Archives For Gays

John Stott (1921-2011)

John Stott (1921-2011)

“We are all human beings. This is to say that there is no such phenomenon as a ‘homosexual’.”
~John Stott, Evangelical, 1990

 

THE REDUCTIONIST WORLD

The quickest way to minimize anyone is to give him or her a label: “nigger, kike, gay.” With labels, people become ‘other’ – disposable, not quite human, to be placed away from us.

It might even be a purity issue – for such people are seemingly unclean. An ‘abomination’ perhaps? By labeling people groups, we have immediately created apartheid with them.

To me, the greatest sociological sadness today are the terms “gay” and “lesbian”. These dehumanizing labels continue to affirm a group as “not us”.

THE WINDOW INTO ROMANTIC LOVE

Sexuality is a means into relationship. Sexuality is much more than physical arousal and orgasm. Attached to a person’s sexuality is the capacity to feel affection, to delight in someone else, to get emotionally close to another person, to be passionately committed to him or her.

Sexuality is at the core of that marvelous human experience, ‘being in love’—to be struck by the beauty of another and be drawn out of yourself, to become attached to another human being so powerfully that you easily begin measuring your life in terms of what’s good for someone else as well as for yourself.

To have to be afraid to feel sexual is to restrain that noblest of human possibilities – romantic love for another human being. To restrain It is to short-circuit human spontaneity in a whole array of expressions—creativity, motivation, passion, commitment, heroic achievement. It is to be afraid of part of one’s own deepest self.

People who are afraid of their sexuality are constantly in hiding from their own selves. As a result, they are handicapped in all their dealings with other people and especially in their capacity to love deeply. All interior growth is stunted when people repress their affection, for heartfelt passion is really the engine of human achievement. So, in a profound and important way, for people to have to choose between religion and sexuality is to have to choose between religion and themselves. As we are coming to understand the matter today, it is to have to choose between God and human wholeness. That choice seems too hard, and it does not seem to make sense.

We all know that ‘homosexuality’ is a core aspect of the personality, probably fixed by early childhood, biologically based, and affecting a significant proportion of the population in virtually every known culture.

ACCORDING TO FAITH, IT IS GOD WHO CREATES US

Mounting scientific evidence shows it is nobody’s doing that people are lesbian or gay. There is no reason to believe that homosexuality in itself is in any way unhealthy. And there is no credible evidence that sexual orientation can be changed nor convincing argument that it should be. The sociological, the psychological, the biological evidence, all more and more surely points in the same direction. The fact is that some people just happen to be homosexual.According to faith, it is God who creates us.

DID GOD MAKE JUNK?

Divine Providence forms us as we are. Our genes, our temperaments, our time and place in history, our talents, our gifts, our strengths and weaknesses—all are part of God’s inscrutable and loving plan for us. So somehow God must be behind the fact that some people are homosexual. Should God’s word in the Bible condemn homosexuality? There must be a mistake in the reasoning somewhere.

Could it be that gays and lesbians are the mistake? That they are inherently flawed? Some would believe so. But then God must be evil or be playing some cruel trick, but that cannot be. “God does not make junk,” claims Daniel Helminiak  in his scholarly work, What The Bible Really Says About Homosexuality. “There must be another answer,” Helminiak says. ” The mistake must be in how the Bible is being read. “

This is the argument presented here. In perfectly good faith, two different people reading the same text can come up with two different meanings.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

THE BIBLE WILL SAY WHAT YOU WANT IT TO SAY

Unfortunately, the Bible in America has been used as a weapon for over 200 hundred years. As Abraham Lincoln said in his second inaugural address in 1865 when describing the interpretation of Scripture by those in the Union, and those who were Confederates, “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes his aid against the other.”

The interpretation of the meaning of the Bible is not a new nor recent phenomenon.

Interpretation has been used to thwart women from voting (men should have authority over women), to barricade people of color from enjoying their liberties (former slaves should still serve society under their former master’s pleasure), to block people marrying outside their race (the purity of tribes in Judaism needs to be respected) , and to keep members of the same-sex from knowing love under the sacred tent of matrimony (homosexuality is an abomination).

To be clear, the Bible will say whatever you want it to say, but the over-riding message of the Holy Bible is love. Indeed, according to Scripture,  our Creator is Love.

JESUS IS SILENT ON THE MATTER

The Ten Commandments do not address homosexuality. It is also interesting to note that in the recorded history of Jesus Christ, the son of God does not speak of ‘homosexuality’ at any time.

Both the omission on the tablets and Jesus’ own silence speaks volumes. The most important living character in the epoch of Christendom never had anything negative to say about homosexuality. In fact, he had nothing to say at all about it.

“ABOMINATION”

One of the oft quoted lines from Scripture comes from Leviticus, calling homosexuality an ‘abomination’. Firstly, it is used within the context of unrestrained lust as rape or promiscuity. Secondly, this expression occurred long before Jesus’ lifetime. Jesus brought about a new covenant, born of grace over the law, erasing that which had come before Him, so that all might know the gift of eternal life through Him.

“UNNATURAL”

In Romans, Paul spoke of same-sex relations as ‘para physin”. In the Greek, “para physin” means unnatural, atypical, and different from the social norm. This phrase is not a pejorative, as so often used in the hands of certain Christians to discourage love between same-sex couples.

Indeed, later in Romans 11:24, Paul refers to God as “para physin” for God grafts a branch of a cultivated tree into the stock of a wild tree, in a manner that is “para physin”. In Paul’s understanding of the words, God himself acted para physin. God did what was ‘unnatural,’ that is to say, atypical.

Once again, we can find ourselves arm wrestling over interpreting Biblical passages.

Jesus Christ Visits his apostle After The Resurrection - As Portrayed by artist, William Blake (18 -  )

Jesus Christ visits his apostles after the resurrection – as portrayed by artist, William Blake  (1757 – 857)

JESUS’ COMMANDMENTS

Yet, the seminal message of Jesus Christ is very clear: to love.  Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘love your neighbor as yourself’. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

The most referenced word in the Holy Bible is ‘love’. It seems a lot of what may be hearing is from the pulpit that homosexaulity is a sin, not from the Holy Bible.

WHO IS A CHRISTIAN?

What defines a Christian? A Christian is not someone who necessarily throws a tirade on CNN in wrath and judgment, shouting that ‘homosexuality’ is “a rebellion against God.”

A Christian is not defined by someone who reads the Bible. That might be a scholar. That might be a Biblical “legalist”.

A Christian is not solely someone who goes to church every Sunday. That might be a church-goer.

A Christian is someone who has the Holy Spirit indwelling in him or her. The Holy Spirit is the gift of Jesus: that whoever knows Jesus as Lord will receive the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God will be upon someone through the Spirit. And that Spirit will guide and rebuke and encourage that person. Through the Spirit, the virtues of patience, self-restraint, tenderness, kindness, goodness will manifest in that fortunate one.

The only possible way to read the Bible as a Christian is through the Spirit. Because God will reveal himself through the Word. The Bible is God’s self-disclosure, the divine autobiography.

THE GOD BREATHED TRUTH

Scripture is “God breathed” according to Scripture.  “God breathed” is not the only account which Scripture gives of itself, since God’s mouth was not the only mouth involved in the production. The same Scripture that says “the mouth of the Lord has spoken”(Is. 1:20) also says that God spoke “By the mouth of the holy prophets” (Acts 3:18) Out of whose mouth then did Scripture come, then?

God’s or man’s? The only Biblical answer is ‘both’. Indeed, as Evangelical John Stott stated, “God spoke through the human authors in such a way that his words were simultaneously their words, and their words were simultaneously His words. This is the double authorship of the Bible. Scripture is equally the Word of God and the words of human beings. Better, it is the Word of God through the words of human beings. “

The double authorship of the Bible will affect the way we read it. The only way to truly read the Bible is through the Spirit. Scripture alone is God’s Word written, and the Holy Spirit is the ultimate interpreter. Both, however are subordinate to God, Himself, as he speaks to us through his Word.

Without the revelation of the Holy Spirit in the reading, reason gropes in the dark. If we come to Scripture with our minds made up, expecting to hear a simple reinforcement of our own thoughts, then we will never know the sweet thunder-clap of God’s Truth.

Because of the double authorship inherent in the Holy Bible, we need those extra set of eyes which the Holy Spirit provides. Because it is the word of men, we shall study it like every other book, using our minds, investigating its words and syntax, its historical origins and its literary composition. But because it is also the Word of God, we shall study it like no other book, on our knees, humbly, crying to God for illumination and for the ministry of the Holy Spirit, without whom we can never understand his Word.

THOUGHTFUL AND PRAYERFUL ARRIVAL

I do not support moral relativism. For myself, I have come to the conclusion by reading Scripture, praying through the Spirit, that the wiring for same-sex love is part of God’s plan. I have come to the destremination that homosexuality is not a sin.  I say this thoughtfully and carefully, for I know what worldly damage it may cause me in the profession of counselor to Christian ministries. I say this not to curry the favor of itching ears, for I am free of the dominance of the contemporary that long ruled me.

I write this because I believe it is in concordance with the Trinitarian God whom I love who at the very center is both sacred and loving.

We are strangers to our own lives, setting out in the dark to look for the House of Love which we were meant to know, guided by the Music that wants us to see. I have not written this to change anyone’s heart. For only the Holy Spirit can turn a heart. I write this so that some of my own thinking in the process might help others arrive at their own conclusion. All must come to their own peace on this through the Spirit.

No blade of grass is the same, nor are any two human beings alike. Jesus is the bridge across uncertainty that brings us to the glory of Mysterium Tremendum where love has no beginning nor an end.

There, labels are absent.

Note:  Books that have had  a strong influence on the author, beyond the Holy Bible, are: Love and Will by Rollo May,  Authentic Christianity by John Stott , and What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel Helminiak.
David Paul Kirkpatrick’s novel, The Address Of Happiness, about lesbians and God, will be published in June, 2013. The Address of Happiness never mentions either God or Lesbians.  The author  figures those labels have suffered enough abuse.