A friend whose opinion I value called this article “most balanced and sensible … from the Christian perspective”.
I read it with curiosity and anticipation. Sadly, I disagree with the author and have to say something.
Mr. Nieuwhof (I don’t know if he’s a Reverend) is bringing forward an argument to be kinder while stating that gays or same sex couples are not living the true Christian faith and that it is their right not to be Christian. Stop the presses! In my estimation, that is not balanced or true at all.
I’m a Christian. Additionally, I know wonderful devout Christians who are gay. They want to express their commitment to their soul mates. Some are already married (or newly engaged) clergy, others are actively involved in their churches and communities. These faithful men and women live lives of Christian devotion and spiritual compassion with commitment and perseverance.
But of course, they do not live the bible literally any more than I do. Especially the old testament. Otherwise, my father would have sold me for a dowry or into slavery as he was not rich. My husband could have had other wives to bear a son. I definitely would have been killed for being a woman with an opinion! Horrors!
Thankfully in the 4 gospels, Jesus was big on commitment and family responsibility, which is what these couples want to live. He doesn’t speak against gays. Rather, He tells people to stop divorcing and abandoning their families. Paul (or Saul) on the other hand, had homophobic issues and couldn’t stop thinking or talking about it; but not Jesus! Since the Christian faith is built on His messages of kindness and compassion, I tend to look to the 4 gospels for direction.
I can’t understand why so many people think that God has an opinion on our sexuality? Is God a voyeur? Would He measure people’s goodness by their gender identities? Jesus hung around Samaritans – EVEN women which was completely rebellious! He did not follow the strict judgmental beliefs of those around him at all and challenged them at every turn. He challenged racial segregation, the concept that people who are poor have less value. He loved everyone equally with no restrictions. Can people really assume that because they are uncomfortable with same sex marriage that Jesus would have shared their feelings? I mean really?
I believe that Jesus would have gone to my friends’ weddings and been very pleased with their Christian outreach and the love they put out in the world and into their families. This author tries to be kinder but is still as judgemental as he encourages others not to be.
I recognize that it took a lot of courage for him to write this piece. And for this courage and dialogue, I truly applaud him. He is trying to diminish the cruelty of his peers. Less cruel does not mean he has figured it out. But at least he is trying and may help move the needle in the right direction. It’s a slow needle.
Evolving is a process. Not a one day event in a court of law. After all, we’ve been trying to bring Jesus’ peace to the world for over 2000 years! And yet, we’re still judging one another like sibling rivalry. (I please Dad more than you please Him. He loves me more. Nyah, nyah, nyah!) Sigh.
I recognize that nobody has all the answers: not you; not me. Just for myself, I do feel very confident that loving one another, without judgement, is the foundation of my Christian faith. Sometimes, I want to throw up my arms and roll my eyes but that doesn’t move the needle either. So, I’m trying to be patient and respectful to those who, at the very least, are working at figuring it out. After all, I know that I am not without sin (or opinions, horrors) and it is a process for us all.
We learn and grow through respectful and divergent dialogue. I would love to hear from you!