I’ve written before on how I don’t think it’s productive for there to be only two responses permitted in the Church vs. LBGT debate. I hold a third response, which I feel is the response that holds true to the Bible in all facets. This third response is what neither side of the debate wants to hear because it doesn’t fit into the clear cut, “Are you with us or against us?” that everyone is so eager for an answer on.
I was reminded of this truth in an article that came out in yesterday’s Lansing City Pulse entitled “Who Are We To Judge?” –a title that feels pretty judgmental to me, but that is a whole other topic. The article, which you can read here, lists out 23 churches and religious organizations who considered themselves gay-friendly, who don’t consider gay-orientation or a sexually-active gay lifestyle to be a sin, and who will also officiate same sex marriages. They attempted to contact a total of 53 places of worship, 14 of which responded to their questions.
What’s interesting about this is that I was one of the 14 who responded to their questions. I (Crossroads Church) am also one of the two included in the following paragraph from the article:
We found at least two Christian organizations that consider themselves gay-friendly, but that still view same-sex sexual activity as a sin and that wouldn’t perform same-sex marriages if they were legal in Michigan. Those congregations were not included in the list.
I like how in some respects, we created a third category for the article. What I don’t like is that the third category isn’t explored or discussed. If you hold the third view, you are hush hushed because people don’t know what to do with you. It’s either attack or embrace and a third view doesn’t fit either of those actions. It’s ironic how we hate complexity when it comes to very complex topics such as homosexuality.
I understand one of the main purposes of the article was to show LGBT couples where they could get married eventually and that makes sense, but I wish that wasn’t the only indicator of what it means to be “friendly.” Because the only alternative to “friendly” is “unfriendly” and I truly don’t think I or my church or the Bible falls into that category.
The person who interviewed me was not the person who wrote the article. I asked them if they could have the article’s author call me so I could better explain where we stood (because I was honestly wondering / concerned with what category they would put us in). I’m sad that the author of the article never called.
I told the interviewer that while I would not officiate a same sex marriage, I would attend one. I wonder where this fits in the “Do I attack you or embrace you?” reaction that dominates this conversation. That quote was unfortunately left out of the article as well. Or how people think that because you call something a sin, you won’t let anyone be involved in your church who sins in that area. (Which, if that were true, Crossroads would have zero attendance every single week…)
There’s a lot more that could be said about the article, such as how Rev. Bonnie Tarwater, of the Edgewood United Church of Christ in East Lansing hangs her head in shame at the lack of leadership in the Christian community–an ironically judgmental quote to find in an article entitled “Who Are We to Judge?” Or how she says it’s biblical to love one another but it’s not biblical to teach there’s something wrong with us. I’m wondering what Bible Rev. Tarwater is reading, and where she gets the authority to slice and dice it the way she does.
The Bible isn’t a popular message in many respects. No one likes to be told there’s something wrong with them. Thankfully, the Bible doesn’t say one person has more things wrong with them than another. It never says a homosexual has more wrong with them than a heterosexual like myself. Saying or implying that it does is simply not biblical. In fact the Bible never even says being a homosexual (being attracted to the same sex) is a sin. Saying or implying that it does is not biblical. And by not biblical, what I mean by this term is you simply won’t find these things in the text of the Bible.
What’s most ironic about this is the subtitle of the City Pulse article reads:
Happy Easter from City Pulse — may you find a place of worship that doesn’t view your sexual orientation as a sin
Well, guess what? That’s Crossroads! Because orientation isn’t a sin. Because I’d hire a gay pastor. Except we don’t make it onto the “friendly” list…
With all due respect to Rev. Tarwater, I need to disagree with her statement that it’s unbiblical to tell people there’s something wrong with them. The reason I have to disagree with it is because I know there’s something desperately wrong with me, and it’s that I’m a rebellious sinner desperately in need of Jesus, and I am so thankful someone told me this. The Bible says this (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23), making it very biblical that someone loved me enough to tell me this.
I can think of nothing more loving than for someone to point this out to me and nothing more loving than for a God to give himself up in order to rescue me from myself.
A third response to this issue says we’re all in the same boat. There’s no convenient “us and them” to throw stones at. We are all sinners who desperately need a Savior.
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