The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
John 17:21-23, The Message
One heart, one mind. Jesus’s prayer for us – his followers – in the garden of Gethsemane. Just as he was one with God, we were to be one with each other, bound together by the Spirit. This holy echoing of the Relationship – the Trinity – is what will change the world. My church puts it like this: “the strength we have together when we are each doing what we are passionate about.”
What is heartbreaking to me about the so-called “gays vs Christians” debate is that there are some of us standing in the middle.
– Gay Christians who have found that pursuing a monogamous same-sex relationship brings them much joy.
– “Ex Gay” Christians who have found that the pursuit of holiness is for them also a journey of healing.
– Celibate Christians who have made a decision to pursue God alone.
– People who are not sure, who are just “honesty struggling” with issues of same sex attraction and faith.
We are churched.
We are unchurched.
We are in relationships.
We are single.
We are celibate.
We are hurt.
We are healing.
I have been following Rachel Held Evan’s blog as she sensitively steers a conversation about sexuality and the Church. As she discusses two different accounts of faith and same-sex attraction one of her questions throughout has been:
Do you think it is possible to fully support both [a gay Christian] in pursuit of a [same sex] partnership/marriage, and [another] in a decision based on their convictions to remain celibate? Or does the full support of one somehow diminish the support of the other?
Discussion of this question has continued in the comments below her various posts.
What I notice is fear. And it is not just fear of “homosexuals” by “Christians”, it is fear of celibate/”ex gay” Christians by “progressive” gay Christians, and vice versa.
I recognise that fear. It coils around my heart every time I see this discussion.
The fear is called “what if I am wrong?”
It is a potent fear for people on both “sides” of the issue. What if I’m wrong?
Should I have looked for healing? Should I have chosen celibacy? Should I have tried harder? Does God hate me?
Could I have been in a relationship? What if it is ok for me to act on this attraction? Have I wasted these celibate years? Should I have done differently?
A couple of years ago I heard Sy Rogers, who is “ex gay” and used to be heavily involved with Exodus, give his testimony. I wanted to ask him Rachel’s question: Can’t we support each other? Can’t we all go to the same church? Isn’t it possible to accept that someone else, faced with the same situation as us, has chosen differently, and respect their choice?
It would be difficult, certainly, to be regularly faced with “what if I’m wrong?”
I think it is possible, but only if the fear can evaporate. Only if we can somehow be honest with each other about “what if I’m wrong”? And accept that we might not have all the answers.
How could this fear evaporate?
Perhaps it is about knowing the One that drives away fear. Perhaps it is about sharing – giving and receiving – pure sweet grace to those who, like us, and yet not like us, are without friends in a difficult place?
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4: 17-18
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