First of all I want to congratulate all my gay friends who are celebrating. It is a big win for you. In saying that, I for one, am not counting that in your winning I am on the losing side. What the state decides to do is the state’s business, I take it. And I want to acknowledge whatever relief and help from this some, or perhaps many of you are experiencing. And I want to hold out my hand and say we are friends in spite of our disagreement on this issue. Our friendship might naturally be somewhat stilted because of our disagreement, but that doesn’t mean we can’t mutually respect and appreciate each other, even enjoy each other’s company. How many people and families enjoy some good friendship with each other in spite of differences, some of them seemingly significant, for example political differences?
I also want to acknowledge that too many of us Christians have acted in any thing but Jesus-like love to gays. We have bashed you over and over again with Bible verses and cries of judgment. Although many of us in doing so have wanted to do so in love. And I think some honestly do love and have genuine concern for those they speak of. But by and large I’m afraid the negative vibes have outweighed whatever good has been present.
Now having said that as best I can for now, I want to express just a bit of my own view which sides with the Christian orthodox interpretation of scripture. Most Bible scholars, including those who are liberal in their theology agree that the Bible prohibits same sex intercourse in both the Old and New Testament. And marriage from the beginning, as Jesus said, was to be between a man and woman who would thus become one flesh.
When we speak of the good news of Jesus, salvation is necessarily accompanied with judgment. The judgment is for sin judging what scripture calls the world, the flesh and the devil. Christianity is not really a feel good religion or faith. It is not about being happy or having what one wants in terms of desires, feelings or the will. It does involve a spiritual (not physical) battle against the world, the flesh and the devil. When Paul spoke to a governor who was evidently intrigued and had sent for him- about the gospel, specifically faith in Christ Jesus, he spoke about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come (Acts). And while Jesus never spoke directly about same sex acts per se, he seemed to heighten the demands of the Torah in regard to sexual activity back to the orignal intent of God’s will in creation and toward the goal of the kingdom come in him in the new creation (one example found in his Sermon on the Mount, Matthew). In all of this, I’m not saying the ethic of following Jesus means no enjoyment of life. Paul writes elsewhere that God has richly given us all things to enjoy. In the next breath saying that we (precisely those who are wealthy) are to use the good we have to help others (1 Timothy).
In the end, none of us are the judge. God alone is the Judge who gave the law and knows its precise application (James). He sees everything and through everything clearly. We all are accountable to him. And in the end, it is the good news in Jesus that is the only lasting hope for all of us, in this life and in the life to come. Whatever you decide to do, know that there is good news in Jesus always present for all of us. God in the Person of his Son became one of us in Jesus, and announced in his coming that God’s kingdom is present. And he died for our sins and was raised to life to bring us to new life in him. Through repentance and faith and baptism, we are brought into his kingdom, dying to the old and raised into the new life.
In Jesus we have a hope that overcomes all that is off the mark and wrong now, all the heartache, heart-break and brokenness that seems part and parcel of this life. There’s no getting around that, it seems, sadly. So in Jesus, the healing begins as we enter into this life, are being made new in it, and look forward to its completion at Jesus’ return in the resurrection at the new creation. Past, present and future salvation.
And so again, best to you. I will not be among those who stare or look down on couples who obviously want to express their love to each other in public. I hope we can live together as friends in spite of our differences. Perhaps drink some beer and get to know each other. There would be plenty we would have in common, I’m sure. And along with what we have in common, perhaps we can listen well to each other about our differences, if we’re comfortable in doing so. Knowing we are neighbor in this life, not enemies. Present in some ways for each other.