My mother and I had an interesting conversation over the past weekend. It started with talking about my blogging and, of course, eventually narrowed down to one topic that seems to recurr on this blog: Homosexuality. One must first understand that my parents are staunch conservatives, and my father used to be an associate pastor at a church that left the Mennonite brotherhood because they (that church) couldn’t support the Mennonite association’s gay activism.
My mother kept arguing that we have to be careful about making it sound like sin is “okay”. I, of course, responded that simply having a homosexual orientation can’t possibly be seen as sinful, as having a heterosexual orientation isn’t inherently sinful. My mom reiterated that regardless of one’s orientation one makes a choice on how to behave. And I said, “of course, but think about it from the point of view of the homosexuals. What are their real choices?”
The discussion progressed. We talked about sinfulness in general and how people hear stories about gay men being kicked out of churches but you rarely hear stories about people being booted for being gossips, lazy, or selfish. My mom conceded that point, but also told a story about a woman who she knew of being asked to leave a particular body for being disruptive.
That’s when things started to get really interesting- because I have been around at the inception of people’s questioning their sexuality, and almost ALL of mom’s experiences with homosexuality has been on the other side- homosexuals who have happily chosen to swallow their sexuality and live a straight lifestyle, right down to getting vocal coaching so they don’t “sound” gay.
I explained to Mom the damage done by treating a sexual orientation as if it’s sinful, by being so dreadfully black and white, by making people feel as if they will be judged simply by having questions. Mom conceded my point but asked at what point do we push the issue, do we force the question of holiness?
This is where the title of my post comes into play. I asked:
Consider that a gay man comes to your church because he’s curious about God. And you welcome him, and start him on his journey. Consider that you do not force conviction but instead seek to show him love and soften his heart, and God starts convicting him. He changes his attitude towards money, starts spending less and donating to Charities. He starts volunteering his time. He starts to be more loving. He starts to treat his partner better. He starts to be less angry, less aggressive, more gentle. He shares Jesus with his friends and some of them start attending, and they form a small group which does a lot of good in the community. And his friends, their lives start changing.
In all of this time, in all of the good that is done and all of the evidence of God speaking to this man’s heart, in all of his seeking God, he is never convicted of his homosexuality or his choice to be in a gay partnership being wrong.
At what point do you reject him? At what point do you say, “be straight or get out?”
Or do you trust in his love for God, and let it lay?
Mom never answered the question, and she left the conversation feeling like I’m dangerously liberal- but we both agreed on one thing. The Church has blood on it’s hands- and the way it approaches the issue of sinfulness needs to change.