Understanding Perspectives of Sexuality

Once again, I’m feeling challenged to write more regularly… It’s a skill I need to constantly sharpen and a discipline I need to maintain with more dedication. I’ve mostly been writing for the Divulge ministry website lately, but I am going to try getting back to posting on this personal blog more consistently too.

All that said, I thought I’d share with my readers today some resources that are fresh on my mind. A couple gay friends of mine suggested these to me, and I found both of them very insightful. One is a podcast interview and another is an article from the Huffington Post. Both give a lot of interesting and enlightening perspective on issues related to people’s sexuality. Since I have had so many great conversations lately about these subjects with so many of my friends (who I assume make up most of my readership), I thought some of you might be intrigued as well to look into these resources.

First, take a listen to this discussion between David Bennett and Justin Lee. Both are devout, sincere followers of Christ. Both are also attracted to members of their own sex. David is (very joyfully) committed to celibacy (in order to follow his understanding of biblical ethics), while Justin is open to the idea of marrying a man someday.

I was impressed with the genuine respect and civility these two spoke with on a topic that is often so divisive and contentious. David also really struck me as carrying a ton of hope and conviction when he spoke — even sounding grateful when talking about living a lifestyle of serious self-sacrifice. Together both he and Justin did a great job at introducing and helping to define the “Side A, Side B, and Side X” perspectives on sexuality within Christian circles.

The second thing I wanted to share with you is this piece about the unique nature of mental health issues in gay communities. The author goes beyond a shallow understanding of gay suffering that suggests “if people would just accept homosexuality everything would suddenly be all better.” He suggests that emotional, relational and even physical hardship is more intense for gays than for straight people in virtually every context, including those where queerness is considered socially acceptable and celebrated.

I think this piece has a LOT to offer in deepening everyone’s empathy for gay people (gay men in particular). It’s long, but I’d say it’s a very necessary read for those seeking to really understand the complexity of the pain gay people live and often die with.

When it comes to figuring out how we as the Body of Christ can approach the confusion and difficulty our gay/same-sex-attracted loved ones wrestle with, there’s a lot to process. I hope you find these two links as thought-provoking and helpful as I did.

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The Declarative Nature of the Gospel

The Gospel is a declaration. It is not an invitation. It is Good News about what Jesus has accomplished. It is not a call to action for the hearer.

What does this mean?

Often in the Church, we speak about sharing the Gospel as if we are talking about asking people to cross some line of decision with us. We want them to pray to begin a relationship with the Lord. We want them to adopt some basic Christian beliefs. We want them to dedicate their lives to following Jesus, to advancing His Kingdom.

These can be noble goals. We need to know that the Gospel itself, however, is explicitly indicative. It is the announcement that God has come to us in the Person of Jesus Christ, and that in His death and resurrection He has reconciled the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:14-21). He is not counting our sins against us. We all have a place of belonging in His open arms.

Further, the Gospel is the message that Jesus has overcome sin and death, and has ascended to take the highest seat of authority in the cosmos. He is Lord of all (Eph. 1:19-23). Every other principality and power is now subject to Him. Any contest to His Lordship has ultimately already been put to shame in His Finished Work.

Our faith, our trust, our obedient worship is all a response to the Gospel — a reciprocation to God’s drastic initiative to move toward us and win our hearts. It is true that without this recipient response of ours we will lack in the enjoyment of the Gospel’s benefits, both in this life and in the Resurrection. We do not want to be found guilty of clinging to our self-righteousness when faced with the question Paul asks in Romans 2:4, “Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Nevertheless, the Gospel in its nature is still not a conditional message. Jesus Himself carried out all that was necessary to bring us into union with God and to win His own Throne. We can’t underscore that enough.

Jesus Himself carried out all that was necessary to bring us into union with God and to win His own Throne. We can’t underscore that enough.

Knowing that this message is all about something that is done once and for all, irregardless of our opinions about it, is actually what moves us to humble ourselves and “take and eat” of Christ with gratitude. This pronouncement indicates to us an unmoved, resolved, overcoming Love, and when we grasp that the EFFECT of the message is that we are drawn to repent, surrender, and adore the good God who has saved us.

Everything we do to “cooperate” with God’s grace is merely a passive yielding. We add nothing to His accomplishment. We are recipients of the Spirit, sinking into the endless ocean of provision Christ has delivered us into. We do not contribute anything as “partners” in the sense of helping Him execute His saving work. His victory is already won. All the pressure is off our shoulders. He bore it, to its full end.

Keep this in mind when you evangelize. We are not asking something from those we seek to disciple. We are TELLING them something they might not yet know. Something that is purely good, entirely for their benefit. Something that when preached clearly moves the human heart deeply.

God has made up His mind to embrace us, despite our rejection of Him.

Our sins have been forgiven. All of them.

And the humble, selfless Servant of All is our God and King… now and forever.

That’s the kind of News that will produce life and transformation in the hearer.

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