Further Questions

I have continued thinking about the “issue” of homosexuality a lot this week. I think I made a large mistake in my last blog by dealing with the issue in such an abstract way. It is a lot easier to deal with the issue in the abstract because it is a lot less messy and no is (directly) hurt in the abstract.

Yesterday, in my counseling class, we dealt with true case studies dealing with homosexuals in the church. One of the case studies had to do with a lesbian couple, who had been in a monogamous relationship for over 10 years, were in the process of adopting a child, and had begun attending your church about a year ago and were requesting membership. We read this case study and then attempted to identify – using Non-violent communication – our own feelings and needs around this issue (ex. Peace, harmony, community, etc.), the lesbian couples’ feelings and needs (ex. acceptance, community, connection, support, respect, emotional safety, authenticity, etc.), and the perceived needs of the church (ex. Integrity, order, etc.). This made the issue a lot more difficult for me.

I am beginning to realize just how much homosexuals need the support of the church. Several gay couples are ostracized from their families and communities (in at least some sense). And they are certainly on the margins of society in many (most?) parts of the U.S. So I am torn between a belief that the church must fight for those on the margins of society and what I sort of think the Bible says.

Some of these questions have been swirling around my head and they aren’t making anything easier: What is our “goal” for this lesbian couple with a child? Would we really wish to exercise church discipline? Do we really want them to “divorce” or separate? Would that be the best for the child?!? Or would the best thing for them (and for us) be to accept them into the community and support them as much as possible?

I am also torn because I believe that sexuality everywhere is fallen. I don’t have exact figures on this, but I am guessing that more than half of men (93%??) in heterosexual monogamous relationships still view women as objects – whether explicitly or implicitly. Am I supposed to believe that this is any better than a homosexual relationship? Yet, we would easily make a concession to allowing a man to join a church if he had a poor view of women (I think this is shown by the fact that there are, indeed, men in churches).

And then I think (again abstractly) about progressive revelation. Does that apply here?

Then I wonder about the context of the Bible. In the context of the Bible, homosexuality was associated with pagan rituals and pedophilia. Is the Bible really even talking about homosexuality in the same terms?

More questions than answers, I guess.


Ethan and Laurel said...
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Ethan and Laurel said...


Laurel said...

good point... wasn't homosexuality (as related to pagan ritual, etc.) more like "the norm" at the time, rather than "on the margins"? To abstain from such sexual practices was culturally exceptional, so it seems the tables have turned in some lop-sided way, as to who is living on the margins of society.

and i would agree entirely that all of sexuality is crooked... it wasn't until the fall, after all, that nakedness was even realized. i would say that there is no such thing on this earth as a completely whole and right perception of sexuality, as with anything else.

sara without an 'h' said...

thank you for raising these questions, dan. i'm currently attending a church that welcomes committed homosexual couples into its church community, and it has been a real challenge for me. i feel like i'm fighting a constant internal battle between the theoretical doctrine of what i always thought i'd believed about it, and the people whom i now know and love and who contribute to the life of the church in so many beautiful ways.

Rachel said...

I'm so glad that you openly admit to some of the complexities of the homosexuality 'issue'. I find it interesting and appalling that most churches would require a homosexual to essentially stop being a homosexual before becoming a church member. Do those same churches require all gossipers, haters, gluttons, and the like to abandon their sins before entering the church? No. The church is for sinners. And I'm not even sure that the Bible is all that clear about homosexuality being a sin, given the context of the time period in which it was written compounded by the fact that we are reading a translation of the Bible that has been handed down (very likely) by people carrying their own discriminate attitudes toward groups of people they don't understand. I am confused too, which is why I have concluded to love, not hate, not discriminate. (I feel like these should be the words of a rap chorus.)