I recently heard a wonderful young woman ask some very pointed and heart-felt questions:
Does anyone have an answer as to why God would honor a gay relationship? How do we know this through God’s Word instead of basing it off of how we feel or think?
I am a fan of great questions. And these, my friends, are great questions! You see, for many young LGBs who grew up in the Christian faith there exists an internal struggle. On the one hand, they have a deep-seated love for God, particularly as He is revealed in Jesus Christ, and even after having been condemned and ostracized by the church, they nevertheless have a strong desire to love God and study His Scriptures. On the other hand, they have been told that the Bible unequivocally condemns them, or at least any relationship they choose to enter into with someone of the same gender. Many of them lack training in theology and biblical studies (at least, as much as most lay Christians), and the issue of Scripture and homosexuality is one that often requires a detailed appreciation for the nuances and subtleties of historical exegesis, regardless of where one lands on the issue.
What’s more, this isn’t just a struggle for Christians that are gay. Many, myself included, are not gay, but have very strong friendships (even familial relationships) with these folks. There was a time, it would seem, when most people could easily take a traditional stance on this and leave it at that. Many people today, however, no longer have the luxury of forming an opinion based solely on hypothetical gay people and a cursory glance at Bible passages in an English translation. If nothing else, the movement for marriage equality among alternative sexualities has brought the prevalence of homosexuality to the forefront. Granted, LGBs are still very much a minority group. But, lesbi-honest, you’d be hard pressed these days to find someone that doesn’t have a friend of family member that’s gay.
Now, before we get much further, LGBs are not people that hate the Bible because it means they can’t be sexual deviants. Truthfully, many of the ones that I know personally are deeply committed to their faith, attend church regularly, and spend a great deal of time studying and reflecting on Scripture. They can hardly deny or suppress the attraction that they feel toward others of the same gender, and to do so would be disingenuous. However, most of the time they can’t really square it with what the Bible says. So, generally they will either gloss over it with ambiguities (“As long as I’m loving God and people like Jesus taught, nothing else matters as much”) or they will distance themselves from Scripture, or at least the passages that are most problematic for their sexuality.
But, I would like to offer something more. While I’m not fully in the gay-affirming camp (at least, not by some people’s estimates), I do actually believe that there is a very strong biblical case to be made for why God would (and often does) honor same-sex relationships. So, if you’ll bear with me, I’ll be spending the next few blog posts fleshing that out. All I ask is that you keep an open (albeit, critical) mind as I work through this.