I am going to say that he has a very naive and childish approach to the Bible and I believe he is the perfect example of why people hate the Christian approach to this issue.  He is NOT a good example of how we as a Christian community should handle homosexuals.  This verse simply states that homosexuality is a sin.  But what does this mean about the definition of marriage in our culture?

 

Should we ignore this issue, keep religion out of it, and just allow homosexuals to marry as they will?  I have to admit, it is a compelling argument to do just that.  However, here’s how I think government should be run.  God is actively involved in our human form of government.  The Bible makes it perfectly clear that government systems that turn their back on God will ultimately fail.  By this logic, it makes no sense to just rule homosexual marriage as a different standard than other sin that our government tries to prevent.  If you are reading this post and do not believe in Christianity and you really may not care about religion at all, then you are going to take a completely different view on this issue than I am.  However, my goal is to strictly discuss this on a Christian issue.  Homosexuality is a sin, and if we are to base our government in a manner that is pleasing to God, we cannot include gay marriage in this.

 

What constitutes homosexuality as wrong?  First off, the Bible.  Some of you may not agree or even care, but I want to look a little further into the implications.  Homosexual men have hundreds of sexual partners in their lifetime.  Most studies show that they have four times as many partner as heterosexual men.  What does this say?  It says that homosexuality is an unfulfilling, empty lifestyle.  Very few homosexual relationships last more than 2 years.  Only 2.7 percent of men have had sex with one other partner.  24 percent of gay men have over 100 partners, 43 percent have over 500 partners, and 28 percent have had over 1000 partners.  This screams out something to me, that homosexuality cannot be a lifestyle that was designed by God, but one that is a misdirection of the natural sexuality that God has instilled in us.  But is anybody really at fault.

 

This last part deals with whether one can be born gay, and if not, what causes it.  First of all, scientists have been completely unable to find a gay gene.  In 1996, the National Cancer Institute released a study in search of a link between a section of the X chromosome and homosexual attraction.  The leader of this project, Dean Hamer, says “There is not a signal master gene that makes people gay… I don’t think we will ever be able to predict who will be gay.”  I could go on with examples, but for the sake of the length of this blog, I won’t.  Now, what causes homosexuality?  I disagree that it is a choice.  I do not know a single person who would ever claim they chose to have certain sexual attractions.  Sure, some people could make choices throughout their life that could lead up to developing homosexual attractions, but it is not just a single choice that someone can make.  One study shows that over 99 percent of gay men have a weak relationship with their dads.  This makes me feel inclined to believe that there is some connection between father figures and sexual orientation, but is this really something I want to put full faith in?  

 

Here’s what I have come to conclude.  Homosexuality is the effect of many different factors of sin that enter into a person’s life.  So, does this mean that I think that someone can be born gay?  Yes, I THINK someone can.  Now, do not misread what I am saying.  We can map out the entire human genome and we have not found one single gene that can produce homosexual desires in it of itself, however, there are certain predisposed traits that people can have that can lead them into this lifestyle.  These traits, combined with a special attack of sin on a person when they are born, can lead them into being born gay, partly in a physical and partly in a spiritual sense.  So, if someone is born gay, should they have the right to enter into this lifestyle, even though they didn’t choose it?  To this I respond, no.  I may not have all the answers to the causes or the effects of homosexuality, and honestly, I may never know the answer to these issues.  But I do believe in the Bible, the Word of God, and He can do ALL things.  He can even heal someone who is born with a sinful desire, such as homosexuality, and I do believe that he DOES do this!

 

Many people will assume that I am hateful, or even a bigot for writing this blog, however I want to tell you my honest feelings on this issue.  I do not hate homosexuals, at all.  They are people, just like any others, and they deserve to be treated like that.  I’m writing this blog to allow people to know that I do not think homosexuality is the best lifestyle for anyone, and I genuinely want people to have the best lifestyle that is out there for them.  God has pulled hundreds of people out of this sinful lifestyle, and many other sinful lifestyles for that matter.  And I believe if you rely on your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, any issue in your life can be overcome, and with that, I hope that all of you can be at peace.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

-Jeremiah 29:11