Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Should We Ordain Gay Clergy? Can a Christian of Any Stripe Be Gay?

A very well-written article that I wanted to share but cannot take credit for.... One point I would like to make though is that, with any sin, if someone is professing to be Christian while living in sin (adultery, alcoholism, homosexuality, ... ""Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God." ~ 1Cr 6:9-10 (NKJV)"), it is the responsibility of their fellow Christians to share the truth and approach them about that sin.


Can You Be a Gay Christian? (August 30, 2009 by theBarefoot)

Something you are never supposed to write about is religion, but no one ever accused me of being judicious so let me stick my big toe into the whole gay clergy controversy.

Rule number one: Christians are not Jews so we're going to leave that whole Old Testament stoning thing right out. Christians have a new covenant with God and are not bound by the old laws.

Rule number two: There is nothing special about being in the clergy. I don't believe in the whole "ordained clergy" thing. I think we are all just Christians and like any society, some are better at one job while others are better at another. There's nothing special about being a clergyman (clergywoman, if you are so leaning).

Rule number three: If you are not a Christian, this article isn't for you. While I love my Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, and atheist friends, you don't get a say in how Christians handle their affairs. So no comments from the peanut gallery.

This is simply about being gay and being a Christian.

The Sociological Argument
Does society evolve? Sure. We make advances all the time in medicine, engineering, etc. The argument that we, as a society, need to move past the first century mores that stigmatize homosexuality just doesn't strike me as valid though. Society may change, but human nature hasn't. We still struggle with the same things humans have philosophized about for 10,000 years. Why do people suffer? What is the struggle between good and evil? How do I define myself in the cosmos? Human beings are still the same today as they were when God created them. Therefore, the same things that were valid 2,000 years ago are valid today. Furthermore, Christianity's core beliefs have root in the revelation of the nature of God through Christ. Christ choose to come 2,000 years ago and, if what he revealed was true then, it is true today.

The Genetic Argument
Are people born gay? While I don't think there is a gay gene, I do admit that hormones during gestation play a major role in our personalities. It's a given fact that even a pairing of XY chromosomes still requires specific hormones before they can develop into a male of the species. Being born male, female or hermaphrodite, does not mean we are without choice. Christianity teaches that we all have choices, for right or wrong, for good or evil, for cake or pie, and these choices have consequences. Even the act of becoming a Christian is a choice.

While we are all born with certain pre-dispositions. Ultimately it is the choices we make that determine our destiny. I have a disproportionate history of alcoholism in my family. I think it's pretty clear there is some genetic component to it, but I choose not to drink alcohol. No one is predestined to live their life without choice. However you define homosexuality, by birth or not, it is still a choice to participate. Simply being heterosexual does not mean I have to participate in sexual relations with the opposite sex. Neither does being homosexual mean that you are forced to participate in the gay lifestyle.

What would Jesus do?
Forgive. Really, it's that simple. Jesus forgave a lot. The gospels are full of Jesus forgiving everyone, all the time, including the guys who drove the nails into him. That's a lot of forgiveness, folks. I have a hard time forgiving the guy who cuts me off in traffic. It's of particular importance to notice that often when Jesus forgave someone, he added, "Go and sin no more." (e.g. Jn 8:11)

Christianity is about a change. The entire act of becoming Christian is repentance (from the Greek metanoia "a change of mind"). It means you were going in this direction, but you changed your mind and now you are going in the other. Hopefully, it means you were on the path to destruction, but now you are on the path to salvation.

Is Homosexuality a Sin?
The word for "sin" in Hebrew is het. It means "to err; to miss the mark." Sin survived into Old English as an archery term. When you think about sin and repentance in those terms, becoming a Christian is simply that you were headed in a direction where you would miss the target, but you change direction and now you are traveling towards the goal.

There are plenty of things that draw Christians off the path. Most of them are clearly spelled out in the Bible. Jesus reminded the rich man in Luke 18:20 of some of those things that trip us up, "'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Honor your father and your mother.'" Is homosexuality one of those things? Yes, but no more or less so than any of those other things. People often start thumping their Bibles on 1st Corinthians 6 at this point to prove that homosexuality is a sin so let's deal with that now.

"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God." ~ 1Cr 6:9-10 (NKJV)

That seems pretty clear, but most people fail to read verse eleven which says, "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." It's clear that the early church was made up of some pretty unsavory characters, at least the one in Corinth. I guess if I had to paraphrase that, it says, "You did some pretty horrible stuff in your past, but now you are Christians, go and sin no more because if you let those things distract you, you'll miss the mark." I guess homosexuality is no more a sin than anything else that gets between us and Christ.

I'm a Gay Christian
If you are, you're not a Christian. If anything, and let me be clear, anything comes between you and Christ, you are not a Christian. If you define yourself as an "anything" Christian, you are missing the mark.
You can not predicate your relationship with Christ on any other modifier. Burglars can not be thieving Christians. Alcoholics can not be drunk Christians. Loan sharks can not be extortionist Christians. Homosexuals can not be gay Christians. In the same vein, heterosexuals can not be straight Christians any more than they can be fornicating Christians. If you wear any additional label but Christ, you are not a Christian.

Another central tenet of Christianity is being your brother's keeper. Further on in 1st Corinthians, Paul writes, "Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being (1Cr 10:24, NKJV). If I throw a stumbling block on my brother's path, I am not a Christian. If I seek to destroy my brother for the sake of myself, I am not a Christian. In other words, I won't force heterosexuality on you and you won't force homosexuality on me just to prove a point. We come together in Christ. We give him our attention and worship. We give our brother no offense. We depart to sin no more. It's usually that last part that trips us all up.

Is it really that simple?
Probably not, but I'm a simple man. That's how I see it. You'll have to do your own soul searching to find if you are comfortable with being a Christian. Not any particular Christian, just a Christian. After all, "love is long suffering and kind...love does not behave itself unseemly and seeks not her own." (1Cr13:4-5) That verse packs a lot to think about on both sides of the argument. I wonder what the Christian landscape would be like if heterosexuals were kind to homosexuals. I wonder how peaceful we would be if homosexuals did not seek to have their own agenda become everyone's cause.

Did I prove a point or win the argument? No. Like Paul, "I did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom." I only wrote this because "I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1Cr 1:2 NKJV). I guess if we all took that attitude, we'd be more concerned about tending to our brother's needs and less concerned with proving ourselves right.

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