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Choosing Sides

07 Oct

As far as I can tell, there are pretty much three possible “sides” or possibilities for Christians who deal with homosexuality.  Obviously this is a serious over-simplification and the issue is actually incredibly complex… but in broad strokes, or people who take following Jesus seriously, there are three possibilities:

(1) “Side A”

(2) “Side B”

(3) “Side X”

Side A believes that there is away to live as a gay Christian in a monogamus, faithful, committed relationship.

Side B believes that Christians who deal with homosexuality are obligated to life-long celibacy.

Side X believes believes that change is possible and that you can become “not gay” (the ex-Gay movement).

I am rare in the fact that I understand and respect all three positions.  Again, I think this is an incredibly complicated issue and I don’t presume to tell anyone else how to live or how to follow Christ given their specific situation.  Ultimately, it is between us and God and we will be held accountable for what we do and all of us live under the shadow of the cross and amazing grace!

What is not on that list is “Side Anything Goes” — sleep with whoever you want, whenever you want.  Virtually all serious followers of Christ understand this as not being an option.  Whether you agree or disagree with any one position, I do think you need to respect that people are arriving at these positions though much prayer and a serious commitment to following Jesus.

Most “Side A” folks I know fundamentally reject “Side X” (reparative therapy, ex-gay ministries, etc) as being offensive and wrong.  Most “Side X” advocates equally reject “Side A” as a valid option and generally say that Side A’ers are not really Christians.  Some “Side B” folks accept Side A, but reject Side X.  Others reject Side A and accept Side X as an option, just not for them.

I know this sounds confusing, but it is important to understand.

I think the people who say that all Side-X/exGay folks are mean and evil haven’t spent very much time with these folks.  I have and I have a deep respect and admiration for them.  I also think we need to reject characterizations of these folks.  They don’t all paint a black-and-white picture that change is always possible… but they do believe change can happen.  Because human sexuality is such a continuum, I think for some people this is really a valid approach.

For me, I don’t sense that change is in the cards if change means becoming heterosexual.  On the other hand, I take seriously the advice of a friend and mentor who says “seek Jesus and maybe change will come.  Don’t seek change… seek Jesus.”  Makes sense to me!

Now as much as “A-Siders” attack and mis-characterize Side X’ers as all homophobic jerks, Side-Xers equally attack and mis-characterize Side-Aers as all being heretics, evil, not saved, etc.  This just is not the case.  Some of the most impressive followers of Jesus I know are Side-A folks.

All of us — not matter the side — need to get past name-calling and agenda-pushing and raise the respect and level of dialogue across the board.  We can disagree and still be civil; and we can disagee and still be brothers and sisters in Christ!

The natural question people want to know is what side I am on?

Over the past 20 years, I have probably spent time on each side…

Where am I today?

Today… I seek to follow Jesus as faithfully as I can!

(And if you think I am avoiding the answer, you are correct… it is not the point of this post… my point is to (1) help people understand the different positions, and (2) increase respect and civility as we deal with them… so if you want to know where I am, you will have to wait for that post some other time…)

 

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1 Comment

Posted by on October 7, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

One response to “Choosing Sides

  1. Ben

    October 7, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    <p>John, you and I must be very different…</p><p>In the scenario you present, to be honest, I would have a very difficult time "loving the sinner" precisely because the sin is both so repugnant and foreign to me. I am pretty sure that actually "loving the sinner" goes far beyond the missionary desire to share the Gospel. While that is good and necessary, that is not how Jesus defines or models love ("this is love… laying your life down for one another"; hanging out and enjoying time with prostitutes, tax-collectors, "then neither do I condemn you… but go and sin no more.") Those would be very hard things with the man you describe (for me).</p><p>Generally, when I can understand and even sympathize/empathize is when I can better hate the sin (which I understand) and love the sinner (whom I get). </p><p>I think that is the real issue for many people. We all understand lying, greed, etc. The same can be said of sins like porn and heterosexual non-marital sex… we get that, understand it, and empathize. In this case, it is much more likely that we can authentically hate the sin, but still love the sinner.</p><p>With homosexuality — especially within the church — most heterosexuals don’t understand it, consider it foreign and inherently disgusting. The idea is so repugnant to most Christians, the person must be intrinsically evil in a way that "normal Christians" are not… and it becomes much harder to actually love the person.</p><p>Anyway, m y .02… I am posting tomorrow and Tuesday some practical thoughts on "hating the sin, loving the sinner." I will be interested to hear your additional thoughts…</p>

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