The recent religious freedom legislation has brought about a lot of discussion, some healthy and some not. At the same time it has caused me to evaluate a few things about myself and how I view the Church, specifically in relationship to gay rights.
First of all, I discovered my biggest issue with the conservative evangelical response to gay rights is that we as Christians take a posture of being “against” the lgbt community. It is a community of remarkable people, sometimes pained, often oppressed, and needing to be loved (much like many outside the lgbt community). Our position of being “against” them does nothing to speak the good news of redemption into their lives. It further alienates and oppresses them, and drives a wedge between them and Christ.
When I read the message of Christ, I don’t see a message of Jesus posturing himself against anyone other than maybe the religious community trying to keep people from God. He was a friend to sinners. He was a savior to the people. He went to them where they were and brought good news, redemption, and healing to their lives.
And in all of this realization, I discovered something else. In my frustration with this posturing against the lgbt community, I found myself posturing against the Church. The bride of Christ. Yes, a bride with faults and impurities, but still the bride. It is very easy when finding fault to draw a line and put “them” on the other side of that line. Whether “they” are your gay co-worker or “they” are the the Christian you work with who doesn’t view the lgbt issue the same as you. Either way the posture of Christ is one of compassion, healing, and redemption.
Certainly this isn’t something I’ve resolved in myself. It isn’t something I really even know how to do. But it is a truth that I am learning, and with grace and in time, learning how to walk in.