Same Sex and the Real Issue At Hand

Every month I meet with a couple handfuls of pastors from our fair city, mostly to hang out and eat lunch and chat. Which is great and just the way I like it. I enjoy just ‘being’ and not having an agenda or a ‘to do’ list. Perfect.

Last month when we met we decided to add a ‘spice’ to the mix. It was suggested that we should discuss things that are relevant for us, some ‘meaty’ topics. I threw into the mix the idea not to avoid any challenging topics, such as…same sex issues that is sorta on the front burner for many churches/denominations.

It was only a suggestion.

However, by the end of the day, an email had been sent out with the details of the next lunch and that ‘Scott will lead the discussion on same sex issue.’

Yay.

I’m actually expecting a good discussion with these guys. But to say that I’m a little bit nervous would be an understatement.

If I was a betting man, I would hedge my bets that they are coming knowing very clearly where they stand on the issue. And to be quite honest, I really don’t want to know where they stand. In fact, I don’t even think that is the issue here. I believe the issue is: Can we have a conversation and ask any and all questions, and even think through or allow to be questioned what we believe is the ‘right answer’?

I say all this because I find that if I try to have a conversation with anyone who thinks they ‘know the answer’, defences go up, stances are defended, and cliche answers get tossed around. I realize that much of this reaction comes from fear, insecurity, and ingrained beliefs (whether accurate or not). I also wonder if that fear reaction speaks more to our lack of faith/trust/belief in God, than it does to any ‘strong faith’ we think we have.

This past month I’ve been reading and listening to various opinions on the same sex issue, and not because I don’t know where I stand, either. I just want to be able to sit down with anybody and just listen to them, and ask some non-threatening questions for the sole purpose of being able to better understand them. As well, I am trying not to have a reply waiting in the wings, but to acknowledge that their thoughts and opinions are just as legitimate as my own.

Here’s what I’ve learned this past month…

  • I don’t have it all figured out
  • there is freedom in choosing not to judge
  • it takes effort to listen and not spout off
  • it actually does enhance your understanding of the subject matter
  • I am trusting more
  • people are easier to love
  • Christ’s yoke really is easier, and his burden is definitely lighter!

Oh yeh…my meeting with the pastors is in three hours!

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10 thoughts on “Same Sex and the Real Issue At Hand

  1. Will be praying for all of you as you meet and trusting that you all can have a conversation and ask questions without worry or confrontation. IT IS TRULY AMAZING WHAT WE LEARN FROM AND ABOUT PEOPLE WHEN WE JUST TAKE THE TIME TO LISTEN AND NOT JUDGE OR stress our opinion/belief. We actually get to have a little glimpse into the life of the person in front of us and be able to learn a little more about how to just simply ‘love on’ someone…..

  2. I’m envious (that’s probably not good!) I would love to be part of that conversation.
    God’s blessings on you Scott, and on all who attend today. Kingdom breaking through – Awesome!

  3. Well, what a fine kettle o’fish this is! Best of luck on this one, dancing between the ‘kill ’em’ and ‘love ’em anyways’ positions. How did Jesus do it (both at the same time, that is)? Or did He? Just because someone is sincere does not make them right, for they may be sincerely wrong. Hmmm. How we react says the world about us!

  4. Scott this really is an issue at the forefront of our communities. I am encouraged by your response and realizations here. It is a hard issue. I love that many of the theological conversations that I’ve been part of agree that love has to be our hermeneutic key – no matter what else we say about the complexity of modern relationships. And that love has to pervade our conversations – meaning it goes both ways. No matter where we land (sometimes at the moment) we need to love and cherish the other voices in the conversation or we will never hear them. Some of them are so important to hear, especially the ones that challenge us the most. In many ways I think this is the opportunity for a Christianity that isn’t about our own comfort, but is about seeing where God shows up in the messiness that is life and how the redemptive love of God does exceedingly more than we could ever expect or even imagine.

  5. As a passerby, interested in finding our more about The Vineyard, I have to remark that your reflection here leaves me a little confused. You mention listening, but I finished reading your post with the impression that there is a subtle judgement towards those who express the conviction of certainty, particularly the type of certainty that leads to conclusions that awkwardly stand in tension with your own (regardless of what they are). You say, ” If I was a betting man, I would hedge my bets that they are coming knowing very clearly where they stand on the issue. And to be quite honest, I really don’t want to know where they stand.” These don’t sound like the words of a listening man, or at least a listening man without some certainties of his own.

    Yes, the issue of homosexuality is tough, but do you think that it is fair and humble to proclaim that adversarial views are grown out of ‘fear’ and indoctrination? It definately isn’t. Neither is it neutral, loving, or non-judgemental. The sum of your post leaves the impression that you are comfortable with conversations so long as the dialogue remains ambiguous.

    I feel compelled to respond here, because I can see myself saying similar things years back. Naturally, I tend toward ambiguity because its safe—it makes me feel at peace with everyone. But in the past it has allowed things of terrible consequence in my own life as a Christian, things I am still pay for today. Also, greyness has previously permitted me to suppress my conscience so that I didn’t have to choose between opposing views. Relevant to this specific topic, my heart wanted to have peace and unity with my gay friends and co-workers–I didn’t want to feel the burn of having to differ on issues related to the way they lived. Later in my own walk, I started to see this behaviour in myself as a form of cowardice, the desire to fit in the world around me. Growing up in a tough place, and always being the odd one out left me to shy away from distinction. But as years past, and challenges came, my views have been sharpened. I am one of those who has convictions about this that likely don’t square with yours–mind you, I don’t like this hard-pressed convinction to be reduced to ‘fear’, ‘indoctrination’, and ‘cliche’. As a fellow Christian, it sounds a tad self-righteous to reduce sweat, conviction, prayer, and tears to the premise of certain ignorance. I have studied carefully, and wrestled with contractions in the relationships around me. I came to believe with conviction because I believe that this is a difficult truth–even though I don’t entirely like it.

    And so, I have to say that I will also differ with you on what I think ‘the issue’ is as well. The way that I see it, the problem comes when we try to come face to face with certainty. It is an odd and terrifying thing to confront conviction in a world that claims no particular truths, especially as a Christian.Some people have convinced themselves that this is an ugly thing, but that is only because they fail to see that certainty is present on both sides of any argument. Some people simply have the pleasure of appearing less certain because they opt out of taking a side or carry with them the language of spiritualism or soft-psychology–illusions that leave the person with the lie that they are somehow walking a higher road. For example, take the notion that that blatant, in your face, direct, claims to truth are a definate evil. This is a certainty, a well disguised one.

    So, don’t kid yourself. You are just as certain as they are. You just happen to be sitting on the side of the fence that allows you to use the language or ‘listening’, ‘experiencing’, and ‘being’ (all cliches, I might add). These probobly make you feel good, like the better Christain, the one with more love, the man with greater piety and temperance. It probobly also allows all who read your post to feel warm and cuddly about how accepting and open you are. That those who take the risk of being labeled a bigot to hold to a point of truth with conviction, even if it doesn’t win them adoration or warm fuzzies is a certain challenge, perhaps more loving or spiritual than you give it credit for.

    I have no doubt that you are upset with my post, that you have possibly written me off as some jerk bigot. But I beg you do one thing: Will you listen long enough to consider my view, however irksome?

    1. First off, I would never write off anyone who takes the time to not only read what I’ve written, but also the time to write and very thoughtful response! Your points are valid and it was a good reminder to me that it’s easy to point fingers at others, and not realize that I am, at times, guilty of the very same things. That’s a good wake up call for me. So I guess, ‘thank you’ is in order here. However…you have assumed that because I don’t take a firm stance on a certain issue then that means I am being the ‘coward’ and wanting people to like me, etc. I have prayed heavily into this and many other theological issues and there are some that I am still working through, and others that I am comfortable saying – “I don’t know.” We don’t have to have all the answers to all of life’s perplexing questions. It’s okay to say, “I’m not sure on that. and that’s not being a coward or fearful of taking a stance. It’s simply, ‘I’m not sure.’ I am fine with gray areas and I realize that for others, those same areas may be black and white. So again, thanks for your reply…it’s iron sharpening iron – and that’s a good thing!

    2. I think you make some very good points, and I have gone through some of same experiences you have shared about your own life. I believe in taking risks in what I say, and also in my actions. Many times I have said or done the wrong things but, I’m becoming more open to correction from my Christian brothers and sisters, and conviction from the Holy Spirit. I don’t agree with everything you say however, and you make your points with extreme certainty (I mean that in a good way – I believe you’re taking risks) I would just have one suggestion for you – put your name on it!

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