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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Homosexuality and Bias

I've been writing lately about homosexuality and the church, Jesus and the bible because of a post that my friend Mark Adams made asking for conversation about these important issues. I've been blessed and challenged by this conversation to examine what I believe and why I believe it. I left off the conversation yesterday with a discussion of bias. Essentially the way we approach the bible is due to the biases we bring to it. The main biases of the homosexual community are that God wants us to be happy and that romantic relationships make us happy.

I want to interact with that bias a bit based on what Jesus has said and the world we live in. Jesus has never told us that we get to be happy or that God wants us to be happy. In fact he tells us that it's good to be poor, hungry, mourning and persecuted (Matt. 5). Happiness doesn't show up on his radar when he tells us that we need to die, take up our cross and follow him (Mark 8.34-5). It seems more in line with American values than Jesus' values to say that God wants us to be happy: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (Declaration of Independence) That's nearly the opposite of what Jesus calls his followers to: death, persecution and mourning.

My brother was born with a mental handicap that leaves him with the mind of a child in the body of an adult. He's just smart enough to know that he's not as smart as other people. Sometimes I can see the frustration in his eyes. He was born that way. Why would God make him that way if he can't ever be happy? What of the people born with even worse disabilities? If the chief end of life is to be happy, what do you say to the person born with no legs that only wants to run and jump? They will never be happy, according to the standards of the homosexual bias, does that mean that God doesn't love them?

What if God would rather that we be free, whole people rather than happy? He could make us all happy, automatons blissfully going through our lives with no free will and no pain. But for some reason he chose to give us freedom. The only good thing I can figure could come from our free will is the ability to love. To choose to love with doubt and questions fully intact. But because of our free will this world is horribly broken. Every human being has chosen against love, and our world is falling apart. Sickness, disease, deformity and pain are all symptoms of a broken world. God doesn't want us to be ignorantly blissful in our pigpen of a world. He wants us to be healed and whole so we can love him and each other from a place of health and beauty. We work to mend our broken world to help more people find wholeness and freedom. What if God wants to show us how to love our neighbors and what if that takes pain? What if we aren't called to be happy?

Is this a fair critique? What have I missed? Where am I wrong?


mwmollie said...

Ecclesiates 3:1-22

Starting with verse 12: I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil-this is the gift of God.

We cannot be the one to determine someone else's happiness. I think that in joy we find hope, and it seems disheartening to think of someone not having an ounce of joy or happiness in their lives. Sure God gives us all trials, every person lives with trials, and it is their choice to live in joy perservering through those trials. We must have the lows to experience the highs. If we didn't have the lows on earth (poor, hungry, mourning, and persecuted) we would not be motivated to seek a better place beyond this world.

So yes, I believe that we have the gift from God to experience happiness (the Bible uses the word "joy" a lot), but He also wants us to not get so comfortable in our happiness that we lose sight of the bigger picture. Ultimately our happiness should come from serving God.

1 Thess 4:1-8, 11 & 12
1 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

3 It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of yo should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable. 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you Holy Spirit.

11 ...make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you. 12 So that yourdaily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

James Wood said...

Great thoughts; I especially like: "we have the gift from God to experience happiness." That puts it into perspective well. Happiness is a symptom, not a cause nor an end.

Big Mike Lewis said...

I think Mollie hit the nail and has in going in the right direction. We are not given the right to be happy. Our faith in Christ, even in trials and temptation, will ultimately lead to happiness.

When I hear the good news of Jesus, I am happy, not because it is what He designed it to be, but because it is a natural bi-product of living holy through the grace of Jesus.

This world believes that happiness is a right that everyone should get automatically, so they make demands on others that will achieve that perception for them be it money, laws passed, more stuff, living arrangements (which are also about money). When that doesn't make them happy, they pursue other things that they think will make them happy.

Usually folks ignore the one thing that will bring the contentment and true happiness: knowing God and His ways.

Even when I am not happy, I have "happiness"'s a holy happiness.