Many people question why I, as a christian, can support same-sex marriage, and show tolerance to my gay friends. I have had very heated discussions in recent months with people in the Church who as yet have failed to provide a single bit of evidence to support their bigotry. They point to Leviticus, or other texts from the Bible, and likewise I ask them how come they focus on those texts and not the ones that apply equally to them.
One of my best mates , the one who brought me back to Christianity pointed me to this article, written by a Seventh Day Adventist about why he is pro-Gay. It is pretty much in line with my thinking:
For some in our denomination there seems to be no hard questions. They take the position that, if you are gay, you are not welcome in our church. For me, it is not nearly so easy. There are too many people that I love who are gay. They did not choose to be gay. Most have fought it long and hard, prayed and struggled, wrestled with God, shed tears of despair.
The second stance some Christians take is that gays should just be celibate. Really? In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul tells us that celibacy is best because it allows an individual to put all of one’s time and energy into kingdom activities. He continues, however, to acknowledge that we were born with strong God-given sexual desires and that, for many, perhaps most of us, our desires have the potential to destroy us and so he recommends marriage as the antidote. But, according to some, marriage is apparently not an option either.
The third position is that they can change. Some can and some have, but most have not and cannot. Sexual identity is so deeply embedded in our core that it takes a rare miracle to change it. Could any of us straight people hope or pray our way out of our sexual identity? For reasons that we do not understand, God seems, more often than not, to choose not to reorient this core element.
From that you can easily see why I support same-sex marriage. But there are those who condemn, how should we deal with that:
Exactly how the church should respond to the gay “dilemma” is something about which I am terribly conflicted. I trust Scripture, which seems to condemn homosexual behavior and, yet, even there it seems to be condemned in the context of licentious, hedonistic circumstances. Everyone who walks into a church is a sinner. We have come to a place where we treat sexual sin between men and women with great care and compassion, but somehow homosexuality is seen as a special sin beyond redemption.
This is the dilemma…the ones who scream the loudest about dirty poofs are often hiding sins of their own, they point the finger but there are three pointing back at them if they think closely about the dynamics of finger-pointing.
There are some things I am convinced of:
- Jesus loves people! In 2 Peter 3:9 it says “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (NIV). I take this seriously. I believe that Jesus loves gays; Jesus demonstrated over and over again that he loved the least of these. I am convinced there is a special place in the heart of Jesus for those who are gay.
- I am called to love all people. I am called to be a safe place to come to as Jesus was safe for the woman caught in adultery, for demon possessed men, women and children, for cripples, for Gentiles. I must love, in particular, those whom others do not.
- I am convinced that, as a church, we ought to provide a place where the gay community can come to find Jesus. Currently I have a young-adult friend who is struggling with his identity. He was born into a fine Adventist family, raised in our churches and schools. I believe that, if he is going to find Jesus or stay with Jesus, he will have to do that in a place that is not Adventist. I don’t want this to be the case, but what else can I do except recommend a more more gay friendly environment? While I want him to remain a part of our Adventist family, I am not sure he will be welcome. More than anything, I want him to be a part of the kingdom of heaven and, if it takes another church, I will rejoice that, at least, I will see him in heaven and not drive him into the arms of Satan.
I too am convinced of those three things and it is why I support same-sex marriage and welcoming all sinners to the church. Building walls and edifices is so catholic…that isn’t what Jesus wanted.