In the previous blog, I argued that we need to find words to say about homosexuality. Silence is not only impossible, it is also harmful. We need to speak up and offer a blend of compassion and conviction, a balance rarely found in our polemical world.
Here are some thoughts about what we can say when people ask us about the latest legislation about gay marriage or the most recent outing of a prominent entertainer or the next special on Oprah about gay Christians.
1. “I wonder…” The issue of homosexuality has become so charged with hot emotions, it’s best to try to advance the discussion gradually. Rather than jumping ahead to discussions of words like “unnatural” or “abomination” (both of which have firm Biblical support), we would do better to instill some doubt in people’s pro-gay convictions. “I wonder if there are some other voices in this debate that we should listen to other than the extremists.” “I wonder if people who have left the gay life have something we should pay attention to.”
2. “Maybe…” In a similar way, we might do well to not attack as much as propose alternatives. When people tell us that being gay is natural, God-given, and unchangeable, I would postpone the strong attack until calmer heads prevail. I’d simply say, “Maybe…but perhaps that’s not the only way to think about it.”
3. “Have you heard…?” There are so many components of this issue that never make it into sitcom scripts or blogs or TV documentaries. There’s a whole “ex-gay” world out there that people have only heard of from those who want to lampoon it. There is also an academic arm of the “gay research” world that builds an impressive amount of evidence against what Will and Grace taught us.
You can see more at Narth.com. You might also want to consider Robert Gagnon’s important work about Biblical texts at http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/03/my-take-the-bible-really-does-condemn-homosexuality/.
4. “What’s your basis?” At some point, we need to stop accepting a defensive posture about this issue and ask those who accuse us of intolerance and hatred to defend their basis for belief. Is it only because they have same-sex attraction or they know others who have the same desires that has totally shaped their convictions? This is a difficult route to take but challenging people’s epistemology (their way of knowing) is crucial in this and many other discussions.
I’ll quit there with the hopes that I have primed the pump for respectful interaction about an issue that seems to only hide behind bullhorns, parades, jokes, and accusations – from both sides. It’s time to get past our own reluctances – whether they be repulsion to lifestyles or fear of losing some friends – and dare to offer a voice of both grace and truth, without compromising either one.