Love First- “the most important question”

because I’m a hideous tease.  (And very proud of my work.)

“The most important question here is whether or not you think homosexuality is sin”, the comment read.

I’d written an ‘open letter’ to the Church on my blog. In that letter I described a few things I’d witnessed as a Christian and how I felt that Christianity’s ostracizing homosexuals was hindering Jesus’s work. Throughout the entire body of the letter I never once said that homosexual acts were not sinful- just that having the sexual orientation in and of itself could not be seen as sinful.

Forty or so of the people who commented agreed with me wholeheartedly- many of them Christians of an “aberrant sexual orientation” who were blessedly relieved to hear a heterosexual Christian girl take up their defense.

Ten or so of the people who commented were so vehemently opposed to the idea of taking a more accepting stance towards homosexuals that they accused me- a devoted Christian- of being blindingly deceived by the devil. What I found the most interesting about this exchange was that the gays who commented didn’t seem the least bit put off by the fact that I didn’t say that homosexual acts weren’t sinful. All they cared about was the fact that I said that sin didn’t bar you from knowing God’s love or otherwise Christ’s sacrifice was for naught. I treated them as an equal, and that evoked a very warm and positive response. Even from atheists! (Or, perhaps, especially from atheists and agnostics, who lauded my “lack of Christian hypocrisy”.)

What really, really dug into me was the fact that my fellow Christians seemed to think that because I didn’t rail against homosexuals, I must not have faith. Or I must not have the right kind of faith. Or, at the very least, that the issue of my own faith was now open for discussion. But I could take that with a grain of salt, as none of them knew me personally.

So what I took issue with the most was the opening statement of this book- “the most important thing here is whether or not you think homosexuality is sin.”

So, dear readers, let me tell you- the least important thing here is whether or not you think homosexuality is sin. The most important thing here is whether or not you think that people who fall out of the type of mainstream Christianity I’ve heard jokingly referred to as the “straight, white and narrow” are still people whom God loves. Does God love the gays? Does he want to have a relationship with transvestites and cross-dressers? Does he see punks and rockers as people he wants to redeem? When you go into the seedy underbelly of our world and see all of the people whom are farthest removed from our cozy suburbs and Sunday morning faith- are these people with whom we are still called to mission?

That is the most important question here. And just so we are as absolutely clear on it as we can be- I believe the answer is a gong-like resounding “YES.”

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20 thoughts on “Love First- “the most important question”

  1. Lindsay, my heart weeps with yours, because I know exactly what you are getting at.

    Homosexual acts ARE a sin according to the word of God.

    God loves all sinners, regardless of which sin it is, that includes all of us.

    BUT we cannot and must never use that argument as a license to allow practising homosexuals be in ministry or leadership positions within the Body of Christ, because that would go against God’s word. If a person, homosexual or not, who has committed or commits any sin or a regular basis does not genuinely repent and seeks God’s forgiveness and restoration, his or her sin will be publicly unveiled by God as He brings judgement upon that person. We are constantly hearing on the news about Christian men and women in leadership who have been carrying on in ministry whilst behind closed doors they were living in sin. We see examples of this in the Bible too. God will allow people like this to carry on in ministry, but their annointing will disappear and God will bring judgment upon them in His perfect timing.

    I am reading a superb book at the moment called “Second chances” by R. T. Kendall which discusses all of these issues. Here are a couple of extracts to wet your appetite:

    “The worst thing that can happen to a man is to succeed before he is ready”, R T Kendall is quoting someone else here but then goes on to say himself “therefore if a Christian reaches what would be called the pinnacle of “success” in the Church, and then succumbs to sexual temptation, it is tragic indeed. But if the kind of success that brings high profile is delayed until he has mastered his will, and manifests the fruit of the Spirit called self-control (Galatians 5:23), then he is likely to maintain his position and not bring embarrassment to the kingdom.
    But suppose you have already fallen? You may say, “It is too late for me.” Wrong. I say: if you will prove yourself to be truly humble, non-defensive and submissive to godly authority, and be very, very patient, it indicates that God is not finished with you yet. Who knows what greatness you have been destined for? I know this much, though. Sexual temptation is something we all must face and we must pass the test sooner or later if we are going to inherit what God has in mind for us.”

    This writer’s wisdom is God inspired and a joy to read. I really recommend this book.

    What is clear is: Who are we to put limits on who God can and cannot restore and draw to Himself? After all, Jesus contantly surrounded himself with sinners, and many of the greats of the Old Testament committed awful crimes and sins and after repentance went on to do mighty deeds for God’s glory and to further His kingdom. Repentance of one’s wrong ways and sin is always paramount, though, regardless of the sin.

    God bless you

    ransom33 @ http://www.ransom33.wordpress.com

  2. Hello there!
    I was referred to your blog by my friend Matt, and I find your writing lovely and thought-provoking, not mention that I, too, am grateful for your voice of moderation, tolerance, and Christian love.

    The comment above provides a fallacious argument as food for thought; the ministers brought to judgment were so brought down because they claimed to be one thing when they were, in fact another. In the commenter’s own words, “behind closed doors they were living in sin.” None of these pastors were open about their inclinations and have all scurried back to the closet since. In contrast, what judgment has been levied against a shepherd of men such as Gene Robinson, who is open about who he is? The lesson to be learned here isn’t that homosexuals can’t minister to others; it is that denying one’s inclinations, or if you prefer, one’s favored brand of sin, can not be maintained when the truth will out. It is not God’s judgment for such “sinners” to be outed; it is the judgement of man and the inevitability of truth. God already knows what we’re up to and will judge us in His own time.
    “All men have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” By these words, we’re all in the same boat, from the most derelict sinners to the most devout and upright. All sinners though, just different flavors. So even if one believes that homosexual orientation is sinful (which, incidentally, many Christians do not), there is no reason that people of ANY kind should be shouldered out of the ministry. Everyone has experiences to share with others, and to inspire others. And everyone is loved by God.

  3. BUT we cannot and must never use that argument as a license to allow practising homosexuals be in ministry

    By the words of your bible, apparently everyone is a sinner. By your logic, no living human being would be able to minister the bible to the public.

  4. I am simply referring to people in sin who know they are in any kind of sin and are doing absolutely nothing to overcome it, are not relying on God’s grace to seek repentance and restoration. The key here is ADMITTING you are doing something against the teachings of God through the old testament, Jesus and the apostles, and seeking to better yourself even if most of us fail a lot of the time. God will always look at the heart!

    Please do not twist my words. I know it is difficult to express something so important in a blog and how easily it can be twisted and misunderstood.

    I hope Lindsey, whom the comment was meant for, will see where I am coming from and what I am getting at. If not, Lindsey, I would be glad to discuss some more.

    Thanks

    God bless you all

    ransom33

  5. Ransom: I think if we trust God and trust in the love for God that people have, we will see many people restored- including ourselves. Even some of the greatest men of the Bible had horrible flaws (King David being the most obvious example) but God still used them for his work. So who are we to believe that God has stopped calling flawed people to his glory? If he did otherwise, churches would be empty. I don’t see the failings of public figures of the faith as God’s judgment, but instead as opportunities for us to demonstrate Christ’s love to the world by exhorting people rather than tearing them down.

    I do believe there is value in what you say. If we are to hold others accountable we first need to purify our own hearts- but there’s a long distance between ordaining a homosexual as a pastor or priest and allowing them to plan a potluck. A lot of churches don’t even go so far as to let them attend Sunday services.

    This sort of prejudicial behavior, to me, seems wrong.

    Hayden and Amber: Oh, no, “interesting” would be the comments that seek to demonstrate the sinfulness of homosexuality with invented statistics. 😀 (Eighty percent of gay men have an STD! And ninety percent of them were molested! And they want to molest your son to make him gay! BOO! Be scared! BOO!)

    Erika: Thank you so, so much. One phrase of your comment stuck me- “If one believes a homosexual orientation is sinful” – OUCH. It bothers me that people think the orientation is sinful. How? My heterosexual orientation isn’t sinful. Having an emotional or physical inclination towards anybody isn’t sinful- what matters is what one does with one’s self. Of course, most Christians will immediately pounce on that and say the inclination isn’t wrong, it’s just a burden, etc, at which point I of course stop writing blog posts and just dive into writing an entire book, because there’s way too much to say.

    Oh, and welcome to my blog! 😀

    Goldnsilver: And that’s where Jesus’ death comes in. We are all sinners, we all have iniquitous hearts, but he is the sacrifice for us all. Hence, exhort, don’t punish. Jesus didn’t want us to punish.

  6. Hi Lindsey,

    Thank you for your comment to mine.

    I agree 100% that to not let homosexual people into a church, goes absolutely against everything that Jesus said and was about.

    I agree that the Bible is full of flawed people that God used for his mighty purposes. BUT there is a huge difference between what happens to those who do not repent of their sin and continue to sin (ie. King Saul) and those who are people after God’s own heart, and despite their human nature and imperfection, despite their giving into temptation time and time again, ALWAYS keep an attitude of recognition of their own sin, acceptance of their sin for what it is, and a desperate need to reconciliate their relationship with God through a contrite and repentant heart.

    In the Bible, those who disobey God and continue fulfilling their own desires and not those of God, eventually get judgement upon them, and God takes them out of the “picture” and takes away their anointing and ability to do amazing things for His glory.

    God HAS NOT stopped calling flawed people to his glory (thank you Lord Jesus), but when He DOES call us into his purposes, we have to admit our sin, helplessness and absolute need for the Holy Spirit in our lives to help us overcome self and follow the lead of His Spirit in us.

    I would love to see all churches filled with homosexuals, adulterers, people with addictions, etc. BUT I would love to see them all there with a desire to change their ways, seeking God’s grace and mercy to help them turn a corner and overcome. I AM A SINNER, but that is precisely why I need Jesus in my life, not to condemn others, not to pretend that because God loves me I can continue in my sin, but to help me everyday of my life to overcome temptation and choose the better path, HIS path.

    The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 5, 25-28:

    “Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless”.

    It doesn’t get clearer and more straightforward than that! As Christians, we have to strive to become more Christ-like until the day Jesus returns, and remaining in sin (in this case homosexual acts)couldn’t be further from the word Holy. I am not trying to condemn anyone, for I have enough to deal with in my own life, but I will not stand back whilst others are twisting what the word of God clearly says.

    Please read Romans 1:27, Corinthians 6:9, Leviticus 20:13, Leviticus 18:22

    I would like to finish by quoting again R. T Kendall whose book “Second Chance” I am in the middle of reading:

    “I wrote a book in 1988 called “Is God for the Homosexual” in which I sought to demonstrate a love and a tenderness towards people who have homosexual tendencies, but at the same time, showed that the practice is sinful. As there are many robust heterosexual Christians who resist temptation day and night rather than grieve God, so should Christian people who are gay in orientation also be required to resist temptation. The gay’s person libido is no stronger than that of the heterosexual.”

    It’s a fair point. Most of us get tempted sexually. Both homosexuals and heterosexuals are called to the same obedience of God’s word, and both will be judged for their disobedience and lack of repentance.

    Thank you Lindsey for allowing me space in your blog to express how I feel. God bless you for your openness and compassion towards others.

    ransom33.

  7. Oh for Pete’s sake. Don’t any of you crack open a science book once in a while? Have any of you actually read that homosexuals are “born” that way? Its a proven fact. They haven’t been abused into being that way, its not a choice, and it isn’t something that they are taught. Its coded into their DNA. No amount of therapy can change it. You can’t be “healed”. There is nothing wrong with you. Its like hating all people with red hair… hello?

    Since this is the case, God made them this way. They are perfect and natural. It happens in every single part of the animal kingdom. There are social reasons that homosexuality is NEEDED too.

    You can all sit there pointing to the sin, saying they aren’t repentant, but let me ask you this: If you were born with something like a third eye (hypothetically) and it was considered by others a sin/mark of the devil/ whatever, what is your choice? Do you kill yourself? Do you live in absolute misery? Or do you hope that there are people who are compassionate and loving and willing to embrace you despite your differences. After all, you didn’t choose to be born this way.

    Ask ANY homosexual. They would not choose that lifestyle ever. Its far too painful. Many try to fake it, but it just doesn’t work any better for them than you trying to fake being a homosexual.

    Jesus preached love and tolerance. It is not ours on earth to judge. God alone judges our sins when we face him. I can tell you that there will be far more homosexuals going into the gates of heaven than those thumping on the bible but living an evil life.

    Think about it.

  8. Pingback: Get the Scoop! « Persistent Illusion

  9. Lindsay wrote – “The most important thing here is whether or not you think that people who fall out of the type of mainstream Christianity”

    Mainstream Christianity? How many Christianities did the Savior die for? Can we as True Believers decide which teachings to follow and which ones are simply “not for today’s world”? Hardly not.

    Amber wrote – “Don’t any of you crack open a science book once in a while? Have any of you actually read that homosexuals are “born” that way? Its a proven fact.”

    I almost hate to challenge you on this Amber. What CREDIBLE scientific evidence do you have that says this was proven? I understand that it was “proven” under questionable circumstances and was therefore “unproven”.

  10. Lindsey-

    You rock….as always, great stuff.

    Ransom-

    you wrote….

    “God will always look at the heart!”

    You are so very right when you say this. God will always look at the heart, what’s in my heart and what’s in your heart.

  11. As a student of biochemistry and neurophysiology, I feel compelled to comment on the “born gay” controversy. Some people say that homosexuals were simply born that way. Others contend that it is a matter of environment only. Both of these views are inaccurate, incomplete. Genetic heritability is much more complex than people realize, and what is accurate is to say that, like most other biological traits, an INTERACTION of genetic expression and environmental influence is the source of our orientation. For example, you may have the genetic material of a tall person, but environmental factors can lead to you being short. You may be genetically predisposed to being fair-skinned, but if you remain in the sun long enough, you may get dark. On the contrary, if you are fair, and your parents notice this, they may teach you to wear sunblock. Or, if you are genetically predisposed to be tall, and nothing stands in the way, your genes will be fully expressed, and you will be tall. In my personal experience, the influence of one aspect over the other also varies from person to person, just like any other biological trait… Many feel they were born that way, that they can remember these inclinations and a sense of feeling different since very early childhood. Others are empowered by the sense that their genetics may have triggered their orientation, but that their identities, experiences, and choices are their own. Homosexuals do sometimes have a history of being victims of abuse, but then so do heterosexuals, and much more frequently, so this doesn’t prove much. Regardless, if one believes that the touch of an all-powerful Creator resides in our DNA, then it makes perfect sense to believe that we are as God intended us. I believe that, and, for the record, I am gay. Incidentally, it is worth noting that no admonishment of homosexuality ever crossed the lips of the Savior. The Old Covenant was washed away with the blood of Christ; that’s why Jews are kosher and Christians aren’t, folks. In the New Testament, all admonishments against homosexuality are either in the writings of Paul or the writings of his followers, and many scholars who are not literalists agree that Paul’s time in Greece may have infused his philosophy with a “cultural conservatism” never intended by Christ. For example, Christ never suggests that women should go unadorned and be silent in church, but, uh, Paul goes there.
    All right, let me have it. I asked for it. 🙂

  12. Ransom: Thanks for taking the time to respond. And I agree- knowingly going against God’s conviction leads one to judgment, and that can get pretty ugly.

    The question then becomes if God is asking all gay people to change. Some certainly do hear that from God, but not all do- and I don’t know that it’s my place to judge their hearts and cry “iniquity!” when I really don’t know what God is or isn’t saying to them. I may feel that God has said that smoking is abusing the temple, for example, but that doesn’t mean that my Christian friends who smoke are defying God, simply that they haven’t heard God talking about that particular thing.

    There are numerous scholarly works on homosexuality in the Bible that say that perhaps things are being misinterpreted, and the homosexual orientation isn’t really sinful.

    Thus I choose to step back from making any statement as to the sinfulness of homosexuality, and err on the side of Grace.

    Amber: Woman, you are a wonder when you get your fires up.

    titus2woman: welcome to my blog!

    Mssc54: Well, it’s always been my understanding that Jesus died for sinners, so I guess that includes everybody, right? 😉

    An entire culture has been build around mainline protestantism here in the states. I think that it would do us all some good to remember that not all church is done the way WE do it.

    PolitiPornster: I’m, uh, writing a freaking book about the Church and homosexuality. It’s sort of eating my brain.

    Stephanie: Oh, you too!

    Erika: (((HUGS)))<— there. Take that. I’m “letting you have it.” 😀

  13. I loved that Lindsey!! “I want to err on the side of grace”. Me too!!

    I have expressed what is on my heart, but at the end of the day, all judgement belongs to God.

    And with that said, I wish you all a blessed God day!

    With love,

    ransom33

  14. 🙂 A friend saw them somewhere online and knitted them for me, she figured I’ll need them as I just moved from Phoenix to Boston. Ergo, they are my “new blue stockings”. 😀

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