I was just now thinking…it seems there is a huge virulent reaction to homosexuality in most of conservative/fundamentalist/evangelical christendom. It is thought to be immoral and sinful to “be homosexual”, and if you act on that orientation, regardless of how chaste and monogamous and full of integrity you might be, you are doubling down on your sin quotient.
Hmmm…let’s consider this: First of all, for the sake of this discussion, let’s assume for the moment that being homosexual is sinful in and of itself (I do not think it is, btw). That said, can we grant that there are many many many MANY other sins present on a regular basis in the people who comprise the body of Christ? I believe even a brief moment of thought will reveal this is true. And I would furthermore assert that these sins are even present regularly right smack dab in the middle of the congregation on Sunday Mornings during meetings! Sins of gluttony, gossip, greed, lust, lies, and I don’t really need to go on do I? THEY. ARE. ALMOST. ALL. THERE!!
And yet I have heard sermon after sermon which gently and compassionately reaches out to the so called sinner with grace…while at the very same time a virulence and abhorrence of homosexuality is railed out the likes of which is almost shameful in its implications…that perhaps even the precious Blood of Jesus is not enough to save a gay person! They have to get clean FIRST, and then…just maybe…suspiciously…we may accept them.
Why is this? Are not all sins of equal moral weight in the eyes of God? (yes, they are)
Here is my theory: so many things that are egregious failures of God’s good standard of whole relationship are interior states of being, or thoughts, or hidden attitudes, and not actions. It is quite possible to live in christian communities looking beautiful and white on the outside, and yet within be a tomb of death. But “no one knows”, so it is “okay.”
Homosexuality on the other hand, or for that matter being transgender, is something observable, visible, and obvious, and it is also something that can be hidden…either by not talking about things, or living a full life, or engaging in the cross-dressing that a trans-person is forced into when they are policed and othered for dressing as who they truly are. And thus comes the judgement.
The heart of this approach considers sin to be defined by actions: wrong acts = sin, and those acts defined by a list that is derived from a selective reading of behaviors spoken of in scripture…in the OT it is a capricious selecting of things from the law that one desires, and in the NT it is usually behaviors that are mentioned in descriptions of what life is like after we have an existential encounter and transformation of our being!
In truth, sin in the large and most deadly sense is simply separation from God. Period. Last word. When this is understood, one sees that no matter WHAT one does, or refrains from, it does not address the fundamental issue, which is restoration of our relationship with the Ones who made us. After that relationship is restored, the word for sin changes and means simply “missing the mark”. Once we are truly adopted and resurrected within with Jesus, we are set free from law…completely free. If you do not accept that, you need to re-read Romans and both Corinthians and Galatians. Paul makes some very bold statements about law and spirit and sin.
When one is in the very common error of attributing moral status based on actions, one is in grave error, and I think this is the root of the hatred of homosexuality above all other “sins” (again, it is not a given to me that it is sin)…because it is an easily identified behaviour and one can consider one’s self “sinless” merely by avoiding that behaviour!!
Here is a suggestion: let’s get our own house in order. Let’s spend our time and our zeal within ourselves seeking deeper connection with Them, deeper character development, deeper sacrificial attitudes towards all we meet…ok?
Love your neighbor.