In our life group at The Bridge we are watching the videos from Q conference in 2007. Tuesday we watched a session about homosexuality and the issues it presents to the church in our culture. Here are five things I thought about as we talked:
1. The Shaping of Things to Come says homosexuality and AIDS is to our culture what leprosy was to the culture around Jesus…I agree
In the day of Christ a leper was shunned, or at best avoided. Assumption and fear ruled perception, and colonies of lepers formed. We have seen the same occur within our gay and lesbian communities. Rather than retreating to the safety of the unconditional love of God found in the church these individuals have been shunned. Fear and assumption rule perception, and colonies form. These colonies have clubs, groups, even parades, and when the rest of us see them coming we grab our kids and run indoors for fear of exposure. Sounds harsh, but check out the next thought…
2. 91% of those outside the church view the church as homophobic and anti-homosexual! (stat listed in Unchristian)
I have asked the community at The Bridge on more than one occasion what they believe the predominate characteristic the church is given by the world. On every occasion our community responded with the answer “full of hypocrisy”. On every occasion I agreed. Turns out it is no longer the correct answer. In truth it is still the correct answer, it is just that our hypocrisy now how a target. Hypocrisy at its fullest embodiment is not only duplicitous, but finds something it belives is worse than its duplicity, and pickets it, preaches against it, and votes for politicians who will write legislation against it. I suppose I am not saying that any of these are wrong in and of themselves. I am saying this wrong…when you vote for a politician who will fight gay marriage, but won’t spend time listening and getting to know a person who is actually gay. When you preach against a lesbian, but wouldn’t pray for one beyond that they will go back to being straight. When you picket, and allow the gospel to be replaced with 91% of the world beliving the church is homo-phobic, we have removed the gospel from the forefront of the world’s view of us. That is wrong.
3. Neutrality will not be enough to address the issue
If 91% percent of people feel like the church is actively homo-phobic it means the church must pro-actively be addressing the issue. To let the assumption exist, and expect that over time people will get the idea is naive at best. An unconditional approach, language, and posture must exist to counter act what people think about the church. If we remain passive to the issue and say nothing the best we can hope for is indifference…the best we can hope for is that people we come to believe we don’t mind them rather than hate them. God commands that we love our neighbor, not just let them know we don’t mind them.
4. Even though we say sin is not on a value system, we don’t believe it
We have all heard it, most of us have said it. ‘Sin is sin. God doesn’t see one sin differently from another.” Although we may believe this about God, it is a sentiment not often shared by the church. The sins we make permissable in the church: gluttony, laziness, gossip, selfishness…compared to the sins we base our voting on, and buildings we picket, reveal a deep hypocrisy. Why do studies not reveal the church to be fat-phobic? Why does a gossip feel comfortable in our church when a lesbian doesn’t? Greater still, why is our scale of sin severity different than God’s? What would change in our churches if our scale matched God’s?
5. The Bible and the indwelling Holy Spirit give us all the tools we need to be effective in our mission
The Bible is really not difficult to understand…it is hard to believe, and even more difficult to follow. No one could question the heart and attitude Christ had toward publicans and sinners. It seems as though He preferred them to the religious crowd. He spent time with them, He went to their homes, He knew them and they knew Him. Can’t we assume the Holy Spirit would direct the same type of lifestyle in us?