Friday, November 28, 2008

What About Homosexuality? Part 3

There are a number of studies in the areas of anthropology, psychology and medical science that suggest the normalcy of homosexuality, in both genetics and the history of human societies. The scientific studies seem to be in continuous debate, but the anthropological studies have many levels of history on their side. It appears that homosexuality has always been present in human societies. For various reasons, people with homosexual inclinations were often marginalized, sometimes for antagonistic reasons and other times because such behavior does not add new members to the tribe or village through procreation.

In western culture today, the need to add new human beings to societies is less of a concern than it might have been in history past. Yet, homosexual people and communities are still often marginalized, at least because they remain a small minority of most populations.

The tension and paradox then, must deepen. I follow Jesus, who is shown in my Scriptures to have reached out to the marginalized and declared that the kingdom of God had come to such as these. Jesus reached out to all kind of people on the margins of his particular society and was personally marginalized to the place of execution when his own countrymen demanded his death.

The people I have know who claim a homosexual inclination have not been sexual predators or abusers (that I know of). They are not people who woke up one day and decided to take a walk on the wild side with members of their own gender. They claim a drive within them that they do not control. Some claim that drive has been evident since they were children. Most of the homosexual people I have known have also shared with me stories of deep relational pain, sexual abuse and neglect. These confessions make them like others I know and love who do not claim to be homosexuals. 

Defining homosexual persons as immoral en masse requires me to assume that those persons have made a conscious and willing choice to pursue such behavior when they were not compelled to do so, as a deliberate act of transgression against the rules of God. But I do not believe that homosexual persons can be so easily dismissed. If so, then I must dismiss myself and all others on planet earth.

No matter the cause of homosexuality--a normal, genetic variation from heterosexuality or an expression of sexual deviance arising out of deep relationship brokenness--I have to ground my relationships with homosexual persons the same way I must ground my relationships with heterosexual persons: As co-humans, made in the image of God. As such, I am compelled to point them to Jesus, that their lives might be transformed by the Spirit of God just as my life must be transformed.

In addition, no matter my opinion on the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality, I must still go to them and to others who are needy and hurting, and serve them in the name of Jesus.5 That is at the heart of the true Christian vocation. Our vocation is not to rain condemnation on anyone, but rather to both proclaim and demonstrate the present reality of the kingdom of God.6 


5 See the article by the well-known British atheist Roy Hattersley, "Faith Does Breed Charity." http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/sep/12/religion.uk. Accessed 11/23/08.

6 Dr. Ray S. Anderson deals with this question in a more comprehensive way at http://faith-theology.blogspot.com/2008/07/homosexuality-and-church-meditation-on_18.html.

2 comments:

sojourner kate said...

Hi Mike,

I just stumbled across your blog while doing a word search for "sojourner" and "soulfarer". What a nice surprise for me.
I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed the workings of your mind and your hmmm interesting sense of humor!
I really appreciate some of the things you've said here. I've been on an interesting spiritual journey and have been feeling terminally unique. It's lovely to find a kindred spirit who is expressing thoughts out loud that I've been thinking about.
I've got this bookmarked and will be following your posts. I have many fond memories of you and your sweet wife.
hugs to both of you, sojourner kate (Katie Miles)

Mike McNichols said...

Thank you, Katie. So good to hear from you!