Who is a Christian?
These are the people Jesus invites to be Christians
Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden.
If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
A Christian is anyone who loves Jesus, and comes to him, seeking to follow him.
Who gets to decide if people are indeed Christians?
The individual herself, and Jesus Christ.
What about gay Christians?
Well, for almost all my Christian life, I’ve thought the term gay Christian was an oxymoron.
Why? Because of Romans 1: 26-32 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
How do I read the passage? Straight, I am afraid. Seven year of university study of English literature and writing, and I can’t see any other way to honestly read this passage.
Kierkegaard said ‘When you read God’s word, you must constantly be saying to yourself “it is talking to me and about me”’
The word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.When I read it today, it convicts me of finding solace and comfort in food and work rather than in God alone. It does not speak to me about a desire to sleep with women, because, you see, I have none.
The Bible is a purifying sword to excise our own cancers and gangrene.
It is not to be used as a sword to pierce someone else’s heart.
That is the job of the Holy Spirit, who will lead all of us who seek him, into all truth. We will just have to allow the Spirit to speak through Romans to those he wishes, and in the way he wishes.
If a gay Christian sees a way to be both gay and a Christian, then that is between them and Christ. And the Holy Spirit.
So should Gay Civil Partnerships be blessed in Churches?
Probably not by clergy who are adamantly opposed to homosexuality, no. That would be asking them to act against their consciences, and would be wrong.
But not all clergy are opposed to civil partnerships.
Besides, an individual cannot bestow blessing or curses on another.
God alone can.
When we bless a marriage, or civil partnership, all we are doing is asking God to bless the individuals involved, in whatever way he chooses.
That is after all his very nature. He is a God of love, a waterfall of love, a river of deep love, in which we are all out of our depths. It is God’s nature and desire to bless, and when we ask him to bless individuals, we are asking him to do something in line with his very nature.
If two men or two women come to church, asking for blessing, surely we can find a way to ask God to bless them, which does not violate our own consciences.
Partly, for our own sakes–to prevent the canker of pride, and judgementalism and cruelty from devouring our hearts–we have to stop placing a burden of judgment and shame on gay people which the rest of us would find impossible to bear. We just have to allow people to make the call as to whether they are Christians or not. And ask God to bless those who want his blessing.
According to Jesus, blessing should not be withheld from anyone. We are to love, do good, bless and pray for even our enemies, even the worst people we know (Luke 6:27). Leave alone those who come to church, asking us to ask God to bless them.
Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus. Teach us to think as you do.
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So how did a good evangelical girl come to write this post?
A process. Read here how I had my mind and experience broadened.
Well, I am giving a 50th birthday party this week, which involved some jitters, and looking critically around me, and seizing the opportunity to do some redecorating.
As I wrote, I bought a beautiful Edwardian solid Cherry Mahogany dining table and chairs.
In the thrill of buying this beautiful antique furniture at a good price, I quite overlook logistics. It’s in Suffolk. Google says that’s five and a half hours away.
11 hours round-trip. I’d be exhausted in an hour’s driving. I’d be nervous if Roy drove for 11 hours in an unfamiliar van.
Hearing me anguish, our sweet Polish cleaner, who works for us a couple of days or so a week, offered to go and fetch it for us. He suggests £100, and petrol, and we gratefully agree.
And then, we overhear him talk on the phone to his English partner. He volunteered because Anita was so worried, but he’s nervous; what if the furniture gets scratched, what if his Polish driving habits take over?
The upshot is that Peter drives him all the way and Suffolk and back. These two very smiley, cheerful gay people arrive on our doorstep early next morning with a breathtakingly beautiful table and chairs—without a single scratch.
I had to laugh. It was so much like Roy and I. My heart is bigger and my tongue quicker than my practical abilities. I am always offering to help people—to take a meal around, to have them over if they are going through a hard time, help with information, contacts…—but the person who actually does the cooking or digs out the information turns out to be Roy, since I’ve generally bitten off far more than I can chew.
And I saw the same love between Peter and Lech, in Peter driving 11 hours with Lech to help him earn £100 and get me my table.
And if Pete and Lech, two sweet, smiley, superlatively kind, helpful men want God to bless them, who am I, and who are you, to refuse to welcome them to the Lord’s Table, and to request that the Lord blesses them?