When Jesus Is Gay

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Once upon a time, a little girl learned about Jesus. He had a beard, just like her father, and the bluest of eyes. The Bible told her that he was a warm man – the kind who never met a stranger.

But the sermon always took a Southern Baptist turn for the worse when homosexuality was mentioned. What happens to those who are intimate with the same sex?

Hell.

From the moment our eyes met, I felt exposed.

“I love your hair!”

Oh no. He’s gay. I’m a Christian. Somehow he’s going to find out what I was taught in church as a child. Keep it together, Lauren, you’re an adult now.

Somehow “thank you” escaped my lips. I smiled and allowed myself a nervous chuckle. My interview commenced soon after.

I got the job.

Flash forward to six months later. It is 2 a.m., and I am, quite literally, praying to God. My right arm is trapped beneath my son. He is snoring the peaceful sleep of a febrile child, which, of course, guarantees another sleepless night for Mom.

In six hours, an important three-hour meeting for work will begin. I will arrive on time, but to the wrong building. I will panic and unsuccessfully fight tears. More than 15 minutes tardy, I will walk into a small conference room with my head down in shame.

But a familiar face will greet me with fresh baked homemade cookies. Oatmeal chocolate chip, my favorite. He will express his genuine concern for my well-being, and – in that moment of pure grace – he will begin to rewrite everything I ever learned about homosexuality in church.

I think all believers envision a transformative moment in their lives where the love of Christ reaches them in a time of desperate need, but what happens when the “Jesus with skin on” is gay?

I think we Christians get wrapped up in the details of others’ lives too much. After all, we can’t legislate morality no matter how hard we try. And, if we’re honest, none of us deserve the mercy that God lovingly offers.

But we are granted countless opportunities to forge relationships in this world with those who challenge us – to be vulnerable, to find common ground, and to trust that just maybe God knows what He’s doing.

And this weekend, after nearly three and a half years, my boss and I discussed faith for the very first time.

One Year Ago: The Hard Truth about Clothing Diapering

7 thoughts on “When Jesus Is Gay

  1. You cover a lot of interesting ground. Allow me to share my thoughts.

    First, I think that the doctrine of man’s depravity before God is almost always misunderstood. It doesn’t mean that the lost have no redeeming qualities. That the lost can’t exhibit positive moral characteristics.

    And the reverse corollary is also true – Christians still sin. We need to avoid looking at one another through unnecessarily restrictive lenses.

    Second, I think it’s important to stipulate that legislating cultural morality is what you’re talking about, and even there, I think you can, but there’s a line you have to draw. When we infringe on the rights of others, that’s a moral failure and we regularly legislate that. But where there isn’t an infringement of another’s rights, I think we should allow freedom. Within the church is another matter. The Bible is fairly clear on dealing with sin within the body.

    Third, I think the temptation to overlook homosexuality as sin is powerful today, and those who would re-frame the biblical narrative to mean something other than a loving, monogamous same-sex relationship are walking down a very dangerous road. What are your thoughts?

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    1. Thank you for sharing and for doing so respectfully. I guess the inspiration behind my post is that the Church of my childhood (both the primary place where I attended and the various others I visited) did not prepare me for relational communion with those whose lifestyles seem to challenge Biblical principles. Life isn’t this cut and dry division of “you’re going to Hell” or “you’re going to Heaven”. We don’t get to make those calls (praise God!), and I think that’s where things get messy. It’s easier to live in black and white absolutes, and I think this has been to the great detriment of the church. Personally, it’s taken three decades for me to understand that loving – in the selfless Jesus way – means asking questions, opening myself to debate, and leaving with a more informed perspective. Loving isn’t saying “Your life’s great! Don’t change a thing!” but encouraging another to grow better with you. You may disagree, but I do believe there is a place for all of us in the church – to come exactly as we are…so long as we are ready for the kind of change that only God can bring 🙂

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  2. Interesting article that cuts a fine line. I understand your narrative. How can we win souls if we constantly condemn them. I would think Prostitution or adultery are sins just as egregious as homosexuality yet never get as negative air play from Christian pundits. Jesus did stoop down to the level of the adulterous woman with compassion, but directed her to stop the lifestyle. I believe we must follow his lead.

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    1. Hi, Will. Agreed on several fronts. I think, yes, Jesus wants us to follow his example in meeting others where they are. I, too, wish Christians would stop placing greater emphasis on certain sinful behaviors. We don’t get to make those calls. I think we are called to love and believe that that same God who forgives our sins is big enough to handle the intimate details of others’ lives, and sometimes all we can do is plant the seed. It isn’t easy. It takes faith. But it frees us from our inclination to play “savior” when it’s not our place.

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