A few days ago, Annie "Amba" Gottlieb, prompted by comments on a post she wrote about a gay Christian marriage ceremony, issued a challenge to me via email. I accepted and ended up having in interesting exchange with her about gay Christians and homosexuality in general. At her suggestion, we've decided to make our conversation public in its entirety (The only bits that have been cut out were irrelevant to the topic at hand.). I couldn't have written a better introduction than hers, so here are some highlights.
"[T]he stark irreconcilability of the two world views contending, is not new….What is new – and an emergent characteristic of the blogosphere at its best — is that, beginning in the Comments, passionate, open disagreement does not descend into a flame war. We can reject and even despise each other’s world views, yet we’re still talking, with respect – even with friendship. And this is a principle we hold almost as strongly as our convictions about religion, homosexuality, and marriage."
Without further ado, let the conversation begin.
Before we turn one another away, do we have the faith and fortitude to see more deeply?
Funky my friend — do you have the faith and fortitude to read [this blog post] all the way through?
I'm curious to know why you believe either of those virtues is necessary for reading that piece. I'd think patience would be a more likely virtue.
I wouldn't expect it to persuade you, but I wonder if you'll even hear it out.
Do I really seem to be that obstinate and arrogant that I'd be unwilling to hear a reasonable argument out? One my oft-stated goals of blogging is to get people to stop talking past each other and really listen to what each other has to say. I don't like echo chambers and I long for constructive dialog. If the way I present my beliefs gives the impression that I am not open to fruitful discussion, then I am failing in living up to my blogging ethos as well as in my duties as a Christian.
Anyhow, no the piece did not persuade me. It was beautifully and eloquently written. It's also very nearly orthodox. It is only the matter of gay love that stands outside orthodox Christianity.
I found the piece pleasant to read, due to its skillful articulation, but ultimately anticlimactic. Much effort is made to summarize orthodox Christianity and briefly point out errors in liberal theology. However, the same care and attention were not put into the defense of gay love. I applaud the author's preference for celibacy or monogamy, but he made no effort to explain why the latter is as valid an option as the former. In fact, no argument was presented whatsoever to support the notion that homosexual activity should be tolerated within Christianity.
I am not persuaded because the author made no attempt at persuasion. The closest he gets is a bit of a pity party at the end in which the woes of gay Christians and their families are briefly mentioned. I have not advocated, nor would I ever advocate, inhumane treatment of gays. I agree with the author that homosexuality is a pastorally sensitive issue. I'll even go farther and say that more priests should teach their flocks that gays should be loved as any sinner should be loved. Nevertheless, there are countless examples of Christ loving the sinner but hating the sin, and homosexual activity is a sin. Indeed it is a grave sin. I do not believe anyone's soul is done any good by pretending it's not.
If the author has written or eventually writes a defense of gay love in the Christian context, let me know.
I don't know what kind of response you were aiming for, so I hope I responded appropriately.
P.S. Do you really believe we are in danger of turning each other away?