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Is there such a thing as a “good” homosexual? The LGBTQ+ community has progressed massively in the last 50 years worldwide by affirming how a person chooses to identify/express themselves and their sexual orientation, but when it comes to Christianity there are still conflicting views on the subject. There are some churches who actively welcome everyone from all backgrounds, but a big majority of Christians have the default standpoint of “Let God Burn Them Quickly” and “sin is sin” because the bible clearly states it is an “abomination” to be homosexual. And in turn the LGBTQ+ community hate this judgemental and unwelcoming attitude so distance themselves as far as possible from a Christian life and from God. This vicious circle continues to turn and regurgitate more hate between both sides to the point that it’s almost beyond hope to resolve. I could go into detail about where homosexuality is mentioned within the bible* (a total of six times) and explain the context behind them, but I think that’s something for another day. For now I would like to pose the hypothetical question, what do you think Jesus would do if he were put in the middle of this dispute between the Church and the LGBTQ+ community? Would he be homophobic and condemn all the queer folk to hell on the spot; would he judge the finger pointing Christians or the ones who choose to remain silent, condemning them to hell for not meeting the standard; or would he show compassion and show us the Way?
Luke 10:25–29 (NIV)
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.”**
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”
Luke 10:30–37 (NIV)
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.
35 The next day he took out two denarii[a] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
In the New Testament all four gospels mention Jesus’ definition of what the “Great Commandment” is***; Jesus says there are actually two commandments which are the greatest, and that all laws and prophets depend upon. The first one is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” The additional commandment Jesus mentions is “You shall love thy neighbour as yourself.” These two commandments are probably the most influential words of wisdom from Jesus, and are fundamentally the foundation of the Christian belief. In basic terms, “Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.” like it says in Romans 13:10.
In Luke it follows up with the parable of the Good Samaritan when a man of law challenges Jesus asking who is classed as a ‘neighbour’ and who should be acknowledged and ‘loved’. In summary of the parable, a Jewish man who was left half dead by muggers on an infamous road is passed by three strangers; two of the strangers are leaders of the Jewish Temple and decide to continue on their journey without helping the injured man. The third stranger, whose people were typically known to share hostility with the Jews, runs to the man as soon as he sees him and does everything in his power to help. After the parable, the man of law acknowledges that the Samaritan was the most neighbourly out of the three strangers, to which Jesus advises him and everyone to “Go and do likewise.”
Even if you’re religious or not, this parable (like many of the other lessons Jesus taught) resonates with many people’s moral ethics and can be applied to modern day situations such as disputes between family members, bullies, Rangers/Celtic supporters, church denominations, race, women’s rights, sexuality and the long list unfortunately goes on and on and on. These two commandments encourage us to love God, our neighbours and ourselves; walking in the footsteps of Jesus and the way he taught us to love. So WHY? Why, why, why is it so hard for people, especially Christians, to get that?
The two religious leaders, who first passed by the half dead man, choose to not help the man because it was an inconvenience to them and they may not have been able to continue their work in the temple; they acted out of self interest. However as soon as the Samaritan sees the injured man, he instantly knows how much pain the man must be in and shows compassion for him without hesitation. He could have chose not to diminish his image by helping the ‘enemy’, to get to where he was going quicker, to save his resources, or to even minimise the risk of being mugged himself; but he chose to help this man who was dying. Jesus then conveyed to the lawyer who posed the question that it’s not a matter of who should or shouldn’t be your neighbour, or who is or isn’t your enemy, but that you should treat everyone as your neighbour and show mercy and love to all.
Starting a conversation about LGBTQ+ inclusion within a church, or Christianity itself, is a controversial subject and can’t be brought about subtly; more often than not it is swept under the rug because it’s too taboo to talk about. Or in worse circumstances, people are cast out of their own churches and families after coming out or being outed. I want to make one thing abundantly clear though: I don’t want to start conflict within Christianity. I want to help it grow. I understand questioning years of a firm foundational faith can be hard for some people to adjust to, but in order to deconstruct and reconstruct our faith for the better; our hearts, souls and mind need to be open; love and respect needs to be shown; and communicating is the key. As an openly gay Christian, I’m on a journey to understand how God wants me to move forward. I could have chosen a life without God; it probably would have been an easier path to just run away from conflict and judgements. But I know deep down that God has and will always be with me, even in times I’m struggling with faith. I also know that the Way to live a good life is through examples Jesus taught such as to love for one another!
I’ve been extremely fortunate and have had people to talk to including my family, friends and people at Fullarton ConneXions, but there are those who have no one to talk to because they’re too scared to reveal themselves to anyone, don’t know who to turn to, they’re rejected instantly, have the risk of being assaulted or are forced to be ‘normal’. Distressingly, people have nowhere to turn and end up doing something drastic like taking drugs to numb the pain, drowning their sorrows in alcohol, sleeping with anyone to feel something or just killing themselves to end their misery. It makes me ill thinking of someone suffering like this inside; hating themselves because they don’t feel they belong anywhere. THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE! I want to open the door, so that the LGBTQ+ community, especially those wanting to know more about God, have the opportunity to with people they can feel comfortable with. For me, the Good Samaritan and other lessons Jesus taught scream out that we can’t live life alone and need to help each other out. That means EVERYONE; not just those who have the same views or beliefs as us. It was a relevant lesson 2000 years ago and is even more the case today! So I implore you to speak outwardly, not only about your faith, but to show you support the LGBTQ+ community too – be vocal disciples, not silent disciples.
Many folk will ask: “do we need to voice that our church specifically welcomes the LGBTQ+ community?”, and answer is an affirming YES! Even although most churches will proclaim “all are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place”, not ALL may be welcome in some congregations. As said before, the default view is that Christians don’t want any involvement with the LGBTQ+ community presently, so it’s fair enough for someone who identifies as LGBTQ+ to assume most churches won’t be neighbourly, ironic as it is. It needs to be voiced so that people know it’s a safe place for them. Ask yourself; is your church affirming? Have a look at the categories below; see where you think your church’s congregation (by consensus) is more inclined towards, and also which of the four seems the most neighbourly to you:
Not in my church! God hates gays! They’re all going to hell!
Gays can come into church and listen, but only if they change and follow the ‘normal’ and narrow path to heaven.
Gays can come to church but we enforce that they must be celibate (ie. never fall in love and never have relationships). We enforce them to be celibate because it’s the only way gay Christians will be permitted into heaven.
Love is love!
You are very welcome here! If you have a partner, they are very welcome here too! If you choose to be celibate, that’s also welcome here! Get in here! Gee us a hug brother/sister! We want you to be a part of our community! What gifts can you offer to serve God, the church and people?
“When you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope it gave you food for thought and a better perspective on church/LGBTQ+. I’m looking into ways of moving forward with affirming christianity and LGBTQ+ inclusion especially in Ayrshire and Glasgow areas. It would be great to hear your thoughts on this blog post, ideas on ways to move forward (discussion groups, social media groups/pages, events), what else you’d like to find out more about (biblical mentions of homosexuality*, book resources) or even specific questions you may have. You can comment on my social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), you can also message through those pages if you’d like to remain anonymous from public eye or you can send message via email@example.com and I’d be happy to answer questions best I can, suggest people to talk to or resources to look into. God bless!
* Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10
** Luke 10:27 refers to Deuteronomy 6:5 and Luke 10:27 refers to Leviticus 19:18
*** Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-34, John 13:31-55, Luke 10:25-28