Helpful piece in the wake of Exodus closing
I am glad that we are getting thoughtful comments from same-sex attracted Christians here at SF.
It seems to me that contemporary church approaches to same-sex attraction cluster into two unhelpful models.
One model, which some ministries under the Exodus tent seemed to employ, involves trying to turn gay people straight. Some of the recent comments here on SF point out the way this approach can hurtfully minimize the Gospel content of a ministry and aim more for a perceived therapeutic “normalcy.” Back in my L.A. days, I had a gay colleague who was being worked on by an ostensibly Christian woman who wanted to “deliver” him. The more he described their interactions, the less it seemed a Christian effort and more a neurotic effort to prove one’s allure by “changing” someone else. The whole joke of a Seinfeld episode on getting people to “change teams.”
Jesus told us to go and make disciples. LGBT&c advocates make a fair critique of efforts to “go and make people normal” as a works-based replacement for that.
The other model is that embodied by TEC. That approach seeks to “make the Bible gay” by making it say what it doesn’t and not say what it does. The victorious crowing of lib prots at the closing of Exodus is just as devoid of Christ-content as “reparative” approaches that are all about making gay people straight.
Jesus told us to teach disciples to obey his commands, the perfect will of the Father. LGBT&c advocates teach people to flat out ignore and even despise what God has revealed and commanded.
Is there a way between making same-sex attracted people into straights on the one hand and rejecting God’s Word on the other?
But what we still need, and what I most want to be involved in myself, is pastoral ministry to those who say, “I experience ongoing, nearly exclusive same-sex attraction, I don’t expect ‘conversion’ to heterosexuality, I don’t expect to be married, but I want to live within the boundaries of the traditional Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, and I want to flourish, not just survive. And I need help to do that.” There are a lot of us in that boat. We do need help. And there’s now a gap to be filled with—what, exactly? an organization? a regular conference? ministry houses? intentional communities? parish small groups? something more, at least, than what Exodus often was—to help meet that need.
There are plenty of straight Christians struggling to “live within the traditional teaching on marriage and sexuality,” and they’ve been wounded and abandoned by the culture and many churches as well. There’s a need for people seeking Christ to find ways of sincere unity in sincere discipleship, helping one another from the strength of Christ that comes in through our weaknesses. Same-sex attracted Christians might be in a powerful position to help us navigate between destructive extremes in a promiscuous yet legalistic culture, and the churches infected by it.
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