I’ve thought long and hard about posting on this issue. Too often people who raise their heads above the parapet on the issue of human sexuality are shot down in proverbial flames of ‘Christian love’ and castigated for either being a wishy-washy liberal or an extreme conservative bigot. I hope I am neither. I have come a long way over the passing few years. I am unashamedly an evangelical, I came to faith through an evangelical church, I believe in the authority of scripture as it is received in our times, and I believe in a God that works charismatically through His Holy Spirit today, I believe in the personal salvation of Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection, I believe that faith in the Holy Trinity through the mediation of Christ is the only way to God.
I’m sorry if any of that sounds pompous, I just feel the need to align myself with those values. Because inevitably I shall be called a liberal or similar by someone who means it as a slur.
So it is with some trepidation I post this blog entry, given the misinformation, name calling and unpleasantness from all sides of the sexuality debate that is to be seen on the tweet stream at the moment. You see I must confess to be in a mixed mind on the issue of Same-Sex marriage, it leaves me in equal measure exasperated at the bile and hatred of the evangelical right and weary of the constant accusations of homophobia levelled at anyone who wants to present a traditional view of marriage from the pro-camp.
At the at the same time I have some disquiet at the revision of marriage law when I am not sure we have entirely agreed what marriage is. Perhaps of course that is the issue. As I have said before, my assumptions on God’s view of homosexuality and my understanding of scripture have been challenged, personally I have struggled with the dichotomy of being generally theologically conservative and my Christ-like call to be loving unconditionally. My heart sinks at the hurt we’ve inflicted on the LGBT community through our actions corporately as a Church. But I also hold a core value of trying to obey scriptural teaching and understanding.
My disquiet on the revision of marriage law comes I suspect from the deepest heart felt desire for us as a society to recognise that to call something of equal value as something else by a different name is not actually inequitable. A man and a woman are equal but most of us would be shy of suggesting we should all be called women. But even in that I must acknowledge I write as a white, anglo-saxon, heterosexual male, how can I really know what the difference between marriage and a civil-partnership feels like for a gay couple.
On the matter of scripture I find myself coming across far from evangelical on my understanding of the biblical passages pertaining to human sexuality. And indeed marriage itself is hardly a biblical principle in the way that many people mean it when they trump out rhetoric about ‘the biblical view of marriage’. I am fast coming to the conclusion that marriage is a human construct that perhaps helps frame the biblical call to fidelity rather than a religious rite that defines allowable human sexuality. I believe the bible clearly calls us to fidelity and calls us to living to a high sexual and moral code, but I am no longer certain if that precludes a loving, faithful, monogamous homosexual relationship. And IF it doesn’t why then should gay people be refused the rite of marriage?
Many other people, gifted theologians (and several less gifted, self proclaimed theologians), have debated this and come up with different views, and you don’t need my meagre understanding of the theology of sexuality to be paraded about here.
But the verse of scripture I keep coming back to is this:
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.’ Luke 10:27
I believe this is one of the key phrases the bible gives us to help us understand how we should lead the life God wants us to, how we should interact with others and how we should ‘be’ in our communities.
If we were to live lives of godly love instead of shouting abuse from the sidelines of society then we might just give God the room to move. Surely our job to go into the world and make disciples leaves us no room to judge, but gives God all the room in the world. Surely our role in the world is to show people the way to God and then let him do the rest.
In the end I want to be able to stand before my God and say I lived a life of Godly love, that I let my light so shine before men that they saw his good works and I glorified the father with my life.
Let’s leave the judgement to Him.