Love Revolution

Somewhere along the way you may have noticed that there is a bit of a rift between conservative Christians and people who embrace/applaud a gay lifestyle. The division is understandable to a degree, but I often think that professing Christians have unnecessarily magnified the problem.

Photo by k763 - CC BY-SA 2.0

Of course, there is the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. Technically they are a church, but I find it difficult to even classify them as Christian. Honestly, I relate to a fair number of Christians and I don’t know of even one who would consider Westboro to be a viable voice for our faith.

Still, based on my personal experience, I think that most conservative Christians have few (if any) unforced relationships with those who profess homosexuality as a lifestyle. I see two primary reasons for this:

1. They can’t stand people who practice homosexuality and prefer to keep as far away as possible.

2. Hate or disgust are not the primary issues. They simply don’t know how to relate, and are afraid that any acceptance of those who practice homosexuality will be misconstrued as approval of their actions.

Again, based on my personal experience, I think that the vast majority of conservative Christians falls into the second category. I mean, if we love and accept someone we perceive to be in sexual sin, doesn’t that mean that we automatically approve of their behavior? It certainly may appear that way so the best option is usually to keep an awkward distance.

This approach has been amazingly effective in reaching the gay community for Christ, hasn’t it? People sense our rejection and quickly embrace Christianity don’t they? Of course not!

Jesus stood taller than any other in how He dealt with these types of issues. He walked and talked with sinners. They felt accepted by him and yet He never approved of sinful behavior. How did He do that? His love wasn’t conditional based on a person’s behavior. Christ’s heart flowed with a steady stream of kindness, love and acceptance–so much so that He was able to launch the greatest revolution against sin ever known to mankind. How are we doing at following His example?

Photo by mind on fire - CC BY-SA 2.0

To be fair to the conservative slant, some from the gay community exacerbate the animosity by demanding acceptance and approval of their lifestyle, and not just acceptance as individuals. In their minds homosexuality is an identity and so any disapproval of their sexual orientation is seen as a total rejection of their personhood. Anyone who disapproves of a homosexual lifestyle is then automatically branded as a homophobic hate monger regardless of their motivations for doing so. In the end these love advocates display the same type of harsh, narrow-mindedness as Fred Phelps and his Westboro followers.

Photo by mind on fire - CC BY-SA 2.0

If some in the gay community choose close-minded bigotry, that’s up to them. But if we as Christians have any real desire to honor Christ and impact our world with His truth, we need learn to love and respect others regardless of their behavior. Acceptance of a person as an individual does not automatically amount to approval of their actions. The idea isn’t new, but it continues to be revolutionary!

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13 thoughts on “Love Revolution

  1. There’s another way that might help the situation as well. A number of years ago, Dr. Michael Brown was impressed to research and write a book, A QUEER THING HAPPENED TO AMERICA. This is an important volume (700 pages–last 100 are all footnotes in tiny print!) is an objective look at the situation here. Dr. Brown uses their own words to help us understand the history of this movement. Because there’s so much fear and intimidation regarding how to handle this topic, no publisher would touch the book. It has been self-published and has been at or near the top of the gay-lesbian list of books on Amazon.com. We might pray that it would be used to bring about a revival. Some liken this book to UNCLE TOM’S CABIN which helped bring about the end of slavery. Check it out. Read it. Pass it along. Pray for all those in these various lifestyles. See more about the author at http://www.askdrbrown.org.

    1. Mary, thanks for the reference to Dr. Brown’s book! Recently I read The Bible and Homosexual Practice by Robert A.J. Gagnon. The book is not an easy read (like Michael Brown he is quite the intellectual) and I don’t agree with all of his perspectives on the origins of Scripture, but he does an excellent and very thorough job of addressing this issue with regards to Old and New Testament Scripture, ancient historical writings and contemporary sociological studies. I do like the idea of Dr. Brown’s effort understand the origins and motivations of the gay movement. I’ve done this myself to a much more limited degree and what I’ve learned thus far has been invaluable.

  2. I totally agree that reguardless of anyones behavior, we can love them as Christ loves us. Loving someone doesn’t mean I always agree with your behavior but I am going to put a ten on your forehead and love you anyways. God does this for us, our behavior is not perfect, and we make mistakes daily but he loves us unconditionally. This type of love impacts the world..thanks for reminding us to keep loving others uncondionally.

  3. This is a tough issue that touches me on a very personal level. I think a real issue is that behavior and identity are inextricably linked–especially for the person doing the behavior. I’m not sure the two can really be separated. I also suspect that part of the glbtq demand for acceptance is seen in the community as a parallel to the Civil Rights movement or Women’s Liberation. Those movements took time to change public perception, but eventually evolved into some form of acceptance.

    1. Jason, thanks for your thoughtful reply! I don’t question the link between identity and behavior, but I see behavior flowing from identity and not the opposite as is common to think in our culture. I have major problems, however, with the portrayal of homosexuality as an unchangeable identity. I’ll share more about this in a couple of weeks because it really is at the heart of the issue. I also don’t question about the glbtq demand for acceptance as being portrayed as a parallel to the Civil Rights movement–and I know some blacks who are outraged by this approach. Not only do the two movements differ vastly, so do their methods in many ways.

  4. I look forward to your future blogs on the issue because I think we’re somewhat at loggerheads on this one. I tend to think sexuality in itself is not a choice. I suppose everyone regardless of sexuality has a choice in how they act upon it. I wonder where the idea that behavior flows from identity originates? When I think about being young and naive about marmite, I didn’t know that I have a deep love of marmite, or identify as a marmitist, until I had my first toasted bagel with butter and marmite. Now, in this regard, I know who I am. I know there’s only a tenuous link between food and sex, but I wonder if the link between identity and behavior in some ways mirrors my marmite experience.

    What I think really makes this issue a sticky wicket is that sexuality is so taboo in society. It’s difficult to have a real conversation or uncover the biology of sexuality. Without being too graphic, I think a lot of people don’t really find out who they are sexually until they have some experience. I get kind of sad when I think about people who married and had children only to discover in their 50s they were actually gay. Before I heard about this phenomenon from people I know, I didn’t realize it was a somewhat common occurrence.

    Anyways, I really look forward to the upcoming posts, and I’m glad to have found a place to dialogue.

    1. J, I’m not sure how strong the link between sex and food may be, but I think that these are two of the greatest lifelong loves/struggles that people tend to have–with food actually being more of an issue in our early and later years. Both carry strong desires beyond any biological needs. But to equate identity with desire? That’s the part I don’t get. This should be an interesting topic to explore!

  5. I see. I wouldn’t say I’m making a connection between desire and identity. I’m making a connection between behavior and identity. For example, I play guitar. I’m a guitarist. But, I didn’t know I would be a guitarist until I played the guitar for the first time. The initial behavior paved the way for me identifying myself as a guitarist. I’m suggesting that sexuality may run along the same lines.

    Now, am I a child of the 80’s overly influenced by MTV culture. Sadly, I am. It’s true. So, did seeing all those music videos with dudes with wild hair shredding push me in the direction of playing guitar? Maybe. Was that interest innate in me? Perhaps. Some degree of artsyness does run in my family. But, I play primarily folk music, so the line between nature and nurture is blurry in terms of my guitar playing.

    1. Sure, pick something that I can’t relate to at all! Food I get. Music, well, let’s just say that someone else probably got my musical ability!

      Desire unquestionably influences behavior–perhaps even more than identity. In your case it might be the desire to play the guitar and possibly the desire to see yourself as a jammin’ MTV “guitarist”. Your perceived identity will then have a strong influence on your behavior. If you come from a family of “classical pianists” you might not pursue your guitar desire because family members would be repulsed by your venture into “abnormal” territory. As a rebel and with enough practice and some success, you might eventually take on the “identity” of a “guitarist”. Still, I would venture to say that this would never come close to being your core identity.

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