Good morning Jim. I have been following your blog for a few years now, and have appreciated your perspectives. Specifically, the drinking from a dry well perspective. I’ve struggled for years with drinking from a dry well rather than looking to Jesus for healing and validation.
Lately, I’ve been going to a new church, and have generally enjoyed the preaching and fellowship there. I’ve found that the preachers and congregants agree with the idea that we are only going to find wholeness from our brokenness in Christ’s work in our hearts. People have been open to expressing their own struggles with various things, and are open to healing. However, a few weeks ago, we were having a prayer meeting, and the issue of how we deal with practicing (and those vocal about it) homosexuals in our church came up. I said that Christ’s healing work applies to their brokenness as well, and that we ought to accept that community with that in mind. My perspective was immediately dismissed by the pastors, as they hold that practicing homosexuality is not a result of any relational or sexual brokenness. They hold that homosexuals are born that way, and a careful reading of the bible will show that our traditional perspectives on homosexuality are outdated and wrong. The pastors were even willing to perform marriage between practicing homosexuals. I don’t believe this to be God’s best plan for us, based on my own readings and what I know in my own heart about sexual brokenness. I would like to know what you think about the issue. I have seen what open acceptance of practicing homosexuality has done to churches in the past. They come in, waving their flags, everyone else leaves, and then they leave again too, leaving only a small, decimated church behind. I believe that the only way to do any good is to preach the gospel of Christ’s healing, and not accept brokenness as OK.
It wasn’t too long ago that both the church and the world (as a whole) despised and castigated homosexuals as the worst kind of deviates and perverts. Now, it seems that the church has again caught up with the world in siding against that which is now deemed as a former ignorance. And as with everything else, those who subscribe to the newly agreed upon high ground also find it necessary to denounce any who object to the totality of their new enlightenment. This is how the church has learned its worldly forms of grace.
I said that Christ’s healing work applies to their brokenness as well, and that we ought to accept that community with that in mind.
As you suggest, real and living grace ministers and loves in spite of the fleshly lies and perversions. It wasn’t too long ago that a statement such as what you wrote, as well as some of my own responses regarding grace toward homosexuals would cause many would cringe at what was viewed as taking grace to an extreme. Now it would seem that many of the same kind of people who cringed would instead consider my responses as prejudiced because I used a word like “perversion” to describe the “gay lifestyle.”
I suspect that embarrassment motivates much of the current view on homosexuality, just as it does the many other “errors” of our fathers. What I see is that when enough people accept a particular viewpoint, it begins to bring shame to those who hold to the former beliefs and hatreds; and of course, being the extremists we people are, we often denounce everything our parents believed. And we as a people too often insist on turning a blind eye to some of the real grace that was extended in the midst of the primitive society we think we have evolved beyond. I am sure that future generations will look back on many of the perspectives of today and judge them as backward or wrong. But true life and true grace will continue to motivate us to live and to minister, not according to this world’s viewpoints, but according to Christ himself.
And just so you know, I do not believe that some people are born as homosexuals. No doubt a careful reading of the Bible will reveal how misguided our former religious prejudices are — which are the so-called Biblical teachings by which we justified our hatred against homosexuals — but it is only by the same fleshly mind that we now use certain Bible verses to support our NEW views. Now, having stated that homosexuality is a matter of birth, I am also well aware that many more people than ever seem to lean in that direction because of all the chemical experimentation being carried out by those who think they can improve upon humans. I’m referring to the insertion, ingestion, and/or absorption of all kinds of drugs and chemical compounds that increase effeminization in men.
Society triggers homosexuality in many ways … often by forbidding it or ridiculing any intimacy between men as being effeminate or gay. I am certain that these kinds of cultural or religious lies have intimidated many boys into a basic conflict that makes them think they must figure out what they really are. Wow, this is a huge weight to be placed upon those who are trying to find their place in this conflicted world.
Just consider how often so-called gay men have been characterized as being more sensitive than so-called straight men. To me, this is one of the hallmarks of our society’s intellectual ignorance. Do we not realize how society has forced this division upon itself? Had I grown up in today’s social climate, I would have had so much more to consider regarding my own identity, for I was a very sensitive boy and often felt ashamed or embarrassed by my emotional inability to cope with my own insecurities. Even my report cards included teacher’s comments as to how easily I cried for almost no reason at all. Today, I may well have been counseled to not be ashamed of what society regarded as my true nature.
All I knew of homosexuality was based upon the slur “queer.” I had no idea what it meant, other than the fact that it was an offensive word. I remember being scolded by a parent when I used the word to challenge or dare a school mate during a game of dodge ball who was about to throw the ball at me. It was more like one of those comments people make at games in hopes of unnerving your competitor in order to give yourself a better chance. When I was questioned as to why I said it, I had to profess ignorance because I really didn’t know why … other than the fact that the word was used around school a lot. I think I may have cried when I was scolded, as I often did.
I am often reminded of an amazing quote from the movie The Matrix:
- Neo: “I have these memories from my entire life, but… none of them really happened. What does that mean?”
- Trinity: “That the Matrix cannot tell you who you are.”
We have all grown up in a society that wants to define us. The truth is that it does not even understand itself, which means it surely cannot understand those who have been delivered from it. Too many Christians and even those who call themselves “grace” Christians are still leaning upon the false perceptions of the blind world … even when they think they don’t. It makes no difference how “grace” you think you are, when you are following right behind the trends of modern society, no matter how enlightened they may appear, you are still following the mind that is grounded in what appears to be.
I hope this finds you well!
Thanks Jim. Your thoughtful perspective is always appreciated. I’ve got a bit more to pray, research and think about.