Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mel White on Being a Gay Christian

Father Greg Jones of Anglican Centrist has several very good posts on what leading theologians have had to say about same sex relationships. They are all worth a read, but I was particularly touched by the comments of Mel White:

Mel White is a very interesting man. I first learned about him by reading the great Philip Yancey book, What's So Amazing About Grace? Yancey's books are all good, and I would call him an Anglican Centrist -- if only he were an Anglican. But that's o.k. A.C.'s are very ecumenical. Mel White was a prominent evangelical for many years -- ghost writing books for Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. He came out after years of trying to change his identity. He took a great deal of abuse for it from his brothers and sisters in the evangelical movement of which he had long been a part. Anyway, Mel writes a lengthy piece explaining his love for Scripture, and how he understands and interprets it in light of his identity as a gay Christian. To read it all go here. It's a challenging piece, but I encourage all to read it. Here's an excerpt:

Many good people build their case against homosexuality almost entirely on the Bible. These folks value Scripture, and are serious about seeking its guidance in their lives. Unfortunately, many of them have never really studied what the Bible does and doesn't say about homosexuality.

We gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians take the Bible seriously, too. Personally, I've spent more than 50 years reading, studying, memorizing, preaching, and teaching from the sacred texts. I earned my master's and doctoral degrees at a conservative biblical seminary to better equip myself to "rightly divide the word of truth." I learned Hebrew and Greek to gain a better understanding of the original words of the biblical texts. I studied the lives and times of the biblical authors to help me know what they were saying in their day so I could better apply it to my own.

. . .

For our discussion, this is the most controversial biblical passage of them all. In Romans 1:26-27 the apostle Paul describes non-Jewish women who exchange "natural use for unnatural" and non-Jewish men who "leave the natural use of women, working shame with each other."

This verse appears to be clear: Paul sees women having sex with women and men having sex with men, and he condemns that practice. But let's go back 2,000 years and try to understand why.

Paul is writing this letter to Rome after his missionary tour of the Mediterranean. On his journey Paul had seen great temples built to honor Aphrodite, Diana, and other fertility gods and goddesses of sex and passion instead of the one true God the apostle honors. Apparently, these priests and priestesses engaged in some odd sexual behaviors -- including castrating themselves, carrying on drunken sexual orgies, and even having sex with young temple prostitutes (male and female) -- all to honor the gods of sex and pleasure.

The Bible is clear that sexuality is a gift from God. Our Creator celebrates our passion. But the Bible is also clear that when passion gets control of our lives, we're in deep trouble.

When we live for pleasure, when we forget that we are God's children and that God has great dreams for our lives, we may end up serving the false gods of sex and passion, just as they did in Paul's time. In our obsession with pleasure, we may even walk away from the God who created us -- and in the process we may cause God to abandon all the great dreams God has for our lives.

Did these priests and priestesses get into these behaviors because they were lesbian or gay? I don't think so. Did God abandon them because they were practicing homosexuals? No. Read the text again

Read it all here.


Rick Brentlinger said...

Thank you for the quote from Mel White. I appreciate such a sane, sensible, scriptural viewpoint.

Rick Brentlinger

Anonymous said...

Sane and sensible, perhaps, Rick--but by no means spiritual. Homosexuals will until the end attempt to justify their sexual behavior as a lifestyle condoned within the Bible, and it won't work. Heterosexuals can only pray for them, even as we vote to repeal increasing attempts to mainstream the deviancy. Nothing within OT or NT condones it, despite the bleatings of those who live it. At any rate, best to those suffering from the torment of it.