Putting the Pieces Together

Editor’s Note: Please, PLEASE take what follows in the spirit in which it is offered. I am simply trying to engage with both sides of this issue in a respectful and dignified manner. 

I’ve spent a great deal of time in the month since my last post on a number of LGBT Facebook pages. Mainly, I’ve been trying to reach out and understand, if only a little. So I’ve listened more than I’ve commented, and when I have commented it’s been largely to apologize for the behaviour of my fellow Christians. I believe in the authority of Scripture as much as any of us, yet why we continue to begin our conversations with members of the LGBT community by appealing to something which many of them do not understand and which none of them accept is a mystery to me. The intolerance of the Left in general, and of the LGBT community in particular, is well-known in conservative circles these days, but we can be just as narrow-minded and intolerant when we so choose.

It’s been an educational month for me in many ways. 1 Corinthians 6:9 calls homosexuality a sin (although it lists it with a number of others, meaning that it’s no different, either better or worse, than any other sin out there). Leviticus 20:13 and Romans 1 also support this, meaning I don’t think we can say that those who call homosexuality a sin are simply “cherry picking” Scripture. At the same time, I had a look back at the original Greek and Hebrew, and what I found is that although the English translation has only “homosexuality,” the sense of the original is broad enough that it can definitely include all of the other definitions and what not that make up the LGBT community. For many of us, that seems to be the end of the thought process. And yet… something is still missing (for me at least).

As I said earlier, I’ve seen first hand just how ineffective appealing to Scripture is in any conversation we try to have with someone who identifies as LGBT. That’s not to say it’s not true, but rather that we can believe it all day long but if we can’t show the love of Christ to these individuals than nothing else really matters. As Scripture tells us, when Jesus physically walked this earth He loved the outcasts, those who didn’t necessarily fit in with the society of the day. If we are to do likewise than we need to do more than to ensure that our doctrinal i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.

Take one conversation I followed on an LGBT page as an example. One individual, presumably a Christian, was trying to persuade another individual, presumably LGBT, that he could love and support him even if he didn’t approve of his lifestyle choices. The second individual’s response was that it’s not a lifestyle choice but part of who he is, and any love that refuses to accept that really isn’t love at all. It’s just more empty, judgemental bigotry. He closed by asserting that we have to love and accept members of the LGBT community as they are.

My first response to this conversation was to side with the Christian man. I mean, if I have to change my own beliefs in order for my actions to be acceptable to you, then you’re really just denying me my freedom of belief, and that’s just more intolerance from the LGBT community, right? I’ve been kicking this one around for a week or so now, and I’m honestly not so sure. We tell those who identify as LGBT that it’s a sin, and while I still believe it is, the underlying message we communicate can easily become one of “agree with us or we haven’t got anything else to say to you,” and that’s the same as what I was ready to accuse the LGBT individual above of doing to us as Christians.

Taking it a step further, then, can we as Christians accept LGBT individuals just as they are? I’m not asking if we can stop calling it sinful, or even approve of it, but rather if we can engage with these people in loving, dignified ways that don’t include some version of “Sorry, but that part of you which you hold most dear is actually sinful and unacceptable to God.” The truth is that, without the shed blood of Jesus on the cross, none of us are acceptable to Him. We’re all in the same boat. In Romans 5:8, the Apostle Paul writes that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Not when we had it all together, not when we were acceptable to Him, but when we weren’t. When we were still His enemies because of sin. He took us just as we are. He didn’t leave us there, but He took us that way. Why can’t we do that with those who identify as LGBT?

Like the title of this post implies, I am still sorting through many of these questions. I haven’t got it all figured out yet. What I do know, however, is that in the very brief glimpse I got into the LGBT community through these Facebook pages, I saw this community show incredible love and acceptance to their own. I was saddened to find that this same love and acceptance, which for reasons given above should have come from us as Christians, was glaringly lacking in most of our interactions with them.

In fact, maybe that lack is not such a bad place to start. Instead of trying to beat them over the head with our own preconceptions, we love them where they are at and let Jesus do the rest.

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7 thoughts on “Putting the Pieces Together

  1. It’s nice to see that some Christians are at least keen to love the sinner.
    Then again the problem is probably not how your faith frames queerness. I mean, it may be a nice discourse to have among y’all, but from the outside it’s not what rally matters. The ones that are really affected by this are those who are both LGBTQ and Christians (you seem to imply that this intersection is nonexistent, but I urge you to rethink that) and often end up living their life in shame – for some reason even more intensely than the rest of you sinners.
    Anyway, no one can force you to change your faith / opinions, sure. The core of the the question isn’t that. Christians should believe what they please, but one’s faith can’t influence how other people live. It can’t affect laws, limit other people experiences, chain folks who do not hold the same believes. Have the faith that you want, think of “us lgbtq” as you please, but let us do our thing- this is what we demand.
    You sound surprisingly open, at least compared to other people who share your beliefs, as you yourself have noted. But somehow you’ve managed to frame this as if “you Christians” were the victims. Yes some people reject your views and call you bigots, but then again, the damage done to you seems to me pretty small. It’s not pervasively physical, haunting. On the other hand lgbtq people die, live in shame and fear, are beaten, kicked from home, bullied. An this is also because of the beliefs you defend, or at least for the way some people act on them.
    Some times lgbtq activists are not liberal towards those who want to inflict chains on them. But framing this the way you are doing kinda sounds like someone who is surprised cause they can’t have a BBQ at Auschwitz.

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    1. First of all, thank you for taking the time to reply. I appreciate what you had to say, and I wanted to respond to several of the points you’ve made. In particular, I wanted to thank you for directing my attention to those individuals who are both Christian and LGBTQ. It’s not that I believe that intersection to be nonexistent; rather, it’s that I am too new to this issue in general. As intricate as the intersection of Christianity and LGBTQ beliefs is, I simply haven’t gotten to those individuals yet in my own thought processes. I am just taking it one step at a time, so to speak, in coming to terms with my own beliefs and the reality of today’s culture.

      I want to apologize, as well. I get the impression that in referring to “us Christians” and “you LGBTQ” I have inadvertently created an “us/them” division here. That was never my intention. I am simply not sure how else to refer to the different sides involved in this issue. (In all honesty, I wasn’t even sure whether “LGBT” or “LGBTQ” was appropriate.) I also want to apologize for painting us Christians as the victims in this. I am aware of examples where the actions of activists have gone beyond simply rejecting our views, to be sure, but as I am coming to understand, these are isolated incidents compared to what y’all have received from some of those on my side of the fence. For that, I am sorry. (I do have to add that I appreciate your acknowledgement of the actions some activists have taken. It makes you sound surprisingly open, as well.)

      What do you mean by “have a BBQ at Auschwitz”? I would love to respond to that, but I’m honestly not sure what that’s referring to and I don’t want to take it the wrong way.

      For what it’s worth, I have no desire to inflict chains on anyone. My beliefs, such as they are, teach me to see value in all people, regardless of background, and also that every individual has the freedom to choose how they want to live. My whole goal in writing this post, and the other one like it, was to start a dialogue. I’ve seen so much hate and misunderstanding, on both sides of this, that I felt that if we could have a respectful discussion you’d see, at the very least, that not all of us are your enemy.

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      1. We the bbq thing I was trying to get to the point of someone who wants to do something trivial that deeply disrespect a bunch of people and complains if someone negates them the right to do their small thing.
        Anyway :
        LGBT/LGBTQ/LGBTI… There are a much of them (the longest one add on quite a few letters for Asexual, Ally, Intersex, Questioning….) I usually use LGBTQ(+), the Q standing for queer, which at least in most of the US is seen as an umbrella term for “not straight”. In some other countries queer is perceived as offensive, so be aware of that.
        I appreciate what you say, and if I though y’all were enemies I wouldn’t be spending time writing this. For the chaining part, I’m happy to see you write that. But there are a frightening number of Christian somewhere on the conservative spectrum that do want to inflict ther views on the world. From abortion, to science, to marriage equality and so on. I wish people could just start to live by whatever moral they choose (or beyond all of that, I’m a Nietzsche boy) and let others live as they elect.

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      2. Thank you for clarifying that! It makes sense…and gives me a lot to process. For what it’s worth, I hope that by having discussions like this one I can show other Christians out there that there are better ways to interact with the LGBTQ+ community, ways that don’t involve inflicting our views on the world. And I will definitely check your blog out!

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