privilege, homosexuality and the church

Opinions are nothing new to me.

I have one or two. You may have even heard some of them.

The reality however is that I have a load of opinions, like most people, that I don’t share. I keep them to myself. Some are long held, some new and emerging, but ultimately there are few that I share widely.

I choose not to for a whole host of reasons.

A question my mother would often ask me, “to what end?” comes up a lot. Why would I share this opinion? Why would I engage with this person? Best case scenario what happens? What’s likely to happen?

Does me getting into an argument help at all?

That’s why I keep the vast majority of my opinions to myself. It’s just an argument waiting to happen and frankly, I don’t like arguing. I LOVE discussing, but as we all know arguing and discussion are profoundly different. I love to be pushed and to be challenged, but only if it’s a two way street. I have little interest in getting yelled at.

A good friend of mine brought forward and interesting idea this weekend that I haven’t been able to shake. In part because he’s right and I was wrong. I REALLLLLLLLLY hate being wrong. But also because it shows within me how much more growth I need. How, despite all I’ve tried to learn, I’m still so wildly unprepared, uneducated and unware.

This was, as many of my conversations are now, one about privilege. Specifically all the privileges I get to have and the broader implications of that privileges I don’t even see.

This was, as many of my more personal conversations are now, about church, its structure, members and vast implications I see in all of those pieces.

It was a discussion on homosexuality in the church.

Point blank, I said to him that I just don’t really care. That’s been my long standing belief on it. It may be a sin, it may not. I just don’t care. At least in the broadest sense of the discussion.

Partly its because there are few things I will say unequivocally, without context or in relationships, are black and white. Unless I can see clear teaching and action the life of Jesus, I’m going to hedge my bets as it were and put some really careful and often very malleably edges on my belief.

Homosexuality absolutely does not fall in to an area that I see any clear teaching from Jesus on. We argue about sin all the time, but few “sins” force the type of opinions, division and othering that LGBTQ beliefs do.

It’s not that I’m apathetic, but I just don’t really care that much about defining sin for other people. Especially people I don’t know.

Frankly, I’m wildly uninterested in the discussion outside of a relationship. The idea of creating an overarching belief on something like this, to me, is a huge miss. This needs relationship because it’s so ambiguous. In a relationship I could, if invited in, support someone struggling to see what is and is not sin in their life. I don’t think all sin is the same for all people and I don’t think making strong unwavering stances on sin is helpful or life giving.

I do however have strong unwavering stances on what our response to sin is.

Love and grace.

Should being gay preclude someone form leadership? No more than being involved in a corporation that uses people as tools and denies their humanity should.

Or perhaps less ambiguously, no.

Should being gay preclude someone from fellowship and involvement in our churches? No more than being divorced, drinking, dancing, swearing and love of secular music should.

Which again is to say it should not.

I just can’t see how we can have the stance so many of us take on homosexuality and not start to kick everyone, everywhere out of church.

If it’s sin, fine, but you sin too and in ways that are obvious and you’re choosing not to change. We all do. We are all unrepentant sinners in one blatant way or another.

And that’s assuming you can make the argument homosexuality is a sin, which is absolutely not clear.

Bruxy Cavey has said a few times in his sermons that you don’t get points for being more conservative than God. While I would never mean to speak for him and he didn’t use is in the context of a discussion of homosexuality the idea came to mind. In my own way I’d say, we don’t get points with God for finding more ways to keep people away from his love. We don’t get to show God how much we love him by how much we exclude and push others further away.

When I look at the idea of homosexuality, like so many things for me, the relational context and fruit of that relationship need to be examined.

Are all marriages good? Absolutely not. Some are sinful. So are all marriages sinful, no.

Is one of the complementarian or egalitarian approaches to marriage the right and the other way sinful? It depends on the relationship, because some in both camps are absolutely sinful approaches to what God intended.

What is the fruit is the question for me and to see fruit we need relationships. Ideally long standing relationship founded on love.

So is homosexuality a sin, always without qualification, needing no context or relational understanding? I can’t go there. It’s just not that clear.

So how does this relate to my conversation this weekend and privilege.

Well this opinion is not new to me. I’ve had it for a while.

It was however made very clear to me the only reason I can say I don’t really care if it is a sin or not, is because I’m a straight white male. The only reason I can hold tight to my opinion is because I could not be in a more privileged position within the church. It’s a privilege I get to not even need to form an opinion on this let alone share it, let alone need to constantly defend it.

It’s a privilege that I am not daily questioned, labeled and judged by the community that is supposed to most closely represent Christ.

So I will say this.

I see this debate drive people from church and from Christ. Feeling that they cannot be a Christian if they are gay or that the church has no space for them.

I have no reservations about saying you can be a Christian and be gay.

Church is a space for the outcast, broken, and those on the fringes. The sad reality is in to many cases, we as the church have made sure there are more outcast than less, kicked the broken when they are down and said to those on the fringes “your still way to close to us.” I am honestly worried that we have done more to create brokenness and outcasts in those who are desperately looking for Christ than we have to draw them in and show them any kind of real love and grace.

So it’s been my privilege that’s let me stay silent, but with that same privilege, and power that comes with it I do state, unequivocally;

Anywhere I have a say all are welcome to Christ’s church, as they are, no asterisk.

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One thought on “privilege, homosexuality and the church

  1. Pingback: why you should never defend Jesus | love.grow.serve

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