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Can Christians talk to gays? February 24, 2006

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

So much of the conversation on sexual orientation from the Christian perspective is deeply embedded in morality. It is as if the moral code is not merely a portion of the Christian religion, but is the sum of it. And sadly, the immoral means by which so many Christians express their morality is a hyporcitical shame that is an embarrassment to Jesus.

There appears to be so little room for legitimate conversation on the topic. When Christians lead with their (selective) morality, they have effectively engaged in such a way as to facilitate polarization. When homosexuals lead with anger and defensiveness, they do the same. The emoitional, religious, and political gravity from both sides is so powerful that not taking a strong gay-negative or gay-affirmative position is next to impossible.

So, I have a few questions to guide our thinking on the matter:

Can a Christian talk about sexual orientation without diving into morality while at the same time honor God?

Does a Christian conversation on sexual orientation require moralizing?

If you factor morality out of the topic of sexual orientation, what else is there to talk about from a Christian perspective?

What other aspects of morality (besides positions on the morality of the act of gay sex) do Christians typically miss when dealing the the topic of sexual orientation?

That ought to keep us busy for a while.



1. Keith Brenton - February 24, 2006

I dunno, Fajita. My orientation is hetero. I don’t like to talk about it much because it’s, well, it’s kinda private. Y’know?

Now, I don’t want to offend anybody, but my orientation after the dissolution of my first marriage was, uh, non. Celibate. Not fun. About seven years’ worth.

So I can have an appreciation for what single folks and gay folks feel when married folks carry on about how married hetero is the only way to go. That or nuthin’. Well, nuthin’ is tough, and it takes a lot of joy out of your life.

Now I suppose someone might drag (excuse the term) Romans 14 since it’s talking about some folks who esteem one day above another (be it a Gay Pride day or a Married Hetero day, I suppose) and about certain appetites (some of which are considered clean and some which are not) and about faith and conscience. Okay, I guess I just did. So it’s dragged.

But I’d just as soon keep it all a private thing.

Which raises a Clintonesque procedural question:

If I’m asked … do I have to tell?

2. Rick - February 24, 2006

Great question.

I am a married, staright, white dude. In my ministry I meet many gay people who have been severely hurt by thier church and family.

The issue comes down to belief. We think we have a book written by God who clearly spells out the moral code of contact for humanity. We think we understand and intepret the appropriate belief based on the book.

Personally, that is scary as hell for when we begin to discuss morality and we think we possess the correct believe about morality then communication breaks down.

Perhaps we can honor God by the way we love one another. We think we honor God by defending our beliefs about God; in reality we only attempt to honor our ego and need to be right and in control.

Most folks I know who are gay and christian have moved way past this conversation. It seems mostly like evangelicals are having this “conversation.” At least from my faith tradtion.

If you take out morality you have to discuss humanity. I like this idea. Great suggestion.

Religious people can be extremely dangerous.

Good luck on the post.

3. TL - February 24, 2006

This bugs me! Straight, single female with sins of my own. How does anybody talk to me about my sins? Can’t we just talk?

4. Mark - February 24, 2006

Besides the morality or immorallity of homosexuality, I think there are other topics that are fruitful.

I think sexual purity can be a good converstion. What does it mean in a heterosexual context and a homosexual context?

I also think the complexities of dating might find common ground experiences. I think gender roles in long term relationships (ie marriage) might be interesting between a homosexual and a heterosexual.

Shame and guilt is probably a fruitful conversation as well. How do we experience it? How do we deal with it?

5. Paul - February 25, 2006

Being on the single side…I am amazed at how many women have great friends among may men. They seem to feel safe and secure around them. I think us guys may feel more insecure. I think the conversation can be non-judmental and seeking to develop a basis from which later conversations may develop. If we can’t love people in spite of their sin we will never show them the love of God. I am so thankful that people love me in spite my sin. God’s love is bigger than that.

6. Chris Benjamin - February 25, 2006

If you factor morality out of the topic of sexual orientation, what else is there to talk about from a Christian perspective?

This question made me think. The concept of “sexual orientation” has got to be fairly recent in human history, yes? If we factor out the morality of SO, perhaps we need to talk about human sexuality. What does it mean to be a sexual being? What does it mean to have sexual desires and what does any of this have to do with spirituality?

My point is that we are given black-and-white categories in the discussion and we are forced to take a stand on the issues. One is either heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. Really? Is human sexuality that simplistic? If we assume that there really are such categories of humanity (like we have done with race, which is also a simplification) then within the category of heterosexuality there are a multitude of sexual issues that have to do with morality but even more so with spirituality.

The biblical text in Leviticus 18 is often cited to show that homosexuality is unlawful. That text also lists other unlawful realtionships, including family members, menstruating women, and farm animals. Does this prohibition list mean that lawful sexuality is what is left over after we get the list of “thous shalt not?” I don’t think so. Jesus urged the Pharisees to quit focusing on “how to get a divorce and be justified” and instead focus on “what is a Godly marriage?” I think our conversation might focus on human sexuality and spirituality and what it means to be human, sexual, and spiritual. I think we will discover that some sexual activities are not spiritual and some are not human.

Conclusion: I think there’s quite a lot we can talk about and factoring out delimiting categories like sexual orientation.

7. Chris Benjamin - February 25, 2006

Let me edit the typo in that last line . . .

Conclusion: I think there’s quite a lot we can talk about and factoring out delimiting categories like “sexual orientation” might show us how much there truly is to talk about.

8. Randy & Kelly Vaughn - February 25, 2006

We gotta learn to talk about this. Not with anger or judgment, but with clear heads and a confidence in the Word. Yes I have my views. But talking indicates caring and kindness. God has heard me talk to Him about some pretty “revolting” things…it didn’t offend Him or make Him put up His fist and say, “you know how I feel about that…no more talking!” No, He listens and then nudges me by His Spirit to follow truth. “Revolting” because it would have be revolting to most pew sitters had they been eavesdropping in our my prayer time. As a dear woman proclaimed from the pulpit one night (which I’ll never forget, because it changed the way I viewed God’s view on sin)..she said, “God is willing to touch us intimately at the very most sinful, most repulsive, and most revolting corner of our lives because He loves us so much.”

So, yes, we should shed our comfort clothes and really talk.

9. Angie - February 25, 2006

Oh, man… You started such a great thread when I was out of town. Are you psychic? 🙂

Super-duper questions! It just makes me happy to see people in discussions like this. I totally agree with Randy that it needs to be talked about, even if we screw it up really badly (which we have and will). Some folks get forgotten in this… I’ve seen too many parents of gay kids who live in silence overwhelmed with their devastation due to lack of understanding this. They’ve never heard ANY positive or healthy conversations on the subject, so they aren’t really eager to submit it as a prayer request at their local church. We’ve gotta stop letting these folks down! We were made for sharing the overflow of people’s burdens!

Among Christians, let’s not just talk… let’s actively engage the topic with love and sincerity and honest questions! I think homosexuality is the new sexual abuse… By that I mean that for so very long people just didn’t talk about it. When it was brought up, it was whispered. But now, look at how the media is giving Christians a helping hand in discussing and learning… Hello! Will and Grace and Brokeback Mountain among so many others!

And when talking to gay people (or anybody!), how ’bout just shutting up for a minute and listening.

I gotta tell ya… I was pretty free with sharing my theories on how homosexuality develops (in my last monster post), but I would RARELY have a conversation like that with my gay friends – certainly wouldn’t lead with it. I mean, after all… they’re my FRIENDS! You just don’t enter that personal area (with anyone – gay or straight!) without a special backstage pass.

I loved the way you stated those first couple of paragraphs… very concise, I might add (how do you do that so well?!!!)

(Straight) Christians CAN and SHOULD talk with homosexuals (reminder: people) about sexual orientation in a God-honoring way WITHOUT preaching their morality. It’s the “yeah, but how…” that makes us ALL better people in the process! God must really be loving this… seeing a bunch of his people try to talk gay people into becoming straight & finding out that WE are the ones who need to change! He knows us too well…

I think Christian conversations on this topic do require moralizing b/c we approach all topics from our own frame of reference. I think it’s totally OK for everyone to actually think this out and come to their (different) conclusions (based on God, morality, whatever…) The trick is to keep on learning while you’re talking… Being judgemental about others who don’t arrive at your conclusions has to take a backseat to LOVE baby! After all, it covers a multitude of sins, and we’ve all got our multitudes.

I don’t think I can talk about the subject without having my feelings and beliefs about it (based on morality). I’m not ashamed of this. It’s OK for me to have my opinions or even my understanding about what God thinks of homosexuality. But since when is that opinion GOD?

Now, that doesn’t mean that every conversation I have with gay people is about homosexuality. I learned that the stupid way. The first gay friend I ever knew was a friend from childhood. Let me tell you, HE’s the one who understood grace, b/c I don’t understand why we’re still friends sometimes! At that time (1991) I felt like I had to bring up the subject of homosexuality and “what God thinks of it” in EVERY CONVERSATION WE HAD so he would always be aware of this and I would never feel guilty for letting my friend go to Hell. Yeah, I was that stupid. The ONLY reason he kept me in his life was b/c he already loved me and had grace on my stupidity. Through all these years we’ve both grown & changed so much – TOGETHER! If you don’t change your mind on some things you presently think about life, religion, homosexuality, you-name-it… then what’s living and active about that? That’s what growth is!

I’m sure this comment has so many holes in it (if someone’s reading with the intent of discrediting). But I don’t have time to edit it b/c I have to return a phone call to a friend who called me because he was upset about something… He’s gay. We’ll probably talk about how to deal with his mother or something that his boyfriend said… Whatever it is, he called me, his Christian friend. And I doubt he’ll want to know my position on the subject of homosexuality.

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