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November 17, 2006

Comments

Susan Syler

Of course I have to weigh in on the subject of homosexuality (like your liberal friends) and comment that if the evangelical church would understand that homosexuality is not a sin, but a flavor of humanity, then Haggard wouldn't have had to experience self-loathing, dishonesty and a lie of a marriage which produced 5 innocent children, who now have to experience tumult and upset in their young lives. Viewing homosexuality as a sin prevents people raised in strictly religious homes from admitting their true sexuality to themselves, much less anyone else, and many lives are damaged as a result.

But then you've heard all this before.

Love,

mama

Syler

Thanks for weighing in, Mom. But even you would have to admit the possibility that Haggard himself is not "gay" per se but a heterosexual man who sometimes has homosexual desires. And in the same way that a married heterosexual man with desire for another woman should say no to those desires and remain faithful to his wife, so should Ted do the same. If this were the case (and we don't know and will never know, but if), having someone he can confess these desires to would have potentially avoided this disaster as well.

sarah

syler, i'm with your mom on this one (cuz moms know best and don't you forget it!)...

i actually posted on the Emergent Village webpost regarding the haggard situation:
(let's see if you allow html)
http://www.emergentvillage.com/weblog/response-to-ted-haggard-situation#c000388
the comments that followed have gotten a bit messy, but i think it points to the need within the evangelical church as well as emergent/emerging to talk about this.

it's only been in recent years that i have befriended christians who are openly gay, and to me they exhibit more godliness and ooze more of the fruits of the spirit than many who claim to follow the 'straight and narrow.' it was this observation that pushed me to do further research. you know what we were taught in the vineyard--basically, that homosexuality is something you get couseling and prayer for so you'll be 'healed.' no one ever told me the abysmal failure rates of reparative therapy and ex-gay ministries. even the catholic church has officially stated its doubts about the effectiveness of trying to change one's sexual orientation. no one ever told me that scholars have been debating the translation of those greek words that paul used that got translated as 'homosexual' in the bible. it never occurred to me that the idea of two people of the same gender in a loving, monogamous relationship was a foreign concept to the writers of scripture.

there is so much ignorance regarding homosexuality amongst evangelicals that it's really hard to come to an informed conclusion. and it breaks my heart when i hear about christian teens who struggle w/ their same-sex attractions being pushed to the brink of suicide. there is something really wrong w/ this picture when a teaching of the church promotes death and fear and shame and utter despair amongst a significant segment of the population.

syler, i don't know where your church is on this topic, but i imagine as a youth pastor this must be something you encounter in your work. i don't envy you for that position. i am glad though that your youth group kids have a compassionate ear.

Kathleen

I am very thankful for your comments on this subject. It was refreshing to read Scot McKnight’s call to the Evangelical Church to have a new commitment to honesty, as well as to read your concern about the language the Evangelical church so often uses to discuss homosexuality. I have been thinking about those two subjects a lot lately in light of recent conversations I’ve had. One thought I keep coming back to is this idea of grace. As a church do we have a healthy understanding of the concept of biblical grace? Are we embracing the full realities of what it means to be the recipients of the Lord’s grace? I’m guessing if we were more aware of our gift of grace, we would all (myself included) be more aware of how broken we have to be in order to receive such a gift. We are all “dark” in comparison to our Creator. We have all been a victim of the temptation of sin. If we (again, myself included) could honestly wrap our minds around this truth, then maybe we could develop a stronger sense of empathy for those around us. Maybe we would feel a deeper sense of communion with all of the other bedraggled souls in this world. Maybe we could know what it means when God says that two is better than one, for when one falls the other is there to pick him up. I fear that at times our inability to feel the freedom to be honest about our struggles keeps our fellow travelers on this journey from seeing that we have fallen. If they cannot see we have fallen, how will they know when to pick us up? I also fear that at times the language we choose to use may appear to our fallen friend as a hand prepared to make a fist instead of a hand prepared to help them up.

Syler

Kathleen-- very insightful comments. It is very easy for us to lose sight of our own sin and so easy to point it out in others. We all desperately need each other and we need a healthy view of our own insufficiencies in order to view the world correctly. If we get away from the idea of grace for too long, we start to think we can earn it with our own righteousness. Thank for you for sharing with such passion and poignancy.

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