Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The H Question, remix


Okay, maybe what I have to say isn’t important enough to restate it. But I just re-read the previous blog, and even I didn’t get it anymore. It was wordy. It could be expanded to a book, or reduced to some principles. When I wrote it, I was full of it. So here goes with the simple attempt:

Our denomination is fighting over the question of Homosexuality in respect to the question, can LGBTQ people be in significant roles of leadership?
And to answer that question, we have to answer a whole slew of other questions: Is LGBTQ practice sin? Does God love the LGBTQ person? Is it fair, or Christ-like, to single out the actions of LGBTQ people over the actions of others? Can we learn anything by the lack of any reference to LGBTQ in the gospels?
And underneath those questions are some classic battles defined by these questions: Does Sin exist, and if so, what is it? Is there absolute truth? Is the Bible authoritative? Is God, or the idea of God, dead? Can Science and Reason answer our questions of morality? Does “not standing against” LGBTQ activity mean we are condoning it? How can we stand FOR “good news, redemption and transformation” while we are standing against a GROUP of people?
I believe the argument about the LGBTQ question is one we shouldn’t be having because it no longer makes a real difference. The point is moot. Yep, I said it. And here is why:
When Nietzsche said “God is dead” he declared that humankind didn’t need the superstitious notions of God anymore. He believed that science and reason could solve the problems of the world. Evangelical, and the more conservative bible-believing theologians reacted strongly to those words. I reacted.
For me, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me from my sins. And He did. In ministry, I have seen demons cast out, I have seen the blind receive their sight, I have actually seen the dead raised back to life. One day, I felt this burning sensation at the back of my throat, and afterwards, I started speaking in an angelic tongue. When I pray in that tongue, I see mountains move. I can attest, God is not dead.
So here was Christianity, with its back up against the wall, the Cold War was raging and those “godless commies” threatened our very existence and faith. We had a fight on our hands.

We had to prove that God existed to those who rejected him in favor of Science and Reason ONLY. And one of the biggest arguments used was the fact of sin, the Biblical declarations of it, and the Atoning sacrifice of Christ to free us from the curse of sin.
In order to prove the fact of God, we proved the fact of sin, and Christianity as the sole refuge for sin.
All of those arguments were statements, propositions, designed to win the battle against the statements, propositions, of “science and reason are all we need.” It was a battle of words and ideas. Both sides became further and further entrenched in their propositions.
And then, the vast majority of the culture realized that science and reason did not provide all the answers. Without discarding the value and importance of science and reason, we admitted that we needed some sort of spiritual guidance to help us. We became students of our own history. We realized that just because we could do something, it didn’t mean we should. We question: “Should be have used the A-bomb?”
So, the culture changed and as it turned out, God wasn’t dead after all. Culture admitted that science and reason alone cannot provide moral guidance.
The Church has a chance to get back to the table as a partner in forming culture. We lost our seat when the Church reacted to its loss of significance by creating its own sub-culture. That sub-culture became so entrenched in the arguments that it didn’t notice the world wasn’t listening. Instead of trying harder to influence culture in a way that would make a real difference, it shouted out louder and louder, to itself -against one another, its propositions. The culture reacted with a reinforced view that it had become less and less relevant. They stopped listening.
But then, in spite of us, culture confesses its need for God and yes, what we call sin. Some even call it sin. Some call it brokenness. Some call it “influenced by evil” and some may reduce it to “a lack of evolutionary altruism.” But the overwhelming majority recognizes that we need spiritual as well as scientific guidance.
So here is the solution for us: We need to realize that the LGBTQ question changed along with the culture. The questions are no longer: “is there really such a thing as sin?” “Is LGBTQ sin?” Those questions addressed the proposition: “we no longer need God.”
Today, however, the questions are: “How does God love the LGBTQ Person?” “How does God want us to love the LGBTQ Person?” These questions place the emphasis on God’s loving relationship to humankind instead of the propositions of the culture. It is almost as if we have to change from defending “the fact of God” to defending “the love of God.”
Brethren, can we forgive each other the passions of the past, look beyond who won or lost the argument and get back to being God’s Kingdom ON EARTH and heaven instead of just in heaven? 


Author's note: I don't substitute the word Homosexual or Homosexuality lightly. For some, the substitution may seem as if I am trying to take away the very human face of Homosexual persons. I assure you, I am not. A big part says to me: "leave the entire word(s) in so that people can realize that we are talking about real people, people whom we know and love." But I find that too many other people use the Homosexual and Homosexuality as a derogative. So, when ever you see "H" in this blog and it refers to Homosexuals, try replacing it with "someone else that Jesus gave His life for -just like me."
Author’s note: In finding community with LGBTQ people who have accepted me, a former enemy to their civil rights, I learned to replace what was originally posted as “H people” with LGBTQ. That might explain my previous author’s note!


3 comments:

Paul Schrock said...

Thanks, Phil, for a very thoughtful (and readable) essay. I appreciate your willingness to speak in tongues that can be understood by us commoners. :-) Paul

Chris Warren said...

I loved the Church of the Brethren. In high school, I had a very sad home life and it was my church that gave me security, love, and identity. I felt the call to ministry, majored in pastoral ministries, and became a youth pastor at the Anderson Church of the Brethren for several years. I loved my work and the people I served. It was during my time as a youth pastor, I accepted that I was gay. It was not a party where I celebrated as I discovered a part of myself, it was a slow, deliberate process of research, reflection, prayer, and humility. Ultimately, I had to choose between being the person God made me to be or serving the church that meant so much. You can doubt my sincerity, call me a sinner condemned to hell, or believe that I was never called in the first place, it makes no difference. I was a good youth pastor with potential to be a great leader in the church, but I was cast out because I did not want to lie about a part of my identity. I hope the Church repents for the consequences of constant bickering and policies that segregate or you will fade into obscurity.

Revnerd said...

Here is the thing. God loves the homosexual and God wants the Church to love the Homosexual.

A friend of mine posted privately to me that my blog did not account for the pain that Homosexual persons feel in the way they are marginalized. He is right.

Chris,

Thank you for pointing this out. Your call to repentance is deliberate language and it is not an understatement.

Because they are denied basic human rights, Homosexual persons deserve more love, not less, especially from the Church.

God help us.