I’ve said a lot over the last 23 days. More than some of you ever wanted to hear from me, I’m sure. (Can I get an “Amen”?) I thought today I’d ask a few questions. These are honest questions, meaning I don’t know your answers to them. And they’re questions I’ve been asking for a long time.
Even before I was out, I was getting a reputation for being a liberal and an LGBTQ advocate, and these are the questions I used to ask my fellow Covenant pastors. I never got answers that satisfied me, and on more than one occasion, the pastor I asked would have to admit that they were damn good questions and that she or he simply didn’t have good answers. I remember one of my dear friends (conservative on this issue but so thoughtful and loving) saying, “We really need to work on better answers to these questions, because these are the questions we’re being asked and we don’t have good answers.”
So I suppose these questions are really for my “conservative on this issue” friends. I would love to hear your thoughts.
1) I believe that “sin” is a biblical concept that most people can agree on. Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Christians… even atheists… can agree that murder is wrong, that greed, lust, envy, stealing, gluttony, adultery, racism are sinful! These things are self-evidently wrong. They hurt people… the one committing the sin or the people around him or her, or the world in general… And here’s the thing, I know what the Bible says, but WHY?
It’s kind of like when your mom or dad said “Because I said so.” That answer works when you’re too young to understand why. But once you grow up, once you can think for yourself, you need a reason. We all need reasons for our ethical stances. So… since MOST of what the Bible calls “sin” is self-evidently harmful to oneself or others, what about this one? How is same-sex love/sex harmful? Or am I asking the wrong question? Are there other “sins” in the Bible like this? Things that are not self-evidently harmful?
2) This next question has two parts. First, I simply wonder if you agree with me. I think the war is over. I see the world around us (the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality, the overwhelming support for LGBTQ people among younger generations, the huge shift in Evangelical Christianity toward “open and affirming,” the generally queer-positive attitude of the media), and I think to myself, “It’s just a matter of time.” There may be little battles won by conservatives here and there, but I honestly believe that within 25–30 years, our kids and grandkids will be shaking their heads in utter disbelief that we used to think the way we did. They will look at us the way we look at those who believed interracial marriage was sinful, the way we look at those Christian slave owners who used scripture to justify their slavery. So first part of this question: Do you agree? Is this “war” over?
Here’s the second part of this question, and this is the one I’m most interested in: If you continue to believe God does not bless LGBTQ relationships, if you continue to fight against this “normalization” of LGBTQ lives in our society and in our churches, what is your end game? What is your vision for the future? Do you see America or the Church “turning around” and moving in a more conservative direction? Will gay marriage be outlawed again? Gay sex become a criminal act again? Will non-affirming churches grow and grow and bring more and more people to Christ? Will the tide turn and fewer Evangelicals will come to affirming stances? OR do you think, as I do, that people who believe like you do will find themselves more and more in the minority over time? Will you end up like the Amish? A cultural relic that can be respected but really has no impact on the world? What do you WANT to see happen? What is your vision for a non-affirming Christianity? Is it something beautiful? Can you paint me a picture?
So here we go. Please feel free to leave a comment or DM me. I’m honestly so curious about your answers.