Okay I’m going to ramble for awhile, because what I am thinking is sort of difficult to talk about, let alone write about.  There is a lot of talk at General Conference about inclusion and sexuality.  I think I read that there are more than a dozen annual conferences petitioning to change the church’s stance on homosexuality.

This was always a pretty easy topic for me.  I had no issue with Christians who weren’t straight.  I figured, if it was so important Jesus would have said something about it.  In addition, homosexuality as a definition was much different long ago, so I didn’t buy the arguments from people who quoted the Old Testament or Paul.

Things have changed for me recently; I’ve had quite a year.  I have had many medical issues both for myself and for close family members, but there was more that I’ll go into just a little in order to give a better understanding.

A family member of mine has recently divorced her husband of many years and is now living with another woman.  She doesn’t consider herself a lesbian, but is definitely living a homosexual lifestyle.  She has never been attracted to women before, but this woman is the love of her life.

I write all this, though it is difficult for me, because I want people to understand the complexity of this issue.  Never have I thought she was unworthy of God, God’s love or mine.  I have no problem with her in the church.  At the same time, I’m struggling a lot.  There is a lot I don’t understand.  I have a lot of questions.  There are things I struggle with on a personal level; there are also things I worry about with our current church.

When she goes to church will everyone still embrace her?  I mean REALLY embrace her?  Will someone say something?  How will they act?  Will she be shunned?  Will she be judged?

Jesus said essentially that a sin is a sin.  I don’t believe homosexuality is a sin, but I accept that many people within our denomination do.  I accept that I may never change their minds, though I hope I can.  My question to them is this: what is so different about that ‘sin’ that you would condemn it with such fierceness?  If we were to take a church of 500 members there is bound to be at least someone who has been arrested for something semi-serious.  Someone addicted to pornography. An alcoholic.  Someone who beats their wife and children.  A sexual predator.

These are all big issues, and big sins.  What’s different between them and the ‘sin’ of homosexuality is that being gay is part of your being.  You can’t change it.  So for all those people out there who think it’s wrong, is it really more wrong than anything else?  So wrong that it trumps all else?

You let those people in.  Why not everyone?

How can we really show God’s love if we are still ostracizing an entire group of people for being who they are?

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this powerful story, Dana.

    While we often tend to think of homosexual, bisexual, and heterosexual as distinct categories, the reality of human sexuality is more fluid than that. For one thing, many more people are bisexual than most of us realize, and part of the reason for that is because of socialization. Imagine a little girl having crushes on boys and girls. If she doesn’t know that lesbian relationships exists, how will she have any social context in which to put her feelings? I wonder if this is one reason why stories like that of your family member are so common. Another concept is that of fluidity of human sexuality. A person may experience strictly heterosexual feelings for much of their life, and then with certain changes external and internal begin to have same-sex attractions. It is all much more complex and nuanced than many of the debates I am seeing reveal. As in many things, it is not so black and white!

    What I appreciate about your commentary here is that it cuts to the heart of what’s important to the Body of Christ. It’s not whether she’s straight, gay, or bi. It’s not even whether she has sinned in some way against her husband (or whether he has sinned against her, we don’t know!). It is our business to love and to be the embodiment of God’s grace in her life, and let the work of healing and conviction be the Holy Spirit’s.

  2. We are asked to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul and our neighbor as ourself – The Bible also tells us not to judge others leave that to the almighty and we as humans are not the almighty. I agree with you that there is no differentiation in a sin; a sin is a sin and we are asked to repent as an individual to be forgiven. Jesus’ grace and mercy are for all no distintion made. Thanks be to god.

  3. Your story mirrors many stories I hear in my work with people amongst my own church. Your story is the story that brings many people to a wider understanding of God’s love that is open to all. Dana, thank you for sharing; and thank you for your continued work and witness to East Tacoma. It is a place dear to my heart. Had we not moved, our kids would have eventually been in your band program.

  4. “It is our business to love and to be the embodiment of God’s grace in her life, and let the work of healing and conviction be the Holy Spirit’s.”

    Love that Katie. Thanks Dana for allowing your personal experience and insight to help affirm the role grace can take in difficult situations.

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