Can a Christian Be Gay? Part II (#471)
Last week's podcast generated so many questions and comments than Wayne revisits the discussion about sexuality and the religious rhetoric that does more to condemn people instead of inviting them into God's life and freedom. How do we engage with people whose views of morality may differ from our own? How do we open doors to the work God does to transform people, and not just enforce rules as if by following them people gain God's acceptance? That led to thoughts about what it means to be "Christian" and how our use of that term has cheapened it into a mere ritual or religious experience and removed from the fruit of a transformed life by a growing, intimate relationship with they Father by the work of Jesus.
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Thanks for these two podcasts. I especially loved the part about how being a “Christian” is the fruit of a transformed rather than the other ways we have defined it.
Your comments reminded me of I Cor. 15 where Paul writes, “…the strength of sin is the law.” The Message says, “It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power.” The pressure of legal obligation will never help free us from our brokenness. It actually increases the destructive desires. Thanks for the reminder that genuine transformation from within only stems from a growing, intimate relationship with a loving Father.
The comments on same-sex attraction brought to mind Paul’s comment about the “thorn in the flesh.” While I have never experienced homosexual desires, my heart goes out to those who do. I can understand how one might feel extremely frustrated that “God made me this way.” While my temptations are in different areas, I have wondered at times why God seemed to make the “Christian life” so impossible to live out day to day. The new creation way of putting others before ourselves and trusting in a loving heavenly Father in spite of our circumstances, definitely seems unnatural pretty much every day.
I believe Paul’s testimony in II Cor. 12 is helpful here. He pleaded with God to remove that which made him feel so weak. I think we all can relate to that whatever our specific weaknesses may be. Yet, Paul came to not only accept the reality of his “thorn”, he actually came to be glad for it. He heard God’s voice reassuring him of His grace and strength. “Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness” (II Cor. 12:9 MSG).
As we “live loved”, our areas of weakness and brokenness (whatever they may be) become helpful reminders to lean into Father’s affection and grace each day.
I’ve been wrestling with this question for years. I have some people in my life that struggle with these kinds of issues. I’ve decided that (at least for now) it’s not my business to figure out how a gay person can live in Christ. That’s their business between themselves and God.
My mom was mentally ill and she felt as though she could never be as good Christian as she wanted to be. She looked at others doing things and being happy and serving in ways she tried but couldn’t. If only she could have let go of expectations and just trusted God to help her live out a life of love and trusting God in her own struggles.
I just think, for me, I have no business trying to get another person to deal with something that is between them and God. I’m not a person people seek wisdom from (thankfully) so I’ll just focus on loving people and if they ask me what I think I will ask more questions about what they think.
I think I’ll just let them go to God. I think people want to know they are loved and accepted.
That they aren’t weird or looked down on no matter what they deal with.
In our society we have degrees of sin and people are put in categories. I’d like to grow to a place where I don’t see people in categories or their weakness as a level of sin that they are in.
I have enough to just wrestle with my own issues and sorting out how I can live trusting God through my own weaknesses.
Wayne, many thanks for being willing to shove off and navigate into such turbulent. white-water rapids. I doubt that most of us have the courage or maybe even the willingness to take that on. I think that you handle it all with great style; acknowledging never having all the answers, and even lots of struggles with finding the right questions!
You’re starting to believe more in yourself than in the plain obvious scriptures
I was just reading today that back during the events leading up to the Civil War, various groups of Christians debated about the plain obvious meaning of Scripture regarding slavery. Truth be told, the plain obvious Scripture seems to pretty clearly support slavery.
Yet no follower of Jesus supports slavery today.
So what does this mean about slavery? It doesn’t mean Scripture is wrong, but that people were wrong about what they thought was the plain obvious meaning of Scripture.
Do you think it might be possible that we have also misunderstood the Bible on this modern issue of LGBT people?
I am not taking a stance one way or another, but am just asking the question…