It is possible that there are no more demanding and harsher words spoken by the Lord Jesus than those found in Matthew 23. Speaking to the woeful crowds of faith-failures in a Roman-occupied homeland, He appears to have had enough of the religious scholars, lawyers, and judges of His day (may we not be found to be like them):
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees… tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
I write this today because the article to which I want to direct your attention is recent and has something to say about modern Evangelical practices and positions toward the LGBTQ community. If you’ve been reading my blogs, I suspect you are either unhappily confused by my rather enigmatic writing style, or upset that I write anything that would be so politically incorrect as to point us all back to a Christ-centered worldview. I have wanted to challenge our thinking about identity in terms – different from our current culture.
Today I direct your attention to the Mere Orthodoxy article by Jake Meador, because he positions the discussion re: sexual ethics in a bigger story of what it means to follow Jesus, be like Him, and to act like Him:
If evangelicals are going to insist on orthodoxy with regards to sex ethics (and we must) then we must also insist on the practices of hospitality and friendship that have far too often been neglected in our churches. Those practices will inform more than just our relationships with celibate gay Christians in our churches, of course, but they will inform those relationships in a massive and noticeable way.
… The problem for LGBT individuals is not always what the demands of Scripture force them to give up (hard as those demands are), but rather what the failures of the church would force them to give up if they were to remain Christian. If the church is to maintain its commitment to orthodoxy then the church must also be willing to defy the cultural trends toward individualism, busyness, and mobility and be willing to slow down enough to offer the gifts of unhurried time, friendship, and hospitality to gay Christians in our community. We must be a place where the word celibacy is not a dressed up way of describing loneliness.
Encouragement to Be:
Loneliness is among the more noticeable modern trends of culture disease. Loneliness is what we experience when we let ourselves notice how separate we are from others, and from the One who made us for Himself.
Let me encourage you to read the whole article here, and to follow a link to Julie Rodgers, who recently resigned her position from Wheaton College. She also writes a recent article worth reading: An Update on the Gay Debate: evolving ideas, untidy stories, and hopes for the church.
Therefore, let me encourage us to defy the cultural trends; let me encourage us not to merely tie up heavy, cumbersome loads on other people’s shoulders, while being unwilling to lift a finger to move them.
More Enigma than Dogma
I believe that Christian Spirituality is the process of becoming more like Jesus, and therefore, becoming more as we are to be in all its uniqueness and worth. I believe this process is less about dogma, and less about doctrinal position finding & faulting – and more about the enigma of what it truly means to be human – that is – to be like Jesus.
My aim is to to know Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, and follow Him more nearly day by day. As in any deep and abiding friendship, this has more to do with relationship than with beliefs. In saying that, I do not diminish the need for beliefs; I diminish the way we sometimes hold beliefs (doctrinal positions in particular) as it relates the life-long restoration process of becoming human.
As usual: this is more enigma than dogma.