Justin Lee, over at Crumbs from the Communion Table and author of the newly released (as in today) Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, issued an invitation to join his call for sanity in the dialogue of differences in beliefs. Today is the day designated for Gays and Christians: A Synchroblog for Sanity.
I don’t know where you stand or how much thought you have given to this “debate,” but I do know that for me it has been a long time of processing and allowing myself the freedom to not be planted on a hard and fast answer on any side. I’m not waffling back and forth, just choosing to see the many sides of the argument for what they are… the attempts of many to land somewhere that is of comfort to them. It just so happens that my comfort zone lands on the side of unity – not unison, but unity – the choice to love and see the image of God in each and every person regardless of the degree of difference between them and me.
I once stood on the side that proclaims any deviation from monogamous heterosexuality a sin. That stance seemed logical and right. And then God placed me in friendships with real persons who “happened” to be non-heterosexual and I was challenged to really observe and examine the outcomes of that particular stance of beliefs. I was heartbroken at the lack of love I observed that was all too common in that camp, well to be honest in both camps who resided at the far extremes of the spectrum.
Not too long ago I stumbled upon Justin’s blog and began a new season of hearing and learning more about the multiple, complex issues being debated. Justin has posted two essays presenting two sides of the debate within the Gay Christian community that offer very different interpretations of how Christians who are also homosexual “should” live out their identities. If you are interested you can access Justin’s essay here and Ron’s essay here.
The thing that stood out most prominently to me, is that both of these men express a deep love for God, for the Word of God, and for a desire to live their lives in a manner that pleases and glorifies God. And yet, they land in very different places with the conclusions of their studies. I am reminded of the debates within Christianity between free will and determinism, about the timeline of the second coming, about the applications of the Law in the era of grace, about how and when to celebrate Communion and the meaning in the elements, about…. You get the picture, we have a myriad of denominations simply because one group of people emphasizes one side over the other and sets up camp in opposition to all other interpretations.
I choose to emphasize love and unity. That is what I hear as Jesus’ priority for each and every one of His followers. We are to live as ONE BODY. This in an invitation to truly hear one another, to understand that each member of the Body has differing functions and differing environments. The hand has a very different role and experience of life than the kidney does. The eye has a different role and experience than the knee, or the stomach, or the ear, or the… I could list different body parts to different degrees of technical accuracy for page upon page. And the main point is simply this, if one or more members of the Body choose to live at odds with other members of the Body, chaos ensues in the form of disease and pain and suffering and varying degrees of death.
Jesus came to give LIFE and that in ABUNDANCE!
I am not arguing for people to negate their intellect or their convictions, but to recognize that we each have different functions and different roles and therefore different experiences in this life. Choose love above all things. Believe what you believe. Debate for your conclusions if need be. Live out your own convictions. AND, choose to not judge others, but rather, treat all with the respect they are due as persons created in the image of God.
And in so doing, CHOOSE LOVE. Not the gooshy, feel good, have no backbone kind of thing that is sometimes promoted as love, but the I Corinthians 13 and John 15 kind of love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Speak truth; Love well.