Abductive Columns

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Discrimination: How Should We Respond?

I'm praying that a young man will come to know the love of God, to see his need for Jesus, and begin the process of turning from sin. I don’t believe any of us fully recognize the degree of sin in our lives.

No matter what a person's sin, we don't start by trying to fix the sin. We begin with the gospel. And whether I'm homosexual or heterosexual one thing is for certain. We're all in need of a Savior and Jesus is looking for recognition of that.

Yet there is still antagonism toward ‘churches’ today because they are seen as oppressive, homophobic institutions. I love God's people but I'm also brave enough to stand tall and admit that at times the church has been homophobic, unjust, and downright mean.

Do we extend grace to the people who have tasted the pain of divorce? Do we show grace to people who are divorced and remarried, an area Jesus specifically called sin? If so, then how do we not show grace to people in a sexual relationship that Jesus never mentions?

If we're going to stamp out the lingering antagonism and have any legitimacy to speak out on the issue of marriage, it will have to come out of the reality of our lives, not simply our doctrine.

Is the church brave enough to step out of the box and champion the call for justice on behalf of gay and lesbian people? As long as we stand up and say, "Landlords have the right to discriminate against you with housing," it's difficult to say convincingly, "But we love you in the name of Jesus."

To show the love of God we must stand up for the civil rights of those whose orientation is homosexual on the basis of discrimination. When we stand with them they'll see us as their friend. It's not compromise, neither is it a statement that says we have bought into homosexual eroticism. We simply recognize that discrimination is wrong and stand with them on the matter.

When we minister to this growing population of God's creation, in that setting, and on their turf, we're going to be surrounded by people not living the biblical ideal. I don't affirm that, but neither do I condemn them.


At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Greg Taylor said...

I want all of us to start getting to know homosexuals . . . and others who have been marginalized and excluded in our culture, who are crying out for a voice.

Jesus came to proclaim good news to the poor, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and gay and lesbians fit within this mission, and I believe Christ is the liberator of them all.

Are we going to sit around and debate this or do what we know is right and begin to truly interact, get to know those we know to be homosexuals, and be hosted by them in their spaces and learn to invite them into ours without condemnation but genuine love and conversation about what being formed into the image of Christ means for a heterosexual and for a homosexual.

Both require us not to sexualize those who we see whether in person in an airport, in the post office, or on the internet. Both require us to be chaste and allow God to rule our sexual lives.

I truly believe we can't just think a homosexual can leap from point A to Z immediately. How do we invite people into our midst without immediately slamming them but calling them beyond and into purity with God and others?

Several great organizations have been pointing and acting this direction in last decade. One is Exodus International. We featured them and an article by Chris Anderson (Lynn A's son), who ministers and counsels with homosexuals and those struggling with sexual identity, in a Wineskins article a few years ago. Issue title is "Sex and the City of God."

Thank you, Fred, for these abductive and courageous words.


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