Sunday, April 5, 2009

Is Gay OK?

"I take as my guide the hope of a saint: in crucial things, unity; in important things, diversity; in all things, generosity."
President George Bush Sr.

Are some sins worse than others? Should we separate ourselves from sinful people? Jesus didn't and I don't think that's what we're supposed to do either. For the purposes of this post I'm not going to get into a lot of theology. Let's just say that I've studied the Bible, love God and have come to my own conclusions based on those two critical factors.

As people with conservative values, or as Christians, should we run or hide when a gay person enters our social strata? Should we be polite but superficial, ending the relationship before it begins?

In my estimation that's ridiculous. Have you ever had a friend who's having sex outside of marriage? Have you ever had friends who lived together before they were married? These are (according to the Bible) sexual sins. More than likely, you didn't terminate your friendship over your friends' choices. If you did, you can stop reading now because you won't agree with the remainder of this post.

In my relationships (built on trust and time together) I have earned the right to speak my opinion. In the spirit of candor and full disclosure, I let my friends know what my religious and political beliefs are from early in our affiliation. They know where I stand and have less chance of saying something that might hurt my feelings or offend me. This goes both ways; I want to know when to keep my mouth shut or when I can expect commiseration. My friends know when I think they are making choices contrary to God's best for them but that I love them any way.

Casual acquaintances may not know how I feel. I haven't earned the right to offer my opinion and certainly don't have a right to judge.That's why it's important to use a bit more discretion when choosing topics with those we don't know well.

I'm an old-school girl, living in suburbia. In terms of TV characters I'd say if you mix "Susan" and "Brea" from Desperate Housewives (much less OCD and anal) along with "Claire Huxtable" (Cosby Show), throw in a bit of "Audrey" (Rules of Engagement) and you'd have a fair representation of me. I'm still a bit uncertain about what to say or do when a gay person enters my world. I'm used to asking about people's marriages, kids, church, jobs and vacations. Guess I can stick to the latter two but that's a bit evasive and shallow. I'm learning.

I want to be known for living out standards that reflect the faith I claim. It's fine to have opinions on what defines sin. In fact, it's important to have moral absolutes as guidelines in our lives but the over-riding objective and sentiment should be kindness and sincerity. Gay, straight or otherwise (?) I hope those that cross my path will believe that I want to get to know them and care about them, not judge and change them. (not in my job description!)

Agree? Disagree? Hit me with your best shot below.

Diane Markins

20 comments:

Erin Campbell said...

I SO AGREE! The only thing that separates the light and the darkness is LOVE; NOT right or wrong, good or bad, moral and immoral, lawful and unlawful, righteous or unrighteous, straight or gay... but simply LOVE. Jesus knew this and lived it everyday. Look who He chose as friends! People like you and me... Love is Christ and Christ is love. He was revolutionary! HIS love carries the strength and power to change the world, starting with a simple soul in need of that intimate belonging to God. He does the work of change, so we can relax. When I see YOU, Diane... I see Jesus Christ...LOVE! Thanks for what you do!

Diane Markins said...

Right back at ya Erin. Your radio ministry encourages so many because it's filled with true stories of hurting and imperfect people. It's filled with grace. It is fully representative of God's work and love.

Jason said...

I was just introduced to your blog this morning - and I hope to follow along with your future posts. There is an extreme lack of sensibility and tolerance in modern day politics and religion. Extremists dominate the conversation while the silent majority sit idly by and bemoan the state of the environment around them. If I comment in the future it is likely you will hear me refer to my "rule of red" - meaning if Christ did not speak to a particular subject (you know...the red stuff) I have a hard time investing much time worrying about it. While it may (arguably) be difficult to ascertain Christ's views on homosexuality based exclusively on what is recorded of His teachings in the New Testament, one thing is clear. Jesus would have spent much less time in our modern day churches than out in the public arena seeking out those society has discarded or chooses to ignore and discredit. Speaking specifically to this post - that would certainly be the gay population. I have no doubt Christ's group of modern day friends would include far more homosexuals than TV evangelists. Enjoyed your writing and God Bless.

Diane Markins said...

Welcome Jason! Boy do I agree about who Jesus would be hangin' with. It was hard for me to write this post because I had to admit how clumsy and awkward I sometimes feel with gay people. I want so much to relate and let them know that I desire friendship but am not very graceful about it.
I hope that humility and honesty is the first step to progress.
Thanks for sharing your perspective so clearly and for your kind words. I hope you'll comment again.
Diane

Rebel Taylor said...

Diane,

Thank you for the open discussion! Homosexuality is one of the most controversial topics - especially in the "Christian" realm.

I fully agree that we are first to LOVE one another! Jesus always openly confront ALL sin - sexual - greed - lying - stealing... but he ALWAYS did it in love.

I have had the opportunity to walk with friends (and even a couple of students) who are gay and it's a tough place for all of us. To balance love and understanding, and yet not compromise beliefs is difficult and I believe part of the reason many Christians just avoid or turn away from the issue entirely.

We must understand that even Jesus in His love for the person didn't 'tolerate or accept' the sin; and he didn't attack or beat them down either. He allowed the power of His love to transform their lives.

We often overlook that amazing power and forget that it is our second commandment after loving the Lord God with all our hearts. That love can change the world if we will learn to walk in it as Jesus did!

Blessings sister as you proclaim the truth in love!

shannon said...

I constantly play devils advocate with myself saying, “to each his own, as a Christian I should be more accepting, they aren’t hurting me, how would I feel if… etc…” but at the same time, I don’t agree with it… at least the marriage part of it, especially when they want to bring kids into their “union”. I don’t think the lifestyle choice should be perpetuated and by bringing children, adopted or otherwise, into this lifestyle I feel they are not only condoning the lifestyle but advocating it as well.

Also many business owners will feel they should not be forced to provide health insurance to gay couples. This lifestyle has been proven to put one at a higher risk for Aids, resulting in higher insurance premiums for the business owner further strengthening his argument. (For me, I would even extend this to smokers. I don’t think I should have to pay higher premiums for my employees who smoke)

I feel, as a business owner, we should have the right to hire whom ever we wish to hire. I don’t feel the government has any business telling me I have to have a certain ratio of employees based on race, religion, or sexual orientation. This IS still a free country, right? I am not saying I agree with this last statement, I think it would be foolish not to hire the most qualified person for the job. However, I still don’t think it is any of the government’s concern who a business owner hires.

Here is a thought for anyone reading this. Take your home for example, you built it, you paid for it, it’s yours- you own it. Should the government be telling you who will be allowed in your home? Hell no! It’s your house and you will allow whomever you wish into your house. Why is a business any different? It’s mine! I own it. I pay for it. I started it. There really is no difference. The common theme here is too much government meddling!!!! Get out of my business!

Mostly, I am all about protecting the sanctity of marriage. For me, it’s more about the government and less about the issue. As I said before, this is a free country, if they want to get married fine but in the interest of fairness and free country etc… the business owner should have the right to decide who how they would like to distribute their health benefits.

jeff said...

wow.
this is a tough issue. of course the bible condems sexual sin and we know that homosexuality is one of them. you're also right about jesus not running from people who were sinning. i think that what we have to be careful of is this:

in Acts 2:42 we see that the church was set up so that each believer could devote his life to some very core habits and that THOSE HABBITS would be an example to the non-believing people who encountered christians in day to day life. we find ourselves in compromising and undefendable situations when our CLOSEST friends are not believers. if they ARE believers and they're living this way then we rebuke them. the bible is clear about how to handle someone who's living in continual sin and still claims to know god.

when we encounter a non-believer or even make friends with them (which i 100% encourage) we need to make sure that the gospel has engulfed every singel inch of our entire life so that without even thinking of it we're leaving an impression upon whoever our non-believing friend is. they can make the choice about pursuing the friendship or letting it fade.

we have to keep in mind that jesus did not make it a habbit to pursue deep, lasting friendships with people who refused to repent.

Doug Carroll said...

I'm with Diane on this. She has nailed it. I'm a Christian, and frankly I am embarrassed by the judgmental attitudes of my brothers and sisters on this particular subject. Jesus' ministry was one of inclusion, not exclusion. Recommended reading: "Myth of a Christian Nation" by Greg Boyd. Makes a VERY strong case that Christians are tone deaf to the world around them and how to minister to it. How many are willing to "learn," as Diane says she is trying to do? Many are too busy talking and not doing NEARLY enough listening. Right on, Diane. I'm with ya on this one (and a lot of what you write).

Doug Carroll
veteran journalist
dcarroll721@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Good job!

Sin is sin. We aren't called to judge, we are called to Love God and Love our neighbors. (We aren't called to love the sin, just the person) ;-)

Happy Easter!

Yours in Christ,

Margie Winkelbauer

mhollomon said...

Diane- thanks for taking a risk and talking about something controversial.

Diane Markins said...

Yeah, but maybe next week I need to talk about kittens and bunnies and cotton candy! Only kidding. I'm so excited to have such diverse, intelligent and thought-filled comments. Keep it coming!

Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed said...

I believe - strongly I might add - that we say much more about our faith by how we live it out and interact with others than we ever do by "beating folks over the head with the Bible in an effort to "save" them.

There are moral absolutes & I buy them, including certain lifestyles. Since I have had professional experience with a number of differing lifestyles - I can speak to how I spoke to them then & how I would do so now. I say what my feeling is about the lifestyle (which is not the person in the lifestyle) so that the other knows where I stand. If they can accept that & we "click" in other ways (similar interests, etc) - then a relationship is possible.

At this point in life - for me as a committed Christian - I look to Jesus. If he did it - then I try to as well. If he didn't - then I try not to as well. That's the bottom line for me And I didn't see him "beating" anyone over the head. Besides we have the wrong understanding of the word "sin", but this is not the place to go into that. . . just know it's so!

And I seem to recall a certain passage in the world's most famous book that says the following: "and the greatest of these is love!"

Anonymous said...

I too am ready for bunnies (chocolate please!) and cotton and a bit of fluff Diane! I do hope you meet, talk with, and get to know a few more gay people. You will probably find that they are like everyone else in your world...all of the idolaters, murderers, those that do not honor the Sabbath...or their parents, do not love their neighbors, and on and on. Just sinners living in a fallen world.

Pat Williams

Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed said...

Been thinking about this post most of the day. Some years ago, when in private practice, a young man was referred by his pastor. He was in a traditional marriage, but engaged in a homosexual relationship at work. He had 2 questions: 1) did God still love him, and 2) would his decision that he's "gay" damage his relationship with God. The questions weren't difficult to answer. Here's how I answered them: 1) of course God still loved him & unconditionally because that's Who PAPA is; and 2) yes, his decision to live out a homosexual relationship (while married, divorced or otherwise) would create a disconnect in his relationship with PAPA.

I went on to say that the disconnect would occur because of the decision the young man made - not because PAPA wanted it that way. And then all the theological exegesis that goes with that, etc.

I thought that would be the extent of my contact with this young man. But he chose to come back several more times & we discerned a number of reasons for what had occurred in his life at that time.

At the close of our last session, he said "you don't approve, to you?" I responded that I didn't; how I felt about the promises he had made in marriage, etc. But I told him it was the lifestyle choice he had made that was against my deeply held value system - not his person hood.

We shook hands, he asked for a hug (which I rarely offered to males who came for intervention) and went his way. A number of years later, I saw him working in a restaurant. He didn't recognize me & that was fine. I wondered what final decision he had made.

I tell this because it's an example to me of how DAD worked in me at that point. My normal 'natural' inclination would have been to stiffen & read him the 'riot' act - but that is not what happened. I think we remain open to the Spirit to give us the words & behavior He desires - we handle 'sticky-wicket' situations like this in the same manner as the Lord.

Erin Campbell said...

I had a lunch interview with a gay woman, saved and transformed by Jesus Christ, and is living a God-centered life with Christ now...

When I asked her:
"Did you believe you were born that way"

Her response was:
"I may have said I was born that way, but I now know I was NOT CREATED that way!"

Ahh, Diane...there by the grace of God, go I.

Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed said...

A friend of mine has been reading much of the latest research on things that happen to infants prior to birth. She began the research because we were discussing the "testosterone wash". The new research suggests there may be some physiological basis for sexual preference. It's fascinating stuff. I'm still not sure that it isn't "learned behavior" - it was in the case of the young man I counseled.

On an entirely different note than that - I think the question comes down to whether we would sit at table with an actively homosexual person who had not given up the lifestyle for any reason. Much as Jesus did when he visited and ate with members of the Sanhedrin?

I've learned over the years that when we are comfortable with who we are and secure in our faith - we can sit at table with almost everyone.

I think that may be the question He asks us when we arrive to sit at table with Him in eternity.

Anita Griggs said...

First, I love the President Bush Sr. quote that opens this extraordinarily provocative post.

The simple response is, yes, I agree. On the spiritual level, we are to love homosexual people, just as we love heterosexual people. As believers, it is not our place to condemn or condone another's behavior, but to live as an example, providing gentle guidance and love for those that have not yet found their way.....another way of saying actions speak louder than words.

First and foremost, we must simply remember that they are people. Discrimination against them in everyday life is no different than discrimination against people of a different religion, race, sex, or economic status. Does that mean that we have to approve of their lifestyle when we know what the Bible says? No, we don't have to approve of the lifestyle, but we do have to love and accept the person.

This acceptance requires the ability to separate the person from the lifestyle. To be honest, from the many things I have read lately, I'm not certain that the condition is even the choice of the person (there are several studies that are beginning to show the condition may be a result of biological issues); however, the lifestyle is absolutely a choice (the decision to act on the desire). This separation is not easy for some to do, but once one can accomplish the separation, one will find that homosexuals are no different than anyone else. They are often highly intelligent, creative, talented, capable people that can be a blessing to know.

At the end of the day, the conversations to be had with homosexual people don't have to be superficial, even when you don't agree with their lifestyle choice. Ultimately you can discuss almost anything with them that you do your heterosexual friends....work, the arts, current events, books you're reading, travel, hobbies, the weather, even family (they have parents and siblings, too) etc. After all, you don't typically walk up to your friends and randomly begin discussing their bedroom behavior, so why would anyone feel they have to do that with homosexuals? The key is looking at the individual as a person, not a poster child.

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! this is a tough one, I believe that everyone of these responses has truth in them. BUT, there is a side that only one has aluded to and that is the lie of Satan that has messed most peoples minds up with and that is homosexuals and lesbians are being born that way. When God created us male and female after His own image and said "it is good", that tells me that Satan has deluded a great many people. What that lie does is dam them without a way out.

In some cases I believe that it is also an excuse to do what they want and lets face it when we are sinning we will rationalize what we are doing in any way we can so that we can continue to do it without guilt and complete freedom. God never created an abomination and He says in Romans chapter 1 that amoung other sins that homosexualality is a abomination. When I see in these so called gay pride parades women caring signs that read "10% is not enough, RECRUIT, RECRUIT, RECRUIT!!!", that tells me that there is a very deliberate stand and active action being taken.

It breaks my heart to know that not just them but so many others are swallowing the lie hook line and sinker. The other side of me is just plain sickened by what they do to satisfy themselves sexually. I shudder when I see two men kissing or two woman doing the same thing, I refuse to let myself think any farther on the subject. For me personally, and I know that I am the only one here that either feels this way or the only one here that has dared to be totally upfront and honest about it.

There are many reasons why people choose to go this way and I am aware of them and that is why it is so heartbreaking. I pray that somehow, someway that God will send someone to help them see the truth and that they will find themselves freed from this bondage.

winnieh5986 said...

The about comment went through as "Anomymous", that was not my intent. I clicked on the wrong thing, I have no trouble owning up to my beliefs.

Diane Markins said...

The comments on this post tell me that there is certainly room for another post on the topic in the future. I've tried to offer the forum without getting too far in the middle of it myself...or more importantly, too far to one side or the other. Thanks to all who took the time, thought and effort to share these wonderful insights.
*Note, I'd love the last commenter to email me privately so I can respond. Please! :)