Homosexual Insight

The following is an interaction I had with a friend of a friend:

I would still love to hear you respond to my thoughts, although I understand that you probably (like I do) have more pressing things to think about. I feel like the debate on this issue is consistently sidetracked and does not deal with the real issue at hand. So here are a couple of points if you can find time to respond to:


Biology is a Distraction
...as it is corrupt...

I agree with Mr. Williams above: "The findings of Kinsey about the greyscale nature of sexual orientation are valid biologically, but do not meaningfully inform the praxis of our faith commitments."

While (I hope) all christians can agree that the current state of human nature is an important point of consideration that must be weighed into the conversation, it is ultimately a distraction to argue about the 'what and where' of the locus of homosexual desire. We don't care why/how people come to desire other people's possessions when we condemn theft, nor do we care about the motivations behind adultery when assessing it's morality (of course we acknowledge the reality of those desires, and even acknowledge the inability of individuals to control those desires or their natural trajectory into behavior; isn't this the point Scripture is making when it speaks of 'slavery to sin?')

The point is precisely that human nature is corrupt; arguments from the reality of human desire should not prevent us from deeming certain acts and states as sinful; the very need for the redemption of human nature is exactly its state as fundamentally out of sync with God's beauty and purpose.


Jesus is Lord
...not personal desire...

As you point out one of the common critiques is "that we’re allowing culture to dictate our understanding of scripture." But it is even more insidious than this, it is that we are allowing our personal desire to do so.

This is, of course, true of all people, not just homosexuals; and is even true of all people in the realm of sexuality. I fight with my wife about sex. That is just as much an elevation of my own sexual desire above God's beautiful reality as is homosexuality; my contention is that both are perversion. Heterosexual sex is not the goal! (Replace heterosexual sex with anything else, sobriety, tithing, reading scripture, not cussing, praying, etc. depending on the setting.) The goal is being redefined by Jesus, the true man, allowing His humanity to become the source and scope of ours.

This, of course, comes dangerously close to threatening our identity. But what else did we think Jesus meant when he explains 'no one can be my disciple unless they follow me to the place of execution,' or Paul when he speaks of being crucified with Christ? It is our identity that is precisely the problem! Both for the Gentile and for the Jew, for the Gay and the Straight, the Virtuous and the Foul, etc.

At the center of Paul's theology we find the phrase 'in Christ' and it is this that must become for us, the center of our theology and praxis. If we operate from this place, we are Christian, if we operate from some other place, we are not.

It is for precisely this reason that the homosexual community may perhaps have greater theological insight than the straight community; perhaps the better question is not why are so few homosexual people willing to follow a Christ who 'bids them come and die?', but rather why are so many heterosexual people claiming to follow Christ without dying?

Jesus is Lord, even of my sexuality.

The real question needs to be what does God want?, as opposed to what do I want? Which is why we turn to Scripture. (I would add, Scripture, properly enacted and interpreted in community.)


The Answer Book
...the problem with systematic theology...

You acknowledge that "one of the many critiques of those of us who are affirming of LGBT persons is that we are completely disregarding scripture." I am simply reiterating that critique, however, I do so in a different vein of thinking that I really desire to hear a thoughtful and engaging response to.

"One of the strengths of Rogers’s book is that he actively engages with Scripture all throughout his book." I am obviously dealing with your presentation of his material and not directly with his book, but, quite simply put, I am not convinced. As I said in another thread, I do not see Roger's dealing with Scripture, but rather dealing with isolated passages, removed from their context, and ignoring the general trend of Scripture as a whole. The story of God's Creation and Covenant, the story of Exodus and Atonement, the story of Redemption and New Creation.

"However, Rogers shows that the interpretations of the few passages typically used to speak of the sinfulness of homosexuality are simply incorrect interpretations." What I need to see instead is someone starting from the point of God's activity and working through the significance of that in the creation of gender. I need to see (as Paul continually does with ethical questions) the natural outcome of being 'in Christ;' not simply trying to figure out what is right or wrong, but what is Christ!

There is a paradigmatic difference between reading the Scriptures as a 'Cosmic Answer Book,' by thumbing through trying to find to the 'Homosexual Question;' and allowing Scripture to 'read us,' by defining our reality for us. Systematic analysis of Scripture is helpful, but must be kept in check!

I need to see the process mapped out for me by which someone could come to Scripture seeking to understand God, and come away with an endorsement for personal sexual fulfillment. My contention is that the debate has been framed in inappropriate ways by both sides, and has devolved into looking to Scripture for an endorsement of what both sides wanted to find.


Conservative Bigotry
...if you disagree with me you are a Nazi...

You are obviously not saying anything remotely this obtuse I just like to exaggerate for effect! (And I wouldn't personally claim the Conservative label without some real clarification) However what you do say "...spend some time actually getting to know someone who is gay," implies that if we loved gay people we would not say that homosexuality is a sin; and conversely we only say homosexuality is a sin because we do not love homosexual people throughout the course of our day-to-day lives.

This isn't true.

I have several relationships with gay men and women, most of whom know my stand on Scripture, none of whom are offended by me. One of them is walking out a commitment to Christ (that he believes includes a denial of his homosexual practice and identity) in the midst of our community. We call each other 'friend and brother' and this man is at my home several times a week.

It is precisely my love for them, and my commitment to them, that compels me to preach Christ's pre-eminence over and above their sexual desire, and even more, over and above their own identity (homosexual or otherwise).



Where do you come from?

That is a question that is sometimes best answered by telling stories of the people who have influenced us...

...in that context I thought the following quote from my pastor would shed some light on who I am:

"...put that in your spiritual ponder-pipe and smoke it!"


The Secret Message of Jesus

The Secret Message of Jesus

A Generous Orthodoxy

A Generous Orthodoxy

This is a phenomenal book for anyone who is serious about living out the life of Christ in the US. I find McLaren to be the contemporary equivalent to C. S. Lewis. The peculiarity common to both men is the unique ability to approach various concepts from a fresh perspective; interestingly enough both men are scholars of literature and poetry speaking to an audience of logicians and theologians; perhaps that is the cause of their peculiar knack for insight?

The Last Word and the Word After That

The Last Word and the Word After That

This book finishes a series in McLaren's "creative non-fiction" genre; fictional characters entering into a dialogue on topics that McLaren wishes to add his voice. This book deals primarily with concepts of the afterlife and how these concepts and doctrines were originated, and how they impact individuals and groups. I found his thoughts intriguing...

The Story We Find Ourselves In

The Story We Find Ourselves In

My least favorite (although still enjoyable) book of McLaren's. The book focus is "evolution;" a topic I have little interest in pursuing any more. The book is still full of great concepts, questions and stories; and is worth reading even if, like me, you have no real desire to delve into such a non-issue as the theory of evolution.

A New Kind of Christian

McLaren has become the spokesman for "emergent" christians. I have found him to be both insightful and humble. Regardless of the way in which his views may appear to you, I see in McLaren a sincere desire for truth that has allowed him to maintain Jesus as the center and yet still rethink everything about our faith in light of changing culture.

A New Kind of Christian

McLaren, by way of his pseudo-fictional dialogues, was able to free me to use evokative and emotional language to communicate the person of Jesus and the gospel of his kingdom.


What are you holding out of the water?

The old timers will say, 'if Jesus is not the Lord of all then He is not Lord at all.' We can not play at christianity, it is not that sort of endeavor; one cannot treat it like a buffet, eating the foods we like and leaving others untasted; it is rather like water, one either drinks it down or does not.

Jesus does not want to make our lives better, he wants to destroy our lives and give us His own to replace it...

God is more like a wild lover than a remote philanthropic benefactor.


"You remember that among the Franks, whole armies were sometimes given baptism at one stroke, and many warriors went into the water with their right hands held high, so that they did not get wet. Then they could say, 'This hand has never been baptized,' and they could swing their battle axes just as freely as ever. The modern counterpart of that partial baptism is seen in many people who have been baptized, all except their pocketbooks. They held these high out of the water."

-Halford Luccock

What are you holding out of the water?


This of course begs the question:

I am totally committed! But I find that my commitment is not enough to bring change, my moods overwhelm me and I slip back into old habits! What am I to do?

We are in good company...

We read in the twelfth chapter of Romans, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." The tricky thing about a 'living sacrifice' is that (unlike a dead one) it can crawl right back off of the altar; which makes our act of self-sacrifice a constant state of decision and repentance, as opposed to a singular event.

Just so, we are to jump into the baptismal waters of death and resurrection, knowing full well that our resolution to live whole-heartedly for our Master will need constant renewal and continued recommitment. But ultimately, it is the Spirit of Christ within us that brings change, from the inner person outward.