The World According to kcillini77

November 26, 2006

What Should Ted’s Next Move Be?

Filed under: America,Christianity — kcillini77 @ 9:49 pm

Bill Tammeus, faith columnist for the Kansas City Star, had a column in this Saturday’s newspaper that piqued my interest. Give it a read before reading my response.

Let me start by saying that while I have not read the book Bill recommends by Jack Rogers, I have read some of the arguments that claim that homosexual activity is not sin, and I find the arguments non-persuasive. However, I’m sure Bill will get tons of emails and letters from irate people spewing equally non-persuasive language arguing this issue, and no one’s mind will be swayed in either direction. The issue is certainly one charged with emotion on both sides, and anyone who has personal experience with someone who announces they are gay knows that their preconceived notions are challenged when it is someone they know. Some choose to disown family members, a solution totally incompatible with the grace Jesus demonstrated. Others embrace the sexual orientation as completely legitimate, the path Bill suggests in his column. I believe both are extremes that miss the point entirely.

Those like Bill who want us to embrace any sexual orientation that makes the person feel happy as “a divine gift that must, like all gifts be used responsibly and lovingly” are focusing on the wrong issue. They see the preferred sexual acts themselves as being inherent to the identity of the person in question, an idea steeped in philosophical naturalism, where we are all animals and we might as well do what comes “natural” to us. Sex is natural and if we get better feelings when it’s with someone of the same sex, that must be what we were hard-wired to do. They regale us with stories of monogamous gay couples, cite studies that purport to show gay genes, and insinuate that if we were all just more open minded to different sexual orientation, there would be more “success stories.” Happily married gay couples would adopt children that their parents gave up on and we would all get along famously.

Honestly, it sounds great. I wholeheartedly agree that Jesus did not come to earth to create right wing “morals police.” In fact, if you listen to some of the rhetoric coming out of Christian family values coalitions, it tends to sound much less like Jesus and more like the Pharisees that he rebuked venomously during his life. And the more we scream about the sins of others the more our hypocrisy is exposed. I’m sure a large number of the pastors calling for boycotts of companies that give benefits to gay partners spend hours each week looking at Internet porn or participate in some other besetting sin. The problem is never with calling sin sin – it is with being blind to our own and failing to be humble enough to admit our own struggles with evil.

The biggest problem I have with Bill’s column and with similar arguments is that it is ultimately an attempt to argue that something is not a sin and that it does not require forgiveness. This misses Jesus’ overarching message like a Royals pitcher in the late innings misses the strike zone. Jesus taught us that we are all broken people and that we are filled with evil. We all sin, and sin brings death and destruction. But Jesus offers us forgiveness for these sins if we admit we are helpless and that we want his help to follow his will. If Ted Haggard followed Bill Tammeus’ advice, he would be committing a plethora of other sins in the process. Does breaking up a family in order to enjoy sex you find more pleasing strike anyone as the will of God? To me it sounds like selfishness, pride, and lust. Perhaps Bill is saying that it may be too late for Ted now, but if he had followed his desire for gay sex instead of God’s calling to the church he led for many years, his life would be somehow better. That just doesn’t sound logical to me either. The Ted Haggard saga to me shows me God has used a broken man for much good, even though he has desires for evil. He is now at a crossroads. He can fully embrace his gayness like Mel White (side note: read “What’s So Amazing About Grace” by Phillip Yancey. At one point Phillip details his friendship with Mel, who he has extreme differences of opinion with but has not disowned – a stark contrast to other evangelicals. It is a heart-rending grappling with the issues at hand, and definitely worth the read no matter what side of the issue you lean toward), or he can accept the consequences of this sin, avoid the downhill spiral of other sins like divorce, and soak in the grace of his Savior. I for one hope he chooses the latter.

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