The Part Where We Live It Out

If you haven’t yet read the two previous posts (here and here) on what the Bible actually has to say about homosexuality among Christians, you should go do that now.  Seriously, do it.  Don’t worry; this article will be here when you’re done.

Finished?  Okay.

Now that we’ve looked at where the Bible seems to stand on the issue (in my best estimation), I’d like to talk a bit about how Christians ought to respond.  But before I do that, I need to lay down one ground rule for all Christians (gay or straight) when dealing with this issue – we are talking about people.  Not statistics.  Not ideals.  Not civil rights.  People.  Bearing this in mind will go a long way toward helping us practice a Christ-like approach.

Okay.  First, concerning Christians who are gay, let me just say that as a straight man it is not my place to prescribe to you how to deal with this.  (What?!)  I am not gay.  I have never had to struggle with this issue.  And no matter how many of my friends are gay, it will never be as personal for me as it is for you.  Just like I wouldn’t want you dictating how I should deal with my problems, I’m not going to dictate how you deal with yours.  I know that you have a lot on your mind.  I know that it is hard work and exhausting fighting your way through all of this.  I know that you are trying to love Jesus and honor God the best way you know how.  And I know that somewhere in the back of your mind, you are scared to death that you might end up in hell because you got it wrong.  I want to encourage you!  I want to stand with you!  I want to see you find happiness and fulfillment, and I don’t want to make this any harder than it needs to be.  Please know that I am not going to judge you, and that (despite what some “Christians” might say), God is not going to burn you in hell for eternity just for genuinely coming to the wrong theological conclusions (whatever that might be).  Gay or straight, broken or whole, celibate or married, Jesus died because he loves you.  And that means you have infinite value.

Now, for those of us Christians who are not gay, how should we deal with the LGBs (and everyone else) in our lives?  Simple – with love!  That’s it.  Love.  It’s not our job to judge them.  We’ll leave that in God’s hands.  It’s not even our job to convict them.  That’s the Holy Spirit’s job (Jn 16:5-11).  Our job is just to love people, and let God take care of the rest.

Now that raises the question – how exactly do we love gay people?  The Westboro crazies are notorious for saying that they love gays by aggressively “telling them the truth.”  But is that really the sort of love that Jesus wants us to show?  I’m not so sure.  In fact, when I look at the NT definition of love, it sounds a lot less like beating someone over the head with the Bible, and it sounds a lot more like sacrificing for someone.  Here’s what I mean…

Too often, the “Christian” tactic for dealing with the problem of homosexuality has been to try to outlaw gay marriage.  If we can just make it impossible for gays to be legally married, surely we will have done our job for the kingdom of God.  The strange thing is that Jesus never tried anything of the sort.  In fact, when the Son of God was offered political power, he outright turned it down (Lk 4:6-8).  What if the truly Christian approach to homosexuality is one that exhibits not power over people, but sacrifice under them?  This is what some friends and I have taken to calling “Third Option Theology” (for a good picture of this, check out my friend Matt’s article here).  Rather than falling into the world’s polarized views, kingdom people ought to be talented at finding a third option that gets at the heart of an issue.

For the issue of homosexuality, it begins with us seeing that LGBs are people.  And as people, what they are really looking for is not for the right to have sex how they want it.  Like all the best relationships, most gay relationships are not primarily about sex.  They are about meeting our inherent need to be in deep, committed, intimate relationships.  As humans, we are created in the image of God (imago Dei).  And since God is inherently relational (one big intimate relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), we are inherently relational.  And when Christians try to deny LGBs the right to be in deep, committed, intimate relationships, we are in effect trying to deny their imago Dei.  We are dehumanizing them on a fundamental, spiritual level.  So, the real question for the church is not, “How do we keep gays from being gay?” but rather, “How do we help gays fulfill their imago Dei?”1

Now, this is going to sound crazy, but I think that the way we should do this is by opening up our lives to the LGB community.  It would be ridiculous for Christians to deal with the problem of orphans by making it illegal for people to give up their kids for adoption (some people really should give up their kids).  Rather, the kingdom way of dealing with orphans is to adopt all of them.  Likewise, the kingdom way of dealing with homosexuality is not by making it illegal for LGBs to find deep, committed, intimate relationships with each other; rather, it is by inviting them into deep, committed, intimate relationships, so they don’t feel a need to go looking for it elsewhere.  What would it look like for gays to feel such a sense of belonging and family in the church that they never felt a need to enter into a homosexual relationship?  What would the result be if every Christian family volunteered to adopt an LGB person into their family, to live with them (à la, uncle Jessie in Full House)?  It would probably be hard.  It would be awkward and uncomfortable sometimes.  It would mean being vulnerable.  It would require setting aside some personal desires.  It would take sacrifice.  But doesn’t that sound so much more like the kingdom of God?  Doesn’t that sound so much more like the heart of Jesus?

In fact, what if that was the typical Christian approach to almost everything?

You’re gay and you want to feel loved?  Come be a part of our family!

You have an unwanted pregnancy, and you don’t think you can take care of a baby?  That’s okay; our house could always use another person or two to love.

You’re young and single, and don’t know what you’re doing with your life?  Let us be your family and help you figure things out.

You’re homeless?  No worries.  We have a home, and lots of love to go around.

I don’t know.  I’m just saying, maybe it would be worth trying.  For all we know, it just might work.

It just might change the world.

1: For more on how humans are designed to be in relationships, and how this is reflected in the Bible, check out the sermon, Solo Mojo, by Greg Boyd.

| Gender Issues | 12 comments so far

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Rocky Munoz
Jesus-follower, husband, daddy, amateur theologian, former youth pastor, nerd, and coffee snob. Feel free to email me at almostheresy@gmail.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstarmunoz)

11 Comments

  1. Mollie, February 10, 2014 at 9:19 pm:

    Intriguing. My views on this issue have changed drastically since homosexuality became a hot topic in pop culture but this is solid. Being kind and loving is a great place to start when figuring out how to deal with anyone, gay or straight. :)

    • Rocky Munoz, February 10, 2014 at 9:28 pm:

      I completely agree! Thank you so much for commenting on here, Mollie :)

  2. Steven Beech, February 13, 2014 at 2:16 am:

    While I do agree with you, I do wonder about the success of adopting gay people into the families of others; do the other members of your family fulfill your the same role as your wife? Not to sound aggressive or anything, just a little low on time and wanted to comment before I forgot.

    • Rocky Munoz, February 13, 2014 at 9:17 am:

      Thanks for commenting on here, Steven! And don’t worry, you didn’t come off aggressive. I too wonder about the success of it. I know that some gay Christian friends of mine have expressed that they would find this set up to be wonderful and fulfilling of what they are looking for in life. However, I have had others say that they don’t think it would meet their relational needs, or that it would be condescending. It isn’t that “adopted” LGB members would fulfill the same role as my wife, but that they would be afforded the same degree of loving commitment as any family member (though it would look differently from how I love my wife).

      I admit, the idea needs workshopped quite a bit. But I think it is still far better than ostracizing people and/or simply trying to pass legislation against them. What do you think?

      • Steven Beech, March 7, 2014 at 7:19 pm:

        I would agree that it is always better to try to include then legislate the problem away. Ultimately, it ties to the struggle we have as Christians to follow the ideals that Christ has shown. In the end I am happy to see that more people are looking for ways to include gay people in the community, but I hope that we as a whole do not continue to repeat our previous patterns (when one group of previously unacceptable people become included into normal society, we proceed to include them in our exclusion of the other unacceptable people groups). If we really believe that Christ loves all, and that we need to do the same, and show kindness to those directly in opposition to us.

        • Steven Beech, March 7, 2014 at 7:51 pm:

          As far as how I would feel about joining a family instead of seeking a committed relationship with another man, I feel that these relationships are different. When I think about what I want from this relationship, I think about a person to wake up with in the morning; a person to hold me up when I am shaken; and a person that allows me to give them things that I only want to give to one person. I see how these things exist within the structure of a family, but I also see them as something else. If I were in this situation, I would always wonder if I had made the right decision to give up looking for that person, and I would be afraid that if I did meet that person that my family would not accept them and want me to cut ties. At the core of my hurt with the Christian community and my sexual orientation is this expectation that when I become to close to someone, to really love them; that I will have to cut ties with them in order to keep the love that I already have. It is the current situation I have with my genealogical family, I don’t know if I can go through it over and over.

          • Rocky Munoz, March 8, 2014 at 12:26 am:

            Steven, thank you for your openness on here. I too think that the greatest mistake that the church has made on this issue is to forget that loving and accepting others unconditionally is our primary goal. If we could get this down, I think a lot of the fears that LGBs experience would be alleviated.

  3. dgsinclair, July 31, 2014 at 2:34 pm:

    >> First, concerning Christians who are gay, let me just say that as a straight man it is not my place to prescribe to you how to deal with this. (What?!) I am not gay.

    I understand what you are implying – it is hard to put yourself objectively into someone else’s position, and certainly, us straights do not know the full experience of gays in a full sense. But this is still a fallacious argument similar to ‘men can’t argue against abortion’ or ‘whites can’t argue for/against black slavery.’

    This could be the Bulverism fallacy, a type of ad hominem (it’s like ad hominem mixed with genetic fallacy) – that the argument or conclusion is *wrong* becuase the arguer is biased. Even if you do have a bias (and so do gays, but a positive argument based on bias is sometimes called The Pshcyhologist’s fallacy), their arguments should stand or fall based on logic, not the quality of the person speaking.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulverism
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychologist%27s_fallacy

    >> God is not going to burn you in hell for eternity just for genuinely coming to the wrong theological conclusions

    1. True, if anyone has faith in Christ’s atoning death and resurrection, he will be saved despite faulty character or doctrines.

    2. I don’t believe anyone will burn in hell for eternity because I am now a Conditionalist
    http://www.rethinkinghell.com
    http://www.wholereason.com/2012/09/why-am-i-considering-the-conditionalist-view-of-hell.html

    >> Simple – with love! That’s it. Love. It’s not our job to judge them. We’ll leave that in God’s hands. It’s not even our job to convict them. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job (Jn 16:5-11). Our job is just to love people, and let God take care of the rest.

    I get where you are coming from, but we are also to preach the gospel of the coming judgement and the salvation found in Christ, which includes preaching the law to help convict us of our need for Christ. Gay affirmation would be lying. God’s patience with our struggles would be the truth.

    >> Too often, the “Christian” tactic for dealing with the problem of homosexuality has been to try to outlaw gay marriage.

    I totally agree. In fact, one of my major shifts was from the Evangelical right to the Evangelical Center – as such, I eschew what I call ‘coercive public policy’ from either left or right – that means we should shy away from solutions that either negatively ban things, or positively support them with money.
    http://www.wholereason.com/2012/09/major-shifts-in-my-thinking-over-the-last-25-years.html
    http://www.wholereason.com/2013/02/a-specific-proportionality-proposal-for-public-policy-types-part-i.html

    By reducing the more coercive forms of governmental control (Prohibition and Provision), we reduce the negative social repercussions of ‘legislative strong-arming.’

    We must focus less on the tail-end public policy actions (prohibition and provision) and more on the ‘softer’ policies of prescription and promotion. The simple evidence of the public’s distaste for the strong-arm legislative tactics and rhetoric of the ‘culture wars,’ quite visible in the growing ranks of newly minted Independents leaving both the Left and the Right, tells us that such intrusive government policies create ill will.

  4. dgsinclair, July 31, 2014 at 2:38 pm:

    Dude, love that last indented section. Very nice.

    • Rocky Munoz, July 31, 2014 at 10:10 pm:

      Thanks :)

  5. Rocky Munoz, March 8, 2014 at 12:30 am:

    Love this!


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