I've been thinking about important conversations we need to be having. You. Me. Friends. Families. Our communities. Our churches. Our workplaces. One of these crucial conversations is homosexuality in our culture and churches. The issue of homosexuality and the church in particular isn't going away anytime soon. The world continues to look at the church and its response to the issue. Christians fall all over the spectrum in how they feel about homosexuality, what they feel the Bible exactly says about it, and how to deal with it.
The conversation can be extremely polarizing.
I've found it helpful to find a place of common ground. Christians, we can argue amongst ourselves until Kingdom come over the theology and "official" stances regarding homosexuality. I thought that common ground might start with each of us, individually, examining how our words and actions might be affecting the people in our lives who are gay.
This is an excerpt from an article on Red Letter Christians written by a gay Christian, which I highly recommend you read:
We sit amongst you.
We are people struggling with being gay, afraid of what their closest family and friends would say. We laugh at your homo jokes and then we go in the bathroom and look in the mirror and hate what we see. We take a deep breath and we go back inside.
Whether or not you think homosexuality is right or wrong, whether or not you support gay marriage, and whether or not you know it, we all have gay people in our lives who are in need of as much grace, mercy, compassion, love, and respect as we'd show to anyone else.
Some of us would never dare to call someone we know fat even though they know and we know they're not fat at all. That would be insensitive, after all.
But do we put the same amount of tactful thought into how we use the words "gay" or "queer" or "fag"? Do we care that our eye-rolls, our snickers, our snide comments when we see gay couples walk by might be burying the person sitting across from us who has one more reason to believe that he can never come out to his friends or his church?
The same author from the article above writes:
I’d burn every earthly possession I have, empty my bank accounts, quit my job, and terminate every relationship I have for a pill to change over—in a heartbeat—I’d walk away from that pyre buck-naked, unemployed, broke, but straight.
But unlike my heroes of my youth, my secret identity clings to me and I am forced to hide from what is called to be most loving, compassionate place on the planet—the church.
That breaks my heart.
The church should be a place where hurting, broken, compassion-starved people can come to find other hurting, broken, and compassion-starved people waiting with open arms.
We can start, each of us, by becoming a person of grace, mercy, and love to the people with whom we brush shoulders every day.
These people aren't just a political or church issue that we debate or vote on or hear about in the news--they are our brothers and sisters, our cousins, our sons and daughters, our friends, our coworkers.
Without our knowledge, some of them might be in desperate need of a glimpse of hope from someone like you and me.