Recently I addressed the topic of having a friend who is gay in one of our church gatherings. I spent several months researching and preparing for it, especially since it is the controversial topic many established and emerging theologians are wrestling with.
Today on Andrew Marin's blog, I read a conversation taking place regarding how different denominations are making policies on this matter. Below is a comment I made and wanted to share here as well.
To be sure that fly by comments don't take place, I've turned off the comment portion of this post. And if you're reading this on Facebook or another feeder, I'd ask that you not reply to where it appears. Rather, if you wish to connect and have a real conversation about it, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is simply not an emotional issue... it is a spiritual issue.
Jesus said to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. In the next breath - or perhaps the same - He said to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
So much of this issue and the "gay" topic is often through the emotional lens only... as if we are trying to reason out a theology based on loving God with our heart, and our heart alone.
Yet Jesus said love the Lord your God with all of your heart... and your soul, mind and strength.
To be fair, others argue the issue with their "heart" and "mind" as well - trying to understand the context of this culture and that culture, research genetics, and so on.
Yet Jesus said love the Lord your God with all of your mind... and your heart, soul, and strength.
Then there are the "strength" theologians - if they are theologians. The louder they can make their argument, the better... they think.
Yet Jesus said love the Lord your God with all of your strength... and your heart, soul, and mind.
What about the soul, though? Why does that often get the short end of the stick in this conversation?
Maybe because it's the part that is the most supernatural, and since we think we're talking about trying to understand if someone who identifies themselves as gay is making a "natural" or an "unnatural" distinction... we forget to factor in the supernatural.
The soul... that piece of us that occasionally has an Isaiah 6 moment where we stand before a Holy God and cry out, "WOE IS ME! I AM RUINED! FOR I AM A MAN OF UNCLEAN LIPS, AND I LIVE AMONG A PEOPLE OF UNCLEAN LIPS, AND MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE KING, THE LORD ALMIGHTY!"
You know those moments?
How often do we enter those moments *before* we have a conversation on this topic?
Perhaps the problem is we feel so deeply on one side or the other that we forget the heart isn't the only way we need to approach this topic.
Or we think so well and have so much study underneath our belt that we have become builders of our own Babel... I mean, babble.
Maybe we are so strong vocally and have enough James Brown-esque back-up singers behind us saying, "YEAH!" and "YEAH!" and "YEAH!" that we think we're right, whatever we're saying.
I am not saying approaching God through our soul is ever at the expense of those three, but I am saying the other three are never at the expense of standing before a holy God, feeling small, and attempting to understand something so awesome and amazing as who He is and who we are because of who He is.
Never... never... the other way around.
Yes, feelers... I know that you feel so strongly about it that "God must have put it in you." Don't miss the point.
Yes, thinkers... I know that some Greeks and the Jews viewed the "soul" through a certain lens that is different than we do today... don't miss the point.
Yes, strengtheners... I know that there are "righteous things" to fight for and fight about. Don't miss the point.
May we never, though, create theology of of only these three (or blindly accept what our denominations have decided without the willingness to have a "lover's quarrel" about it).
May we instead always seek to *discover* theology... on this matter and others... which is only possible when we allow the soul to engage as it is designed.
Because if we do... I get the sense "loving our neighbor as we love ourselves" will be the very next breath... or perhaps the same.