It’s hard to have a fruitful conversation about faith & homosexuality these days unless you’re having them with people that already think like you on the topic. Hopefully, what follows will lead all of us (whatever side you’re on) to having conversations about these topics that actually lead somewhere.
Homosexuality is such a loaded word. Because it’s so loaded, it really makes it tough to have a conversation about it. Two people can use the word 'homosexuality' and have two completely different things in mind. (It’s kind of like using the word “trunk". It could refer to a part of an elephant, a storage container, the base of a tree, the rear of a car, etc. There are so many uses of that word that it has to be defined further before any intelligent conversation can be had.) So, it’s no surprise that when Chris Broussard was baited into a question about homosexuality and Christianity, and he answered with grace and precision, an entire community of people were enraged.
Homosexuality – a word that needs one definition
Homosexuality, in one sense, can refer exclusively to sexual attraction. Homosexuality literally means that someone is sexually attracted to the same gender. That’s how the word was intended to be used. In another sense, (the sense in which our society uses the word) it is a statement of sexual practice. In our culture, homosexuality also means someone who actually acts out sexually with a member of the same gender. Here is where the real problem lies. It’s not about sexuality; it’s really a problem with someone limiting another person's freedom or telling them what they're doing is wrong. It’s inconceivable for us to think (in our age of freedom) that restrictions should be placed on our sexuality. If I have an attraction, I should be free to act on that attraction. If I’m not free to do this without scrutiny (or if it’s not celebrated), then I feel like I’m wronged. However, with a term that is as loaded as sexuality, it’s hard for us to ever see definition as our real problem. I should be free to do what I feel, and anyone that tells me that I can’t (or shouldn’t) do what I feel is wrong.
Adultery & Fornication—words that have one definition
There are other terms that relate to sexuality that aren’t as loaded: adultery and fornication. Those who commit these weren’t as upset at Chris Broussard (even though he spent more time addressing them), because these terms aren't as loaded. Adultery is a word that’s used exclusively of practice and not as a desire. If adultery was a sexual orientation (the desire to have sex with people you are not married to), then every married man I know would be guilty of it! But it’s not, it’s a term specifically used to talk about practice. Fornication/pre-marital sex is the same way. It’s not an orientation; it’s not about desires. It’s about how those desires are acted out.
Christianity— another word that needs one definition
Here’s another loaded term that I want to unpack: Christian. This is probably the most loaded term of all. Let me explain this as best as I can, using sexuality as the backdrop.
A Christian is someone that has sexual desires. (They can be heterosexual desires or homosexual desires. I don’t think sexual desires disqualify anyone.)
A Christian is someone who, at some point in their life ,has acted on those desires (or at least has wanted to act on those desires) in a way that (1) they thought was appropriate but (2) the Bible said otherwise.
A Christian is someone who (for whatever reason) has come to the conclusion that their life is a mess (primarily because they’ve called the shots on how to run their own life). They’ve lived with the guilt, the shame, and the frustration of trying to find meaning by directing their lives the way they thought best.
A Christian is someone who, at one point during their journey, heard about a man named Jesus who was willing to forgive their sins. The way that this Jesus was able to forgive sins was by taking the punishment that they earned. He died a death for those of us that were guilty (according to God’s standard). He took our punishment, and He was free to give us the love that He was entitled from God.
A Christian is someone who, now, is so grateful for the work that God has done in their lives that they have decided to submit how they act out sexually to him. Being a Christian doesn't necessarily mean that we lose all of our sexual desires (heterosexual or homosexual desires), what it means is that we trust God enough to let Him dictate what is appropriate and what is inappropriate in how we act out sexually. So, for those of us that are married men, we reserve the acting out of our sexual desires for our wives alone because those are the parameters that God lays out for us.
Please understand, you are free to disagree with the Bible. That’s your call. Part of God’s great gift to us is that He has given us the ability to choose. He is not forcing everyone to agree with Him. But understand this is as well, while you’re free to disagree with the Bible, you’re not free to rewrite it. The term Christian is clear, and can’t be debated. Christian = someone who trusts Jesus enough to let Him set the course for how they act out sexually, financially, morally, etc. regardless of how much they don’t quite understand it or desire to comply. A Christian is someone who understands that when their desires don’t line up with God’s desires, they ask Him to help change them…not vice versa.
If you disagree and don’t trust God to set the course, you’re free to do that. However, by disagreeing you now have to really take an assessment of what your definition of Christian is. If you define Christian as someone that follows Jesus but deviates from the pathway in areas when you feel like Jesus has made a mistake in what He’s commanded, then please understand that isn’t following. You’re going to end up in a very different place than Jesus. And if you land in different places, then is that really following? I don’t think so. But then again you’re free to disagree.