They’re a conservative Christian family. Church on Sundays, Bible reading every night. Born again. They’re looking for a church where their teen boys can fit in. But they’ve had a hard time finding a church that would accept them, one that isn’t a gay church, that is.
I was talking to my old college roommate. We’d been the best of friends, but hadn’t spoken in years. Somewhere between then and now she had decided (or discovered, depending on your point of view) she was gay.
Her partner had grown up in a Christian home. “Now I’m born again, too!” she said. I had witnessed to her in college, brought her to Bible study. She expected me to be happy for her. And I was. Or wanted to be.
The truth is, I was struggling. Can you be born again and gay?
Getting past the issue of whether homosexuality is or isn’t a sin for a moment, let’s just assume it is. Can you be born again and cheat on your taxes or cheat on your wife? Can you be born again and a habitual liar? A drug addict or alcoholic?
Can you be born again and have a blind spot to a particular sin? Or born again and sin on purpose? How egregious does it have to be, to tip the scales? Which sin disqualifies you from being born again?
And what does it say about the church that gay people feel unwanted?
But what about holiness? God is a holy God. He can’t tolerate sin, so why should we? Sometimes we forget that it’s our righteousness, not just our sinfulness, that is like a filthy rag. The best of our holiness stinks. Nothing but the pure righteousness of Christ passes muster. Can any of us step up to the plate, enter the holy of holies, without being covered by the blood?
If Jesus, in his sinless perfection, refrained from passing judgment, who are we to point our fingers? When did condemnation ever save anyone or bring light into darkness? This is not the way we were set free.
I don’t know if you can be a true follower of Christ and gay. But then I don’t know if you can be a true follower of Christ and not love others, either.
My old roommate is easy to like, love even. She was sweet and big hearted before she was gay, and as far as I can tell, that hasn’t changed.
As she talked about having some time away from the kids to be with her partner, I could relate. And I couldn’t. Because her partner was another woman. But I don’t know how to show her love without acceptance of who she is right now.
So I pretend she’s just the same as I am. And that’s probably more true than I realize.