I repost this article, “Distorted Love: The Toll of Our Christian Theology on the LGBT Community,” here not to spark debate or even discussion (honestly, I’m way too exhausted to do my part effectively in a debate), but because this pastor’s message moved me deeply, and I really think that all of my religious brothers and sisters, regardless of what they think about LGBT and regardless of their theology, need to read this. Because this reminds us why we’re in our faith in the first place. It reminds us what’s important. And it delivers a very deep and needed conviction to those of us who believe we are called to be the active hands and feet of a living God. It reminds us that one of the most immediate issues of our time is not an “issue,” it’s not about politics, it’s about people. It is about individual, hurting, suffering, loving, beautiful people. The founder and perfecter of our faith taught that we are known by our fruit, by the outcomes of what we believe, feel, say, and do. This is not something we can ever afford to forget!
For clarity’s sake, and for full disclosure (because I know this is politically and emotionally charged for many), I will say that I do not believe that sexual orientation is a sin — nor have I seen any evidence that it is somehow a “choice,” as pundits tend to claim — nor do I think that is an accurate conclusion from what is taught in the New Testament. I think some religious people in our contemporary society do get very hung up about what they think of various sex acts and they forget that what is at stake is relationships. They forget that the theological and ethical position that is at most at issue is whether we truly believe — or not — that all people are made in the image of God. We also tend to forget that when Jesus loved the downtrodden or the disinherited or the outcasts, he didn’t go the Pharisees and the pundits and listen to their moral opinion about those people’s lives. No, he got up, walked to their homes, had dinner with them, spent time with them, loved them, and listened to them.
I have friends who are LGBT. I have dinner with them. I witness their loving, beautiful, committed relationships. I have friends who are straight. I have dinner with them. I witness their loving, beautiful, committed relationships.
But even if I *did* believe, as many religious people do, that so many of my brothers and sisters on this earth are “living in sin,” this article would still convict my heart. In fact, far more so. It would be even more important that I listen to what this man has to say.
This pastor has said things I’ve said before many times, but he has said these things with far greater compassion and wisdom than I can lay claim to. I share his post for reading and for reflection, not for debate — because this is not the kind of post for debating. It is something to let sit in the heart for a while.
If you are one of my religious friends or readers and you disagree with everything I’ve said here, I hope you will not unfollow or unfriend me for posting this, nor stop reading my books, nor stop reading my blog. I hope you will read the article with me. I hope you will sit with me a while as I pray.
(Earlier post: We Need Larger Hearts, Part I)
Stant Litore is a novelist. He writes about gladiators on tyrannosaurback, Old Testament prophets battling the hungry dead, geneticists growing biological starships, time-traveling hijabi bisexual defenders of humanity from the future. Explore his fiction here. And here is one of his toolkits for writers, and here’s another book where he nerds out about ancient languages and biblical (mis)translation. Enjoy!