Dear Evangelical Christians…

Posted on July 8, 2011


Dear Evangelical Christians,

I was with some people the other day and they began discussing gay marriage.

Immediately bored, having had this conversation thrust upon me (no pun intended) for the past 15 years like it is the only issue of faith that matters, I tuned out and began to imagine the conversation I would have liked to have had instead.

It went a little something like this:

Where’s the love, people?

Empathy is crucial.  We cannot continue to have conversations about other people’s lives in a detached, judgemental way.  I cringe when I hear people’s sexual orientation referred to as ‘bondage’ or ‘sin’.

I think about my gay friends and I wonder how I would feel if I were in their shoes.  Regardless of whether same sex orientation is something you’re born with or something you acquire, imagine hearing yourself talked about like that.

I am so sad that gay people feel as though the Christian church is the last place they would come for community, a spiritual home and/or a place to connect with their Creator.

We Christians have to find a way of communicating God’s best for us without coming across like jerks.  And this becomes all the more difficult when you are talking about issues of sexual orientation, because they relate to the soul.

Which is why the answer can only be Jesus.  Only he has the authority to say to anyone  ‘go and sin no more‘.

I remember hearing Sy Rogers (a former pre-op transsexual who had a transforming encounter with God) speak a few years ago and he said: ‘If there’s something in your life that God wants you to sort out, then He’ll help you do it.  It’s just that simple. We just have to come to Him with a transparent and willing heart.’

It is God who will bring conviction to our lives, regardless of who we are and what we’re dealing with.  We just have to have the stones to invite Him in to the tricky places.

Check out this perspective from Sy:

Good news

Surely what is most important is that all people – whatever they have going on – are first introduced to the GOOD NEWS that is Jesus Christ.

Weirdly, we sometimes seem to get it the other way around, even if we don’t mean to – i.e. ‘fit into this particular social construct, make these particular choices and you will be welcome here’.

And whether we say this implicitly or explicitly, we are saying it.

Hence the reason many gay people think of Christians in much the same way that year sevens think of substitute teachers – irrelevant institutional bi-products who are to be mocked, ignored and disliked.

Instead of following Jesus’ example, we prefer to make church into something that is comfortable for us; where we look the same, act the same, choose the same and don’t leave room for those who find themselves, for whatever reason, in a different place.

I’m as guilty of this as the next person – and I am increasingly aware that in doing so, I cheapen the gospel.

We are Fraidy Cats

While I believe in the authority of the bible and standing up for what is right, we need to remember that Jesus didn’t require people to come to him with everything sorted out.  He just rejoiced when they came to him; showed grace, and empowered them to live a better life.

Think of Mary Magdalene. Think of Zaccheus. Think of the criminal on the cross.

Gay people being at your church will not mean that your children will become gay.  Gay people are not predatory.  Paedophiles are predatory.  Gay people are not bad parents.  Bad parents are bad parents.

You see what I’m getting at, here?

As someone who identifies with a more ‘evangelical’ theology, but who leans toward more ‘liberal’ conversations to process that theology, I always brace for a smack down when posing these viewpoints because I find that some evangelicals can be threatened by the conversation itself.

I think this is often born of fear.

Fear that God isn’t big enough.  Fear that people will live lesser lives if we don’t legislate.  Fear that people’s sexual orientation will somehow keep them from finding God.  Fear of something different or uncomfortable in our faces that we don’t know how to fit into our neatly-sewn theological tapestry.

And fear is the opposite of love.

Love is the most transforming power in the universe.

God is love.  God is grace.  God is kindness.  God is a good Father who will help us get off our high horse and free us from our addiction to middle class passive aggression and judging everyone else for all the things we don’t like or understand and who compels us to a place of humility and freedom.

God is in the business of showing us a better way to love.  We just forget to listen sometimes, because it’s often easier to legislate than to love.

Behaviour modification vs transformation

Behaviour modification never transformed anyone.  Jesus Christ, on the other hand, has transformed millions.

Jesus Christ embodied love at its most raw, powerful and profound.

So make love the priority.  Stop complicating the good news of the gospel.

Let’s captivate a broken, love-starved society with grace, empathy, integrity, compassion and laughter.

We are not defined by what we condemn.  We are not defined by what we condone.  We are defined by the One who loves us.

Yours gaily (see what I did there?)