If not us, then who?

question-markAs you may have noticed, it’s been a while again since I’ve posted anything on here. Part of that is technical (a storm fried our modem a week ago, and apparently express warranty replacement isn’t quite as fast as I’d assumed it was), but part of it is also due to another storm that’s passed through these parts in the last couple of weeks.

When I first reached out to the LGBT community (and yes, I know that the posts in which I did so were off the site for a few days; more on that in a minute), I assumed that most of the conflict I would encounter would come from those on the other side of the fence, so to speak. I am, for example, very familiar with stories like that of the bakers in Oregon who were forced to pay a $135 000 fine for refusing service to a gay couple, which is not to say that we haven’t inflicted the same sort of pain, or worse, on the LGBT community; rather, it is simply to say that I had no idea what sort of response I would get. And by and large, the few responses I’ve actually had, both on here and through LGBT pages on Facebook, have been far more respectful and informative than I’d ever expected them to be.

What has saddened, shocked, and infuriated me has been the response from my own community. We are the ones who show Jesus to the world, who have been commissioned to take the Gospel to the ends of the Earth, and yet apparently yet apparently we’re allowed to just write off certain groups as too far gone and leave them to the results of their life choices. In the last few weeks, I have been accused of being gay on multiple occasions, even to the extent of folks wondering if I really love my wife or if I’m gay and just using her as some sort of cover. Now, before you misunderstand my purpose here as some sort of vengeful rant lashing out at those who’ve attacked me recently, let me clarify. Am I angry and hurt by these accusations and the conflict they’ve caused? Yes. That being said, to an extent at least, I was expecting some misunderstanding. I mean, I’ve worn long hair and an earring in the South long enough to know that some people here will always jump to one conclusion or another.

My purpose here is to respond to those accusations from a different perspective. Nothing whatsoever in Scripture justifies writing off a group of people as too far gone or too sinful or too caught up in a certain lifestyle. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating that without Jesus, we’re all in the same boat. We’re all screwed up. Accepting the gift He gives us through salvation doesn’t magically transform us into people who no longer need it and who can justifiably look down in judgement on those around us. That attitude, more than any other aspect of this whole mess, is what royally pisses me off. Who the hell do we think we are?

I mean, I get that we may have no idea how to relate to, or even have a conversation with, members of the LGBT community. In the last couple of months, I’ve seen questions which, even given my theological training and background, I have no idea how to answer. Is it a sin? Scripture leads me to say yes, although it is no different from any other. Is it a choice? Again, based on Scripture I’d have to say yes. Now how do those answers fit with the findings of contemporary science and the views of LGBT people who say it’s not a choice but something which is at the core of who they are? In all honesty, I have no idea. There’s a tension there I can’t resolve (at least not yet), but like I said above, just because we can’t resolve that tension is no excuse for writing off the people on the other end of it. The bottom line is that we’re arrogant and cold, not to mention completely unlike Jesus, if we think such an action is acceptable.

In Romans 10:13-14, the Apostle Paul writes, “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” As believers, we’re not all preachers, but that’s not the point. The gist of this passage is that, unless someone actually goes and shares the Good News of Jesus with the lost, faith is not possible. How are they to believe in Jesus if they’ve never been introduced to Jesus? In short, unless someone builds a bridge and reaches out, the Gospel doesn’t really go anywhere. To be sure, He tells us that His word will never return void (Isaiah 55:11), meaning that God can cross boundaries to reach people without our help. And at the same time, the Holy Spirit has a key role to play as well (John 16:8). All that being said, however, passages like this one in Romans show that He’d still much rather use us.  

That observation leads me to the heart of this matter. If you and I won’t reach out to members of the LGBT community, not in a hateful and condemning way, but in looking past the tension and the controversy to treat those we interact with in a loving and dignified way, then who will? That alone makes this endeavour worthwhile.

As I said at the beginning of this (and I do apologise for the length), the original posts at the heart of this were down off this site temporarily. This is not to say that I do not believe and stand by what I wrote there (I hope you’ve got the point by now that I most certainly do), but rather that I had to whether this storm as well. They are back up, although now that I am (hopefully) a little more wiser after all this I have tweaked them a little to better reflect the tension between these two communities.

Someone has to be the bridge here. We don’t need to agree with the lifestyle choices, or even approve of them, but we do have to show them love.

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