Church and the Gays
I have been looking for a new church. Lately, something has been missing from my church. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but over 70% of my friends I made there have left for other churches because we all felt that “something” was off with the church. There were other things going on, and I started being worked on by God to reach out to gay people in a way that I don’t typically see Christians reaching out – letting Jesus handle the “change” aspect of it (IF IT WILL CHANGE AT ALL) and just letting gay people know that the same Jesus died and rose for them as straight people and that there will be people in heaven who were gay when they were on Earth. Also, coming out is one of the best things you can do for yourself because you start to own what’s going on with you. As long as you hide, you die, and you lose control. My church probably wouldn’t stand for that as an official position, but the people in it would (including the actively gay and “ex-gay” people who lead worship *looks over glasses*). Church and the gays have always had a weird relationship.
Yesterday, I didn’t attend online or attend another church. I went to my church’s building. I got there late due to bathroom issues, but I made it in just in time to hear the beginning of the sermon. I walked in, saw the topic, heard the pastor preaching, and promptly walked back out into the lobby. I told my friend who was inside that I was in the lobby. She joined me and we went to lunch. I listened to the rest of the sermon in my car on the church’s live feed/app. Technology!
The pastor was saying that the Bible speaks against homosexuality at least 8 times in the old and new testament and how Christians should be against gay marriage based on the Bible, and not based on a civil rights issue. If it’s based on the civil rights issue, then Christians are indeed bigoted, intolerant, and hateful, but if it’s based on the Bible, then it’s okay. (So, every Christian I know bases their lives on the Bible in theory, but is very much different in practice. Why is gay marriage the foremost issue to begin a return to Biblical values? I don’t know.) He then quoted President Obama in a way that wasn’t flattering (not surprising in a church that quotes Pat Buchanan as a good resource for the state of America)
and threw in a quote from the “gay agenda” many, many years ago about how the church can be undermined by making it appear that the church is hateful and intolerant while convincing the general population that gay might not be “good” but it can be “okay” as an alternative for some people. Apparently this was done with abortion and divorce, according to that gay spokesman. But churches today, from what I hear, teach that abortion and divorce are wrong, and aren’t God’s desired plan, but you ultimately answer for your own life choices. Churches also used to advocate for slavery in the South and against interracial marriage, so the church and her interpretations of Scripture are fluid but God’s Word is not. I can see how the gay agenda quote came (is coming) true, but, like, maybe if the church initially responded to gays in more love than “Ew! Ick!” things like an “agenda” wouldn’t have had to come into play.
Aside from my problems with the way that he interpreted the Bible speaking against gay sex and gay people under the assumption that everyone is straight and has a natural attraction to the opposite sex (which is not the case. [Also, no gay person anywhere has ever been asked to an orgy the way the angels were in Sodom and Gomorrah. Therefore, argument that the two cities were destroyed for homosexuality doesn’t ring true to me because it seems more like a demand for rape. On top of that, how can you have two cities full of gay people who kept repopulating…with…each other? Finally, Ezekiel said that Sodom was destroyed mainly for pride and greed.]), I also had problems with him saying that his sermon was in love but launching right in hammering away and using terms like deviant, unnatural, lustful, and showing examples of animalistic behavior which was in the sight of pagan gods at the time. As I know, and you probably know, being gay isn’t a choice, it’s natural for gays to be attracted to the same sex, and being gay is bigger than sex. Every passage I read about it in the Bible seems to speak to straight people who chose something different. He ended the sermon by saying that “struggling” with same sex attraction isn’t a choice and it’s real for people who have it and don’t want it, but owning it makes it come to light. Hiding isn’t the best idea. “Healing happens in the light.” I agree with this, but I also don’t want the word getting out that these people will 100% change their sexual preferences if they let the Lord take over and lead them. While the urges and sexual behaviors will change with Jesus, I’m 99% sure that your preference won’t change.
Another problem I had was with how he seemed to state that people who are gay are not saved and needed to accept Jesus and that Jesus would make everything okay. There was no advice for gay Christians aside from treating sexual behavior the way that straight single Christians should – pray to the Lord to keep down the urges so you don’t act on them until marriage (but gays aren’t supposed to get married…but polyamorists, people of other [or no] religions, financial opportunists, etc. are allowed to get married and no one is loving their spouse as Christ loves the church 100% of the time. But I’m sleep, tho…).
I mean, I agree with that approach, but that’s just for sex. Like I said, being gay is more than just sex. But you think that being gay is just about sex if you think it’s a choice and something that can more easily be cut off like a drug, gambling, alcohol, gossip, slander, profanity “issue”.
It was like the sermon was geared toward straight people to equip them with what they need to witness to gays and realize that gay sex is a sin like straight sex outside of marriage is a sin, and it is equal with other sins. I give him credit for saying that, at least. He cautioned straight people against thinking like Pharisees – “Thank you, God, that I’m not like them.” No, we’re all messed up. If straight people are going to go out and start witnessing to gay people, they need to go further than the advice of the sermon before they get their faces beaten in. I like what one pastor of a satellite campus is doing – actually reading the Bible and books on the topic and engaging gay people to see why exactly “ex-gay” therapies and all the fasting, praying, and Bible reading possible under Heaven isn’t working for most people…and why those who do get married to someone of the opposite sex wind up divorced 20 years later, admitting that they never overcame their desires. While they never acted on them, the feelings didn’t go away as they proclaimed. With only 3% of the American population being gay, it’s not like it’s a large number of people who are. No one gay is choosing to be gay. Believe me, if it could be taken away, I guarantee you that 99% or more of gay people would have chosen that option when they had their first gay thought…at 5.
So, the sermon was a good starting point for reaching out, but it’s like it was a 25% effort at reaching the finish line. The young adult pastor who left the church years ago hit the finish line and went beyond it with his sermon on the same topic. The problem now is that while I like that my church doesn’t shy away from controversial current issue topics unless they come up in Scripture, they also don’t harp on those topics, so we won’t see this again until something comes up about it again in the Bible.
The Senior Pastor even said he doesn’t plan on speaking on it anytime soon, meaning probably for months or over a year. So, I guess the church will stay at the 25% starting line, but I applaud those who show love and truth to the gay Christians (and non-Christians) in their midst. For those following Sunday’s advice, I say start there but definitely go further with your 75% effort and actually engage gay people in love and not so much focus on “change, Change, CHANGE!” because they just might be hungry and need food to eat that day, not words. Just as you would for a homeless person, drug addict, or prostitute you want to get saved. Also, some gay people are already saved; some are searching for a way to live life according to God knowing that nothing has changed; others hate themselves because they are gay. Take some time to get to know someone as a person and don’t lump gays all together as deviant sinners who are driven by lust and orgasms.