It seems the more I talk to people who are not theologians or ideologues the more I struggle with the issue of homosexuality.
For example, I sat in on a Small Group discussion yesterday (a Sunday morning group) where the topic of the day was homosexuality. The group was using Adam Hamilton’s “When Christians Get it Wrong” (Asbury folks might remember that I had also used that book on a sermon series not long ago – so I was familiar). The discussion reignited a struggle within me.
Here’s the problem. I fancy myself to be a fairly adept theologian who begins his work in the Scripture. I have done some work regarding this issue. I even have an unpublished blog post where I thoughtfully and biblically lay out my perspective on the issue of homosexuality. I believe I have solid answers to the arguments proposed by many these days. Suffice it to say I come down on the conservative side of the issue. However, that is not to say I condemn those who engage in that kind of relationship. I do not.
Here’s the problem I have. Some in the group were okay with full acceptance. They fall on the side of a more progressive understanding of Scripture (Hamilton leans this direction pretty heavily in my opinion). Others could understand the argument, but see the issue as a “victim-less” sin, if it must be considered sin. Others struggle to see it as acceptable based on Scripture (I tend to lean that way). All of the people in that room were loving people striving to honor God and love others – and as a pastor and leader in the church I struggle with how to handle such broad ranging opinions with grace and righteousness.
John Wesley, founder of Methodism, was known for his willingness to hold things in tension – specifically grace and law. He believed we are called to be holy as God is holy, but he also knew that sanctification – being made holy – is a process. I am struggling to understand where to best hold the tension.
I am struggling because my first instinct is to say that those who are engaged in homosexual relationships are to be loved and accepted with the firm knowledge that God is at work to bring them to a greater sense of holy living. But, as I sit in groups like I did yesterday and I listen to loving people with a differing perspectives, I have to ask myself – is it “those” people who God is needing to bring to a new place, or is it me?
I am thankful for the New Beginnings class that brought about this wrestling within my soul. I do know this – where I struggle and wrestle and look to God, God works to bring me to a more holy place. I am anxious to see where that place will be.
How about you – do you find yourself struggling with God sometimes, in this issue or even in some other area? Do you see that struggle as beneficial?
Holy high-five to you,