Odds are many of you are probably already mad right now- just by reading the title to this post.
Others only clicked on it because of the title…you have fallen victim to a little link bait. I would be lying if I said I was sorry…since you are already here, you might as well stay and read the rest of the post.
I wanted to return to Pot Stirring Tuesday today, and while I started to string together a post about beer/gays/church taxes/unicorns/politics to make a lot of people mad- that’s not really my intent with stirring the pot.
I stir the pot not to make as many people mad as I can, but to make you think a little. To force you to think about what it is you believe, and why it is that you believe it.
So, on to today’s post: Gay people. Specifically Gay people and the Christian (and the Church) response.
A few disclaimers:
- I’m going to use “gay” instead of “homosexual” frankly because it is shorter and easier to type. I mean absolutely no disrespect by the term.
- When I saw “church” I am not necessarily talking about my church, your church, or any church I have been to. I am using it generically to speak of the “church” as a whole.
- If you are looking for a fight on gay people, or gay marriage, you have came to the wrong post. Not the topic for the day…maybe one day in the future.
Something has been bothering me for awhile now when it comes to churches and gay people. Mainly that most gay people would not be welcomed into many churches.
The church has for years claimed to be a place where everyone is welcome, and has done a great job of reaching out consistently to those considered “down and out” and those rejected by society. In my mind however, there is one “group” of people that has not been treated the same by the church.
That “group” (for lack of a better term) is gay people. I can understand some of the awkwardness, in fact I have felt much of the same awkwardness in my life when around gay people. At least I used to.
What changed that for me? Being around someone who was gay. Seeing that she was a regular person, just like me. A person with real life problems, with real life concerns. (In case you are wondering- she did not even get any “gay” on me).
Being around her has broadened my horizons quite a bit. I have stopped viewing gay people as someone who was less than me, or someone to stay away from (in case they tried to get any gay on me), to someone I could be a friend with. It is a strange relationship that we have, it is almost comical to think about- the hardcore conservative Southern Baptist being friends with a gay person. But this relationship (in my mind) comes much closer to the Gospel than how many treat gay people.
Guess what- I have not changed any of my convictions or beliefs about gay people, but the relationship we have has shown that it is possible for two people with radically different beliefs (ones that are deeply held- and not likely to change, ever) can in fact be friends.
It is time that the church adopts a similar strategy.
You can be a liar, thief, murderer, prostitute, kidnapper, and be welcome at church. Gay people? Not so much.
Why is that?
I do not know. I think that part of it is that “Christians” are quick to realize their failings- they are liars, thiefs, drunks…the list goes on. But for many- being gay is not something they deal with. So therefore- they are better than the gay people. They may not be mentally thinking this (some may be) but by their actions they are acting this way.
The church should be a place where everyone is welcomed with open arms. Where people can come in and feel welcome, no matter what they wear, what they look like, what they smell like, or what they believe.
It does not mean that the church has to believe, or support, everything these people believe, but they must welcome them.
We must all remember that the biggest problem that each visitor has when they come into the church is not their addictions, it is not their lifestyle, it is not any of their misdeeds. Their biggest problem is a sin problem. If anyone (or any group) is rejected from being welcome into the church then the church loses the opportunity to share the Gospel with them, and to show them that their greatest need is Christ.
Our greatest problem can only be dealt with by pointing to Christ and His finished work for us done on the Cross.
For that to happen everyone must be welcome to come into the church.
For a church (or for you or me) to function any other way is to lose credibility with the world we are trying to reach.