Q & R: Sexuality and Kids …

A reader writes …

I feel I know you because of your inspiring book A NEW KIND of CHRISTIANITY and because of many parallels I have encountered in my walk of faith.
I have found many gems/ insights since I began following your blog… pointed in your direction by “kindred-blog-spirits” such as Kevin Beck & Mike @ Zoecarnate.
I often find myself wanting to either comment or ask questions about many of your posts but I felt I must contact you about this post in particular. Other questions & comments will have to wait for a less busy day, but this one pushed my buttons.
The writer asks “Practically speaking, yes we love, welcome, reconcile, but are we to understand same-sex relationships as a state of wholeness or brokenness?”& you respond beautifully & gently, while addressing the questoner.
My comment: Our broken-ness makes us more human and as you said unifies us at the cross.
Does being gay have a different category of broken than being abused as a child, wrestling with addiction, or grappling with any of the side-effects of being “imperfect”.
Have Christians not considered perhaps the “imperfect paradox” is precisely the vehicle through which God works to be real in our souls and the vehicle through which
we see our need for God. God is far more tolerant than the human race. Perhaps our “imperfection”… our need… is why God loves us so. (My more conservative church friends’ bumper sticker comes to mind: “I’m not perfect, just forgiven!’)You address perfection well in your book. Complete is not the same a perfect.
My frustration is not with your post but the perspective of your reader which is progressive when compared to my own church (very SBC/ CBF in a rural southern town). I feel I need a church home for the upbringing of my young son. (At the same time, I often feel like I need to edit or at least “spin” most of what he is taught about God & Christ.) I love the community but my husband & I hope for spiritual food, which we seldom receive. I often think: “Baby steps, baby steps” with the mindset of those that are so NOT emergent, progressive, tolerant, or even respectful. Most of the people I know are not ready to hear or consider any of the concepts like those put forth in your work. That is OK.
On occasion you have addressed how to talk with those that are”not ready” and this has been my attitude since I realized (many years ago) most folks in my world do not share my thinking.
I care for the folks in my church/town/family that are at a different place than I (sometimes they seem confounded… at the risk of sounding judgmental). I try to share by teaching creative prayer which is art based and not heavy, theologically. The internet is where I find spiritual ideas on which I can ruminate. I do not have the option of moving since we relocated some years ago to care for an aging parent. I am here now, with only 1 kindred spirit: beloved husband.
I feel I am in the trenches, Please let me know of any literature or resources that will help those who are dealing in inhospitable communities. I do not need much support as I feel I am a mature, spiritual person…. just some. I grow weary with those me that are so resistant to change and even drain others’ joy. It is difficult to never feel able to express my heart-felt thoughts to others besides my husband. Help??
I also need support teaching my son accurate spiritual/ biblical teaching more in line with emerging Christian thought. Is anyone working on literature directed at children like this??
Sorry for venting — I’ve gone on to long. Thanks for your time. I respect few people’s opinions with regards to these matters. Obviously, you are one.
God’s blessing to you and your work.

Thanks for your comment on homosexuality, and I certainly resonate with the tone and direction of it … As I read your thoughts, I kept thinking (as you said) how we’re all at different places in a process of rethinking. For example, when a person from an extremely conservative background says, “Hate the sin but love the sinner,” that’s a huge step forward from “hate the sin and hate the sinner.” It’s a plea for a higher degree of tolerance than is the norm in many groups. B
ut a gay person (or a friend or family member of someone who is gay) hears this and thinks, “The only way we can be accepted – actually, not accepted, but only tolerated – is in a condemned category.”
The word “brokenness” is another step in this process … the category of broken is still pejorative, suggesting a flaw, but it is a step up, evoking more compassion than condemnation.
Many of my gay friends and relatives would say that their sexual orientation isn’t a matter of sin, nor is it a matter of brokenness any more than, say, left-handedness or blue eyes or blond hair or caucasian skin are the result of sin or brokenness. Each of these characteristics applies to a minority in the human population (most people – could we say “normal” people? – are right-handed, brown-eyed, dark-haired, and non-caucasian). So, they might ask, would we want to say that in a perfect world all people would be right-handed, brown-eyed, dark-haired, and dark-skinned, since there can only be one right way to be?
Or would we say that in God’s world, there are many ways to be? There is diversity built into God’s world at every turn – and that diversity isn’t always a matter of sin or brokenness, but is often simply a matter of diversity or variation. Not better, not worse, just other. (By the way, this isn’t saying that “anything goes” – it’s just saying that sexual orientation could be one of the legitimate differences among human beings – not a matter of sin or brokenness.)
As you say – gay or straight, we’re all broken. But I thought it was worth bringing up the reality that some differences – and many of us have come to the conclusion that sexual orientation is one of those differences – aren’t a matter of sin or even brokenness, but rather difference.
All that I’m saying comes back to your comment – baby steps. We’re all in process; none of us has arrived … and we need to accept one another wherever we are, and seek to move forward in God’s path of wisdom, truth, grace, and love together, whether we’re dealing with sin, brokenness, or simply variation and difference.
On the issue of education … I’m really glad you’ve asked this. I will be participating in an important conference built around this subject, and I hope you’ll consider being involved and spreading the word. It’s scheduled for May 7 – 10, 2012, in Washington, DC.
You can read about it here … We have a lot of important work to do on this subject!