I was recently encouraged to write up a post on homosexuality and it’s a subject I’ve been reluctant to touch in any manner. On the one hand, I know it will generate controversy and activity. On the other, it will generate controversy and activity. Honestly I think I’d prefer the blog comments I’d get on abortion over homosexuality. Why? Because homosexuality is the current hot button issue that sparks frustration and contempt with the slightest provocation.
The Anglican church is seriously facing a schism over the issue. I’m confident they will not being the only ones facing the same problems. Here in California I think it will be THE election issue. This state is all but a lock for whoever happens to be wearing a blue shirt. So with the prospect of a state constitutional amendment strictly defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman I’m quite sure I will grow weary of the political discourse quite quickly. The LDS church recently directed its members in California to actively participate in the passage of this amendment.
The nature of this blog being what it is, I should compare and contrast how Evangelicals have handled the issue as compared to Mormons. On the face of things I think they are exactly even on a number of levels. Both Mormons and Evangelicals have done some terrible things to “help” those struggling with homosexuality. Both will be defined by the popular culture over this issue and both will struggle moving forward in a society of changing values and perceptions. I think both faith traditions will lose members over the issue and possibly even gain members over the issue (as the pendelum swings back).
I think both groups have recognized how poorly they’ve handled this issue in the past. I think both groups are still struggling with how to handle it now. The echoes of “hate the sin, love the sinner” are sounding more and more hollow as we have yet to find a great way to illustrate love to homosexuals while hating homosexuality. What still reverberates with people is our hate rather than our love.
A number of years ago a friend pointed out to me regardless of whether the cause of homosexuality is nature or nurture, the fact still remains that people can’t help how they feel. In my mind that cleared the air of fighting the battle over that issue. No person struggling with homosexuality is going to find help in dealing with their sexuality by simply being told it’s caused by X. I also don’t think the answer to that question changes what the Bible says in regards to God’s intention for human sexuality.
In the last couple of years I’ve had a friend who has been quite open about his struggle with homosexuality (in the context of a small group bible study). I think our group was pretty accepting and understanding of his story. Eventually he gave in to his temptation and left his faith behind. I’ll suspend any of my own thoughts about what percepitated those events. I simply don’t know because he chose not to include his faith community in those decisions. Only recently has he decided to reconnect with people in our church and live his life “out”.
I wrestle with ideas of what more we could have done for him. If it was our burden or his. If he had asked for more help, would we have provided it? (I’m sure he would now scoff that I even ask these questions).
Whether or not any kind of marriage amendment is passed on the state or national level, I’m confident those are short term stop gaps and we’ll eventually be overturned by a younger generation. As we move forward I think what’s important for us is to be vigilant in emphasizing what we are for rather than what we are against (grace and redemption at the top of the list). We should avoid making sex a political issue and making our churches appear to be voting blocks. We should be open to the messiness of discipleship and expect people to join our churches in a state of “not yet”. Finally we should remain humble for there are tough days ahead.