Christian Responses to Homosexuality

3:10 pm | Emergent Church | Homosexuality

Several emergent blogs are on a post-frenzy with the issue of homosexuality at present - and not without reason. However one in particular I felt I needed to respond to:

Homosexuality and the Broader Christian Community
Chris quoted this section from another much older blog entry as he developed some of his thoughts on the response of Christians to homosexuality:

One of the biggest problem I have with people who are so sure that their traditional stance on this issue is right…is that many times (and this is not always the case) they have never met a gay person, or a gay Christian.

In response, I posted the following:


I agree with you completely that the response of the larger part of Evangelical Christianity to the homosexual community has been less than adequate. If anything, most Christians treat people who practice homosexuality in the same way Pharisees treated unclean lepers. The response of Christ to lepers in His day gives us a vivid sense of how we should reach out, befriend, and show the love of Christ to homosexuals today.

One of the best examples of this is exemplified in Chad Thompson, whose passion to reach out to the homosexual community with the love of Christ has led to some very effective encounters. His book Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would goes through this in greater detail. For my part, I came to many of the same conclusions Chad did independently, and effectively challenged the college ministry at our church to reach out to the homosexual community on a nearby University campus. It was an incredible time of ministry to be sure.

I must take issue, however, with this use of the word ‘traditional’ for many of the same reasons as the previous poster. It is too easy to engage in a caricatured and reductionistic view of ‘traditional’ views, and muddle concepts such as disapproval of sexual deviancy, homophobia, ostracizing, and political action with the simple and very Biblical concept that all sex between two people of the same gender is sin. In my conversations with my friends who identify as homosexual (at least, I would like to think of them as my friends) the problem I found was not that I lacked in friendships with homosexuals, or that the gay perspective was being excluded - but rather that an Evangelical perspective rooted in the Biblical concept of grace (rather than antinomian cheap grace) and the simple concept that the gospel of Christ has the power to redeem the whole man including his sexuality was desperately lacking engagement by the gay perspective. The homosexual perspective had demanded so much that it be heard, that a grounded Christian perspective was being drowned out. Many of my conversations with those in the gay community have been very enlightening simply because they hadn’t heard a Christian share a thoughtful perspective won out of his own experience.

However, my experience was that the individuals who were the most steeped in postmodern and emerging thought were the most hesitant about engaging with the homosexual community. They were the ones who were the most ‘conservative’ in how to go about reaching out so as to avoid being offensive, nearly to the point of paralysis. While I have an intimate understanding of the sensibilities of postmodern and emerging Christians in how they relate to the culture, I am hesitant to identify with emerging Christianity precisely because this sort of disconnect is too common. The emerging church has its own sets of taboos that need to be struggled with, and even though he did it in an unconventional manner, I applaud Mark Driscoll for bringing this issue kicking and screaming to the forefront of the emerging conversation.




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john umland

Comment on February 23, 2006 @ 5:47 am

i blog on this theme alot at my blog because i have friends who are gay. and i want them to have a healthier life, and i speak of health holistically. good response on your end.

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