Gay Questions

You can’t go anywhere in California without being bombarded from the Left, or from the Right, with the Gay Marriage debate.  The issue is NOT whether a person should be legally allowed to be gay.  The issue is whether or not TWO SAME-SEX PEOPLE should be legally recognized as “married”.  So with specific regard to that issue, I’ve got two questions.

I ask these two questions with humility.  I do not claim to have answers.  I simply want to make sure that Christians aren’t jumping onto a religious bandwagon without thinking critically (it’s so easy for any of us to do).  So I invite you to step back from this debate for a brief moment, to leave the comfort of the allies who agree with your set of doctrinal beliefs, and to just be honest.

Breathe.

Deeper.

Here we go…

HOW CONCERNED IS GOD WITH THIS DEBATE?

This is perhaps the most important question we can ask, not only about this debate, but about any cultural issue.  And when we want to know the heart of God, the first place to look is always Jesus.

God incarnate came to the earth in the person of Christ.  He came into a region swarming with homosexual relationships (in Rome).  Not only that, but there was a common practice in the Mediterranean of wealthy older men “teaching” younger men about their own sexuality, practicing same-sex acts with them (called “pederasty”).  Finally bisexuality was, in all likelihood, a more common practice than a strictly homosexual relationship.

Jesus steps out of eternity, and into a Jewish populous that is ruled by this culture.  He will certainly have some choice words for the community who practices these things.  So to this culture, this is exactly what He says about homosexual and bisexual relationships:

Nothing.

You can read the Gospels for yourself.  Of the four men who wrote about Christ’s day to day life, none of them wrote anything about Jesus ever mentioning homosexuality.  Does this automatically disqualify the subject as not important?  No.  But for me, it certainly helps me prioritize the battles I choose to fight.

WHAT’S GOD’S PRIMARY CONCERN WITH THE U.S.?

We are a culture that is sucked toward a materialism that takes the place of God.  Jesus talked about this all the time.  Don’t we trust in our wealth far more than in our God?   Don’t we struggle with the pursuit of money, and all the false security we can purchase with it?  I wonder if God is more concerned with the false idol of financial security, than whether or not gay people should be recognized as legally married or not?  And again… Jesus talked about one all the time, but was strangely silent on the other.

Jesus might also talk about false religious systems that point to God by tying large weights on the backs of the common person, but that end up delivering only guilt and condemnation.

Finally, he would certainly be overtly concerned about providing a cup of cold water for the the thirsty in our midst.  He would look at the church in the suburbs that doesn’t reach out to the thirsty or hungry, and probably vomit.

SOME CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

I am, in no way, asking anyone to abandon what they believe with regard to same-sex relationships.  Be convicted about your beliefs.  I’m not questioning that.  I am, however, asking everyone to step back for a moment, and ask what level of time and effort you should be putting into this debate.  And if you’re called to debate this 24/7, then do it.  We all need to be careful that we pick and choose those things we’re bold about.

If Jesus lived in California, which rally would He be speaking at?  Pro-Gay Marriage?  Anti-Gay Marriage?  Or would you find Him at an aids clinic, sitting with people as they struggle to keep breathing?

The easiest thing for Christians to do is to stand with the churched masses.  The most difficult thing for Christians is to read a blog post like this one, and be open to processing the questions honestly, without aligning themselves with anyone.

In our culture, we may see questioning as a weakness.  We are the only culture in the world like this.  Every other culture (with the exception of extremist Islamic factions) sees the willingness to ask hard questions, not as a weakness, but as wisdom.  May we be willing participants in the question-asking process, because if we do it with the fear of God, we’re at the starting point for finding true wisdom.

Posted in Church, Everyday Life, Faith.
  • http://www.ajwired.com/ Alan

    I think in particular to the first question, here’s part of the rub. The Jews in those days had no/little voice…no vote. No constitution. What is the role of a follower of Jesus in a democratic republic vs an empire? Furthermore, what is the role of a follower of Jesus in a democratic republic with the full Counsel/Context of the Bible as our authority and guide? (gotta breathe…was a long question :)…)

    Different subject, similar principle: Was it wrong for the founders of our nation to be so interested in taxation without representation when Jesus said “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s…” Would it be fair to say, “Render to a king what is the king’s?”…. Again, not sure exactly.

    My initial thought is “Would you find Jesus ministering to the hurting and broken in today’s culture?” I would say it is fair to say yes. “Would Jesus attend or speak at a rally particularly siding with one side or another?” Dunno…although I would imagine he would preach repentance, grace, truth and salvation at either.

    I’m thinking that each believer has to work out their own salvation “with fear and trembling” in our culture. I think the right posture is keeping your eyes focused on what Jesus was solely focused on: to seek and save the lost. A life that is full of grace and truth and allows that grace and truth to help govern their involvement in the culture that they live. In other words, more questions :)

    • http://www.garymo.com admin

      Terrific response AJ. These are some great points. I think you’ve presented, not another side, but a more completed view. The question of “what kind of culture did they live in” vs. “what kind of culture do we live in” is a fantastic question to pose. Excellent.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1612234/ James R.

    Gary,

    You see, this is why you are (were) my favorite pastor/youth pastor/mentor of all time. You have a gift for speaking the truth in love. I know you must spend time in prayer before you type or publish these blogs- it’s evident.

    That being said, you made me think of another issue that had been boiling my blood for a while (as a conservative American and Army Veteran)…the issue of illegal immigrants. I all but detested patronizing Home Depot because of the daunting task of having to see all of the day-laborers…and thinking about how many of our tax dollars go to support their children and their health care and the population of illegals in our jails…etc.

    Then a couple of weeks ago, this thought came to mind: How would Jesus treat an illegal immigrant? Would he grumble about how his tax dollars were being flushed down the drain, supporting tens of thousands of people who are non-tax payers? Certainly not. Would he take the time to bring them food? Would he invest in a gentle smile? Would he look at them as potential souls for His kingdom? YES!

    So I realized that when I viewed illegal immigrants through the eyes of Jesus, and not through the eyes of an American, I was learning to be in this world but not of it.

  • http://www.jandjaquafarms.com John

    “I wonder if God is more concerned with the false idol of financial security, than whether or not gay people should be recognized as legally married or not? ”

    That hits the nail on the head. This speaks to our tendency as Christians to focus vigorously on one sin or “battleground” and neglect the greater of these, which is love. Now that Prop 8 has been upheld, do we pump our fists victoriously, or go help (love) a gay friend?

    Someone once said, regarding darkness in the world, that is is not a problem with the darkenss as much a problem with the light.

  • Tim

    I think the problem with the marriage issue is the fact that the left wants to take something from religion and change it into what they want/think it should look like. I think that if the debate was about civil unions it would have probably passed throughout the country with less controversy. I think that the marriage issue is felt by most churches as an attack on the institution and the people who believe in traditional marriage. Marriage is a (gift) that comes from religion not (a right) issued by the state, so for a state to take that away from religion well that’s where I see the tension. That on top of a government that won’t listen to what the people in the state want and keep trying to override their decisions just add to the frustration. As far as WWJD, I think that he would be loving people like we love ourselves and this whole debate would look a lot different.

    For a lot of people in the world they only thing they see of Christianity is the arguing with culture, within the churches, and within our families. We look just like they do. We watch the same movies, (unless we watch one at church), we spend carelessly, we carry massive debt, we seek security in stuff, we over eat and overlook sins like gluttony that are mentioned in the same sentence as homosexuality. Our lives don’t look much different than those far from Christ and yet it seems we want to tell people how much better we got it. We say certain things are sinful while ignoring others. There is a loud unified voice against same sex marriage but where is the voice for all the injustice that surrounds our city’s? I think it’s in that silence that we loose credibility.

  • http://www.jandjaquafarms.com John

    Id like to echo what James R. said re: immigrants. A missionary friend of mine who does much of his work in Mexico/Central America said one of the most effective tools for (Protestant) evangelism is.. drum roll please… emigration to America.

    Here inthe US, they are out of their cultural norm, and are set free to see the truth of the Gospel. Then they bring it back through letters, visits, etc. One of these day workers at home depot may be from a remote tribe from the mountains of Guatemala, one which missionaries have unsuccessfully tried to reach.

    This does not justify Illegal immigration, but like James R said, maybe I can look at these “aliens among us” with different eyes.

  • Duke

    While I do admire the courage, honesty, and sincere thought put into this, I do wonder a few things.

    1. Is it true that every culture encourages questioning except Americans? I personally find that a lot of cultures refuse to ask many questions themselves. Hence many of them are seen as “backwards”. In many Arab countries, they are not taught critical thinking skills. King Abdullah of Jordan remarked how the American system was so different in that it DID encourage him to think more critically.

    It’s a tough statement because within America, there are so many kinds of factions. Perhaps the more fundamentalist views have a stronger voice because of their media power, but that doesn’t mean we as a whole aren’t encouraged to ask hard questions.

    But then again, most people are pretty dumb anyway.

    2. What was Jesus here on Earth for? Ultimately, he was to fulfill the law, bridge the gap between God and fallen humanity, and establish God’s kingdom on Earth.

    The things we ought to live should be kingdom-centered things. This includes restoring the brokeness of humanity, i.e., social justice, preaching the Gospel. All the things Jesus did.

    Now he may have not necessarily talked about homosexuality directly, but he did often talk about marriage in many ways. In short, what would marriage look like according to God’s kingdom? (Even though there isn’t going to be “marriage” in heaven, per se.)

    I think you’re right to question the priority of fighting for gay/traditional marriage, but the fact the there are people (all kinds) fighting for whatever side, does show that people do care about it. A lot.

    So to tell a Christian not to focus so much on it, well, it should be fair to tell a gay rights activist to not focus so much on it, either.

    My problem is the contentiousness and everyone thinking they’re so right on whatever issue. It’s the divisive language. Which is why I do applaud your much more unifying way of discourse, rather than debate.

    Thanks.

  • Lexie Fabbian

    found this online after I read through this post. I thought it was pretty funny and fitting.
    http://buttersafe.com/2009/06/04/watching-your-stuff-burn/

  • http://victoriajackson.com victoria jackson

    Is a Christian supposed to sit at home and watch their country turn from a praying-in-school nation to a teaching-sodomy -in- kindergarten nation and do nothing? From a 10 Commandments nation to a “celebrate sodomy in June” nation?

    • http://www.garymo.com admin

      Great question, Victoria. My answer to your question is “Absolutely not!”. My greatest hope and prayer is that we’ll all decide where to jump in, and what exact battle to fight. There are so many, and passivity is most certainly never an option.

  • Linda Wooten

    Thank you Gary for this blog. I wish everyone could read it. In this time when people are in fighting and killing in the name of “peace” and “being right”, it is so sad that people are putting so much time and energy into the subject of gay marriage. No matter what your opinion is on this subject, they really aren’t hurting anybody and we have so many more social justice issues.

  • Kim Quinn

    I believe Jesus also took on the Pharsees and the Saducees who were both political and religious leaders. The fact is the gay rights lobby forsed this debate not the religious right. They have decided that the will of the voters and the majority of Californians doesn’t count and they will have their way.

    So while I don’t think whatever happens in the gay marriage debate will stop homosexuality I do believe we need to support moral laws.

  • KPlatt

    You have come a long way since I sat at your parent’s dinner table as a teenager and you all probed whether I had a clue that my pastor’s son had ultimately died of aids, first in Fresno, I believe. Didn’t feel much compassion that night as I pretended not to know out of respect for him. Glad to see perhaps now maybe it would have been handled differently.

  • Pingback: My Blog - 2009 in Review | It's Complicated

  • John Rankin

    What would Jesus do concerning homosexuality? What did He say? Look at the old testament. Who gave the moral law to Israel? It was the pre-incarnate Christ. He made it very clear that a man should not lay with a man as he would a woman. Also condemned cross dressing. Did Jesus speak to this in His earthly ministry? Yes! First, He declared "For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished."

    Now there are many sins Jesus did not address in the gospels. Does not mean He did not deal with them, they just were not recorded. You cannot preclude any part of the moral/spiritual law of God based on whether it was included in the verbal text attributed to Jesus. The priority with Jesus is to save the lost, and we, as believers are called to be salt and light.

    To ignore a political movement that pushes what God has called "detestable" and an "abomination" is to hide your light under a basket, and your salt to be worth nothing more than to be tread underfoot. If the church, the body of Christ, does not deal with this issue, then how far will it go?

    If there were parades dedicated to adultery, or murder, or stealing from the blind, would you take a stand? Why does sodomy get a pass? Christ did not "poo poo" sin, He died to remove the condemnation of those who receive Him, and give them eternal life.

    God drew the line, through Moses, in order to convict people of sin and the need for repentance and forgiveness. Jesus came to fulfill the law, and offer the forgiveness necessary to reconcile us to God. So now, are we to determine that since Jesus was not vocal enough in the gospels about one particular sin, one that is politically being forced upon us as "normal, acceptable and something to aspire to" that we should be silent also? Far be it! Thank God that Paul did not use the same barometer in dealing with this sin. Read Romans 1:18-32.

    Remember, what you condone, you own.