jennifer hanigan

a pinch of this and a dollop of that

To Err is Human; Love is Divine

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A lot of churchgoing people these days seem to be edging wishfully toward an acceptance of homosexuality. They get as far as “hey, this does seem a bit ambiguous…” but can’t seem to take the next step. If you’re one of those people, this post is for you. (If you aren’t, you may want to go read this, or this, or watch this, and come back another time.)

I had intended to keep a list of ridiculous things people said to me when I came out. Sadly, like my list of books I’ve read this year, my plan to plank every day, and the dress I started sewing back in March, my intentions did as intentions do. But one thing that stands out in my memory is one of the church elders, at the kicking-me-out meeting, tried the slippery slope argument: “What’s next, polygamy?!” First, if you’re using slippery slope, it’s because you lack support for your position. Second, show me the commandment against polygamy.

Go ahead, I’ll wait while you run a search on your eBible. Find it? Didn’t think so.

“But!” you say, “it clearly never works out well! It causes all kinds of problems!” And I agree! In fact, that’s one of my two reasons for rejecting it. When we investigate the stories of polygamy, we find confusion, selfishness, envy, bitterness, hatred–bad, bad fruit.

By their fruit, you will know them.

Now, let’s take a look at the traditional stance of the Christian church against homosexual behavior. Specifically, what is the fruit we see proceeding from it?

Our youth are at risk: “LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth.” and “LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.” LGBTQ youth are also more likely to be homeless and/or sexually exploited.

The church has a bad reputation: “Nine out of ten outsiders found Christians too “anti-homosexual,” and nearly as many perceived it as “hypocritical” and “judgmental.”” (note that 8 out of 10 Christians felt the same way!)

Church attendance is down, and young people are less likely to attend after graduation, or once their parents give up trying to force them. (I’m citing no reference but have heard many a pastor complain about this.)

Church and denominational splits occur over this issue.

Countless people like myself find that they are excluded from their church families, and from their very faith.

Countless people are seriously mistreated in the name of ‘curing’ their homosexuality, a thing that cannot be done. The most prominent organization, “Exodus International shut down in 2013, with an apology from its leader for giving “false hope””.

Where is the good fruit? Who is being saved, helped, loved?  Unless you count standing firmly against something as good fruit, I have seen none.

So, if there is ambiguity, if we cannot know for sure what the answer is, where do we err? I think the Bible-specifically the New Testament-is clear on this one: We err on the side of God’s grace and mercy, which is billions of times bigger than any mistake we make. We err on the side of freedom. We err on the side of love.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Love is Love


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