I wish Christians would stop calling homosexUALITY a sin

Kelvin is a respectable church-going single man. Kelvin appreciates church involvement more than most, because he would be even more lonely without it.
But Kelvin has a secret: He is attracted to men. No, Kelvin is not sexually active. But he knows that, were the church to know his attraction is to men, they would reject him. God, Kelvin knows, does not reject him. God loves him with his struggles and all, the same way God would love a straight man or woman, or a lesbian, with all of their struggles.
Kelvin believe God calls him to be involved at church, but the church is a lonely place. Kelvin would never be accepted there if they knew about his sexual attraction to men. The others members of his church continually talk how sinful homosexuality is, and how God hates it.
Somewhat ironically, there is an understanding community where Kelvin’s loneliness will be silenced, somewhat: A gay teen usually grows up with many peers not wanting to play with him, and often with his dad rejecting him. In the gay community peers will play with him and older men will give him attention…

Julie is a 14-year-old girl in Sunday School and realizes that she likes girls, not boys. She is ashamed of that – her church calls it sinful. It is hard enough to be a teenager already, without hearing she is (without ever having acted on her desires) more shameful than her peers.

The gathering of believers is supposed to be a family for the lonely, but Kelvin’s church, and Julie’s church, are not. Too many churches does not have room for the Kelvins and the Julies to be honest, to admit their circumstances and feelings. If they knew the truth about Kevin, he would be stripped of the church tasks he currently does well. If they knew the truth about Julie, she would be ostracised at an age where finding a way to fit in is the big identity struggle. Is this the reflection of a Christ who would not break a bruised reed, who gives life and hope, who calls us to give honour to all members?

The church’s actions needs to change, but so does it words. For a start, I suggest to never use the words “homosexuality is a sin”. What you are probably trying to say is that homosexual intercourse is a sin, so say that instead.
Why? What is the difference? The difference is that “homosexuality” is a part of a life outlook which most likely also have non-sexual components, like an interest and aptitude for things the culture associate with the opposite sex. But God-given gifts – even if we associate it with the other sex – is irrevocable. (Rom. 11:29)
Calling a certain act (homosexual intercourse) wrong is one thing. Calling someone’s way of being human, with its combination of good and bad qualities, sin in its entirety, is very different.
Even better than replacing “homosexuality is sin” with “gay intercourse is sin”, do not say it at all. The gay community already know what you think of their actions. “Love the sinner, hate the sin“, you say? Fine. Let us learn to love the sinner.
Maybe you know want to say now: “It is loving to point out that what someone does is wrong…” Depends. If he don’t know what he does is wrong, and you can get him to stop, it may be. But there is a gazillion other things that are also loving, like – for a start – having a friendly conversation with him, the same way you would with anyone else. Or inviting him to your home for dinner – not to lecture him, but the same way you invite any other friend. The other people you invite for dinner certainly have their own sinful desires too, and God does not see the sinful desires of the gay man or lesbian as any worse.
And when you hear anyone else say “homosexuality is a sin”, be quick to tell him that he should stop trash talking a gay person’s personhood, character and (even non-sexual) desires. Insist that the trash talker should at least limit his judgement to the sexual acts he regards (by his Bible understanding) as sinful. Straight people also have sinful sexual desires (and many of us act on it), but we never say “heterosexuality is a sin” when we hear of sinful heterosexual desires. We do not make people unwelcome in a faith community when we hear they are heterosexual, when we suspect they may have a propensity for illicit acts with the opposite sex.

—————————–

Note:
Please do not, from this article, try to deduct my opinion of gay intercourse. This piece is aimed at those making church a place where homosexuality cannot be admitted, not an opinion in the debate on whether the texts used to denounce gay acts apply to the gay community as it exists today.

Apologetics – when you are sick and tired of it

I used to like doing Christian apologetics, but I have grown weary of it lately. There are several reasons why I grew weary, but lately I thought, among others: “If the all-powerful God I serve chose, or allowed, to let Bible passages be included that could be used by a rather reasonable anti-Christian to call God murderous or misogynous (and God sure did)*, then He is bigger than me and He can defend himself against these charges.”

Today on a blog I visit, so-called “Christian domestic discipline” was discussed. Continue reading

On Biblical womanhood, by a single female who love the Lord

Sites like “Ladies against feminism” (LAF) promote what they see, rightly or wrongly, as “Biblical womanhood.” They tell women to be good mothers and wifes, and discuss, among other things, how a Christian woman could raise children in a non-Christian culture. That is good.

And they focus strongly on how God made the sexes differently and called them to different roles. I largely agree. He made us women, on average, quite different from the average man. But if you list God’s orders to all believers in one list, and His orders to only male or female believers in another, the first list would be a lot longer than the second.

Biblical womanhood sites don’t talk about the Great Commission, about witnessing or what Christian love to those outside your family looks like. They rarely mention a prayer life, the fruit of the spirit or the armor of the believer. They seem to make an idol of Biblical womanhood, at the expense of God and His kingdom that should be sought first.*

LAF even have writers that are “stay at home daughters“- unmarried women who do not have a salaried job, but stay at their parents’ home, do housekeeping, and want their parents to help to look for husbands for them. God may possibly have called those few daughters to it. After all, He ordered a prophet to lay on his side for more than a year (Eze 4:4), and another to marry a prostitute. (Hosea 1:2)

But for the average young single, LAF seems to get her priorities backwards: 1 Corinthians 7 teaches it is better to stay single, as the married has to focus on pleasing a partner, but the single could focus on God. The stay at home daughters seemingly think that the single female should live to prepare for the things married mothers do.

In short, Biblical Womanhood sites delivers, in my opinion, great messages to married women, as long as those readers remember that to follow the Lord, your focus needs to be a lot wider than “Biblical womanhood” topics. Their message to single women is less useful. Singleness is not a time to get ready for the higher purpose of marriage. Singleness is, Biblically, the opportunity to follow God’s higher purpose with less diversions than the married woman or man.

God does not tell single women to waste their singleness on baking muffins in home-sewn aprons, while thinking of how to look feminine. Seek first the kingdom, not the kitchen.

————-

* Why would I say that sites on this topic idolize it, and not that a Sunday school teaching site, or a charity’s web page, idolizes teaching or charity? Because Sunday school sites don’t give the impression that focusing on Sunday School alone will make the teacher everything God wants him/ her to be. 

Amen! Preach it, sister?

An enthusiastic Christian women, not long ago, lived submitting to and serving God. She taught and saw fruit on her work. She strived to keep God at the centre of what she does. She was happy, and felt her life was meaningful.
 
And then she stumbled upon some conservative Christian websites. She read on them how there is no spiritual equality between men and women. How women should not teach. (Of course, she knew the “women should not teach” verses, but she understood them differently.) How the shortage of men in most churches is because of the “feminization of the church.” How women should get married and have babies, that is what God wants them to be doing for society. Even, on some, that women should live with their daddies until they get married, as all females should be under the authority of a male.
 
She tried to reason with them, tell them, for example, that the Bible does not teach women should be married, nor that marriage is better and more Godly for women. (1 Cor 7:32-34, etc.) She got ignored, because the men reading it would simply not accept a woman teaching them. Whenever she gave any view on Christianity, she got ignored for that reason.
 
She believed them. And she got unsatisfied with her station in life: Why, if God so much wanted her to be married and have kids, instead of teaching Bible clubs and apologetics, did he not provide her with a Christian husband? She used to thank God for providing what she needs, now she started questioning Him: If a Christian woman needs a Christian man over her, then God clearly did not provide for her needs.
 
She started questioning her work for God. Her apologetics must be against the will of God, for she is trying to teach people- and most of those who care about the topic are men- about the rational believability of Christianity. She started questioning her own Christianity: “If she can be so completely mistaken about what God wanted her to do with her life, if most of the things she thought she heard from God was against his will, does she know Him at all?” One day on one blog, a commenter even told her this: “If no Christian man ever wanted to marry you, are you sure you are a Christian?”
 
That day, God told her to get off sites like that. Whatever other good things she may learn there, they are harming her. Some weeks of confusion later, she cried out to God: “Please, God, this thing about what I should be- please teach me. I don’t even know how to follow you any more, if I ever did. I’ll start by looking up everything you say about women in the Bible. I’ll cross-reference to a concordance and the Greek or Hebrew meanings* given in there. Show me the truth, and don’t let me be misled.”
 
 She then found Loren Cunningham, founder of the large mission organization YWAM (YWAM’s fruit speaks for itself) teaches how the Bible have been misunderstood and mis-translated on the topic of women in the church. Here, you will find links to his “releasing women” .mp3’s, and here and here  you will find more about his book, “Why not women?”
 
As Loren himself say:
The real issue for me is: Can the women be what they were called to be from their mother’s womb? In God. In Christ.
 
Loren’s view seems to resonate with several thoughtful, intelligent people, the sort most likely to think of apologetics. One reader reacts:
My experience has been that the “equality” camp (of which this book is a member) expresses their arguments and evidence by digging deeply into the original languages of Scripture (exegesis). They look at words usage, sentence structure, and contextual understanding of the Scripture passage as a whole which the “troublesome” verses are found in. Their main conclusion is that the English interpretations of Scripture have failed to express the true meaning the Greek or Hebrew speaking writers of Scripture intended…
On the other hand, the “submission” or “headship” camp books I have read and sermons I have heard, focus their arguments and conclusions on the English versions of Scripture, and on anecdotal evidence.
 
If you are thinking about about women’s role in the church, please test this, and see if it measures up to Scripture. After all, the Kingdom work of at least half of all Christians is at stake.
 
 
—————-
Note
* Most of the Bible were originally written in Hebrew or Greek. To understand the Bible better, it is always better to see the original than translations, which may lose some meaning when translated.

Sex a sin?

Elsewhere on the Internet, on a topic irrelevant right now, I find this sentence:

He was utterly interested in sex, partly for the usual reasons, strengthened by a religious upbringing telling him sex was a sin, ….

And while researching this little article, I find this:

….web sites purporting to advocate … matrimony over the various other alternatives. The trouble is, most of these web sites are heavily slanted towards Christianity…
It seems clear that the purpose behind many of these sites is to prevent people from having sex, from “sinning”.

Yeah, yeah, the old story. The church is, once again, the big villain. But the Christian view is, unlike many believe, NOT that “sex is a sin.” The Christian view is that sex is a very beautiful and special thing designed to keep for someone special in marriage. And, interestingly enough, people who live by that idea, and keep sex for marriage, have happier sex lives and happier marriages, according to statisticians. They and their children are also a lot less likely to be a drain on state welfare agencies (and thus tax payers).