Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Open Topic Tuesday

You down wit' OTT?

Time's yours.

5 comments:

  1. Not the other anonJanuary 13, 2009 at 8:24 PM

    I’ve given plenty of room to allow others to post to the OTT, so I am assuming no one else is down ‘wit it. But you know me…

    Melodie asked why I care so much about same-sex marriage. On the phone last night, a friend of mine who agrees with me, asked basically the same thing: Why do you engage in this discussion with people who are so convinced (emotionally) that they are right to the point that no true dialogue can exist?

    Those are good questions, and I would like to answer them.

    As background, I want to say that this blog is probably the 5th discussion of this type that I’ve had -- some with friends, some anonymously, some with “amateur” yet solid believers and some with pastors and deep Biblical scholars, but all from afar.

    The reasons for having these discussions are personal to me.

    First, I think having my ideas challenged is important. I need to find the holes in my reasoning and make changes where necessary. And yes, I do consider my position to be malleable. I am very open to change, but not just any change, and that’s why these types of conversations have to be with Biblical thinkers; I don’t want to be swayed the wrong direction. All of these discussions that I’ve had are with people that I pretty much know have the same premise for their spiritual ideas: the true Gospel as found in the Bible.

    Secondly, I am gauging receptivity -- the receptivity of me, not my ideas. I have no idea how my family and the friends who are close to me in proximity would react to me if I were completely honest. This litmus test has had mixed results, but certainly leans toward the negative side. (I realize that the test isn’t completely fair here given my presumed anonymity.) I have to wonder how my ideas would be considered if people assumed I were straight rather than gay -or- “struggling with SSA” rather than gay. I know that once there is the admission of “gay” or even an inclusion of “gay,” a wall goes up. This very real resistance to ideas from a gay perspective gives me an indication of a resistance to me as an individual.

    Lastly, I’m looking for something constructive from those conservative Christian folk. I’m not sure if it’s me or the wall (or both), but conversations seem to devolve into an argument of sorts about who is right (Are homosexuals intrinsically narcissistic? Is taxation the only point of discrimination within rejecting same-sex marriage? Etc.) (I’ll admit that it’s an easy trap for me.) At the general level, which I haven’t necessarily broached here, is the wall, which I have experienced here, effectively stiff-arms gay people to the point where the church doesn’t provide the answer for them. I’ve had a couple people admit to me that the church “dropped the ball” in the past regarding part of its reaction to homosexuals, but never have they admitted that they themselves have been a part of it. Perhaps they weren’t part of it, but never have I had anyone step up and say that they will be the answer regardless. I realize that my proximity to the people with which I’ve had these conversations makes them being part of the answer for me nearly impossible, but sensing a positive attitude would go a long way.

    Here’s an interesting read, if you want to make a difference to homosexuals around you:

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/augustweb-only/8-30-22.0.html

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  2. First, I think having my ideas challenged is important.

    Always good

    Secondly, I am gauging receptivity -- the receptivity of me

    You are always welcome here and am glad for your input on all sorts of topics (though I must confess, I'm a bit bored with the gay marriage topic right now)

    Lastly, I’m looking for something constructive from those conservative Christian folk. [...] but conversations seem to devolve into an argument of sorts about who is right

    That's what every argument, on every topic boils down to - opposing opinions cannot both be right.

    I'm not sure what your are looking for that you would consider "constructive". Christians cannot condone behavior that the Bible claims is wrong.

    You, like every other person on the planet, are created in God's image. We all make many daily choices to either follow His word, or disobey. Each of us have different issues we struggle with - sexual or not. You are most certainly not alone in struggles with sin.

    However, the answer to our struggles should not be to rationalize the behavior or to seek out individuals who will do that for us. We need to seek out those who will help us overcome - but we cannot do that without first admitting that we are doing wrong.

    SSA isn't really any different than a married man being attracted to women other than his wife. The fact that it is there is evidence of our sin nature. The attraction in and of itself is not wrong, but when we indulge it through fantasy or actual physical adultery, we have given in to temptation and committed sin.

    Take it or leave it, but I didn't write the rules.

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  3. "I know that once there is the admission of “gay” or even an inclusion of “gay,” a wall goes up. This very real resistance to ideas from a gay perspective gives me an indication of a resistance to me as an individual."

    NTOA: If I recall correctly, you were asking Biblical interpretation questions and the right or wrongness of the gay lifestyle. While I understand that you may feel resistance to "ideas from a gay perspective" when it conflicts with what the Bible says, I fail to see how this translates into a resistance against you as a person.

    I personally am interested in all viewpoints and opening up the lines of communication. There is much to learn from others and their perspectives. I believe that to be the case for the other authors of this blog as well.

    Please do not feel as if anyone views you as anything other than we view ourselves: sinners who have been cursed with a sin nature. As John said, we all struggle with different issues. We all need to continually seek God's help as we deal with our personal struggles with sin, no matter what that sin is.

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  4. NtoA:
    Thank you for the link to the article. Much of what it suggested was quite practical. There are a few things that I would see differently than was suggested there, but I think the heart of the author was on target and I appreciate that.

    May I just let you know that my question to you about why you care so much about same-sex marriage was not to belittle the issue, but to ask you what is so important to you personally that you should want to defend it so intently. I would rather know where you are coming from really and begin from there. Maybe then our discussions can end up somewhere "constructive" as you said. Thank you for your comments above. They do shed new light on the issues.

    Here is what I have seen:
    On one hand, you say you are a Christian who believes homosexuality to be wrong.

    But on the other, you seem to be trying to justify homosexuality by fighting for its legality with incessancy.

    Perhaps that is not your intent. But we, or at least I, have been led to believe that it is because, before now, your points have been primarily related to legalities and personal experiences which justify the legal persuasions you hold. That is where the arguments (which I agree seem to have gone senselessly round and round) come in. I'd love to discuss this issue with you without the legalities distraction. I believe that God is more interested in our hearts concerning His truth than our positions on any mortal law. But because I am persuaded in my heart concerning this matter, I do hold to a particular persuasion concerning the legal issues too. And the fact that you hold a different legal persuasion has caused me to think perhaps you do not fully comprehend in your heart all the issues that God desires us to have about these things. After all, our hearts direct our practice.

    As John stated above, "That's what every argument, on every topic boils down to - opposing opinions cannot both be right."

    It is very sad to me that so many Christians are hesitant to be a godly testimony FOR Christ and not just AGAINST sin. That was one point in the article that burdened me. I have seen that all too often in ministry too. But that is typical of sinful people. You see, witnessing to the ungodly is so much WORK. And on top of that it is so emotionally draining. And it is completely contrary to our natural tendency to hang with like-minded people: the ones we are compatible with for friendships, while avoiding those we do not naturally understand or feel comfortable with. (You can relate to this tendency, perhaps. You have mentioned that you have trouble relating to OSA men but are more comfortable with and feel more accepted by SSA men.) Enter the gay/lesbian issue into the church and all of a sudden people let themselves feel justified in entirely avoiding the folks who struggle in these areas. "Bad communication corrupts good morals" they say. What a sad, sad state for Christians to be in.

    But that is a problem in Christendom that has been fought for centuries. I doubt that we are going to settle the issue now. So, instead, it is very important that, since we recognize the problem, we seek to avoid being a part of it. If you would like to discuss this and gain constructive criticism and exhortation, I think most of us would be thrilled to comment.

    But you will need to understand up front that, for me at least, I will never place more weight on a personal experience than on the truth. I will listen to your experiences and try to direct you to the Scriptural truths that best apply to them, but I cannot ever justify something I believe the Bible says to be wrong because of a situation that I cannot explain.

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  5. Not the other anonJanuary 19, 2009 at 2:50 AM

    My incessancy is not for homosexual rights, but for finding a consistent stance on the issue. Before I check the box in the voter’s booth, I need to have a solid basis for the reason for my vote.

    Three years ago, I wrote an article asking my Christian friends to tell me what I was missing. I wanted to know the mistake I was making because I couldn’t rationalize the standard Christian answer that I was hearing. The responses that I got back weren’t well-formed in my opinion. They boiled down to: oppose homosexuality at all levels because the Bible says it is wrong.

    I can respect that viewpoint, BUT can you respect mine that says: The Bible saying homosexuality is wrong is not sufficient for me to support legislation against it?

    For me, I can easily break the issue apart into two pieces – my personal beliefs and what I think everyone else must do regarding the issue. On the personal level, I think you and I would have similar ideas about the applicable rules, so there wouldn’t be much of a discussion. On the public side of things, we disagree. What I don’t understand about your position: I don’t understand which biblical rules to legislate and which to not legislate.

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