Yesterday I gave my responses to a media outlet’s questions (four of eight). Today, I’ll give my response to the other half of their questions.
It’s been a great on-going conversation for the first responses that I look forward to continuing, so let me know what you think about these as well:
Q5. Do you believe a person’s sexual orientation has anything to do with their faith? Do you think the way individuals form their opinions, values and beliefs is any different for a heterosexual vs. a homosexual? What factors come into play when we think about the basis of one’s faith and how that is formed/developed?
A: When someone has a same-sex attraction, whether they act on it or not, in one way or the other are automatically cast as deviant to conservative Christianity, and therefore conservative theology. Since my involvement over the years has continued to show me that statement is true, there is no way for GLBT people to have the same experience, teachings or community that heterosexual people inherently receive the right to have. Due to the system that is in place, the current outcome will keep perpetuating itself.
Q6. According to the Barna Group study, 72 percent of straight adults and 60 percent of gay adults describe their faith as “very important”. Based on the study, what do these numbers say to you?
A: I don’t care what people say is important, I care how people live out what is important to them. If those statements were true there wouldn’t be a culture war today. Proverbs 16:7 says, “when a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.” Are we living at peace with the GLBT community? No. Are they living at peace with us? No. Therefore no matter what is communicated, both of us have a long way to go to even consider a statement that our faith is “very important.”
Q7. There were substantial differences in some core religious beliefs, too. Heterosexuals were twice as likely as homosexuals to strongly agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; two-thirds of heterosexuals believe the single, most important purpose in life is to love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul, significantly higher than the half of all homosexuals who embrace the idea; and about half of straight adults and one-third of gay adults contend that their life has been greatly transformed by their faith. – What does this say/how do you translate it?
A: The whole culture war stems from a difference in theological belief systems. This data just puts numbers to an already well documented difference. The one thing I find disturbing is how we all have to single out a “most important”—is the rest of the Bible and its other overarching eternal principles not asimportant? My belief is that comparing social and religious acculturation off of a pre-planned option of “most important” roots the culture war even further into their various camps. It’s too easy to look from the outside and point to differences instead of living in the tension of what it is to end these differences together.
Q8. What are some of the trends/things happening in society relating to homosexuality?
A. I have hope in answering this question because I have seen two very clear trends as I speak and teach around the country—one trend from within the GLBT community and one trend from within conservative Christians. From the GLBT community: They are tired of feeling the pressure from their own GLBT hierarchy to conform to the social and religious norms that are “expected of them.” So they are pushing back and pockets around the country are trying to live out this new journey in relationship with each other, and also in relationship with many people who are considered their opposition. From the conservative world: The one thing that I hear more than anything else is, “I feel like the Lord is pulling me in a direction to be with the GLBT community, but I’m scared and don’t know what to do.” I have a little slogan that says, Right from the Gate you Can’t Relate. Understanding that you don’t understanding is how bridge building occurs and true Kingdom reconciliation happens. And it is happening.