I have written a lot about theology and homosexuality. I have spent a couple of months looking at the biblical texts, we’ve talked about “Side A”, “Side B”, “Side X”, etc. All of those discussions have been helpful and fruitful (at least for me)… BUT…
Real life happens.
And in real life real people need to really live.
And as I have talked to many LGBT followers of Jesus, I tend to hear many similar stories, struggles and situations.
Theology aside*, there are really only four options for most LGBT Jesus-followers, especially those who find themselves within evangelical circles:
1. DUCK AND HIDE
I think this is what most try and do — at least for a while. I know I did.
This takes many forms. Sometimes it is hiding the whole issue, sometimes it is admitting the issue but downplaying it or pretending like “change” is imminent or whatever other form of smoke-and-mirrors people play. The truth is that you can survive in this mode for a long time within evangelicalism because people WANT to believe that everything is OK — so anything that points in that direction gets affirmed, whether it is true or not.
The problem with this approach is obvious: it is based on a lie. It is also profoundly unhealthy and soul-destroying. I know people who have been doing this for years… involved with illicit gay relationships on the “dl”, but pretending not to be all to keep the pretense up.
2. EMBRACE TERMINAL ALONENESS
Really the only answer that the evangelical church offers LGBT followers of Jesus is a life of terminal aloneness. Not only don’t they want you to have any sexual relationships, but no deep, lasting, romantic, soul-feeding ones either. They say in essence: “Grow old… die alone… bare your cross. And if you could avoid talking about it, that would be great too.”
3. WALK AWAY
I know far too many people who when faced with the above options have simply said that they are too hard, too much. And they walk away from the faith. When you are told enough that you aren’t welcomed here, you eventually begin to believe it. Sadly, this might be the most common option for many… and one that the rest of the world stands ready to encourage.
But there is a fourth option for those of us who have determined that the first three are simply not viable or possible. And that is to wholly and fully trust in the loving character, sovereignty, grace and power of God. I trust that God is a redeemer and reconciler and restorer.
So that is where I am at these days… and I know others who have arrived here as well.
You see, I believe that my readings of the scriptures are viable. I believe that theologically I am on solid ground in my reading of what the bible actually says about LGBT’s and — more importantly — to us.
But you know what… I might be wrong. At the end of the day, it is possible I am wrong — and possible you are too!
Which is OK. Because right theology, good hermeneutics and a right reading of scripture is not what saves us.
And you know what else: sexual purity, personal piety and Pharisaical perfectionism is not what saves us either.
We are not saved by works… but by faith. And so I am simply trusting in the work and character of Jesus these days. And because of that, I have no doubt about my relationship with God, my ultimate purpose and worth, and my eternal destination.
I have finally arrived at that point, having tried almost everything else (I never tried walking away… that is an impossibility for me).
The funny thing, of course, is that simple trust in Jesus is where we all want to get… because it is there that life flourishes and overflows with abundance… everything else is just shadows.
* of course, this post is not really “theology aside” — for the character of God is at the heart of theology.