The following post is VERY controversial. In ways, I find that unfortunate. It is the raw scrapings of my heart and if you read it, you will discover the real me and more than likely will write me off forever due to the shocking reality of my despicable morality.
I wrote a post about a week ago that mentioned many reasons that I was no longer a “Christian” as defined by that non-exhaustive list. The list included important items like who God is, who Jesus Christ is, whether or not Jesus Christ is singularly sufficient, and much more. It even included odd-ball items like not needing to eat organic foods, homeschooling, and in a later comment, tithing.
I received about half-a-dozen comments in private and in public, affirming many of the items. A few follow-up comments required some clarification on my part.
The idea I was trying to get across was that, for the rest of my life, I will be seeking the truth of who God is, whether God is, who Jesus Christ is, the basic nature of faith, how my faith fits in with the basic nature of faith, how to treat other people, how to view the Bible, and, among others, what is truth and what is fairy tale about heaven and hell. My point was that I did not have to, nor should I be required to settle on a certain creed or creeds so that others could validate my status as a “Christian”. Or, said in a different way, all Christians have different walks in life while the common defining thread connecting us is our belief in Jesus Christ.
What shocked me was the private and public disagreement on one item on the list that seemed to me to be a non-foundational issue. “Shocked” may be a poor choice of a word, keeping in mind the current sociopolitical discourse.
The item was: “If being a Christian means that I must believe that homosexuality is wrong, I am lost. ”
That's it. The thing is, I'm not settled on the answer and I never intend to be. If I do decide it is wrong, I'm going to be forced into some sort of life flip-flop every time I talk to or hang out with some of my dear friends who are gay. I'm going to have to have that nagging, gnawing feeling every time I approach or chat with my gay relatives. If I decide it isn't wrong, I will be alienating many of the people I love. In fact, the issue is so important to some, that they may reject me as a legitimate human being – one that cannot be trusted or easily dismissed as foolish, regardless of the wisdom of my words on related or unrelated subjects.
So, I rest in the gray area of, “I don't care.” I don't! It doesn't bother me one bit. I see it as a person liking ketchup on eggs, rather than mustard. It doesn't define a person for me. In fact, I have never been asked why I am a heterosexual or even been given the thumbs up for passing a “Christianity” litmus test of liking the opposite sex, rather than the same sex.
But, let us, for argument sake, say that being gay is sinful. With that premise, I am going to tell you something you didn't know about me to prove that being a heterosexual deserves a higher status in the eyes of those who deem homosexuality as the unforgivable sin.
- I have uttered thousands, perhaps millions of swear words. And no, not when I whack my thumb with a hammer. I have yelled them at my children, used them in names for my children when they did not do as I asked, used them against my wife in arguments – to win some stupid battle that seemed important at the time. I have yelled them at The Minnesota Twins, politicians, bad drivers, excellent drivers, police officers, pastors, parishioners, patriarchal types, people who disagree with me, my siblings, my mother, my father, relatives, the weather, every one of my vehicles, stinging bees, skunks that jump into my lane and lay down on the road in perfect alignment with my front passenger tire, neighbor's dogs that go to the bathroom on my lawn, people who write better than me, people who don't swear, people who tell me not to swear, those who say swearing is healthy, parents who spank, those who write me off as a bitter young man, my dull razor, the alarm clock, children throwing up, and so much more that I have forgotten.
Repulsed yet? You should be. I am a horrible person. Sure, I'm working on my mouth, but, at the moment it defines who I am. But people consider me a good person, worthy of heaven – and a person who is gay – not so much. A good person? What good person yells at children, using horrible language? What good person calls his wife names when he is losing an argument? WHO DOES THAT???!!!
I have and still do, at times.
Frankly, if anyone was deserving of hell, it would be me. The argument of “It's not the static sin, it's the LIVING in sin that is at issue so you're ok, but a gay person is not,” falls flat because, after all, who is living in sin more than me? Maybe not the swearing part, but most definitely HOW I swear and who I project the words toward.
Maybe you rate sin. Swearing is only half bad. Homosexuality is horrible. If that is the case, I challenge you to send me a list of your sin ratings and I will check off EVERY SINGLE ONE, except for homosexuality, divorce, and physically cheating on my wife.
But, there is a catch. I will be using measures that we find in Matthew 5 – 7 during Jesus' sermon on the mount.
Jesus looked at the Pharisees and acknowledged that they were following the law. But then, he said, “But I say to you...” and then he revealed the true purpose of the law. Never having murdered was most excellent and deserved the awe and respect of their fellow man. But, hating their brother? Never having committed adultery was awesome. But, so much as looking at a woman to lust after her? Yes, the law was a base standard that man could prove on the outside that he was perfect. But God cared about the heart condition. And, keeping the heart condition clean and non-depraved was impossible. Jesus said, “Be perfect!” And, “If you break one law, you've broken them all.” And later, “He who has never sinned, let him cast the first stone.”
Assuming homosexuality is a sin, I am convinced that the standard must be that we should do as Jesus so succinctly said: “All the laws and the words of the prophets can be summed up by loving God and people.”
As I stated above, I don't care to put a label on the morality of the subject. I have way too much invested in people to let a little thing like their lifestyle choice get in the way of some of the best friendships I could ever ask for. In fact, to put it in perspective, my gay friends inquire about my marriage and my love life all the time in normal conversation.
And never once have they judged me for being a heterosexual.