Sexuality and the Church: Spiritual Discord
(Part 2 of 3)
“Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss”
2 Corinthians 13:11-12
Music, at its core, is a relationship of tension and release. At first, I enjoyed only the harmonies that made me feel good. Slowly I began to appreciate musical tension, which made the release of tension all the more satisfying. I never thought the day would come, but recently I find myself enjoying harmonic tension all the more and sometimes regret the easy and predictable resolved cadences. There is something beautiful and ethereal about harmonic discord, notes that compete with each other yet exist in beautiful relationship with each other, while not needing resolution.
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I have a deep, deep respect for one of my colleagues who feels to the core of her bones that homosexuality is an abomination. She bases that opinion on the Bible, able to quote both Old and New Testament references that support her feelings; homosexuality is a sin. She loves the sinners but hates the sin and feels God is calling her to name sin and to encourage sinners to step away from it. Even as she loves all people regardless of orientation, she does not condone inappropriate behavior nor does she think faithful people should stand silently when behavioral questions arise. She fears that the Church is merely acquiescing to popular culture in gay acceptance. She speaks confidently about creation and the way humanity was designed. I know this about her. She gets on her knees and prays fervently for an answer from God. She mediates on the Word and makes her heart vulnerable to God’s direction. And she rises to her feet with a confident assurance from the Holy Spirit that her perspective is blessed of God.
I have a deep, deep respect for one of my colleagues who feels to the core of his bones that homosexuality is not an issue for God. He bases his opinion on the Biblical Jesus, able to quote Christ’s words about tolerance and love. He speaks confidently about creation, and how humanity was created to love. It is not a question of “where” we use our bodies, but “how” we use our bodies and both gay and straight can use their bodies to foster love. . . .or foster power. For him, sin is found in the breach of love and finds no sin in a loving gay relationship. He fears the Church has done great harm to gay people for millennia and grieves the pain inflicted on countless souls in the name of God. I know this about him. He gets on his knees and prays fervently for an answer from God. He mediates on Jesus Christ and makes his heart vulnerable to God’s direction. And he rises to his feet with a confident assurance from the Holy Spirit that his perspective is blessed of God.
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I admire both of these friends. Their faith is strong. Their commitment to prayer and discernment is deep. Each believes, no, knows that someday they will meet their creator and be vindicated in their interpretation and all who feel otherwise will finally see the Truth as they have seen it. But how can this be? How can God anoint conflicting viewpoints?
Could it be that there is no absolute Truth! Is it possible that we as individuals create Truth as we know it and manipulate our interpretation of the Holy Spirit to justify Truth as we experience it? There are several philosophers and theologians who have tackled these conundrums long before me. I will leave “ultimate truth” to them.
The Church has great experience in dealing with conundrums. Faithful people have a history of disagreeing with each other on issues of faith including circumcision, dietary restrictions, Reformation, slavery, gender equality, etc. And we will certainly disagree over issues to come. (Personally, I imagine the ecumenical concept of a global faith is next.) Regardless, even though I’m concerned about issues. . .I am not devastated by them.
I am devastated; I am fractured; I am broken over how we as humanity deal with our different interpretations. We draw lines in the sand and no longer sit on the same pews with the faithful who interpret the direction of the Holy Spirit differently than we do. Somehow, we become certain of Truth as we see and fear God’s wrath if we associate with faithful people who think differently. And this leaves me in grief. . .not the issue that divides. . .but our dividing over the issue. . .leaves me painfully sad.
I dream of a day in the Church when faithful people give the space to disagree and yet stand arm in arm. A model like this would guide us the future on the next issue which threatens divisiveness.
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There is something beautiful and ethereal about harmonic discord, notes that compete with each other, yet exist in beautiful relationship with each other, while not needing resolution.
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. . . A complete change in thought but still on the topic of sexuality and the church.
I don’t think love is blind. When we begin the journey of seeking an intimate relationship, we automatically limit the possibilities of where that love can be found. Unknowingly, we limit ourselves in pre-disposed prejudice. We cannot see it because we are simply not attracted to relationships outside of our limitations. For the sake of argument, consider each of these as it relates to your personal boundaries. What is the likelihood that you would find someone attractive who did not exhibit economic achievement? Intellectual acumen? Social intelligence? Cultural good looks? Could you now, or could you have in the past, fallen in love with someone outside of your race? Your creed and faith system? Your gender?
Love is not blind. We pre-determine the possibilities of life-long partnerships with boundaries we have put in place, accept, and appreciate. Some of these boundaries we see as healthy, appropriate and justified. I see them in me. I imagine you see them in you.
I accept this. . .human love is not blind.
But I wonder. . .is Jesus? I don’t say that to be cute. I’m serious about that question.
In the opening welcome and introduction to this website, I shared the Scripture that inspired this online adventure, I Tim 6:20. This text is also the origination of the name; “Sacred Chatter.” However, my intent is not to be a singular voice. I invite your voice to be a part of the “chat” and I base this on another of my favorite Scriptures: Hebrews 10:24. “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.” I am considering how I can provoke love and good deeds in places beyond where I live. This is my attempt to enter into a Hebrews 10 conversation with you over social media.digitally. Now, I am interested in your feedback. Consider what provoking you can provide with your own Sacred Chatter.
What’s important to you? What really matters?
Add your voice in Sacred Chatter.
Love is ours to provoke. Good deeds are ours to sew.
That the wisdom of Hebrews 10 may flourish and grow.
Email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they’re potential mediums for the Hebrews 10 plan.