He confided that he'd been faithful to his partner for 13 years — admitting that this is extremely unusual among the gay population. Wasn't there something good
about this (loyalty, perseverance, genuine care)? We talked about God, the scriptures, Jesus' call to seek holiness, not happiness, and we explored the all-too-common ungracious side of church culture. I mentioned I'd just come from a seminar investigating the biological component of homosexuality, and I also shared about Strength in Weakness
It turned out that we had a lot
in common, from education to common interests to places we'd traveled. This was a fascinating and impressive human being, and there was much to admire. For example, he was a highly successful consultant, and was winsome in personality. Further, despite glares of disapproval he'd received from many Bible believers, including a not-so-gracious disfellowship, he showed no trace of bitterness, no sarcasm. I apologized for how he was treated (not the disciplinary action, but the self-righteous attitude). In our discussion, I could I sense no underlying tension -- and found that I was actually enjoying
it. We both were. Listening and caring, planting a seed, and showing respect -- that was my aim, although only God knows whether the interaction served to glorify Him -- whether I was truly Christ-like or not.
Relating (not berating)
Not all my talks with LGBT (so many new "genders" today) have gone so smoothly, and I'm betting you're not so different from me. As Christians we need to own that we have been complicit in uncharitable attitudes, speech, and behavior. (You may be an exception, but I haven't always been so innocent.) We have belittled and berated gays and lesbians. In contrast, as any reader of the New Testament quickly notices, Jesus was exemplary in reaching out to the weak and the marginalized (lepers, children, women, and others). We his followers have fallen woefully short of his example.
How can we become better at connecting with those who are unlikely to care what we know until they know how much we care? In our postmodern world it's vital that followers of Christ listen compassionately. Then maybe we will earn a hearing among those caught up in SSA (same sex attraction) and homosexuality.
Let's get specific
The article isn't over yet: for six strategies, as well as a listening exercise, CLICK HERE.
Next week we'll move on to discuss how to think
about the issues. I'll also offer some words of counsel to Christian leaders -- those who may be best positioned as change agents, so that Christians may respond to SSA and homosexuality in a truly Christian way. To be concluded next week