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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chick-Fil-A , Christians, and the choice to be Gay...

 There is no need to revisit the events of this past week where Chick Fil A is concerned. You had to be under a rock or in a town where there isn’t a CFA for miles to have gone without noticing the massive turnout in support of Dan Cathy’s free speech and opinion.
This article isn’t about either side of the argument really. It’s about being asked enough times what I think the Bible teaches about homosexuality that it’s time to answer. I’m not going to pull a Joel Osteen and wait 8 years and still not answer a tough question.
Here goes…
The question for the Church is many fold but it seems to come down to one point of contention around which much of the ancillary arguments are built. The one point; is Homosexuality a choice?
On the surface it seems like a trick question like they tried to ensnare Jesus with back in the day. “Master, a man died before having children, so his brother took his wife in fulfillment of the law…”  Jesus was shrewd and knew their hearts and always turned their question around on them as a way of saying “Please…don’t try that with me”. But this is different. I think maybe most Christian folks have chosen the wrong answer only because it’s easier than choosing the right one. Because the right one requires some real Biblical knowledge and it also require you to say some things about homosexuality that might hurt the gay community a bit. It also forces us to realize that we hate this sin more than we hate other sins. In truth we should be as outraged about drunken preachers, or pastors who smoke pot, or John Hagee’s girth or the lavish gluttonous lifestyle of the Hinn’s, White’s, and Osteen’s of the world. But we aren’t. But we sure get angry about homosexuals because maybe the thought of what it entails is so disgusting to us. It’s more disgusting than a raging drunk behind a pulpit hiding his sin with mouthwash and gum. Or the ridiculous wealth of “servants of the Lord” like the aforementioned “preachers”, it’s even more disgusting to us than an endoscopic video of John Hagee’s arteries. (For the record I love John Hagee but seriously…dude…I lost my beloved Dr. Falwell in part because of the weight. Please drop some LBS!)
For whatever reason, homosexuality is grosser to us and so we find it easier to respond unkindly. So I need to start out by saying I am sorry. If you’re gay and reading this, please forgive me and the Christian world in general for singling you out as more sinful and more wretched than any other sins. It was wrong and it makes it pretty hard to hear us when we tell you we love you.  Because we really do. But we’re still human and we screw up sometimes.
That said; let’s start talking about this thing about whether you “choose” to be gay”.
The Evangelical world says “Yes”. They say you choose this life and therefore you could choose to leave it. Here is why they cling to this so tightly. Because if you chose it it’s YOUR fault. The gay community is constantly saying “God made me this way”. Let me say right here…No He didn’t. Not nearly. You were NOT created gay. Now that I’ve established this, let’s dissect this argument more deeply.
Evangelicals stop right here with this argument. They say it’s a choice because they never bother going deeper into the debate to properly counter the claim that you didn’t choose the lifestyle. That’s a shame because I believe that if they’d engage you a little better, you’d have a better understanding of their position and it wouldn’t feel so much like hatred. Then to, if the Christian community dug a little deeper, they’d hit a vein of compassion and would be far less likely to categorize your sin over others.
Let’s cut to the chase.
God did NOT make you this way…but it’s also not a choice you made. Not entirely.
A dear friend of mine who shall remain nameless was saying this to me just the other day. He has a family member who is gay and his point is perfectly made… “Why would anyone choose something that renders you an outcast?” He’s right. Besides being outcast, you are immediately in the minority. You are at risk of death from a still incurable virus if you are a homosexual male. You are noticeably different and at risk of violence from morons. The demographic has, across the board, a much higher instance of drug abuse, alcoholism, self abuse, relational violence, depression and suicide. Why would you choose something that is almost guaranteed to mess up your head almost irrevocably?
I could stop right here and my Christian friends should be in tears of compassion, but I’ll press on.
The reason Christians cling to the “It’s a choice” argument is that if it’s not a choice than there is credence to your position that God made you this way. If you didn’t choose it, and I believe in Creation, than God made you like this. They slam on the brakes here instead of going deeper in reasoned debate and coming up with a truthful answer. Well I’m keeping my foot on the gas. Let’s continue…
God did not make you like this. He didn’t make alcoholics desire a drink so bad that they shake and sweat. He never designed a gene that makes them drink until they pass out or puke or both. He didn’t create a strain of DNA that craves a needle or a snort or a puff. He didn’t create anger and rage that causes a husband to pummel his wife or a wife to hit her husband or a dad to beat his children or gamble away the mortgage. He didn’t make Jerry Sandusky’s uncontrolled urges to rape young boys or pedophilic priests’ desires to abuse children either. He also didn’t create the gluttonous selfishness of those preachers I mention or the lack of self control that those who battle extreme weight issues face. (I am NOT talking about true medical conditions here. I mean those who are purely gluttonous) He did not create the cancer gene or the Aids virus, no matter what Westboro Baptist says. He did not create adulterous lust that ruins marriages or selfish greed that ruins businessmen.
God created a world that was perfect. Then He created two perfect people…a man and a woman. He gave them the entire perfect world to live in and he gave them a desire for each other. He didn’t create two Adams and two Eves and then waited to see who each would go for. He told us that Marriage is between a man and a woman and no other variants.
I am not speaking hate. I am telling you the truth. If I said anything else I would not be loving to you.
God didn’t create you with the desire to be gay or the attraction to others of the same sex or the urges to act on those desires. He did NOT.
But maybe you didn’t exactly choose them either…
Nobody chooses pain. Nobody chooses something that has total control over them. You probably didn’t choose this either. I have gay friends who have explained to me that they battled this feeling all their lives for as long as they can remember. Let me say…I believe you. I know. The only choice you have made is the choice to give in to the desire, and live as a gay person.
Here is where I am going to probably offend a few folks, and I don’t want to but I can’t withhold the truth.
I agree that you didn’t choose this but neither did God make you this way. What happened to you is the same as what happened to the human body that began the cancer gene or the original alcoholic, or the first twisted urge to molest children (please don’t think I am calling you a molester because you are gay…I am not) or the desire to run Ponzi schemes and bilk widows out of millions, or the desire to preach a farcical “gospel” and live a lavish life at the expense of your parishioners.
The problem is sin…
All sin. You didn’t choose to be gay. But the issue of homosexuality sprang from a choice made long ago by Adam and Eve. God said “No”, they said “Yes” and the curse came upon the world. The curse has been deteriorating this planet…and humanity along with it…since the sound of Eve biting the apple first reverberated around the Garden of Eden. They chose to violate God’s order and we are all doomed because of it.
There was no cancer in the Garden of Eden. Nor was there alcoholism, overweight issues, murder, hatred, theft, anger, deceit, violence, or any other perversion of who God had created us to be. God started us out to be perfect and WE blew it. All sin…not just your homosexuality or whatever else I find personally revolting, but all sin…big little and in between…came from that one decision and the curse that followed. We are cursed…all of us are. Your desire for something that causes you and your family and the society so much pain…that came from the original choice to rebel against God. Over time man just kept getting worse. More evil, more rebellious, more twisted in his attempts to regain the position he once held.
Let me make this clear…homosexuality is sin. It’s wrong and God calls it wrong. You can argue about Levitical law and shellfish but you are wrong. There were divisions within the Law. There are moral codes and social codes and even health codes in the law. They weren’t all sin. Sometimes they were just for the benefit of the health of the Israelites. Because, for example, it’s hard to keep pork safe for consumption while walking through a burning desert for 40 years. Same for shellfish. Some laws were given because it was just wise to advise against certain things. But some things were clearly defined as sin and homosexuality was one of them.
But it’s not a sin that is any worse than any other sin. We have made it “worse” because it disgusts us. It just does. It’s wrong of me to elevate your wickedness and ignore my own, but that’s sometimes what humans do. Ultimately though, you don’t answer to me you answer to God and He declares it wrong. But He declared a lot of things wrong.
So here we are. I don’t disagree with you entirely that you were “born this way”. I know enough gay people to know that most of them have battled this desire since they can remember. The first crush they ever had was on another boy or girl not someone of the opposite sex. They felt odd and different and it scared the crap out of them. They couldn’t talk about it with anyone. This only made things worse. Being ostracized means you only have one place to go…to others like yourself. That was wrong of us too. I’m sorry. I’m sorry to a kid I grew up with 30 years ago who we all suspected was gay but nobody would talk about it. It took a lot of years of living with whispers and innuendo and lost friendships, and that must have been lonely. His name was Keith and I haven’t seen him in years. I hope he is well.
You weren’t exactly born gay. But I will have to accept that you probably were born with these urges and at some point gave in to the desire. Pretty much everyone gives in to desire…no matter what it is.
But it’s sin. It’s wrong and God did make a way out of the curse you…and all of us…are under. There is redemption in Jesus. He died for ALL sins. He paid the horrible, life- crushing price for the sins of the world. The gay world and the straight world.
Here is something else that might shock a few gay readers and a few Christian readers as well. I believe you need to come to Jesus. You need to get saved. You must be born again! Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven and audience with God for eternity.
But I believe that if you accept Jesus and his Love and his grace and mercy and his indwelling…you might still wrestle with homosexual urges for the rest of your life.
Being gay isn’t the sin. Acting on the sexual urges is. That’s a hard thing. I understand. God may not mystically change your desire for the same sex. You might live out your days in lonely, burning celibacy because God’s word clearly says the temptation isn’t the sin…the surrender to it is.
The church has to stop seeing salvation as the “cure” for homosexuality. It’s not. Salvation is the acceptance of someone else paying the tab for our life of sin. It’s the beginning of a new life and a new set of desires. Maybe over time those urges fade and something new takes it’s place. But maybe not. This is still a cursed world and our souls reside in a cursed body of flesh even after they are redeemed at the Cross. I know Christian brothers and sisters who wrestle with the bottle or the porn site every day of their redeemed lives.
Christianity is not an alternative to homosexuality. It’s an alternative to condemnation for a sin nature.
You didn’t choose this, but neither did God.
But He did choose you. He chose to send Jesus to die for your sins and your sin nature. He chose to make a way to break the eternity of the curse. If you’ll choose Him.
I am sorry you have felt hatred from Christians…even from me. I am sorry we have chosen your sin to sometimes make us feel better about our own.
If I didn’t love you I would tell you that God was just fine with you being gay but He is not. But He wasn’t just fine with me being a 16 year old young man who hadn’t really done any real “sinning” in his life when I knelt at an altar and asked Jesus to save me from my sin nature. Because it’s not sin that sends us to hell…its lack of perfection.
Jesus loves you more than any human ever could or will. The ache in your soul finds it’s soothing only in Him.
Choose Him.