Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Baby Steps in Grace

I've mentioned here that I believe that we in the evangelical church are called to give grace to gays. I took a baby step in that direction tonight when I attended a midweek service of a gay church (I would call it 'gay friendly', but I think that Missy and I were pretty much the only straight people there). I happen to know the pastor, who was on staff (and in the closet) at my church a few years ago. I really love this guy; he's a true lover of Jesus, has ministered to the sick and dying as a hospice pastor, and is a genuinely fascinating man. When I heard that he had taken over a gay-friendly church in my area, we exchanged a few emails and I decided to come see his congregation.

Nothing particularly special to report, insofar as it was pretty much what you would expect from a modest, 30-40 person midweek service. Since the topic happened to be one in a series on relationships, the same-sex nature of the partnerships was made more obvious but I doubt that if the topic had been outside the realm of relationships that there would have been much that would have distinguished the evening from any other church service--except the notable absence of Christianese. And hey, I'll count that as refreshing.

See, here's the great thing about grace: it's not about having to approve what you and everyone else knows you disapprove of. It's about loving people despite all the other stuff. You think homosexuality is an offense to God? Fine, so are you. And he loves you anyway, so turn around and love the homos too.

Please, for God's sake and your own, if you believe that Christianity is holding a thin red line against the assault of homosexual perversion on America, God's last bastion of righteousness in a sea of sin, just spend some time in the company of gay Christians. Give just enough grace to them to sit with them, drink tea with them, break bread with them, and let them talk about what God is doing in their lives. Your approval is not required. Neither is your preaching. Hold on to your Bible verses and your fears and your statistics, and simply be with other human beings that Jesus died for. People a lot like you, full of faults and weaknesses, looking to Jesus to give them a hope and a future.

Get off of your position statements, politics and prejudices, and fall into grace.


At 2:25 AM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

I do not understand your position. Or rather, the position of the this 'gay church'. I have never really heard of such. Do they condone their homosexuality? Do they justify it Scripturally?

I am all for giving grace to sinners, do not get me wrong. I recognize fully that a gay is a sinner just as a murder or a theif. We are all three of these.

What I am attempting to understand is their position to homosexuality now that they are Christian. Is it the same position that we should all hold toward sin, or is it different?

At 6:22 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

I would say, Adam, that we should treat Christian gays the same way we would treat Christians who are divorced, especially those who remarry. The Church's message should be Biblical and consistent to them--God hates divorce. But that doesn't mean that divorced people and remarried people don't deserve grace from their fellow Christians.

As for justifying homosexuality Scripturally, frankly they don't really try to. Arguments have been presented pro and con, but they attitude they've taken I think is that there is room in the Body of Christ for believers who feel both ways.

I look at it like this: if we didn't think a fellow Christian had sinned, then by definition they wouldn't need our grace or God's grace. Grace is for sinners. The message of the Bible about sexual purity need not be diluted, but neither can we avoid our debt of grace. We've received it. We need to give it. Gays need it from us. I am convinced to my core that it will be pleasing to Jesus for us to do so.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Wasp Jerky said...

There was an episode of Morgan Spurlock's FX series 30 Days in which a very straight, fairly conservative Christian guy spent 30 days rooming with a homosexual guy in San Francisco. He had several conversations on the show with a gay pastor. It was all quite interesting. You should watch it if you get a chance sometime.

At 2:10 PM, Blogger Nellie Bellie said...

Once we have become Christians we are called to repent and turn from our sins, not continue to live them out??? I am seeing mixed standards here from this gay church...If you are divorced you don't continue to divorce and remarry over and over...I don't see the relation, help?


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