Friday, January 12, 2007

Sexual Orientation and Hospitality

I have heard many sermons about the excitement of the life of the early church and a desire to get back to it. I've also been reading Ephesians so apologies to those who have already heard this thought for the day/week/ next few weeks.

In Ephesians 4 Paul rebukes the church for, amongst other things:

Deceitful desires
Falsehood
Anger
Stealing
Unwholesome talk
Bitterness
Rage
Brawling
Slander

And that's the church. It's a fearsome list and would probably mean St Paul's at Ephesus failed the mission audit hospitality criteria and got transfered to some emergency intermediate alternative pastoral care measure.

You see the church at Ephesus, and perhaps this would have been true of the other churches to which this apparently circular letter was passed, were converting people with severe behavioural difficulties. They got Christ but still stole. Yes folks, thieves were being converted. As were brawlers. Why? Well it's a wild guess but it seems to me that nobody condemned until after the Gospel had been heard and reacted to.

Does this have a message to those who wish to say, 'No same sex relationships under my roof.' I rather think it does. If I genuinely want to say 'gays welcome' shouldn't I mean it by welcoming them without condemnation?

The Bible has certain implications for our sexual behaviour, although Christians are divided about precisely what those are. Let's not put the cart of condemnation before the horse of the Gospel. In fact even with a woman caught in adultery Jesus, apparently, stopped short of condemnation. He just told her to sin no more.

More good news please and less protest about the sensible proposals of a government trying to do its best to make our country a level playing field.

2 comments:

Matthew McMurray said...

This is an interesting one. I remember at a church I used to go to an open meeting to discuss the whole issue of homosexuality following the Jeffrey John incident. There were many different reactions to it but the main one seemed to be, "Gays are welcome to our church but not in leadership". There also seemed to be an undertone which said, "and eventually come to repentance". I remember one individual in particular saying, "if we are going to start pointing the finger at people then I am off!" (This was one of the preachers.)

Mike and I were discussing this the other day and it struck me that in a marriage, there are three main aspects (and many more I am sure but...): companionship, pleasure (sexual) and reproduction. The only one of these that is closed to homosexuals (naturally) is reproduction. Why is it that we suddenly start using words like "sinful" or "abomination" when we think of two men or two women giving pleasure to each other?

If I hold my hands up, I am not sure that I believe that there is anything necessarily inherently evil with homosexual practice. People often assume that there is abuse but surely this is no different to abuse in heterosexual relationships - which I am sure we would all agree is wrong.

It is easy for us to try to behave like "moral police". If we start isolating homosexuals, then where will we stop once we have got rid of them? Will there be any of us left?

Surely we are all fallen people and sinful people in different ways who are trying to respond to the person of Jesus Christ?

Marcella said...

I'd say something insightful and clever, but I'm too busy cheering.

Any chance of either of you making it to Archbishop of Canterbury? The dwindling numbers of gay christians would probably shed some of their bitterness if you did...