A HISTORY OF THE SEXUAL WORLD
The subject of gender identification has become a hot topic over the last 20 years or so. However, same gender sexual experiences have been around almost as long as humans have. Abraham’s nephew, Lot, was confronted by a horde of men rallying outside his house asking to have sex with his male guests. Roman historians have noted that homosexuality was common in their culture. Greek men would procreate with their wives but engage in pleasurable sexual experiences with men [only if it was an older man with a younger man]. But there was one race forbidden to engage in such relationships. The God of the Jews had forbidden same sex partners. When Jesus had come and gone he left a new religion in his wake. Originally only Jews were converting to Christianity but then gentiles (non-Jews) were invited to join The Way (what the early church called their movement). Homosexuality was not an acceptable behavior for followers of The Way and as Christianity spread, so did the taboo on same sex interactions and homosexuality was driven underground. It remained unacceptable in Christian circles until only a couple of decades ago when various protestant denominations chose to not only embrace practicing homosexuals into their congregations, but also to ordain them as ministers. This created a huge response from conservative churches and much passionate feedback from people with bullhorns on street corners, and, in later days, anyone with a computer.
There are people in our world who feel confused, trapped, ignored, helpless and feared because of society’s inability to love people through their disagreements.
I have been exposed to so many points of view, and in all honesty, the ones I most often encountered were from people who would run at the sight of someone who identified themselves as gay. Bible verses would be plucked out of context and bandied about like some sort of magic eye or spiritual defence lest they, too, become infected with the ‘gay gene’. The word ‘gay’ morphed into an insult in the school yard. I have seen a number of little boy fights that started with one boy calling the other ‘gay’. Homosexuality is something that children, in my experience, do not aspire towards. But the reality is that there are little boys that identify more with feeling like a girl, and little girls that want to be boys or do ‘boy things’. We have teens in the throes of puberty all confused because they are attracted to people of the same gender. We have men and women leaving their heterosexual spouses to pursue a life with a same sex partner. There are people in our world who feel confused, trapped, ignored, helpless and feared because of society’s inability to love people through their disagreements.
During one particular season of my life I felt like God was prompting me to reassess how Christians respond to people who sin [according to the Bible, homosexuality (amongst other behaviors) is a sin]. Generally speaking, humans run away from people they don’t understand. It started with people with mental or physical disabilities. They used to be carted off and put in asylums so that people wouldn’t be put off, or scared by them. People with Down Syndrome would be labeled as the ‘village idiot’ and tolerated as some sort of public charity. Nowadays we are faced with two opposing sides of how to ‘treat’ those who identify as LGBT. Some churches encourage attendance and promote LGBT leaders. Others refuse entry to ‘such people’ and exclude them from services. Still others stay silent and plead ignorance to what is happening in their pews.
Changes need to happen. But what do we do?
How do we accept people when we don’t agree with their lifestyle choices? Isn’t there a part of all humans that doesn’t object when bad things happen to people who sin? Don’t we measure our reaction to injustice whether people ‘deserved it’ or not?
There’s not a lot in the New Testament that talks specifically to same sex relationships. I believe that Jesus is perfect theology. To break it down, that means that God is perfectly represented through the life and actions of His only begotten Son. There is no recorded interaction between Jesus and a homosexual but there is a recorded interaction between Jesus and an adulteress. There is a recorded interaction between Jesus and a prostitute. There is a recorded interaction between God and a murderer (Paul). In all of these interactions Jesus calls these people, not by their sin, but by their identity. He doesn’t release his wrath onto them – which would have been justified and acceptable – but he offers his love and forgiveness and a second chance. He encourages them to “go, and sin no more.” After an encounter with the King of Kings, each one of these people were changed forever.
All of us have sinned. But the minute I start to assess others and decide that the love I give is proportionate to the [visible] sin of the person is the minute I, myself, am sinning. I am putting myself on God’s throne and deliberately ignoring his command to love others. If Jesus is my example, I need to love people no matter if I agree with them or not. It’s my responsibility to connect with their Creator and find out the reason for their existence. I am still called to treat them as first class citizens. I am called to love them as God loves me. I am called to be friends with whoever crosses my path and to let the Holy Spirit be the one to breathe life into their spirit.
Jesus is perfect theology.
Extra notes for those concerned about children/teens:
If you suspect a child/teen is same sex attracted (SSA) then here are some things to remember:
Their behavior does not determine their identity or value.
Boys playing with dolls is not an alarming behavior – maybe they just want to be a great Dad. Girls playing with cars and trucks and playing football is not alarming behavior. Be aware of the danger of gender stereotyping and labelling.
Aside from children who have been sexually awakened early, most children are incredibly innocent in their speech and behavior and it’s most likely not indicative of their sexual orientation.
With the help of a wise, sensitive counsellor it is possible to re-route the brain’s connections that have led your child to identify with SSA.
Be incredibly vigilant in policing ‘playground talk’ ‘you’re gay!’ or ‘you’re a homo’ etc.
Have consistent and open communication with your child about all areas of their life. Even if they adamantly insist they are SSA, there is a multitude of other topics you can remain open and connected about. Isolating your child will harden their heart to ever changing.
Don’t blow it out of proportion.
— Aimee Greig (Intern)