Sunday, August 26, 2012

MY PROBLEM WITH HOMOSEXUALS_____and the people who hate them!

I am something of a champion of women's issues [in my own mind] and their freedom to function in the Body of Christ. I want women to be seen as I see them by others who are, as am I, conservative and even Reformed in their Theological persuasion. But many who ARE conservative and Reformed resist gender equality and sometimes they use the "slippery slope" idea to avoid looking at it at all. "Get gender equality going and you'll wind up accepting homosexuality as not sinful" is the way they put it. That was said in a comment on one of my posts. I found myself sympathetic at first. But then I remembered something that bothered me to no end.

I remembered it was that kind of thinking that so many old time Baptist preachers had over issues 50 years ago when I was a young and wet-behind-the-ears preacher myself. Here's how they said it... "Don't dance because it will lead to sexual promiscuity," "Don't drink a glass of wine because it will lead to drunkenness." "Don't go to movies because it will take the Word of God out of your mind and replace it with trash." They even said, "Don't go to Seminary because it will pollute your theology."

Looking back, I now understand that what they were doing was operating out of a "fear" mentality and it had nothing to do with a "faith" mentality. They were just scared to death of certain outcomes. They also allowed only those who adopted their list of "don'ts" to be with them in their brand of koinonia. [Fellowship] As a young preacher, I wanted to be in their group, or at least I wanted them to like me, so I played a bit of that game myself. That is my fault I know. I blame no one for my game playing but me, certainly not them. But I now have to ask myself why I did that. The answer is I had THEM in my view. 

I'm older now. I'm more experienced now. I know some theology [not a lot]  now. I now think it unwise to do OR to refuse to do ANYTHING because someone else is operating out of fear and might think something bad will happen. I now know I don't want to do whatever I do [or don't do] with those kind of fear-mongers in my sight AT ALL. Those dang Baptist preachers who operate out of fear but who are capable of grabbing our attention, if not alliegence, just aren't worth it. 

There is another thing I've noticed about myself as I've grown older. I don't mince words when I write about those who heap ABUSE on someone else. Whether it's pastors abusing their people, or people their pastor, it rankles me and I say so. I'm bothered by that stuff. Whether it's the Patriarchal movement, which I believe is not only unbiblical but dangerous for those who are weak emotionally or otherwise, or the present emphasis on bullying, or a host of other abusive things, I'm pretty vocal against the ABUSER. I think it's good to have a healthy reaction against someone abusing another.  

But then I've noticed, I'm also usually [in my own mind at least]  soft, graceful, and healing in my tone and words to the abused ones. Whether that's wounded pastors who come to my pastor's seminars, women physically or spiritually abused, hurting children or... you get the picture. 

Now to my problem with Homosexuals... and those who hate them! What am I talking about? Let me see if I can explain.

Let's address the elephant in the room right off the bat."What they do is a sinful act," someone says. I know that. But WHY they do that sinful act may not be as simple as we tend to make it. Whether it's a genetic thing, or simply a choice, or an act of "sin," or even a mixture of all three, it isn't a simple thing. The debate may well continue between whether homosexuality is a nature and nurture thing, but I'm thinking there is far more that drives a person in that arena than just choosing something. Who knows?

But what I DO KNOW from my experience with counseling many through the years who have been homosexual, is that many of them have been ABUSED. I'm not saying that abuse is what has created their actions. Hear me here. That can continue to be a raging debate. What I'm talking about is the ABUSE that comes TO them BECAUSE of their actions. And this [abuse because of actions] has come, to a large degree, from self-proclaimed bible believing/thumping Christians who talk about grace and show little of it in tone, words or actions. [Think Westboro and their kind here and I don't say "baptist" or "church" because that group is neither.]  

I could give you a list of homosexuals I've worked with in the past, and even the present, who, after having heard their story, I'm not surprised that they are unwilling to listen to ANY Christian about ANYTHING because of the pain inflicted on them by SOME Christians. I can't say I blame them. 

Have you ever wondered WHY self-proclaimed Christians  [Think Westboro again] find them so WORTHY of any abusive action or attitude that can be perpetrated on them?

It may be because those abusive self-proclaimed "christian"s think some sexual sins [especially the homosexual kind] are in a special category in scripture. I think that might be true. But I'm afraid they label their category for homosexual sins as the "heinous" kind. That's probably because of their reading of Romans 1 where Paul addressed somebody as being given over to a reprobate mind. But that demands a real understanding of what Paul was speaking to there.

In this passage Paul says that even creation presents a NATURAL revelatory conclusion about God. He is real, creation says. [vs 20] But The Greeks [vs16] took that NATURAL revelation and changed it and perverted it into a religion that worshipped the thing created instead of the creator by [here it is] even using sexuality [male with male..woman with woman--vs23-28] as a worship tool, thus, not retaining God as the one who is to be worshipped.

In context, it is the Temple prostitutes and those who used them in worship who are given over to a reprobate mind. That is Paul's declaration to the Roman Church. 

I think it wise to see THAT can happen ANYTIME someone begins to worship the thing created instead of the Creator. [Think money or sports here.] When that DOES happen [worship the thing created instead of the Creator] the end results will be verses 29-32. [A hell of a sorts in life and certainly in eternity.]  

But, Paul goes on to say that if all that's true, and it is, anyone [The Jews] who judges them [The Greeks]  and their failure because of being that way, will face judgment as well. [6:1-3]

I said that I am also convinced that, biblically speaking, sexual sins have a special category to them. I am convinced of that. And I believe how we label that category is very important. I wouldn't label it "heinous." That's reserved for perverted worshippers that are indeed heinous according to Paul. 

But I WOULD label it as a category called "difficult. Difficult because of the damaging nature of sexual sins. Their destructive/damaging nature is seen in sexual sins being able to damage one's own body as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:16..."Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body."  Then there is damage to one's own family, one's own marriage, even terrible damage to the marriage covenant itself. Then there is the fact that they are difficult to break free from and any number of other issues that arise. Difficult? Absolutely! What I don't see is "heinous" which is the way many seem to approach that category of sexual sins.

I've NEVER tried to help people guilty of sexual sins, in the counseling I've done, WITHOUT my being willing to say at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner that I view their action as a sinful action. That's truth, at least for me, about ALL sex outside marriage and I don't believe help can ultimately come without an honest facing of this on their part.  That's what I believe. 

But what I've found to also be true is that they, especially homosexuals, don't need me to convince them of that BEFORE I love them with MORE THAN WORDS. They need me to be open to THEM emotionally, graciously, and embracing THEM as a person. They, more than many others, need someone to give respectful acceptance of their personhood which, if my theory is correct, has been violated for a long time by some so-called Christians. That can be done without violating my personal view of their actions at all. 

So, for me, [And I'm speaking only for me here] I need to see them as people more akin to how I see people whose sin is gluttony or pride, or lying. [That's not denying the special category thing either.] I just don't want their sin to identify who they are as a person TO ME. So that when I DO speak about their actions, if I am given that privilege in counseling or even in dialogue, I can do so with a tone that says love rather a tone that for me is reserved for a perpetrator of abuse on another.

Maybe THEN I can help them get their identity from the same Christ my identity comes from and work through whatever their unique struggles are.  I'm not saying there aren't exceptions to all this. Of course there may be, but as a general approach to people who struggle with homosexuality, what I'm saying is a help to me personally.

 So I think my personal problem with homosexuals, in simple terms, has more to do with my desire to see THEM as the ABUSED as opposed to the ABUSER. [Maybe as demonstrated in Jesus with the woman at the well of Sychar__the abused one__ and the religious guys who followed Him and marveled that He even talked with her much less loved her, because of their prejudice.__The abusers__.]  

It may be as simple a thing as my wanting to learn to address them as people WITHOUT reminding them of what I see as their sinful act every time I'm with them. I don't want to address a gluttonous person on the basis of their EATING or an adulterer on the basis of their ADULTERY or a prideful person on the basis of their PRIDE either. [And don't try to think I'm making all these equal in nature. I've already spoken to that.]  

There may be a time and a place for addressing their actions but none of them have to FIRST admit my view of their behavior is the CORRECT view for me to express my love to them. I just want to love them as people. 

 So what's my REAL problem? I don't know for sure! Unless I'm wondering if I might not still be haunted by that eye I had on the Fundys those years ago. [The slippery slope accusation guys you remember.]  I'm beginning to wonder if present day, my wanting to show them that someone CAN be conservative theologically and hold to gender equality and NOT go down a slippery slope of not believing homosexual acts are sinful is really worth it. 

I know the slippery slope idea is NOT true, [even though my love for homosexuals will look like compromise to them]  but the Fundys will NEVER know that and really don't care. So I'm wondering if they're really worth the emphasis I've placed on proving it to them!  I'm afraid my efforts to show them has a cost to it that I may not desire to wind up paying. [When you lose the ability to express genuine heart-felt love to any person abused by another it's a real loss.] 

I think I've concluded that I'd rather go on loving sinners as just people where they are and helping them, as I can and if I can, to ultimately find their identity in Christ and not in any particular brand of sin with which they might personally struggle.  I'm thinking that IS real Christianity and living out the gospel. I could, of course, be wrong in my conclusion. But I don't think I am.

I'm sure that not all, maybe even few, will agree with much I've said. But I'm trying to come to some kind of biblical understanding clothed in civility about issues that we face as believers and discuss them with that civility uppermost in our minds. Comments are welcome but, do me a favor, read the guidelines above the comment section before you do. 

Paul B. 


Aussie John said...


You have no idea how this article warmed my heart. If the body in which I live could take the strain, I'd be jumping up and down with joy, about a brother in Christ, erstwhile known as "pastor", who is understanding God's great Grace, and doing so GRACIOUSLY (even when there's steam coming out of his ears).

I'm sure you realize that those holey (the spelling is what I meant)who do the finger pointing at "dirty sinners" are using an old diversionary tactic to keep their own, and others, attention away from their own miserable sinfulness.

It's good to remember that these holey people are what the old saying declares,"so heavenly minded they are of no earthly use", other than to turn people away from the One whom they purport to represent.

I use the term "holey" because there's something specious about their claim.

Paul! Good on yer mate. You're a real bottler! And full of grace!

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

One time you called me "Barnabas." Well, you are a double-order of "Barnabas. Thanks!!

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

Thank you!

I have worked professionally (formerly as a teacher and as a more recently as a receptionist) with several homosexual co-workers, and when they actually opened up to me about their life experiences, it hurt me to see how much they have been hurt and abused over their very identity.

No wonder many homosexuals are not interested in finding their worth and identity in Christ- He has been badly badly represented to them.

Have you seen "Lord save us from your followers"? It's on netflix I believe- not sure how much of it is on youtube. An eye-opener.

Paul Burleson said...

The B B B than the B,

I'm not familiar with that. I'll be sure and check it out.

Off The Cuff said...


Your "slippery slope" analogy is so true. A few years ago,in my church, we were having a spirited debate over whether or not women and divorced men were qualified to serve as deacons. Later, a dear panic stricken lady came to my office and said "If we allow this, the next thing you know we will have gays and lesbians in our church." I was floored by that statement. The debate eventually caused a split in our church. The majority of the people who left were the very people I was trying to defend, women and divorced individuals.

For the life of me I cannot understand why we are so afraid to engage in honest dialogue of such issues.

The issue of homosexuality is complex, to say the least. In my years of study concerning the issue I have come to the conclusion that there are at least three reasons a person might engage in homosexual bahavior. One is genetic. Second is environmental and third is situational. Even though all lead to the same behavior, the root cause is drastically different. IMHO Paul's rebuke in Romans is aimed at those who willing abandoned their natural desire to experiement with homosexuality. I would assign that the the "situational category". I have no sympathy for them, as I have no sympathy for those in our Penal system who engage in such behavior.

However, how do you tell someone who is genetically predisposed that it is unnatural for them to feel the way they naturally feel? These are the folks who deserve our compassion.

The scripture also condems stealing. However, there is a huge difference between someone who shoplifts for the thrill of it and a starving person who steals to satisfy his hunger.

Again, it is a complex issue. The first step toward resolution is a willingness to engage in honest dialogue. Thank you for doing jsut that.