Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Dropping the Homobomb

In this post in Out of Ur, Brian McClaren made what read to me like quite a moderate attempt to convey how, from a pastor's perspective, the issue of homosexuality has implications for sheparding people that transcend the question of Biblical injunctions:
I hesitate in answering "the homosexual question" not because I'm a cowardly flip-flopper who wants to tickle ears, but because I am a pastor, and pastors have learned from Jesus that there is more to answering a question than being right or even honest: we must also be . . . pastoral...
...Frankly, many of us don't know what we should think about homosexuality. We've heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say "it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us." That alienates us from both the liberals and conservatives who seem to know exactly what we should think. Even if we are convinced that all homosexual behavior is always sinful, we still want to treat gay and lesbian people with more dignity, gentleness, and respect than our colleagues do...
...Being "right" isn't enough. We also need to be wise. And loving. And patient. Perhaps nothing short of that should "seem good to the Holy Spirit and us."
Of course, mentioning homosexuality in a crowded evangelical room is like talking about George W. Bush at a MoveOn.org meeting. A downward spiral in the conversation is just entirely predictable.

What I found most discouraging--well, astonishing, really--about what followed in the firestorm of comment was Mark Driscoll's response to McLaren. Driscoll is senior pastor of Mars Hill, one of Seattle's largest, fastest-growning evangelical congregations, and he had some choice things to say to McLaren starting with this zinger:
Well, it seems that Brian McLaren and the Emergent crowd are emerging into homo-evangelicals.
Hey, nothing like a tasteless barb to start the thing off. There's more:
I am myself a devoted heterosexual male lesbian who has been in a monogamous marriage with my high school sweetheart since I was 21 and personally know the pain of being a marginalized sexual minority as a male lesbian.
Wow, I never heard that one before. Male lesbian? What a hoot! Note also the tongue-in-cheek white male heterosexual persecution complex. Driscoll goes on to say with a predictable evangelical finger-wagging that McLaren's dilemma of not knowing how to say the truth without hurting someone shouldn't stop him. Reading this essay, it certainly doesn't appear that Pastor Driscoll has any hang-ups about offending people in how he relates his understanding of the truth. He has no problem labeling Doug Pagitt as Brian McLaren's "Tonto," for instance.

So blinding of reason and dulling of sensitivity is this issue that apparently no right-thinking evangelical can resist believing that homosexuality is all about lusting for mass buggery:
Just this week a young man who claims to be a Christian and knows his Bible pretty well asked if he could have anal sex with lots of young men because he liked the orgasms.
You know what? I'm not even sure I believe that line. I'm not quite sure I can picture a professing gay Christian approaching Mark Driscoll to ask his permission to have lots of anal sex, especially "because he liked the orgasms." This fits just entirely too easily in the evangelical dismission of homosexuality that it's all about how some perverted guys like to get their rocks off. But fine, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt Pastor Driscoll.

What riled me most was this gem:
Sadly, by failing to answer, McLaren was unwilling to say what the Bible says and in so doing really hurt God’s feelings and broke his heart.
Apparently Pastor Driscoll got a weepy phone call from the Lord, who was unloading his hurt feelings and broken heart with his man in Seattle. With crap like this out there, McLaren gets Stupid Church Person of the Year?

Anyway, if you can resist the depression that watching Christians batter each other over this issue can bring, read the series. Like I said, nothing like a homobomb to bring all our gracelessness right to the surface.

19 Comments:

At 11:25 AM, Blogger dorsey said...

Although I was a little surprised to see Driscoll get bitten by it, I think the roots of the apparent rush to judgement go back to what you referred to in an early Godscrum as the "endorsement fallacy." That is, if we don't come out against it right away, people might think we condone it.

I think your "contamination fallacy" applies also. Once a pastor allows homosexuals in, and people start getting to know them, it becomes more difficult to vilify them...er, I mean, vilify their sinful lifestyle.

 
At 12:43 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

Wow, thanks Dorse. I guess I agree with me.

 
At 3:08 PM, Blogger jeff said...

Hey Zeke,

I was on the phone with Dorsey today and he was telling me about this.

I'm sure a lot of people disagree with McLaren on many levels. So what? Why does anyone care what Mark Driscoll thinks? Unless his issues run deeper than he cares to admit???

Okay, that was not called for. but neither were Driscoll's biting comments...

maybe I'm inadvertantly dealing with the issues of cynicism, like Driscoll is inadvertantly dealing with latent... oh never mind.

 
At 8:19 PM, Blogger Jody said...

interesting to see the back lash. grace and love are to be the things that draw people to christ. i hope i can have more grace and love for others, including the "graceless right". it seems the conservative pop. of christians seem to easily become critical of liberals. i seem to easily become critical of conservatives (and a lot of other things honestly). good post.

 
At 8:31 PM, Blogger dorsey said...

I was just talking to NJ Gordon today about how ironic it is that so many of us who love to preach freedom and grace often stumble in extending to the legalistic types—the ones who need to understand it the most.

Let us pray:
"Lord, I thank You that I am not like other men..."

 
At 11:17 PM, Blogger dufflehead said...

i just don't understand why the right keeps touting their tired old lines. it's like they just put their fingers in their ears and start swearing loudly anytime anyone brings up a good, interesting, or different perspective.

 
At 6:19 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

I was just talking to NJ Gordon today about how ironic it is that so many of us who love to preach freedom and grace often stumble in extending to the legalistic types—the ones who need to understand it the most.

Yeah, guilty. It's easier and more satisfying to tear them a new one.

McLaren, by the way, seems to be really good about that.

 
At 11:32 AM, Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

I think I fixed my feed.

Also, I posted something about Phelps. I know you just love the dude, so I thought you'd be interested.

 
At 1:27 PM, Blogger SB said...

I applaud McLaren’s courage and humility. Those two qualities are too often found isolated one from the other.

 
At 6:19 PM, Blogger caucazhin said...

BROKEBACK unlikely to play in China
Saturday 21st January, 2006
Ang Lee's Golden Globe-winning film, Brokeback Mountain, may be barred from China's mainland because of its gay theme.
The Shenzhen Daily quoted a source saying the government censors will most likely not approve of the cowboy love story as well as the restricted rating it carries in the United States.
China only lets 20 foreign films into the country each year and one of its two commercial film distributors said Brokeback is considered more of an art house film than a mainstream commercial movie.
Although 'Brokeback Mountain' won international acclaim, it does not mean its box office would be successful on the mainland, the source said.(THANK GOD)
Zeke I guess when they come out with and show the X RATED version of Leave It To (Beaver)on TV in China you will be satisfied that they have "Freedom". None of that Bokeback Mountian garbage would have EVERRRRRRR been shown in my parents generation so I guess they and PAUL where Commies to for sensoring what the LORD deplores.

ROMANS 3: For even though they knew God, they did not honor God as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

 
At 1:59 AM, Blogger dufflehead said...

huh, if i read that right, caucazhin, paul says that God made homosexuals.

and, if i read your tone correctly (and that of Driscoll) you want to condemn them.

so, in effect, you are condemning God ?

 
At 7:52 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

4 "What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears.

5 Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the words of my mouth; my judgments flashed like lightning upon you.

6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
-Hosea 6:4-6


The Lord ordered Hosea to take a whore for a wife to demonstrate God's unfailing love for his people, even in their unfaithfulness to him. What he requires in return is our mercy to each other, which I wouldn't mind seeing more of in your posts, caucazhin. It's what I'm trying to do with gays, regardless of whatever conclusions you keep coming to with regard to my theology. I just want to see some more frigging mercy extended to those for who we in the evangelical community have had precious little.

 
At 3:18 PM, Blogger Herobill said...

Okay, now I got a question:

I'm all for extending mercy. But am I allowed to believe certain behaviors are just sin, period? And am I allowed to say so? Or is that automatically considered "condemning"?

Honest question, Z-man. You know me! :)

 
At 5:56 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

You're allowed to say whatever you want, Bill. I'm just asking that we deal with this issue with more patience, compassion, and mercy.

Too often with regard to gays evangelicals play Wack-a-Mole, bringing the hammer down every time the issue comes up... as if they don't declare to the rafters how sinful homosexuality is at every opportunity, somebody somewhere might start to think they actually approve of it.

 
At 10:02 AM, Blogger Jenny said...

Ugh. I love how he starts off by outlining his "credentials" and then dissolves into deeply unfunny* bigotry.

Someone needs to tell Driscoll that using "gay" as a pejorative adjective stopped being anything resembling funny sometime around the 7th grade.

*Actually, the part about the fingerpaints was funny. But Driscoll is still an asshole.

 
At 6:16 PM, Blogger jeff said...

Am I allowed to say what I want?

where'd my 2nd comment go? I really wanted to hear cauc's answer on that???

 
At 6:18 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Yeah. I lost a comment too....

Could there be censorship on Zeke's blog??

:-)

 
At 8:38 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

Blogger has been hiccupping the last few days. Here are your comments reposted:

From Jeff, 2/3/06:

caucazhin,

Did you even read Zeke's original post? Did you even read any of the comments? Or did you just see the word 'homosexual' and grab your bible?

I don't think anyone here is stating a position for or against homosexuality. No, the conversation is about showing love both ways... to the homosexuals, and to the assholes who condemn them without any regard for their feelings or spiritual fortitude.

Now, if I may quote some scripture of my own...

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

or

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites... you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness.

It's easy to condemn the sin of another. It's much more difficult to embrace them, understanding that my self-righteousness is less pleasing to God than someone's perceived immoral lifestyle.

 
At 8:42 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

From Steve, 2/4/03:

You had to bring SCP back into it huh? Just can't leave it alone can ya?? :-)

And that was last year 2005. Has nothing to do with this year so if you are submitting Mark Driscoll for consideration, certainly we will put him on the list.

Oh and I still think what McLaren did (and the way he did it) was stupid. In this instance he isn't being stupid though and I appreciate his honesty.

In my opinion, Driscoll here is being an arogant ass. And somehow we get a bad name for what we do on our site, but this guy is considered a real bonafied church leader...

It's funny when people try to be cute and funny and don't realize how uncute and unfunny they really are. Driscoll here is neither cute nor funny...he is just being ignorant.

And trust me, he has no idea what it means to be a male lesbian.

 

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