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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Homosexuality and Jesus

My friend Mark Adams posted a thoughtful blog on how churches can move forward on the gay issue. You should read his post, it's well worth your time. He made four main points:

  1. The church needs to reclaim an understanding of what it means to be a "redemptive community." 
  2. We need to teach about how to live a Christ reflecting life more than we need to condemn wrong living. 
  3. We need to think about how the "weakness" of homosexual attraction can be a strength in the kingdom of God.  
  4. We need to develop a high value for single people in the church and ministry.
I want to look at the issue from a different perspective in the context of what Mark has already said so well.

Jesus spent a huge amount of his time and effort in ministry reaching to the marginalized and showing them love. Take the Samaritans for example, they were a people that were hated by the Jews and rejected from any Jewish functions so they had to find a place to worship God on their own. The Jews blasted the Samaritans for being sinful half-breeds who couldn't know God because of the way that they were born. There was no place for the Samaritans in the Jewish world, so the Samaritans created their own world parallel to, but separate from the Jewish world. Jesus rejected this separation and showed grace and love to the Samaritans. He even used the despised people as examples of right living on numerous occasions.

You probably already see the analogy I'm making. Today the homosexual community is hated by Christians and rejected from any Christian functions so they've found ways to connect to God on their own, including the creation of a Gay Church. Christians deride homosexual people for being sinners and unable to connect with God, even though there is strong evidence that they are born with homosexual feelings. There is no place for homosexuals in the Christian world so they've created their own world and society. 

What would Jesus do today? Would he call us to the marginalized again? Would he call us to see examples of right living in the homosexual community? 

Notice that Jesus never condoned sin. When he was talking with the Samaritan woman he didn't tell her that her lifestyle was good, but he treated her with respect and dignity that no one else would offer. We can, and must be people of love that show respect and dignity to everyone of God's children. Gay, straight, black, white, male or female. God loves them all with tenderness and compassion and his love is no less due to anyone's sins. 

What do you think? 

4 comments:

Mark said...

James,

You are kind, and I appreciate the acknowledgment of my post. I'm glad so many people seem to have found it helpful.

I think you are correct, that Jesus is always interested in reaching out to the undesirables; particularly those that everyone just doesn't even want to make a possibility of working with.

One time I heard David Fleer talk about the good Samaritan and he was telling of a sermon he did about the "good homosexual." Though I think the comparison breaks down at some points, the objections that might raise in our minds points to the true nature of what Jesus was getting at, I think.

I hope this conversation will continue, because I think it is worth having.

PastorGregO said...

James, I read yours and Mark's blogs and appreciate what you have to say. In our Christian circles we do have too much judgment and not enough grace and love. I also appreciated Mark's use of the Corinthian letters. These letters also include Paul's instruction to the church to banish a man who is unrepentant in his sexual sin. I gather from the tone of both of your articles that neither of you are talking about this kind of willfully unrepentant sin within the Christian community. We all sin and struggle with different aspects of it but are we admitting it and working on it? Even in church discipline, however I believe we should make every effort to do this with the utmost love and grace and do all we can to seek restoration, even throw a party when someone returns.

~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

James,

I like what you have to say. However, it would be a more powerful message if you could include scripture related to what you mention to pull it together.

I agree with what you are saying, because, I believe you're correct. It's refreshing to read and know there's others who feel the same way I do.

We should love people, not hate them, right?

James Wood said...

Mark, I'm happy to continue the conversation with such thoughtful people.

Greg, yes. What more can I say. We need to have healthy ways to engage in conversation and conflict within the loving boundaries of the church.

Kimberly, thanks for your kind comments. I actually continue this series on the blog. Here's the post where I discuss the passages in the bible.