What I’m about to share is something that turns my stomach. I’m not writing today to debate what’s right or wrong about homosexuality. There are theologians who are way smarter than me who do a good enough job with keeping that discussion going.
I don’t want to talk about whether or not someone is ‘born that way’. There have been lots of studies that try to prove and disprove that point.
Right or wrong, avoidable or not, I want to talk about how the church addresses the issue of homosexuality.
I’ve recently read an article in a magazine that I usually don’t read. I got a subscription to Details by flippantly picking several magazines while spending some expiring airline miles. I decided that it wasn’t a magazine I was very interested in after glancing at my first issue, so they normally find their way into the recycle bin directly from the mailbox.
But the June 2010 issue caught my eye with these words on the cover… Inside the World of Gay Exorcism. Inside, I found a disturbing article about how some churches deal with (what they consider to be) the root problem of homosexuality… demonic possession.
Is demonic possession the cause of homosexuality? I definitely believe that it’s possible, but may not always be the case. The New Testament also talks a great deal about our own ‘lustful desires’. I’ve known men before who I’ve felt could have some strong spiritual pull influencing their behavior, but I also know many who behave certain ways due to natural desires of the flesh.
And I don’t believe that you can exorcise natural, fleshly desires.
What bothers me most about the approach that many churches take towards this issue is that it brings on so much shame and condemnation. Often people are publicly shamed, judged, and made to feel like less of a person because they struggle with desires that make them different than most others.
How does that accomplish the mission of the church?
Aren’t we supposed to be messengers of God’s Grace? His Love? Forgiveness?
One thing that struck me as I read this article about ‘gay exorcism’ speaks to how those who struggle with these urges feel about how the church handles homosexuality…
I ask Kevin if he is now 100 percent sure that being gay is not a sin.
“Not 100 percent,” he says. “It’ll always be in the back of my mind. I guess it’s the way I was raised. You don’t know how many times I heard preached that homosexuality is a sin—you’re going to burn in hell for it. It’s funny how nobody at church wanted to sit down and explain why this was happening. They just want to get rid of it, basically.”
I wonder if nobody wanted to sit down and explain it because they simply never took the time to try to understand it. Many Christians may think that it’s easier to pray it away than it is to relate to someone and talk about their life and what drives them.
I don’t pretend to understand what same-sex attraction is like, or what someone who lives with it must deal with knowing that they live with something that could alienate them from so many people.
But I do know that as Christians we are called to love… not judge. Does living in homosexuality mean that God loves that individual any less? No, and neither should we.
I’m thankful that God loved me even when I didn’t deserve it. And I’ve got to believe that He loves everyone the same way.
I also know that gay and lesbian adults more actively seek out community than most straight people. That would indicate that there’s a strong desire to connect with (and likely be accepted by) people. Isn’t that what churches are for? Then why do we insist on pushing away the very people that need us the most?
As I write this, I almost want to apologize to gay and lesbian people everywhere on behalf of the church.
If you are gay/lesbian, I’m sorry if we’ve ever put any shame on you. That’s not God’s heart. You have immeasurable value to Him. You are the apple of His eye. God loves you, and so do I.
And c’mon church… how can we become the instruments of God’s Love that we’ve been called to be in this area?
This post is for The Idea Camp blogging series during #ICSEX Orientation Week.
Very well said Dan! My prayer for the Church is that we would take time to understand. We need to stay true to the Scriptures in all things not just some things. While we stay true to the scriptures as best as we understand, we need to figure out how to love and accept people, knowing the Spirit of God has the ability to bring all of us closer to Him and aware of our sin. Faith, hope, love, grace and forgiveness is what we’ve been called to. Let’s let God train us in the jobs He has delegated to us and leave room for Him to do His.
The Lutheran church that I have been attending for over a year has voted to leave the ELCA and form yet another new Lutheran denomination because of this subject. I don’t know what I think anymore–I know too many gay/lesbian people too well. But I haven’t been back to the church since.
Especially because God first wants their soul. Not their sexuality.
It seems like a no-brainer… has Jesus called us to condemn or relate to other people. Understanding is (I believe) the key to relating. And even if we feel responsible to try to ‘fix’ people… they’ll never be open to us if we don’t try to truly understand what they are dealing with and relate to them on a very real level.
I love what you say about us doing our jobs and leaving room for Him to do His! Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts Suzie!
I can totally understand the dilemma. This is an issue that has ripped many religious circles apart. And to be clear on my point… I’m not trying to say that I think homosexual behavior is not sinful. And while I feel very strongly that we should love them, it’s an entirely different issue when it comes to being in leadership (where I believe there is a higher-standard).
But I hate to see things like this rip churches apart.
I appreciate you stopping by and sharing what you are feeling about this. I’ll be praying for you and your (now split) church! You rock Megan! Keep your eyes on Him!
DANG…. you nailed it Mugs! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Might be strange to get a comment nine months after you first posted this article, but I came across it by accident after reading something else you posted.
I’m curious about one thing you wrote, specifically,
“Is demonic possession the cause of homosexuality? I definitely believe that it’s possible, but not always the case”
So… you believe that homosexuality is sometimes caused by demonic possession? If you do – and demonic possession is a sickness that can be cured – then isn’t homosexuality sometimes a sickness that can be cured?
I admit I stopped reading after that – there’s enough people out there saying that already.
Not intended to antagonise – merely seeking your position on this.
I appreciate the comment, even 9 months after the post originally went up! This is something that’s been on my heart a lot since I originally wrote this, so I’m glad to see the conversation continue.
I’d actually ask that you continue reading to really understand my position on the matter of homosexuality. And please don’t mistake my understanding that the one cause is POSSIBLE, as a statement that it ACTUALLY is the cause (even if only sometimes). My position is this… God loved me regardless of the ‘stuff’ I have in my life, and I’m forever grateful for it. And I hope that people don’t judge me for things that I’ve done… honestly it’s not their job. And I hope to extend the same grace to others regardless that’s been extended to me. My job is to LOVE… not to condemn or bring shame for ANY REASON. I’m not here to judge.
My heart in this post isn’t to identify a cause (or a cure), but to call Christians to Love as we have been loved.
Thanks for your response. Indeed, I was myself a little judgemental yesterday when I started reading this – I actually finished reading it through after I posted my message, but then got distracted and forgot to follow up.
I live in a little bubble where I am accepted for who I am – I’m not judged for being gay any more than I judge others for being heterosexual. My sexuality does not define me. How I treat others, how I open my heart, how I share, how I listen – those things define me. My bubble is consistently burst as, all over the web, I read about how I can be cured, how I have a gay agenda (please! someone tell me what this is?!), and how I am that much more a sinner than anyone else. It irks.
So. Being gay. Is there a cause? Yes there is. God made me that way. Ephesians 1:11 (as well as many others) state this quite clearly. It is not an illness/sickness/ailment, ergo there is no cure.
Thanks for the opportunity to have this discourse – this one has been much more pleasant than many. The ‘seeking out community’ article was interesting too!
In peace and grace :o)
this reply really means a lot to me. i just know that God love you just as much as anyone else (including myself… not that i’m any better than anyone, just that i’m sure of His love for me). and if He loves you, then so do i.
honestly, the reason that i don’t try to answer the question about the ’cause’ of homosexuality is because i honestly don’t know. and regardless of what the answer is, i know that God never told me to treat you (or anyone else) any different as a result.
thank you for coming back to follow-up. peace and grace to you!
Pointing out sin is not judging!we are all sinners,though differance between the homosexual and the and the thief and the liar ….etc is nothing,the differance between the saved and the unsaved is a refusal to ackknowledge the sin,the problem I have with homosexuals is not their sin,it’s their refusal to repent of it!Jesus does love the homosexuals,And he will continue to even if he’s seperated from them forever,I would still love my daughter even if she went on a murder spree and was then put in jail and I never saw her again!The Christian church has nothing to feel guilty about!Though some Christians do,for the most part a homosexual could walk into most Chichester in this country and feel safe,unlike other countries where they would be beheaded,beat up and thrown out!loving someone is not compromising the word of God!even if it hurts!
i just know that (especially) before i came to Christ, the LAST thing that i needed (or wanted) was people personally pointing out my sinfulness. through good teaching, and thorough study of the Word, the Holy Spirit certainly convicted me of the error in many of my ways (and still does).
i firmly believe that our job as Christians is to simply love..
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.