Deconstructing the debate on Refuge

My friend in New Hampshire, who shall go unnamed, walked into a church and told the pastor after introductions, “I’m gay.” He was told to leave the premises immediately. This happened at many churches. He does not go to church anymore.

My guy friend is a virgin. He wants to marry, but not to a man. He wants to have a wife and kids. It took him several years to accept that he was homosexual. It is not yet certain that sexuality is genetic, but it does seem to him that, short of a miracle, he cannot change his orientation. My friend does not believe in miracles. He no longer believes in God.

I disagree with past writers of opinions fueled by protest to the Refuge meetings published March 15 and April 1 issues, because I do not believe homosexuality is wrong. A homosexual can become a Christian and stay a Christian. The mere potential to be something is not a sure way to be damned, because we all possess the ability and the weakness to sin (Romans 3:23).

A heterosexual can be as tempted to sin as a homosexual person, but temptation in itself is not a sin. Hebrews 4:15 says that Christ was “tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin” (NIV).

However, I respectfully disagree with Miss McClenthen saying that the feeling of acceptance at Eastern is a sign of God’s presence, if by this she means the acceptance of any and every action.

In 1 Corinthians, which Mr. Slaght quoted three issues ago (neglecting 1 Corinthians 6:11), Paul told the Christians at Corinth not to associate with those who deliberately sinned. He said that kind life was over for them; now they were set apart to God.

I believe the source of this misunderstanding that acceptance being a virtue is due to a modern sort of morality we grow up close to these days.

As C.S. Lewis noted in his book The Problem of Pain, “most of us do not feel anything except kindness to be really good or anything but cruelty to be really bad” (4.2).

This attitude allows for the “virtue” of inaction, of being unimposing. That is to say, any act is right if it does not harm anybody. So if telling someone to change makes them feel shameful or inadequate, it is evil to do so.

By this definition, even what was once good can be evil if it discomfits us.

This mentality leaves little room for Christ’s ministry: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near,” (Matthew 3:2, et al, NIV), since repentance calls for sorrow and, yes, shame.

There is hope and joy in the fact that Christianity is a lifelong journey. We fall; we can get up. The past arguments in this debate have been about what we can do to save ourselves, but that is not Christianity. Christianity is about following the one who can save us.

Lewis wrote in another of his books that if we want a god who is not active in this world, we cannot want Jesus Christ. I believe He is the piece missing from this debate. His love is tough: giving His life to free us to obey out of love and not in fear, in His power rather than in our weaknesses.

I do not believe this debate should ask, “Can God just leave us be?” I propose we start over with, “Do we really believe in God?”

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