I have been asked by one of you if I can write about same sex marriage. I am not sure if this counts, but I am going to write about why I avoid writing about same sex marriage. The reason is simply this: I have deep concerns with the way homosexuality has come to dominate public conversations about Christianity.
You see, homosexuality is not a dominant concern for me. Nor do I think it should be. And the best way I can demonstrate this is by not writing about it. Some of you may object, “But the prophets talked about it!” Sure, that’s true, but they talked about many things and homosexuality was just one of them. They never used it to define orthodoxy, they never made it so central.
So, I think others have said enough without me much adding to it. I find public conversations about homosexuality and religion often generate more heat than light and I’m reluctant to add fuel to the fire. I am only writing this publically now because I also avoid turning down a direct request.
So, what’s my position? No one is good except God alone. I welcome you as God welcomes me. Maybe that’s too double-sided for some of you. For me that’s just the way the Way is.
4 thoughts on “Homosexuality as a Peripheral Concern”
Matt, you’ve precisely said what I feel. I’m looking around online and see this becoming such a dominating issue that everything else is knocked aside. Emerging/missional isn’t about this issue–and focusing on it get the attention away from the particular conversations and ways we should speak into the church and society.
It is so easy to become yet another voice in a raging conversation. When we do that, on politics especially, we no longer are the voice we can be.
I have thoughts and opinions and whatever on this. It’s hard not to. I’m a Californian who recently was confronted with our Proposition 8 about gay marriage. But, I don’t want to talk about it, because there are so many other things to talk about. If I do talk about it I will instantly lose half my potential audience who will write me off–different people depending on what position I take.
There’s a particular spiritual attack that comes when we are pushed to lose focus and emphasize peripherals. These peripherals seem vital or we wouldn’t emphasize them, but they’re not.
Maybe it’s in writing that I’ve tried to learn how to stay on point and edit out that which isn’t absolutely vital to the “plot”.
Maybe too this is not a topic that can have an answer until we help reform our theology/community and rediscover the fuller picture of God’s kingdom among us.
Thanks so much for this post. Been waiting for someone to publicly say, “let’s stick to the point.”
Patrick, I can’t help observing that where Paul condemns homosexuality in Romans 1, he also condemns greed, envy, deceit, gossip and arrogance. Can any of us say we come out of that list unscathed? Can any of us cast the first stone? Employing the principle of first taking the plank out of our own eye, I think us heterosexuals need to focus our attention elsewhere, possibly on our arrogance. So let us focus more on the humility of Christ.
I’ve often been embarrassed by the way the Church in the public sphere seems to be big on the “morality” (family values) issues and not so big on matters of “justice” which the bible has plenty to say about.
Six weeks ago was my first go at preaching a full sermon, we were doing the 50:50 series (www.5050.org.au) and I got to talk about God’s word for the Church v God’s word for the world, advocating for ourselves v advocating for the voiceless, etc.
According to the stereotype of some southern US churches, I would have been run out of town with pitchforks for what I said. But being an Aussie church, we smile & nod, sing some songs and go home…
We’re just about to start 50:50 at our church. I am hoping we can translate some of the sermonizing into action.
You know what I’ve been embaressed about? Ten years ago, Christian leaders moralizing on homosexuality while soft pedalling on paedophilia. I think it destroyed the moral authority of the Christian movement for many people. Many churches have a zero tollerance policy now but the damage is done. We need to build that moral authority back up and I don’t think we’ll do it by coming in all arrogant and judgemental. We need to start by saying sorry and repenting of that Christendom born arrogance.