Throughout his speech the Pope threw out various (and classical) intellectual jargon surrounding the topic of homosexuality—“language of creation”, “metaphysics speaking of the nature of the human person” and “gender theory.” All in all he ultimately stated how same-sex behaviors go against the Creator’s intent. I understand the Pope is an intelligent man; otherwise he wouldn’t have been voted to lead the hundreds of millions of people who are a part of the Catholic faith all over the world. Yet his language regarding homosexuality seems to be stuck in a place from decades ago. It seems as though the Pope has not given any thought to, or struggled with, a further understanding of what it means (and how it looks) to draw gay and lesbian people to Christ—through a faith that encompasses a true come-as-you-are culture.
His, and many other Christian’s (Catholic or otherwise) mindset is for the GLBT community to be fixed when they enter the door…or fixed before they enter the door…or fixed on the Christian’s timetable…or conditionally accepted as a child of God only when certain things occur. There is a clear distinction between validation and affirmation, and yet many Christians (seemingly what includes the Pope as well in this scenario) do not see these two constructs as independent of the other.
No no no my friends. Although the Pope was attempting to make the point that sexuality is a creation issue and not a political or philosophical issue, his tact, again, is not up to par coming from a man who is suppose to set the forerunning tone as an example for all other Catholics—and Christians in general.
As a great friend brought up, the Apostle Paul reminds us that the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. And with that in mind, what is the Pope doing other than talking—and ticking off A LOT of GLBT people around the world? What is he winning for Christ with gays and lesbians by just talking? What is the Pope doing to build a peaceful and productive bridge by tangibly reaching out to gays and lesbians to show them what and who Christ is—not just standing from a podium telling folks what Christ wants them to do. And if this is the example the Catholic leader sends, how can he (or we, or the gay community) expect any Christian to do otherwise? We (and the gay community) can’t.
Although I do not have a same-sex attraction, I have looked at myself as a part of the GLBT community for the past 9 years as I have been unconditionally loved and welcomed with open arms to live life with all of the people who do—regardless of my, or their, difference in theology with one another. Even I am offended by the Pope’s heavily tread argument. I actually don’t know if I can call it an “argument.” How about this: instead I’ll say that, “even I am offended by his classic use of overly debated, traditional language and theories surrounding GLBT and religious issues that have already proven themselves to not build a bridge, nor draw gays and lesbians closer to God.” It’s as if both sides are still convinced that eventually they’ll systemically convince the other that their belief is right. How long must this false ideal persist?
I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. I know many gays and lesbians and people with a same-sex attraction that believe the same. I also know many on both sides who don’t think that’s a valid statement as interpretational issues have tainted the original intent of Scripture. Yet there is a way to make room for uncomfortable conversations and places in which people have differing theological belief systems—and yet something significant can still happen for the Kingdom—together. We all don’t have to agree on every doctrinal issue, but the least any of us can do is to willfully reach across the divide and welcome another into knowing what it means to really know Jesus. Does the Pope believe that? Does the Pope want to reach across the divide and listen, learn, not judge, not condemn but rather measurably love the GLBT community without knowing the end result? I don’t know. From his words and his lack of actions I am leaning towards an answer of “no.” But maybe I’ll be proven wrong? I hope I’ll be proven wrong! As I always say, we all have until our last breathe to accomplish what the Lord has set out for our lives—and that includes the Pope as well.
I’m not asking the Pope to change his beliefs to something he’ll never believe in, I’m just asking him to consider what it means to productively, peacefully, boldly and intentionally build a bridge to the GLBT community.
The wholistic message of the Bible is how believers are to live in relation to, and relationship with the world and all that make it up—not to save humanity from anything except by tangibly ushering humanity to the Eternal King and Judge to let Him do as He said He would—bring love and redemption to those that seek Him out. As a Christian community, I plead that each of you reading this would go out of your way today (especially in this Christmas season) to call, email or talk to someone you know in the GLBT community and tell them, as a believer in Christ, that you love them with all that you are and long to see them know Jesus—no strings or conditions attached.