Christians and Homosexuality: A Personal Take


…a rough transcription of a sermon I shared at First United Methodist Church of Laurel, MD on February 20, 2011

[Disclaimer: For my friends and readers with passionately defined views regarding the nature of human sexuality, homosexuality in particular, no matter your views, you will most likely encounter things in this post that will offend, upset, or even shock you, i.e. “Wow, I didn’t know he thinks that way! How dare he!!” You’ve been warned now. Keep in mind, however, that I continue to listen and strive to love and respect both you and your perspective, even when we have serious points of disagreement. Having spent countless hours in learning, conversation and dialogue about LGBT sexuality, most especially with people who are LGBT, I have learned to tolerate the heat of disagreements I’ve encountered with both conservative and progressively minded folks. I have also come to see that we share far more in common than we often realize, even in the heat of our differences.]

Scripture: Romans 1:18-2:5

I had originally intended to share a message grappling with the topic of homosexuality in the last series of sermons I preached called “When Christians Get It Wrong… and How to Get It Right Again.” But then things like surgery got in the way. And of course, none of my stand-in speakers wanted to touch that topic with a ten-foot pole!

Yet God has a way of continually showing me that nothing is by accident, including this delayed sermon. In the time I was recovering from surgery, two dramatic things concerning homosexuality have happened. In light of these things, I think the time is particularly right for us as Christians to call on the Holy Spirit’s guidance, read up on Scripture, examine again the historic teachings of the Church and take an honest look at the present realities of gay and lesbian people, all so that we can get a grip on what we believe concerning homosexuality. Just as importantly, we need to understand how to live those beliefs with our gay and lesbian family members, friends, and neighbors.

The first dramatic thing to happen occurred at the beginning of this month– a statement of counsel prepared by 33 retired bishops of the United Methodist Church. They are asking for the removal of this statement from our Book of Discipline:

“…The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.” ¶304.3

They understand this statement to be embarrassing, insensitive, and discriminatory towards gay and lesbian men and women who demonstrate the necessary graces, fruits, and abilities to be ordained clergy.

It’s important to understand a few things about this statement. Because it’s crafted by a group of bishops, it does carry a lot weight and importance. However, bishops cannot change our church’s stances and policies. That is left to our General Conference, a body of elected clergy and laity who meet every four years primarily to edit and update our denomination’s Book of Discipline, which alone articulates our policies, protocols, and procedures. In the mean time, this statement’s gravity cannot and will not be ignored.

Then only a few weeks later, some historic legislation has been moving through Maryland’s state government. Just this past week, the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings committee approved a bill for a Senate vote that would legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland. Up until this point, the Maryland Senate had been one vote shy the filibuster-proof majority it would need to end the debate and vote. State Senator Jim Rosapepe, our state Senator, has agreed to be that deciding vote. That all but assures passage of this bill through the Senate. The House of Delegates is expected to pass the bill, and Governor O’Malley has promised to sign the bill into law. When that happens, Maryland would become the sixth state in our country to legalize same-sex marriage.

It almost goes without saying that this is a very, very emotionally charged issue. Why? It’s because we’re dealing with the fundamental aspects of our humanity: love, relationships, marriage, and family. For us Christians, we’re also talking the role of the Bible in defining sexuality, what is sin and not sin, and how the pages of Scripture might possibly speak to the experiences of gay and lesbian people.

When talking to Christians about homosexuality, especially when events such as I’ve mentioned unfold, there tend to be three distinct responses.

One Christian response strongly affirms the rights and dignity of gay and lesbian people. This response believes that gay and lesbian people are made in God’s image and are therefore of sacred worth to God. They were born, at no fault of their own, with a propensity to be attracted to people of the same gender, something that is therefore not a sin but an essential make-up of their being, no less than heterosexual people. The most important aspect of the Bible to them is Jesus’ treatment of all people and the fact that he never condemns homosexual relations. In fact, he embraced and included people whom the religious community rejected for being sinful or unclean.

Another Christian response, just as passionate but very different, is condemnation of homosexuality– not of gay and lesbian people as people, but of homosexual attractions and relationships. They too affirm that gay and lesbian people are made in God’s image and are therefore of sacred worth to God. Yet in reading the Bible, they see several passages, including the Romans passage above that denounce homosexual relations as an act of sin. They believe, based on their reading of Scripture, that God designed sexuality exclusively to be shared between a man and a woman.

Then there is a third Christian response that often goes under the radar. This response doesn’t really see this issue as all that important, or doesn’t quite know what to think about something as complicated and controversial as homosexuality. These Christians would be content to see that all people are loved and respected by one another, understanding that God loves each of us, especially when we fail to love God and others as we should.

Overall though, I believe that Christians have done a pretty terrible job dealing with the issue of homosexuality and our differences over this issue. We have been stuck in a fierce debate for close to 40 years. Each side as demonized the other for being unloving, ungodly, compromising the gospel, and causing division in the Church.

Not only that, but when young adults are asked to describe Christians and the Church, one statistic shows that 91% would describe us as anti-gay. The reality is, right or wrong, young people understand homosexuality much differently than their parents and grandparents do. In my personal experience, I know many people, young and old, who will have nothing to do with the Church primarily because they perceive us to be anti-gay.

In our church, I’ve talked to enough people to realize that we have very diverse opinions on homosexuality which encompass all three of the above Christian responses I just mentioned. So I realize that no matter what I teach regarding homosexuality, I risk upsetting some people. Therefore, I believe that we must commit to some critical things when dealing with this or any other hot-button topic: commit to listening, respecting, and loving each other through the differences we may have. We must continually affirm that the greatest common factor among us is never a conflict but rather Jesus Christ our Lord.

Switching gears, I thought that a good way to teach about homosexuality from my Christian point of view would be to share my own story of how I have arrived at my understandings of homosexuality. I don’t share this in order to ram anything down your throat. I share these things to give you a springboard to formulate your own biblical, Christ-centered views, realizing that at the end of the day, we will most likely remain diverse in our views.

Before coming into the church and becoming a Christian at the age of 18, I had no opinion one way or the other concerning the morality or acceptability of homosexuality. I lived in a world of stereotypes, especially of gay men, but that never formulated into any kind of strong view. Yet when I came into the church, I began to hear my pastor and many others teach and preach from the Bible that homosexuality is condemned as a sin. The Romans 1:18ff passage was certainly one of the main passages that was repeatedly quoted.

Hearing all of this, how could I argue with the Bible, especially if the Bible is God’s Word? So, I took as my point of view that the practice of homosexuality is sinful, and I took it quite stridently, too. I didn’t hate or look down upon gay or lesbian people, nor did I reject them. For me, it was a matter of upholding the authority of biblical standards, and in this case, biblical standards on human sexuality.

As I continued to grow and mature, I began to meet and get to know more and more gay and lesbian people. I began to see first-hand how extraordinarily complex this whole issue is. It’s not a mere matter of whether or not homosexuality is a sin or not, as important as that is. It also has to do with the very complex nature of how and why people are gay. It also involves the question of how Christians relate to and minister with gay people.

I also began to listen to many, many stories, particularly from gay Christians who all shared that they grew up knowing that they were somehow different, that unlike most all their friends, they were attracted to people of the same gender. They prayed and prayed for God to take those feelings away and make them straight. Many even tried straight relationships, and some even married someone of the opposite gender, only to fail at their marriage. In other words, it didn’t seem to be their choice to be gay. In fact, given the choice, many would rather have been straight to avoid all the stigma and rejection from being gay. Finally, they came to accept themselves for who they are, recognizing that God loves and accepts them just as they are.

In reflection, I believe, based on how I read the Scriptures, that God designed sexuality to be shared between a man and a woman and that homosexual attractions and relationships, while not necessarily a conscious choice, is not within God’s plan and intention for human sexuality. The best biblical understanding I can derive comes from that same Romans passage in which Paul attributes homosexuality to be the result of a fallen humanity that has turned away from God. When it comes down to it, I cannot see Scripture affirming homosexuality, only condemning it as outside of God’s will.

However, I do not and I will not teach or preach this belief stridently or often at all. I prefer to get into it as little as possible. And that has been to the dismay of many church members I’ve worked with who would prefer that I become more ardently vocal against homosexuality. I will not.

The fact is, this is a deeply painful issue for me. I have very close family members, friends, and neighbors who are gay and lesbian. I trust and love them very, very much, and I always will. I have listened to many of their stories. As a result, I live every day in a tension between my biblical beliefs and the fact that most often those same beliefs stir up so much hurt within my gay and lesbian friends, family members, and neighbors. I just can’t relinquish my love and embrace of them or my love and embrace of God’s Word. Therefore I live in this constant, painful tension.

I’m also deeply conflicted over the nature of the debate concerning homosexuality. It can get particularly nasty and polarizing. While I vote my conscious whenever I’m asked to, I do not want to contribute to the divisive intensity of the debate. Furthermore, I do not tend to sign on to petitions or take strong public stances on homosexuality.

My God-given role has been to be a peacemaker by attempting to bring about dialogue and understanding between different points of view on homosexuality while seeking an alternative way forward for us Christians to take other than the disparate options offered by either side of the debate. Let me tell you, this has been every bit as difficult as taking a strong public stance on one side or the other. I have been treated as a traitor and a compromiser by some of my conservative friends and colleagues. I’ve been viewed as anti-gay and a bigot by some of my progressive/liberal friends and colleagues. I’ve been called out by both crowds for all the above on the same day, even! Peacemaking has not been an easy road to take… at all.

Yet, all in all, there is something I want you to hear loud and clear. As long as I am pastor of this church, I will not tolerate anyone being turned away, mistreated, demeaned, ostracized, or in any way unloved because of their sexual orientation. If you are gay or lesbian, I will always be your pastor, and this will always be your church as much as you allow us to be. I will always love you, and I will defend you in the face of any attitude that is less than fully loving or accepting of you as a child of God and my sister or brother in the Lord.

I will gently tell you what I believe the truth to be about human sexuality. We may wrestle through that, and sometimes we may both come out of it limping. But I will always embrace you as my brother or sister in Christ. If anything, I’ll learn to hold on to you more tightly and compassionately, as long as you allow me to.

So, how do we as a church get it right when understanding and relating to our gay and lesbian family members, friends, and neighbors?

First, we must always affirm our faith in the Bible as God’s Word and what it teaches while remaining open to listen to the Holy Spirit’s counsel, especially in the voices of others. We must respect the fact that while I believe the way I do, it may severely contradict they way you believe. I may firmly believe you’re wrong, and you may believe the same about me. Yet we must listen to each other. We must especially listen to understand not just what the other believes, but respectfully listen to why they believe what they believe. And who knows? We might actually learn something from the Holy Spirit that would impact our own views!

Secondly, we must live in an unconditional love towards others whose views are different from our own and towards those who are gay and lesbian. As for me, I know I’m doing this well when others who are different from me don’t perceive me as standoffish, guarded, close-minded, holier-than-thou or in any way unable to love and accept them. When I can fully identify myself with them and they sense that, then I know that I’m getting closer to Christ’s unconditional love.

Believe me, that’s not a compromise or a cop out. I’ve learned my methods from none other than Jesus himself. Do you remember when Jesus shared a meal at Matthew’s house? He was there with the notorious ragamuffins of his day: tax-collectors and “sinners”. And of course, the religious people were all over Jesus’ case for that! “Jesus, don’t you know who you’re eating with?” In Jesus day, you only shared a meal with those whom you closely identified as your trusted friends and family. Jesus ate with Matthew and his guests anyway, and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t sitting around arguing with the tax collectors about their unscrupulous tax collecting methods or calling out the sinners for their wrongs. He was simply being with them in an embracing love of God. And that love of God has the power to transform us all, gay or straight, sinners all, into God’s holy people, in God’s time and in God’s way.

In other words, in the turmoil and complexity of these tumultuous times and debates, it really does come down to asking that simple question, “What would Jesus do?” By God’s grace, we endeavor to do it, and we discover the abundance of life that comes from living like Jesus.

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20 Comments

Filed under Christian thought, Reflections

20 responses to “Christians and Homosexuality: A Personal Take

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Christians and Homosexuality: A Personal Take | Pastor Chris Owens – - Musings, Rants, and Reflections -- Topsy.com

  2. Carol Serb

    Chris, i believe you did a wonderful job with a very big elephant in the room! It does, in the end, doesn’t it come down to the WWJD? I felt like you handled it very openly, honestly, and lovingly! I am always so awed at your willingness for the Spirit to teach such hot topics through you!

  3. The problem I have with Christian theology on this point is that so much of it hinges on Paul, and Paul’s a problem, unless you’re willing to ignore his enthusiastic support for slavery:

    Titus 2 – 9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

    He actually returns an escaped slave to his master in Philemon, which makes me skeptical about his authority as a speaker on moral things. I can read his epistles and his words in a historical context and glean some value from them, but sadly, they’re the product of an age, thousands of years ago, in which superstition, scientific and social ignorance, and mistaken essentialist views ruled the day. If we don’t consider slavery moral today, why do we cast aside or parse away that prohibition (or affirmation, in the cases where the Bible overtly embraces slavery) but claim that we have to hold firm to other ill-informed beliefs that have long since been rendered obsolete by a broader and deeper understanding of the human condition?

    For much of the last fifty years, we’ve had to knock down one straw man after another, backed up by Bible verses that are cherry-picked to support the claims that rise as the failed ones fall away, but the claim of sin or being outside of a divine plan just seems odd when there’s no other sin so poorly documented in the Bible. Out of literally a million verses in the Bible, only six support the claim that homosexuality isn’t good or natural, and not one of them refers to it as it’s practiced today. What other alleged moral failing is handled with so little commitment or thought? The big ten are all over the place, reiterated again and again. The sideways sins, the things like greed and selfishness and bigotry are all over the place, in the red words and the black, hammered in over and over, but this one…well, all you’ve got is six lines with translation issues, referring to ancient Jewish temple prostitutes and other awkward two thousand year-old misconceptions about how the world, the heart, and the body works.

    I guess this is where I part company from Christianity. I was raised a Calvinist, and heard a lot about God’s plan for me, for the world, for the afterlife and so on. I came to experience the Divine in my own way, and it became harder and harder for me to find comfort in a Planner God, working as a sort of Divine bureaucrat with a scroll of all time worked out to ten digit precision, and when I hear that I’m not living to the plan, all I can do is point out that I know, in my core, that who I am, how I live, and what I bring to the world is as true to the Divine as the ways of anyone else who aspires to inhabit the infinite reality around us.

    Some people’s user manual may disagree, but all we can do is strive for truth through reason and gnothi seauton.

  4. Christine LaValle

    Chris,
    You and I hold this sense of Christ’s own example of unconditional love in common. Each of us is an imperfect person LOVED by a perfect God. I strive to be mindful of His words, His actions, and His heart in how I interact with others. How could I choose to do less ?

  5. Roberta

    This is fabulous Chris ~ and my favorite part is copied below… and I think Jesus would plug in any word for “sexual orientation”… cuz… Jesus loves me, for this I know… for the Bible tells me so…Amen.

    “As long as I am pastor of this church, I will not tolerate anyone being turned away, mistreated, demeaned, ostracized, or in any way unloved because of their sexual orientation (or any other act/sin). If you are gay or lesbian (and just as human as I am), I will always be your pastor, and this will always be your church as much as you allow us to be. I will always love you, and I will defend you in the face of any attitude that is less than fully loving or accepting of you as a child of God and my sister or brother in the Lord.” Amen, Amen, and Amen, I love this!!! Whatever you got Chris, Holy Spirit and in God’s Love you got… and you got it good!

  6. Hi Chris!
    This is certainly a tough subject I dont know if we will ever sort it out but your point of excepting all in the church is the most important thing to me, I also have friends who are strugling with this and I undersatand. I am glad you tackled the subject. I am struggling back and forth on how I feel about this. Some places in the bible are clear and direct but some stories would lead us to believe that Paul was wrong on this issue. or perhaps people who transscribed the bible didnt really stay trueto what was meant to be said. 3000,years of communication can certainly be skewed. Either way we need to love all our brothers and sisters if we truly wish to be good Christians.

  7. Don Russell

    Chris, I think you’ve missed the mark on this one. There is a political correctness that is pervasive in both the church and society that seems to make the statement that homosexuality somehow falls into a gray area that the bible does not fully address. Nor is this a problem that is common to the twenty-first century. This is a sin that has plagued mankind since the fall. It is talked about in the Old and New testaments. It is a sin and I want to talk about that for a minute. Sin is missing the mark. The mark of perfection that God has set as a standard to show us that we need a Savior You state in your blog that Jesus never spoke specifically against homosexuality. You forget that the father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are in perfect harmony and do not work independent of each other. John says that ” In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. Peter says that all scripture is inspired by God. There is no disconnect here. When man stands before God one day to be judged God will not have to say a word, nor will he have to roll a series of films showing our bad behavior. His very essence, His Holiness will be our unraveling. We will know instantly and be convicted on the spot of coming short of His Glory, His mark if you will. Who are we to decide what is sin and what is not, what we will preach about and what not. Whether to be peacemakers or to simply proclaim the gospel of Jesus. You mention the 33 Bishops of the UMC saying that they view the statement of homosexuality as expressed in church doctrine ” to be embarrassing, insensitive,and discriminatory towards gay and lesbian men and women who demonstrate the necessary graces, fruits and abilities to be ordained clergy”. They demonstrate everything except repentance. Don’t we as Christians owe people the truth? I look forward to meeting John the Baptist one day. He was one who was crying in the wilderness, not afraid of the truth and was hated for this. There is a scripture that comes to mind of Jesus standing on the right side of the Father. I’m sure He was standing when John the Baptist came home.

  8. Edmund Metheny

    Drunkenness is a sin. It is mentioned as a sin more often in the New Testament than is homosexuality.

    Alcohol was directly related to 75,000 deaths in the US last year. So far as I know the only deaths attributable to homosexuality last year were teen suicides and hate crimes.

    The United Methodist church has always been one of the most pro-temperance religious organizations in the United States. It even uses grape juice for communion.

    Yet the language which the church uses in speaking about drunkenness is far more gentle and conciliatory than the language it uses when speaking about homosexuality. “[the church] affirms our long-standing support of abstinence from alcohol as a faithful witness to God’s liberating and redeeming love for persons.” is a pretty gentle compared to “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”

    Why is that, do you think?

  9. Don Russell

    There’s nothing wrong with drinking wine or alcohol, as long as it is not in excess. It will however affect your witness to the alcoholic. As far as I know no one is saying that they were born an alcoholic and are asking to be treated differently because of this. Nor are the alcoholics saying that this is a civil rights issue. And you should revisit your stats on deaths attributable to gay lifestyle. Millions in third world countries have died as a result of both homosexual and heterosexual promiscuity. Thousands of lives have been saved in this country with the discovery of advanced life saving drugs.

    • Edmund Metheny

      Don – was I unclear, or did I in fact specify that my statistics were for the United States?

      Also, you invalidate your own argument because you state that people die in third world countries “as a result of both homosexual and heterosexual promiscuity” thus the issue is not homosexuality, but promiscuity and you yourself admit that this is a problem not exclusive to a homosexual lifestyle.

      [Incidentally, you are wrong even about that – it was not promiscuity that caused the massive AIDS epidemic in Africa, it was the systematic AIDS-denialism on the part of many African governments, coupled with substandard to non-existent preventative healthcare programs in poor African nations, and widespread misinformation regarding the best way to limit the spread of AIDS – the use of condoms – which was propagated by numerous organizations, both secular and religious. But I digress.]

      You also miss the mark when saying “there is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol” when in fact I never said there was. I was speaking specifically about drunkenness, as mentioned numerous times in the New Testament, including Luke, Romans, Galatians, and I Peter. Drunkenness is a sin at least on par with homosexuality, in terms of the emphasis placed on it in the New Testament. It’s talked about a lot.

      According to the National Institute of Health there are approximately 17.6 million alcoholics in the United States. That is certainly roughly equivalent to, and possibly larger than, the number of homosexuals in the US.

      So where is the outrage? Where are the statements in the Book of Discipline saying “Drunkenness is incompatible with Christ’s teachings, so we won’t ordain or appoint anyone who gets drunk?”

      In any Christian church of any size, there is likely to be at least one individual who gets drunk at least as often as the average homosexual couple has sex. There was at least one in every single church I was ever extensively involved in, and sometimes there were several. Yet I never saw them judged by the community the way the Christian community judges homosexuals.

      Therefor, I call hypocrisy.

  10. Chris, I deliberately let this post sit for nearly three weeks after first reading it, trying to clarify to myself how I wanted to react. I like the tone of what you say, and a lot of the content — the loving, affirming, welcoming part. I appreciate all you have done to bridge the divide and treat everyone with dignity.

    As you might guess, the part I have a problem with is where you say:

    I believe, based on how I read the Scriptures, that God designed sexuality to be shared between a man and a woman and that homosexual attractions and relationships, while not necessarily a conscious choice, is not within God’s plan and intention for human sexuality.

    After acknowledging a few lines before that for many, if not all homosexuals, orientation is not a choice, how can that add up? Yes, I do note the use of “conscious” choice in the wording of the quote above. Do you really think it’s an “unconscious choice” — and isn’t that an oxymoron? As for Paul as an authority on sine, I agree entirely with Joe — and add the fact that so many of Paul’s epistle are known to be written by others, how much trust should we place in them?

    But the core for me is the unpleasant taste of toleration. Although you use the word “affirming”, I’m not clear on how affirming it is to hear that you’re welcome and you will be loved, but what you are and who you love are intrinsically against “God’s plan and intention for human sexuality”? It sounds like benign, well-intentioned tolerance, but tolerance nonetheless. And it just so happens that Pastor Cody Sanders wrote an essay last week that nicely matches my thoughts on the inherent power imbalance of tolerance.

    • Edmund Metheny

      That’s my wife! MY wife. You can’t have her, she’s mine.

      (In addition to being really, really smart – as demonstrated above – she’s also beautiful.)

  11. Bob jr

    While the blog entry was eloquent and caring … couldn’t it be simpler? Can’t we just tell the truth?

    For example – take a look at another brother who takes the simple approach and tells the truth.

    Entitled “My Gay Friends”, 1/6/2009

    Take a look and see if this helps.

    http://wnd.com/molotov?item=2be1a7e9-1f68-4b5b-a90c-9fb1e96907b5

  12. Chris H.

    Chris you are speaking of:
    (NKJV) Titus 3:1-3 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.

    Hey, if you really want to throw some more heat around, you can always hit the rich next. I’m sure that will cause a huge debate as well. Especially in this country that was lusting after the American greed dream!

    Maybe ACTS, and the whole dispensing of wealth according to need. Could be a bit socialist sounding? Anti-American maybe?

    Brother Chris-Keep on the good fight my fellow follower of Jesus!
    God is shaking his church! Satan has no power over love.

  13. Carol

    An Adequate Faith

    “If I, as a Christian, believe that my first duty is to love and respect my fellow in his personal frailty and perplexity, in his own unique hazard and need for trust, then I think that the refusal to let him alone, to entrust him to God and his conscience, and the insistence on rejecting them as persons until they agree with me, is simply a sign that my own faith is inadequate.

    My own peculiar task in my Church and in my world has been that of the solitary explorer who, instead of jumping on all the latest bandwagons at once, is bound to search the existential depths of faith in its silences, its ambiguities, and in those certainties which lie deeper than the bottom of anxiety. In these depths there are no easy answers, no pat solutions to anything. It is a kind of submarine life in which faith sometimes mysteriously takes on the aspect of doubt, when, in fact, one has to doubt and reject conventional and superstitious surrogates that have taken the place of faith. On this level, the division between believer and unbeliever ceases to be so crystal clear. It is not that some are all right and others are all wrong: all are bound to seek in honest perplexity. Everybody is an unbeliever more or less.”
    ~ From “Apologies to an Unbeliever” by Thomas Merton

  14. david

    God expects us to be true christians in every word and deeds, that which is contrary to biblical teachings should be said clearly and with biblical support without fear favour or loss of friends and relatives. The issue about homosexuality is as clear as admonishing one who is stealing or commiting adultery. God loves sinners but hates sin no wonder he says separate yourself from sin. Homosexaulity was one of the reason why sodom and gommorrah was destroyed . This does not mean that God hates gays and lesbians he loves them as much as he loves us, he expect all professed christians to uplift the moral standards as per biblical teachings

  15. Pingback: Homosexuality and the United Methodist Church: We Must Do Better | Pastor Chris Owens – - Musings, Rants, and Reflections

  16. This post really spoke to my heart. I, too, have friends & family members who are gay & lesbian – both my sisters and my brother among a couple of other relatives. But I know that I love them so much. In fact, I love their partners, too. They are family. Your words “Therefore I live in this constant, painful tension” are appropriate. Obviously, I do not have the tension of being the spiritual leader of a church with these conflicting emotions, but there is still a conflict nonetheless. All my siblings were raised in the church & at least 2 of them attend church regularly now and I believe are followers. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not God. I will love (or at least try to love) those He loves and let Him work in others’ lives as He sees fit.

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