stripped of everything

Homosexuality: How Should We Respond?

with 13 comments

This is going to be a long post, but please read it.
I was reading a Relevant Magazine about Injustices of the world.
One of the questions that were asked was, How Should We as Christians Respond to Homosexuality.
To answer these questions, they pulled in seven christian leaders;

  • Nancy Ortberg
  • N.T. Wright
  • Cindy Jacobs
  • Steve Brown
  • Chuck Colson
  • Brian Mclaren
  • Shane Claiborne

    I want to just pull Shane’s response for all to read…

    …….I had all these ideas about “homosexuality,” “civil union” and “gay” when I was in high school. Then I met a kid who was attracted to other men, and he told me he felt God had made mistake when He made him and that he wanted to kill himself. If that brother can’t find a home in the Church, then I wonder, who have we become? But I would also say it doesn’t mean we talk around the issue.
    …….We need to be able to disagree well, and maybe one of our biggest witnesses to the larger society is that we as a Church can disagree well. Even if we don’t agree on every issue, if we can disagree well, then I think that is something beautiful. I just talked to the national gathering of the United Methodists, and they’re thinking of splitting over this issue. To me, that is heart-wrenching. If we are able to have a healthier understanding of sexuality and to celebrate singleness as well as marriage and family, then we can transcend some of this. How can we as a church created a place that’s safe for people to experience intimacy and love, that doesn’t say the only path God could have for you is to have a husband and wife and two-and-a-half kids? It’s so scandalous that there are these heterosexual, married [couples] pointing fingers and saying gay folks are breaking up our families. Evangelicals are surpassing the divorce rate of secular society, and yet we’re accusing gay folks of breaking up the family, while all of them want to get married. I want to create communities where we can have a healthy conversation and not just point fingers and excommunicate people who disagree with us.

    When I read this today, Shane affirmed everything that I had been feeling after writing THIS post, and reading the responses.

    What’s your response to Shane?

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  • Written by vagabondrunn

    November 14, 2008 at 12:34 am

    13 Responses

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    1. fantastic words from shane.

      our church is an urban church and we deal with this subject constantly.

      the cliche is “speak the truth in love” and i don’t think there’s a better way to handle it. the reality is that you can’t avoid it and it’s hardly Christian to have any response other than compassion.

      think of the woman at the well. imagine it was the gay guy at the well. everybody knows. everybody has that tinge of fear/anger/guilt/hate/whatever when they walk past him. everybody says “i’m glad that’s not me!” and everybody thinks “this scum is going to wreck our way of life”. how does Jesus respond? he rebukes the sin but offers a way out. he offers life. why don’t we do the same?

      i wouldn’t go to a Church that condoned sin. but i also wouldn’t go to a Church that turns sinners away. why would they turn away a homosexual but not me? i’m a sinner too.

      so i think our response needs to be twofold. first, love people. that’s it. no matter their sins and struggles. Church should be a safe, loving place where we all feel like we’re in the fight together. second, study and speak of God’s truths. we should help each other seek God’s will for our lives. not our will, not our wishes, but God’s will as written in scripture.

      ps – nice to meet you @ heather’s party recently! look us up if y’all make it back to atlanta!



      November 14, 2008 at 10:47 am

    2. kyle, bob and i have been discussing this as well and i don’t think there is an easy answer. i know you’re not looking for one, but i’m not sure how i feel about what shane has to say.

      here’s where we are in our thought process on this:

      while it’s nice that homosexuals want to marry, that’s not how God defines the relationship. it’s really not relevant that heterosexuals are divorcing; it’s a separate issue and it’s scapegoating and stupid to say that homosexuals wanting to marry is what’s destroying families. it’s sin that’s destroying families and the lives of these men and women who are pursuing a lifestyle that is contrary to God’s teaching.

      i want homosexuals to feel comfortable to attend my church–and i’m sure there are some who do–i don’t know how to deal with their desire to remain in their sin and have me accept it. however, in the next breath i have to say that there is sin that i am caught in that i’m not doing much to get away from, so how do we deal with both groups and not have a double standard? trying to create a loving, accepting, challenge-to-change environment is not the same as welcoming homosexual couples with no strings attached.

      i’m wanting to delete this whole thing and not comment at all, but i’m going to leave it and trust you’ll inquire further–as i’d like to do with shane claiborne–if something i’ve said is unclear or misleading or offensive.

      ps…i didn’t read adam’s comments until after i’d written mine, and he is saying what i’m saying but more succinctly. this is a very tough issue and one that will take years of trust from both parties to see to a God-honoring end.


      November 14, 2008 at 11:27 am

    3. I think the view on homosexuality for the church should be love. Jesus calls us to love Him and love others. Out of our love, we should desire to see people turn from “sin.” That’s where we get this whole “speaking the truth in love” stuff. Many of our Christian organizations like to refer to this as “care-fronting.” The thing is, when we “speak the truth in love” we’re often overlooking our own brokenness and sin in order to focus on “them”. I wish the church was as vocal about adultery, gluttony, pride, etc as it is about homosexuality and abortion. The bottomline is that Jesus loves homosexuals just as much as he loves me. And, the whole judging others and speaking the truth in love is really reserved for the church…meaning that we don’t judge those outside the walls…we aren’t called to hold non-Christians accountable for their actions. We are called to share God’s love with them. Then, if they come into a relationship with Jesus, we begin to work on the accounatibility part.

      But, I think, maybe instead of focusing on “speaking the truth in love” and being so vocal on ones stance about homosexuality, the church should focus on extending love and meeting the needs of the community in practical and tangible ways. We can’t just tell someone that homosexuality (or any other offense) is a sin and expect them to change. We have to show them there is a better way.

      I serve in the United Methodist church. I believe our view on homosexuality is very thoughtful. It says that our church is open to all, regardless of race, sex, orientation, etc. It says that all are in need of grace and salvation. It does say that, while we are open to all people, we see homosexuality as being incompatible with Scripture. Of course, we also see many other sins, moral, and social issues as incompatible with Scripture.

      Love and meaningful relationships have to be the solid foundation that we begin a reconciling ministry with homosexuals and the church.


      November 14, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    4. The issue raises the question of authority, a question that unfortunately we don’t get at very well in the church. How do theology, psychology, philosophy, and biology relate to one another? Is there a “pecking order” among them? My own denomination is falling apart over this issue and our conversation over homosexuality is largely just people talking past one another. We have yet to answer the question: is erotic desire constitutive of human identity? The air we breathe in our culture is going to say “of course!” Can the church say “We don’t believe in heterosexuality or homosexuality”?


      November 14, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    5. 1 corinthians 6:9-10. It’s a sin. It’s wrong. God doesn’t like it…He put it in His Holy Word for all to read. It’s listed with sin that I myself commit. It’s wicked…I was wicked and would not inherit the Kingdom of God. But then I “was washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit.” So i mean..I know that I am guilty of doing what the Bible calls “wicked” things. But I am in the process of sanctification. I accept my wrong doing and seek the Lord. And I am still loved and accepted as a person by members of my church…but I would hope any wicked act I do would not be. Person yes. action no. God loves us..but He looks aways from the wickedness we do. I feel like people struggling with homosexuality and people who embrace homosexuality should be loved and accepted as people by the church. However…embracing and accepting what God calls wicked is unhealthy for anyone’s spiritual walk. People struggling are on the right track…they are seeking the Lord. But people who are completely comfortable exercising what the Holy Bible says is wicked..i dont know what to think about that. Truthfully, I want to love God and though I may stumble, I strive to love Him. And unless I am completely ignorant of something wicked in my life, I will always at least be a little convicted when doing something wicked…I could never fully embrace and believe in it. Hopefully it’s not weird that a complete stranger is posting on your blog. 🙂 have a nice weekend!


      November 14, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    6. forgot to sign that comment..its justme Lindsay
      and by complete stranger i meant we have not talked in almost a whole year. hope you’ve been well!


      November 14, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    7. I don’t think the Church should respond, honestly. The church doesn’t really respond to smoking, consumerism, gluttony, and other things that don’t exactly glorify God. I still would argue that something got lost in Biblical translation as far as homosexuality goes, but that is neither here nor there. I believe that the Church should encourage people on their journeys toward Jesus but leave some of those deeply personal things between God and the person affected.


      November 14, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    8. @Jill Thanks for the comment. My first, and only, response at this moment is, do you think just because the church doesn’t respond to smoking, consumerism, and gluttony in some cases, does it mean that the church SHOULD NOT respond in some fashion? I’m not stating that this is or isn’t what I believe, but merely creating more dialogue to help with the constant division that is brought to the church over this issue. Thanks!


      November 14, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    9. My church just finished a 4-week series called “Consumed,” hitting the scriptural instructions to base a budget on tithing, saving and living, in that order. So strike the “consumerism” off the list of topics not covered in church today.

      I think Shane missed the point. Truth is truth, and we can’t pick the verses that fit our needs and ignore those that rebuke us. Christ gave us all a way out by paying the debt on the cross, and the Word is clear on the requirement to turn from our “wicked ways”. But if we repent, yet keep doing that specific sin, we haven’t really repented, have we. The Bible also says in 1 John 3 that no one who has been born of God can keep on sinning, because God’s seed is in us. That doesn’t mean we will never sin again, but it does mean that the Holy Spirit inside us will stir against us when we’re tempted, and convict us when we do sin.

      This is a very difficult subject, because there are some folks out there who want it both ways – they want to ignore the verses that call the homosexual actions “detestable,” yet still want to be forgiven. The challenge is accepting the fact that the Bible says the action is wrong, as are many other actions (lying, cheating, stealing, adultery, murder, etc). We must love every unsaved person, as Christ loved us, and show them that we are all guilty of sin, and that God is blameless and requires us to be “covered by the blood” of Jesus before we can enter heaven. Notice, the lack of the word “homosexual” in that previous sentence.

      There’s a difference between disagreeing over procedural issues of the worship services and disagreements over which parts of the Bible are Truth. It sounds to me like one faction of the UM church believes the “action” goes against the Word of God, and the other side believes it’s ok, thus they have become unequally yoked. If a 2-engine plane is flying and one engine catches fire, the pilot won’t let it continue to burn, for the rest of the plane is in jeopardy. He extinguishes the fire, flys on one engine and lands. Sometimes, it takes cutting someone off for them to have their eyes opened to Truth.


      November 17, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    10. Thought you might appreciate this editorial written by a Christian singer/sonwriter who struggles with homosexuality –

      Ray and Clay are Gay. How Should Christians Respond?

      Brian Bates

      Singer/songwriter Brian Bates has been candid about struggling with homosexuality early in his life. Because of the recent gay marriage amendments in many states as well as revelations from Clay Aiken and popular Christian artist Ray Boltz, Brian has been approached by both fans and media to give his take on how Christians should respond. He offers the following editorial:

      Two prominent artists, Ray Boltz and Clay Aiken, “came out of the closet” recently. Given my background and passion on the subject, I’ve had several inquiries recently asking me how I would respond and what I would say to them. I offer these suggestions:

      I’d sit down with them, having left my agenda at home
      I’d tell them my favorite songs of theirs
      I’d get to know them
      I’d ask them about their journey with God
      I’d share mine
      If it was still going well at this point, then:

      I’d compare notes about how we arrived at different conclusions of God’s take on our sexuality
      I’d ask if they have truly submitted their sexuality to God, like I’ve had to do, like we all should do
      I’d agree to disagree

      A few magazines featured me recently, asking me to give their young readers some “tips” on how to respond to the gay issue. That seems to be the big question I always get: “How do I respond to homosexuality?” To that I say – focus on the person more than the issue.

      If you know someone who lives a homosexual lifestyle, it helps to determine how they describe themselves. Do they say they are “gay?” Or do they call it a “struggle?” That helps to know how to respond. Either way, if you know someone who struggles with their gender identity…

      Don’t debate. Put aside an argumentative spirit and any need to be right. That doesn’t win people’s trust.

      Don’t be a know-it-all. Be a good listener. Learn. Get in their shoes the best you can.

      Focus on spirituality not sexuality. We all need and desire a relationship with God. Bottom-line.

      Be kind. “It’s God’s kindness that leads to repentance.” Let people experience the kindness of God through you. Let God take care of the convicting part, in His timing.

      Be honest. Don’t act like you have it all together. Tell them about your own struggles and uncertainties. That helps others open up.
      Be a friend. Invite them to stuff, have fun, earn trust over time. Don’t treat anyone like a charity case.

      Meet their needs. If homosexuality is truly about what I believe it is — legit same-sex needs simply being met in the wrong way — then you can be a part of meeting those needs in the right way. Cool huh?

      If you’re not sure… WWJD? Study the Gospels. Watch Jesus’ life and how he dealt with people, both the “in crowd” (religious people) and the “out crowd” (sick people, outcasts, etc). Live like that.

      Anyone who knows me and my life story knows that I am not soft on this issue. I have a traditional biblical perspective on homosexuality, believing it is not God’s intent or design and therefore homosexual behavior is sin. And if you know my story, you also know my turnaround started with the relentless compassion of a Christian friend. She put aside the moral debate and appealed to my need for God. That turned my heart towards home, back to a loving Father that I could trust enough to rethink my sexuality and take my narrow path. After all, it is God’s kindness that leads to repentance.

      Brian Bates’ latest CD, Worlds Collide, was given a four out of five star rating by Christian Music Today and has been called the “most pleasant musical surprise of the year.”


      November 19, 2008 at 9:28 am

    11. Bravo, NobodySpecial. Spot on!

      “Focus on spirituality not sexuality. We all need and desire a relationship with God. Bottom-line. “


      November 19, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    12. […] of the graphic design artist search and preparing my replies to some great comments left below on THIS post. It’s not too late to jump in the […]

    13. here’s the truth. we all sin. every single one of us. dirty, gross sinners. whether we struggle with idolatry, jealousy, homosexuality, or any other sin, we sin. we are all in desperate need of a savior. His name is Jesus and He came to set the captives free. But we cannot be freed if we aren’t convinced we are in bondage.
      i am not saying that homosexuality is a “worse” sin. the thing is we have to call sin, sin. and while i get that people do not choice their sexual orientation, i think its important to say that we are all born in sin.
      the problem is when we say that the Bible isn’t the authority. the problem is when we don’t take God at His Word.
      do we really believe that He can radically change anyone’s life, but not meet them in this sin, that He cannot redeem sexuality?

      what kind of God is that? how small do we think He is?


      November 20, 2008 at 7:00 pm

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