Monday, June 15, 2015

How Does the Church Love - Even When We Don't Have All the Answers?

 Imagine, if you will, it's summer break and this teacher, although busy with a lot of items on her to-do list, has a little more free time than she does during the school year.  She would be reading new books, pursuing hobbies, relaxing at the pool, right?  Nope.  This girl spent the morning watching a gay video.  Not what you're thinking.  I came across a video that shows a debate between two gay men who are both Christians.  I know, lots of you have turned and run at this point.  PLEASE stay.  I promise, it will be so good.  It makes no difference what your views are on homosexuality or gay marriage.  Both of these things exist and we need to learn how to handle them as a church.  So, in a debate there are two sides.  In this debate, one man believes that gay marriage is acceptable in the sight of God and one does not.  Both give the reasons for their conclusions, and although it may not sound like it, it is riveting.

Facebook is such a funny place.  Most of my fb friends are people that I don't know well enough or see often enough to have deep, philosophical conversations with.  But, by seeing what they post on Facebook and seeing which of my posts they "like", I have a pretty good feel for where most of my friends stand on many issues.  I have some friends who will "like" almost everything I post, but when I post about that one certain issue, never a like from them.  It's kind of fascinating.  I am here to tell you today, whether you like any of the posts or links I've put on Facebook about homosexuality, this video should be required viewing for every member of the church.  You can walk away having the same beliefs you have now and that's fine.  But you will not walk away unchanged, I promise you.  And that goes for people on both sides of the gay marriage issue.

This debate between Justin Lee and Wesley Hill is the best example of disagreeing in love that I have ever seen.  What if all Christians approached their disagreements in such a loving and thoughtful way?  The world would definitely view us differently.  And they go beyond just the issue of gay marriage.  If the church decides that it's wrong, does that mean any nonsexual but romantic same-sex relationship is wrong too?  After all, the bible never addresses this specifically.  Christians believe that sex before marriage is wrong, but we don't believe that romance outside of marriage is wrong.  Can this be true for gay couples as well?  Or are they destined to spend their lives without romance?  Is it wrong for two men who are romantically attracted to each other to hold hands?  If so, why?  How does the church help gay members who are struggling with these issues?  Such a fascinating conversation - things I know I had never really thought of before.

If I could tie up every Christian in the world and force them to sit down and watch this video, I would.  I believe this issue is so important and the way the church is dealing with it is to just say no.  That's about as helpful here as it was with drugs in the 80's.  It's so much more complex than that.  I am not out to change anyone's mind - just to show that it's more complicated than most of us straight folks ever imagined.  Easy for us to say it's wrong, and our lives go on.  But it is a life sentence for many of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  How do we help and support them?

I can't tie you up and force you to watch.  I can only beg and promise that you will be challenged and moved.  It is two hours long, and even I realize that that is a bit of a time commitment.  About the same as watching a movie, but there are no car chases or shirtless Bradley Cooper's to make the time pass quickly.  So, I will make a couple of suggestions.  At the beginning is an introduction and a lot of blah, blah, blah, (that I actually found interesting) that could be skipped - although it does set up the context of the debate.  The debate starts with Wesley Hill making his arguments against gay marriage.  He has 10 minutes (but I think he goes a little over that).  It is interesting, but most of us have heard these arguments before so if you want to skip over that part, it's understandable.  If you want to hear Justin Lee's arguments in support of gay marriage, skip ahead to about 40 minutes in.  This is single-handedly the most powerful argument I've ever heard in support of accepting homosexuality in the church.  He goes a little under 10 minutes.  Again, you don't have to agree with him, but whenever you take a stance I think it is so important to listen to, and really hear, the other side.  Then share your disagreements in love.  The best part of the whole video starts at about 53 minutes.  This is when the two sit down and talk about what they agree on and what they disagree about and ask questions of each other.  Wow!

Now, stop what you're doing, and go to the link below.  Let's get this thing right, church.  Let's talk about how to do that.


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