Whenever someone asks me “Is homosexuality a sin?” — I back off the question like a nuclear reactor core in my living room.
Because no one is actually asking the question with a sincere heart to know the answer. Not really. It’s almost always a trap to box you inside a preprogrammed prison. Our dichotomous categories can only allow for “bigotry and homophobia” or “liberal immorality,” and no one is even pretending to have a rational conversation about it.
I’m a Christian, which means I follow Jesus. Nothing more, nothing less. If I’m pressed hard enough, I’ll say, “I believe what the Bible says about marriage, but I also believe I’m called to love like Jesus does — and he would be loving you, me, and gay people, who are also people.”
But there is more to this answer.
– Everyone is so much more than their sexual identity.
A gay person is not just a gay person. No one can be defined by a single issue, because no one is a single-issue person. Even if I “solved someone’s sexual conflicts,” whatever that means, then this person still has to pay their bills and think about the future and deal with anxiety and stress and insecurity, just like all of us do. If you quit porn or your drug habit or decided not to get the abortion, there are still tons of other areas in your life that need wisdom for the rest of your life. Raising the issue of sexuality merely reduces a person to an issue, but they’re a whole person with a whole life with many other real concerns. To simply ask about “homosexuality as sin” is woefully narrow-minded and presumes a response that’s isolated in a non-existent vacuum.
– A question of entrapment is often used as a political platform to preach to the choir and self-promote — it is not used to create dialogue.
So when the sensational news anchor or the red-faced preacher brings up the gay issue, they’re just aiming for a collective self-absorbed approval for their own dogmatic ghettos. They’re not even trying to make bridges; they’re merely reinforcing their own ivory towers.
– It’s not the church’s job to legislate morality.
However I feel about marriage: it’s not my job as a Christian to influence Capitol Hill into bending to my will. Most times everyone assumes that I’m picketing for certain laws to pass or that everyone “legally” has to believe like I do — but honestly, I’d rather be in line to volunteer at the homeless shelter or giving up my salary to fight human trafficking. The church is called to be a beacon of hope, not a legislative hammer. Jesus kept Caesar and God at a distance: because neither can ultimately inform the other.
– There is a false dichotomy of binary opposition when we force two sides against each other: and it doesn’t work.
At some point in history, because we all love to take sides and demonize the other, we’ve all broken down into political parties that stand on what we’re against. We keep doing it this way when no one stops to think: Why are we fighting like this? It’s because this is how it’s been done since forever, and we never pause to look at why we wave flags from an indoctrinated camp. We also never pause to realize: most people in a “camp” are much more layered and nuanced than we dare to believe, and we tragically don’t give others more credit than our arguments will pose.
As Timothy Keller has said, the Christian is often called towards an unpredictable posture in politics and theology, because Christians can migrate between categories by remaining above them. We are contra-categorical. Not for the sake of being “transcendent,” but we rise above it almost by accident. It’s what Jesus came to destroy at the cross. This is not some “third category” like libertarianism.
It’s the same way that Jesus was able to navigate between aristocrats and commoners, between Roman officials and blind beggars, between synagogue leaders and the demon-possessed, between the woman at the well and the Roman centurion and the rich young ruler and the criminal who hung next to him. He didn’t condone their moral positions, but he also didn’t coerce them into change. No one could pin down Jesus’s politics, because he played no games. And we don’t have to either. We can hold multiple points of views within the same tension, because we can have grace for others while maintaining the truth in balance. To be Christlike is to confront life with life.
– My job is to work on my own relationships, not judge anyone else’s. My job is to show you what I’m about, not what I’m against.
Imagine for a moment if every Christian marriage was able to pull it together and show the absolute beauty of what Christ offers. Not perfectly, but passionately. Not with manipulation or coercion or fear, but with compassion and gentle insistence. The church at large has really revoked their own right to speak on marriage until they can at least be a decent example. If we could accurately convey Gospel-centered relationships in the church, we might have a chance to see others be attracted to God’s very best. And even until then, we’re still called to love others regardless.
– We can disagree and I will still love you. Won’t you love me too?
I’m very much getting weary of being cut off by every side in this conversation. I’ve fought for gay civil rights and promoted traditional marriage, so I feel the heat from both. I’ve been called too soft on the issue; others would say I’m a bigot. Fine. But there’s such a thing as bigotry against supposed bigots, just as much as there’s supposed bigotry against liberals. It’s easy to yell “homophobia” or “liberal media” whenever you get a whiff of disagreement — because actually getting to know someone is hard sleeve-rolling work.
I’m looking for answers. No Christian would ever be ashamed to admit: they don’t know it all yet. They are in discovery, a constant in media res. I want to be teachable, to hear new things, to have honest conversations. But I get shut down too quickly on both sides, and it’s downright disheartening. I’m tired. It seems we’re too lazy to speak for both grace and truth, and we simply want to yell against a faceless enemy all the time.
This is why I cannot say I’m pro-life or pro-choice. I can’t say I’m “for” or “against” gay marriage. I’m simply pro-people. I love you, like Jesus does, and that’s that. Can we talk about it? Can I ask questions? Can we not entrap each other? Can we lay down our assumptions? Maybe over coffee? And maybe we won’t be afraid to explore what’s at stake, together. Maybe we will be better informed to change our minds. And whether or not we come around to the same place: I will still love you like crazy, because you’re a fellow God-created human being, and you deserve the same dignity as I do.
Originally posted here.