Monday, October 22, 2007

Homosexuality: Part 2

The conversation has been great so far. Lots of great back and forth. I greatly appreciate everyone's willingness to calmly, and logically discuss this. Thanks. This post will be part 2 of 3 (I think. Another may be needed. We'll see.) Part 3 will look at several Biblical texts typically quoted when this issue arises. But for now...

Let me make this clear: I firmly believe that there is a difference between being an American and being a Christian. While I personally feel that homosexual relationships are outside of God's design, I don't think its our right as a country to tell two men or two women that they can't legally be married and have the same rights thereof. I don't feel like someone of a different faith or world-view or political position should be able to tell me what's right and wrong for me. How I can or cannot live my life. And I don't feel like I have a right, as an American, to do the same to someone else. That's tough to say. I really struggle with talking about this. But its just how I feel. I do believe that homosexual eroticism is not what God intended for humans. Yet, I don't think I have the right to tell everyone else they have to agree with me 100%. But enough of that...

My point is (obviously) that I believe homo-erotic relationships are wrong. I do. But Ben brings up a great point. If people are born "gay," and its a "sin," then what kind of God are talking about here? That would be an evil god. True. And I can't argue with two points there. One, I do think people can have homosexual orientations or tendencies from birth. Two, I do believe homo-erotic behavior is a sin. But I don't think God "makes" us that way. Let me explain...

For a long time now, I've been telling people I think sin is breaking down humanity. Slowly unraveling our DNA as we progress in time. If Adam and Eve were perfect, we've fallen far from the tree, so to speak. Birth defects. Cancer. Syndromes and and diseases. Look at how things seem to be getting exponentially worse and worse. I truly believe sin is eating away at our genetic structure.

That being said, I hate to bring this up again, but I must: all this comes down to Reformed vs Free Will theology. If God really makes/forms people in a sinful state then predestines them for an eternity of punishment, what an evil God that would be. A typical Calvinist answer would be that "God is just in giving us what we deserve as sinful humans." True. But I find that premise totally outside of the character of the God of the Bible. Sure God holds us accountable. I don't know precisely how that works for everybody, granted. But I still believe in a God who loves his creation. A God who unconditionally loves what he made. I simply cannot believe God would even "allow" people to be born gay, then destined for hell.

I think we allow it. We chose sin. We chose this. We allowed it to happen. I don't think we can point the finger at God. I think we need to point the finger at us. We screwed this up. We brought sin into the equation. Now we're all jacked up and the world's all jacked up and we say one of two things: 1, blame God; 2, God's just in allowing this to happen. Well, I think that both of those responses are bull. God set things in motion. Gave us so much. And we messed it up. Now we have to deal with the repercussions. And some of them are terrible.

Being born with homosexual tendencies isn't any worse off than anyone else. Harder to deal with than most things that are "wrong" with us. But nothing that's sending anyone straight to hell. Just something else to have to choose what to do with.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Homosexuality: Part 1

I've been considering writing on this subject for quite some time now. I'm sure you are all aware at this point that I don't mind talking about whatever I feel needs to be addressed or discussed. However, I feel like this issue is another one of the top five that the Church at large should be focusing on (for many reasons, the first of which is that we as Christians have handled it so badly for so long). So I want to make sure everything I write comes out the way I want it to. As with my writings on Reformed theology, this will be written in several parts so we can hopefully dissect and discuss each area as I go.

I think its essential that first and foremost I put a few things out there.

Let's distinguish between homosexual orientation and homosexual behavior.

Homosexual orientation is who someone is. I've never met someone who says that they choose to be gay. That being a homosexual was a coherent, logical choice for them. While I'm sure there are people out there that for one reason or another have chosen it, I've never met someone who has. For years, many people have scoffed at such statements. The moral police of our country say things like: "Being gay is an abomination! If you're gay, its a sin and you're only gay because you want to be."

Really? I mean, really? Is that what we should think? Do you really think that someone would CHOOSE a life of homosexuality, especially in our culture? I don't. Modern science has made huge progressions in the study of what makes someone gay. Especially in men. At certain stages in pregnancy, testosterone imprints into the brain of the child that they will be a male. Significant stress or trauma can mess up that process, science has recently discovered. Many psychologists agree that children with absent father figures or abusive father figures tend to have more abnormal sexual behavior. I throw those things out there simply to say that, at this point in time, history and science have taught us enough to know that some people are born gay. Some people are gay. Its just who they are. Its not a choice they make. It is their sexual orientation. Just as I strongly desire to have sexual intimacy with my wife, someone of a homosexual orientation would strongly desire someone of the same sex.

Homosexual behavior is a different issue. Tony Campolo defines it as "erotic physical interaction between persons of the same gender." Someone cannot help being gay. Like I said, its just who they are. But, as with everything else in life, we choose how we ACT. For instance, young men have incredible hormonal inbalances. Sex drive is a horendous thing for a weak, immature high school kid. And its either act on it or control it. I think the same thing applies here. I couldn't help how I felt about girls in high school and college. I couldn't help how I felt about my wife. Those hormones and DNA programming as a human being are natural. I tried to learn how to cope with those feelings and urges and control them. But it wasn't wrong to have them. What was wrong was to be acting on them.

People can't change the fact that they have a homosexual orientation. They can change how they act.

We've done a terrible job as a church at talking about this. There are atleast 15 million homosexual people in America right now. That's a significant number. And I think we would agree that most of those people probably don't feel welcome at a local church. WHY? Because Christianity has made them feel unwelcome. Have you ever heard the phrase "Love the sinner, hate the sin."? Have you ever asked a gay person how they feel about that? Have you ever heard a gay person talk about how Christians automatically make them feel like a lesser person when they say that?

I start this thread off by talking about this just to get it out in the open. I don't think homosexual eroticism is morally acceptable just the same as I feel heterosexual eroticism outside of marriage is wrong. But I don't hold it against anyone for being gay. I feel like this is a huge community in the U.S. that has been shunned by the church for a long time. And we need to address it. The Gospel of Jesus is supposed to be good news for everyone. Not just the people in our town who are like us. I heard Rob Bell ask once: "If Jesus comes to town, and things don't get better for everyone there, did Jesus come to town?" In other words, this good news is for everyone. Not just the elite few.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31

Let's talk about this. I've got lots more to say. But wanna take it slow. Give me time to break it all down. Thanks for reading along. Comment away.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Soon, very soon, a new post is coming.

On homosexuality.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

It all hits home...

I've never been there to watch someone I love slip away from this mortal world. I've had people close to me die. Yes. But its always been sudden. And I haven't been around.

A week ago, someone very close to me was involved in a very serious car accident. She hit someone else head on. That other person, an older gentleman, died on the scene of the accident. She, however, has been fighting for nine days to stay alive. Some days are full of hope. She'll be up in bed talking. The doctors all buzzing about getting her back to Bowling Green (she's in Vandy) so she can finish recooperating here. Other days seem like the end is so near.

Last week, my wife, older sister and I went down to see her for a while.
She had tubes everywhere
And the machines beeping
Braces around her neck and arms
Restraints around her wrists to keep her from moving and hurting anything more
And the ventilator pumping up and down
Drip.... drip.... drip.....

This frail, tiny body.
And I couldn't handle it.
My brain couldn't handle it.
I couldn't cry because I couldn't process it all.
Mom would talk. She would nod.

I couldn't pray. No words were there. So my step-dad prayed over her.

All I could think of was a line from the new David Crowder Band album: "There are so few words that never grow old... Jesus." So as I stood there, I just said "Jesus" over and over and over. I figure he understands. I figure he knows what I mean when I have nothing to say. I figure that even when my brain can't put together a line of thought to make sense of life sometimes, he knows that I don't know what the hell to do.

And it wasn't okay.
She wasn't okay.
But it was okay.

The reality of who we are and what we believe hits us like a ton of bricks sometimes. And today, I feel crushed. I'm still trying to get my mind around the fact that all life on this earth eventually ends. And then forever starts. And I still look at things as though time will still matter at that point. And I know it won't. And I know what I think happens next. And I'm a little unsure about the details, but I think the major points are fairly clear. And I think it's becoming real to me in this season of life. Death, that is. And that's so odd to say. And it's so... it's... it just is.