The views expressed here represent what I believed in the past, and are not necessarily the views of my family or friends. This post is part one of a two-part series in response to the ongoing conversations at Eastern Mennonite University and Mennonite Church USA about how to live with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
Dear Progressive Christians,
I am speaking as someone who understands that you are trying to fight for the dignity and rights of your LGBTQ selves, family, friends, and fellow humans. I know how important this is to you, and I know you are trying to do the right thing.
I am speaking, not as the person I am now, but as the person I was a few short years ago. I am speaking as a conservative Christian who believes that the practice of homosexuality is wrong. Let me be clear: I am not trying to persuade you of anything. I only want you to understand me.
I believe that the Bible is inerrant and true. This is central to my faith, and on this point I cannot be shaken. I have read the Old and New Testaments and found that homosexuality is a sin. You might point out that there are many rules in the Bible that most Christians don’t follow. I don’t dispute that (and maybe I should start wearing only pure linen), but the punishment for homosexuality was death, so it was clearly a very important rule. Unless Jesus Himself comes down to earth and changes my mind, I must believe that homosexuality is a sin.
I can see that this hurts you, and it grieves me. Because of the way that you were born, choosing to be with the person you love is a sin. It’s not fair. I can feel that it’s not fair, and it might be wrong of me to say so, but I sometimes wish that homosexuality wasn’t a sin. Why should you be condemned to choose between love and faith? Who would it hurt if you were allowed to love whom you chose?
I can’t understand it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. I trust that the Bible is true. I trust that the Bible is God’s Word. Therefore, I have to trust that God has His own reasons for why homosexuality is wrong, and why people on earth suffer. I believe that someday, maybe not until heaven, I will understand.
I’m afraid that changing ideas and policies about homosexuality reflect a weakening of regard for the authority of God’s Word. I’m afraid that this means our young people are losing their faith, and I can’t bear for that to happen, because I love them. When I hear you say that I’m living in the past or that I’m afraid of change, I know that you don’t understand me. I can’t change what I believe just because the tide of popular belief has shifted. I feel like you are belittling my faith and my integrity. It is so, so hard for me to hear you when I feel like this.
Meanwhile, I live on earth, where the fact that homosexuality is a sin is hurting a lot of people. I want to have conversations about how Jesus would have interacted with homosexuals. I want to have conversations about how Jesus would have talked about homosexuality. I want to do what’s right.