Thursday, February 09, 2006

Taking a Stand for the Truth

For some time now, I've been pleading for compassion and understanding for gays, especially gay Christians. Each time I do so I'm challenged on my willingness to--in common parlance--"stand up for the truth." Evangelicals do a lot of that in their enthusiastic embrace of the Culture War that they see Christianity embroiled in. In this mindset, we believers are the watchers on the wall, God's minutemen, enlisted through faith in Christ into a commitment to make America more the country God wanted it to be when he divinely established it in the 18th century. Being wise as serpents, we are not unaware of the many subversive plots of the enemy to foil our attempts to defend America against moral decay. And at the heart of this conspiracy in the minds of many is homosexuality. Through the "homosexual agenda," it is feared that gays will corrupt our youth, recruit them into the "lifestyle," and destroy marriage and family--and thus burn the cradle of the Faith. Against such a threat, constant vigilence is demanded. Standing Up For The Truth must be a daily commitment for believers, lest the postmodern, truth-denying queers and their fellow travelers slowly chip away at our resolve.

Some may think I'm overstating, and that's allright. I personally don't think that this assessment is far off base, if at all. I can't otherwise account for the passion that this issue stokes every single time it arises. But the truth (and yes, I do in fact care for the truth, as one who's blog is entitled One For Truth probably should) remains that evangelicals have invested a great deal of passion and energy into the "truth"--the plain, simple, read it there in black and white truth--that homosexuality is a grave sin.

Of them, I have only two requests: One, be compassionate of other human beings, because that's what we're supposed to be. Two, be truly passionate about the truth. Dig for it. Demand it of your pastors. Push them on their pronouncements. Be like the Bereans and search the Scriptures to see if what your evangelical teachers have been telling you is true.

I've been doing that, and I'll be sharing what I've found to aid you in your own search. We may arrive at different conclusions and as long as you are faithful to compassion, so be it. Disagreement is inevitable and perfectly normal. But stop taking your teaching on faith and start taking the Spirit on faith. I am fully convicted that he has more teaching to do to all of us in this matter.

So this is what I have for you today: a web series entitled Homosexuality and the Bible by Bruce Gerig. You might want to start with the so-called "clobber verses" examination, since what supporters of compassion for gays are--rightfully--most challenged on is their faithfulness to Scripture.

If you take this on, I would love to hear what you think. If you don't want to follow the links, if you think you already have it figured out, I'm frankly not the least bit interested in hearing your comments. Please do not comment if you aren't willing to read what I'm asking you to read. Whatever you think you have to say, I've heard it already. I've probably believed it already. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Over and out.

4 Comments:

At 8:51 PM, Blogger Jenny said...

The series looks like a really great resource. So far I've only read the "Clobber" part, which I thought was clear and well-argued. I'll read the other stuff tomorrow. Thanks for linking it, Zeke.

I'm pro-gay; everything I've read so far on that site has confirmed my own conclusions. But it's made me think about something:

Be like the Bereans and search the Scriptures to see if what your evangelical teachers have been telling you is true.

I've been struggling with this lately. If the truth is buried so far under layers of culture and agenda and interpretation and translation, how can any lay person be expected to find it? These days I'm feeling that any time any given person explores the scriptures, her or his findings will be so dependent on her or his own perspective. I'm feeling like truth (or, Truth) exists, but there's no way to know it because we all see the scriptures through our own particular eyeglasses.

I guess this a pretty rudimentary philosophical question on one level. But I'm really trying to study the Christian path and I'm having trouble with the scriptural aspect.

While I'm pleased to read an interpretation of scripture that resonates with my own experience of truth in the world, I'm daunted by the idea that it's so freakin' hard to get to.

 
At 12:27 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

If the truth is buried so far under layers of culture and agenda and interpretation and translation, how can any lay person be expected to find it? These days I'm feeling that any time any given person explores the scriptures, her or his findings will be so dependent on her or his own perspective. I'm feeling like truth (or, Truth) exists, but there's no way to know it because we all see the scriptures through our own particular eyeglasses.

Great point Jenny, and my position is that we should love and pursue truth, while holding truth in such esteem that we won't presume to be able to buy it on the cheap.

 
At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zeke,

I've read and studied on this quite a bit as it relates to me personally. I struggled with same-sex attraction and opposite-sex repulsion (in the intimate relational sense) for years. My girlfriend and I have been together for over a decade, but we went through a six-year period of celibacy because of my intense guilt that always followed sex.

Over the past year, God has used three pivotal events in my life to work the reconciliation of my sexuality with my faith. I'm now attending an affirming church in my city. I have never felt so at peace and "at home" with myself. The freedom from guilt that God has given is unbelievable. I never thought I would get to this place.

I've studied the Scriptures. It's clear that a case can be made that homosexuality is a sin. On the other hand, it's clear that there are a lot of other things in the Bible that are labeled sin but that we gloss over and don't attempt to change or police within the Christian community. (Your blog on "Zeke the adulterer" is an excellent example.) It's also clear that Christians through history have brought our own convenient cultural interpretations to Scripture...many of which have been proven brutally wrong and inappropriate as time has passed (think slavery, polygamy, subordination of women, etc.).

I've come to realize that God can use me -- the homosexual. And he does. I've also come to realize that my relationship with my partner is a gift from God -- and one that I value highly now rather than try to suppress.

What I know to be true (as Oprah would say) is that I was born gay. With that, I have two choices. I could choose to live with the hell of celibacy, deny what is natural for me, and/or marry a man and live a lie. Or I could choose to accept the way God made me and live purely in a monogamous faith-centered relationship.

I believe that all followers of Christ possess a piece of the truth. While in theory, there are absolutes of right and wrong...I believe Jesus lets each of us find our way slowly, at different paces, and with different points of view along the journey.

I'm rambling... Thanks for caring about this issue.

 
At 9:13 PM, Blogger ~Kat said...

Thank you for linking to this site. I've read the first few pages. I've had a beef with the homosexual argument since I was introduced to it. It seemed to be the unspoken rule of evangelicals to only point out those verses, thereby conveniently omitting the fact that if we damn the homosexual, we must also kill the children who disobey and then kill ourselves for lifting a finger on the Sabbath.

I am still trying to figure all this out. God is being extremely, extremely gracious to me in taking my desires for either gender away until I am ready to deal with this. I've been single for a year now, and I know it's God who is doing it because before this year, I'd been with one person or more continually for 10 years.

I also ramble, but I am glad that there are people out there who are thinking beyond what they hear on Sunday.

 

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