In part 1 of this five part series, I offered three altering interactions that fueled this project, the four questions of the LGBTQ community that emerged, and introductions of two gay friends who have committed to interacting with the questions.
In part 2, Annika and Constantine interacted with our first question: Can you reflect with us on your experience of being a gay, lesbian, or same-sex attracted human being?
Here are their responses to our second question. My hope is that we’d listen longer than feels comfortable and learn something about ourselves, the “American Church,” and the LGBTQ community.
Question 2 :: If you were to isolate this most recent outpouring of Christian discourse about same-sex orientation, what does the entire episode communicate to you about the “American Church?”
It seems to me that, for the most part, the conservative, anti-gay Christian voice is the primary voice being heard in the mainstream media. This is frustrating and damaging to the LGBTQ community. I feel like many in the conservative arm of the US American church are so focused on their idea of love and their interpretation of the Bible that it keeps them from authentically pursuing relationships with anyone who thinks, lives, sounds, or speaks differently then them.
I wonder…what gets accomplished when one particular group of people are dehumanized, othered and treated like 2nd class citizens by another? When has it ever been helpful to identify one group as less than? It seems to me that in a world where so much is wrong, focusing on who two consenting adults love and want to share a life with is crazy.
The Church should be the one standing up for every marginalized people group, including the queer people. Because it doesn’t, is the Church alive or is it dead on the inside?
The recent World Vision flip-flop reminds me that the American Church is not a monolith. There are folks on both sides of the issue in the pews, serving as pastors, on boards, and volunteering. As a result, talking about the Church vs. Culture is a gross oversimplification. Christ followers are not only combative with the gay population, but with each other, which does terrible things for the Church’s witness to the outside world. A place commissioned to live counter-culturally in love, truth, grace, and forgiveness descends into the same bickering and squabbling that characterizes the conversation outside. Disagreement is fine, but can we not be civil about it?
Moreover, the time and energy spent obsessing over this one issue robs the Church of its unique opportunity to address other ills where Christ’s radical thoughts need to be voiced: poverty, racism, war, and on and on. I’m not advocating that the Church stick its head in the sand on the gay debate, but rather that we place it in proper perspective, noting the infrequency with which Jesus addresses it as compared to other topics on which we too often remain silent.
In the same way that it similarly reduces the lives and identities of gays and lesbians, the Church is not living into its full identity.
Enter the Dialogue:
Here are four questions for consideration (please keep your contribution civil and helpful, remembering that Annika, Constantine, and their many friends are reading along.)
- What did I just learn about myself and my own biases, opinions, fears, and prejudices?
- What did I just learn about my own contribution to the 2 severed relationships?
- What did I just learn about the church?
- What did I just learn about the LGBTQ community?
Tomorrow’s Question :: Christians understand that, for whatever reason, God chose to attach His reputation to human beings…specifically to the Church. Again, in light of the recent discourse, how would you describe the Jesus that is being represented by His Church? Click Here to read Part 4.