I read the article “Through the Eyes of a Malone Student…Who Happens to be Gay” by Sam Taylor, and was intrigued. I feel that for many years, and with many topics, the Christian community decided to hide in a castle. Rather than face the real-life issues, they determined that it was better to board themselves up in a tall tower and throw rocks at the outside world. The issue of homosexuality is one of these supposed “hot-button” issues that Christians either swept under the rug, or came out swinging.
I have known Sam as an acquaintance, being in the same graduating class, and also in the same cluster our freshman year. I have known him to be quirky, outgoing and very active on the campus. I also have seen a person who is passionate about what he believes in, which is admirable in a time when so many live apathetic lives. His willingness to open up conversations about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender) inclusion on Malone’s campus is, if anything, a healthy way for Christians to interact with an idea that they may not agree with. Sadly, I know that much of his story is true; I have seen the hatred, anger, and loathing that many Christians display towards homosexuals. However, I would hope to help show a different view on LGBT inclusion on campus. Not the view of someone in the LGBT community, nor the view of a righteous Christian. I would like to share the view of a broken, sinful individual, who has only be saved by the good grace of Christ.
If there is anything I have learned in my twenty-one years of life, it is that I do not know everything, nor do I have it all together. As a Christian, a friend, an athlete, and as a student, I know that I have some serious issues. I am especially reminded of these limitations when I sit down to write such an article. Coming before my peers and writing about a topic of such controversy, I have to be reminded that I am not the smartest, the most eloquent, or the most well-informed individual, especially when it comes to the topic of homosexuality. I have heard the arguments of staunch conservative Christians, and have also heard the arguments of those in the LGBT community. In the end, I honestly feel that both sides are missing some part of the big picture. While the LGBT community may tell us to believe one thing, and many Christians would tell us to believe another, I think that God is telling us that there is a better way…there is His way.
First, to my friends in the LGBT community: I would like to apologize for the many times that I have not treated you well. I can only speak for myself, and no others, but I would say that I have many times been pretty hateful in my thoughts towards your community. I would say that fear is usually of something one does not understand, and frankly, I do not fully know or understand your community. However, I am learning some things as I live this life about God’s love and compassion, and that is mainly what I want to talk about.
Before that, though, I do want to say something. I think homosexuality is wrong. I believe that God’s plan for humanity does not include many things, and one of those things is homosexual relations. I can point us to scripture, I can discuss my experiences in the world, I can bring numerous things to the table, but I would say my two main arguments are that the Bible says that it is wrong, and that hundreds of years of church tradition hold it as a sin.
Now, there are usually two issues with these things. First, people will argue that the biblical authors were not discussing a relationship between two consenting adults, but rather condemning homosexual relations if it was forced upon a person, whether through slavery or because a child knew no better. Honestly, that is not really the case. Homosexual activity between two consenting adults was common in the era that the Bible was written, and the authors of the Bible were not unaware of those types of relationships. Second, we seem to have a strong sentiment of throwing out tradition and blazing a new path for ourselves, moving away from the beliefs of our forefathers. However, I would simply say this: God was working in the lives of the early, mid, and recent church just as much as he works in our hearts today. Not everything they put forth is “outdated” and “only applicable to their time”. We should take heed of their wisdom, as it can reveal to us a deeper, more fulfilling faith. So, basically, I believe that homosexual activity is a rebellious action that takes us further from God.
Now, why do I say homosexual activity? I would say that the tendency to be attracted to the same sex is just about as sinful as it is for someone who has the proclivity to be attracted to the opposite sex. What do we do with that inclination? It is not the temptation that is sin, but the action itself. Homosexual feelings are not wrong, but I believe, as I stated before, that God views homosexual actions as sins.
So, where does that leave us? Some would say that I have “judged” the entire homosexual community. I would say that I have looked into scripture and put forth a biblical view on homosexual actions. Now, on to the point that I truly want to make. I do not care what you do. I really do not. I have absolutely no right to judge you, and I will not do it. “But Brad, you just said that homosexuality is wrong, just in that last paragraph.” I did do that. But I do not judge the LGBT community. How could I judge them, when thousands of Christians already do? I think that what needs to be shown is love, and that is what I intend to do. Am I perfect? Nope. I have been judgmental in the past. I am sure that I will be judgmental in the future. However, I know that Christ loves you, and that he feels you are worth everything in the world to save. Even worth his own life. Christ gave his life so that you would feel welcome in his arms, so that you would not be an outcast in this world, but rather that you would have an honored position in his kingdom.
I am not here to force you to change. I am here to tell you that “…there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins…For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Romans 3:23-24, 1 John 4:10, John 3:16, emphasis mine).
For those who live in the LGBT community and do not know the love of Christ, I ask you to listen and look into the life of Christ. For anyone who follows Christ in the LGBT community, then keep on following Christ. If you read the Word with an attentive ear and a thoughtful heart, God will speak to you. Learn how to be perfect, as God is perfect. I will do my best to walk along side you as we traverse the Christian way together.
Now, to my Christian brothers and sisters. I guess that all I really have to say to you would be this: What the heck are we doing? I include myself in that statement. We are called to be Christ’s love in this world, not his judgment. He will take care of that himself, I promise. Christ himself was not sent into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through himself (John 3:17). What the heck makes us any more righteous than Jesus? I won’t pull any punches with this. Why are we so arrogant that we can just judge anyone in anyway, especially when it involves those in the homosexual community? “I may have my own problems, but at least I’m not gay.” What problems are those? Oh, yes, you may be a cheat, a drunkard, a whore, a gossip, a thief, but heaven forbid if you were openly gay! Then, and only then, would God be saddened by your spiritual condition. What crap. We are not called to only have “small” sins in our life. As God called the Israelites in Leviticus, we are to be holy, for He is holy. Jesus restates this in Matthew 5:48, but in new terms. “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Stop worrying about the speck in your brother’s eye, and pull the log from your own. In my own personal conjecture, I would say that the log Jesus refers to there is pride, more often than not. That way, when you do help remove the speck from your brothers eye, you can do it without conceit, knowing that it is God who is our strength, not ourselves.
I love you all very much, and I know that there are numerous people on campus who agree that the church is much too judgmental. In my love for you, I beg you, and plead even with myself, stop being judgmental. Just stop it. When a thought passes through your mind condemning someone who is different from you, deny that thought, and replace it with a prayer, a positive thought, whatever. Love. Love the broken. Remember that Jesus “desires mercy, not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13). Show mercy to all, and judgment to none. Finally, go read 1 Corinthians 13. The way of love described within that passage is not just applicable to newlyweds. It should be applied to every aspect of our life, in all times and situations.
Finally, to my friend Sam. I would say that almost everything in your article was pretty accurate, describing the state of our church. We live with a group of messy people, do we not? As it is, though, I would only take issue with your comments about identity. Your exact words were, “We all have distinct, irreplaceable layers to who we are that encompass our whole identity; an identity that is not monolithic and uniform, rather one that tells a story.” While I agree 100% that we all have distinct, irreplaceable layers to who we are, I would not say that all of our being is distinct and irreplaceable. Galatians 2:20 tells us that we have been “crucified in Christ. It is not longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Our sinful spirits have been replaced with Christ, and we all have his identity interminably intertwined within our own. Therefore, while we are a diverse body of believers, we all have the same story at our very core. In the very depths of our heart, we are Christ. He has graciously enabled us to live a life patterned after his own, and we cannot go on living the life we did before if we take this spiritual surgery seriously.
So, where does this leave us? I know that I am not right about everything. There are opinions in this article that may be wrong, and that could definitely be argued with. I am only a man. However, I know that I stand on the foundation of a God who is beyond all human reasoning, who is infinitely more wise than any in humanity. Rather than focus on the issues of each other, how about we focus on Him? The older I get, the more I realize that the more time I spend focused on other people and what I think about things on this world, the worse my life is. In the end, let us shift our focus from the things of this world, and shift our eyes towards Christ.
Brad Gee is a senior Bible and theology major.