Equal… Right?

Today, I read a new report about Jim Wallis, who is the head of Sojourners and is affiliated with the Red Letter Christian movement. He has come out in favor of same sex marriage. This of course will cause waves in the Evangelical world but I think there is some crucial stuff that is said that might get overlooked.

The original article appeared here

“Marriage needs some strengthening. Let’s start with marriage, and then I think we have to talk about, now, how to include same-sex couples in that deeper understanding of marriage. I want a deeper commitment to marriage that is more and more inclusive, and that’s where I think the country is going.”

This is a conversation we need to be having, not just about same sex marriage but marriage in general. Marriage and traditional families are in trouble in this country and it’s not the fault of homosexuals wanting equal rights. Divorce rates continue to climb, plus you see more and more people who are choosing to co-habitat for a time rather than get married. This can cause deep problems in our society and it is right to have that conversation. Having been through a divorce myself I am more than aware of the statics about 2nd or more marriages I work very hard to keep my own marriage together and with communication and Gods grace we are doing very well.
But what Wallis said later in the same article was what I found really profound.
“On the issue of gay marriage, you can be supportive of same-sex couples being able to have the same benefits that straight couples have, but you can also be in favor of religious freedom for faith communities to figure this out in their own time, in their own scriptures, their own way. I don’t think they should be called ‘bigots’ if they are struggling with what the Bible says about this, or might we lose marriage because of this. … But calling each other names, we’ve got to stop doing that.”

The ‘both, and’ approach to Wallis’s thinking is striking here. There is a persistent myth in our country that ours was founded as a Christan nation, that we continue as a Christian nation to this day. It wasn’t and we don’t. What it seems many of the far right want is a form of theocracy, where we have a government where God is the head of everything. Being Christian myself, while I can empathize with why this is wanted it’s not what we would get. If we tried to become a theocracy what we’d have is one or more cults of personality rising up and giving us what they believe to be THEIR version of how God would run things. This could lead to dangerous times for us indeed.
The USA is NOT a Christian nation therefor the laws that are established may not always reflect Christian ethics. Regardless of our personal views there is no reason why people in same sex relationships should not be allowed to be married. But there is a deeper problem than that.
The deeper conversation that is going on is whether or not homosexuality is a sin, whether or not someone can be both gay and a Christian and the eternal end point for those who are practicing homosexuals. This is where I think both sides need to use caution. I’ll be frank I don’t know whether or not homosexuality is considered a sin or not. I see verses in the bible that certainly lead one to believe that the act of homosexuality isn’t the way that God intended for sex to be and that certainly gives one pause when trying to address this subject. But in this day and age even expressing the possibility of the act being a sin gets one labeled a bigot, narrow minded or worse.
I remain agnostic about it, I do know that no sin can keep Christ’s love out of our lives except our own refusal to follow him. We will all die sinners but because of Christ God will not see his chosen as such. Can a gay person be saved? Absolutely.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us – Rom 5:8
I would press that God would address individual sin through the process of sanctification, and if homosexuality is indeed a sin than it would be addressed in God’s time not ours.  Will gay people go to hell? I remain agnostic about the topic of hell, there way in which the afterlife is depicted in the bible isn’t clear enough to understand fully where we will go, who all will be in which place and how long the duration will be. There are stark warnings about going ones own way and not following Christ and I think we need to take heed of those and take them seriously but we must be careful in our speculation.
Above all I think we as Christians need to continue to seek the heart of God in all of this and pray that the holy spirit lead us into love for all people. That doesn’t mean that we have to accept compromise but it does mean that we’ll have to be kinder in our dealings with it.

1 Comment

  1. […] the church as a whole has dropped the ball on the homosexual debate I’ve written about this elsewhere so I won’t into too much detail here but I believe we have put entirely too much emphasis on […]

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