Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Framing the Conversation: How To Get Yourself Fired From An Ultra-Traditional SBC Church

I'd originally titled my first draft of this as "This Is The Post Your Mother Warned You About"... then I realized that I would write with more clarity & grace if I broke that monster into smaller bite-sized pieces. Mind you, this is not my author-ish equivalent of cutting up your steak for you. This is the author-ish equivalent of me deciding I didn't want to try and stuff a 10 oz porterhouse in my mouth all at one time.

And now that we're all longing for some A-1 and a baked potato, here's the first in a series of posts to discuss same-sex marriage I'm calling "Framing the Conversation." I don't intend them to be the Last Word on the subject - but I do hope they will help direct the dialogue into some new territory.

I've actually been fired from a ministry position. OK, that's not the way the Personnel Committee phrased it - they favored the weenie dodge of "we're eliminating your youth minister position in three months for financial reasons" which had the equivalent effect. Either way, I don't have a job & you guys just spent the last 45 minutes telling me about all the mistakes I've been making as youth minister while my senior pastor sits there like a bump on a log. (Table ready for Bitter, party of one... we can seat you right now.)

One of those "mistakes" (if you want to hear more of the story, you can check out
How The Heck Did I End Up Here?) was some teaching I'd done about sexual sin. I'd explained to the youth that adultery (a husband or wife engaging in a sexual relationship outside their marriage) and homosexuality (a man or woman engaging in a sexual relationship with someone of their own sex) were both sins - and that one wasn't more or less sinful than the other. BTW, the "mistake" wasn't the content what I taught - it was that the teaching itself cut a little too close to the bone for one of the committee members.

But that teaching is at the heart of anything else that I write about same sex attraction & marriage. I really do believe that:
  • pornography
  • heterosexual sex between two unmarried people (fornication)
  • prostitution
  • heterosexual sex between a married person & someone who is not their spouse (adultery)
  • polygamy
  • group sex
  • homosexual sex
...are all sexual sin of equivalent weight, regardless of the orientation and/or inclinations of the person(s) involved. They may have different consequences in a temporal sense - what effect they have during our lives on this earth - but they all have the same spiritual consequence. A quick example to clarify: someone who downloads pornographic pictures is less likely - at least at the early stages of the behavior - to have less emotional & physical health consequences than a prostitute. But both the streetwalker & the upstanding businessman with a hard drive full of downloaded videos are in the same boat spiritually - they've sinned.

Sin, btw, is not simply "doing bad stuff" or "doing stuff Mark doesn't like" or "doing stuff that is distasteful to someone/thing who has set themselves up as a moral authority." Man, I wish it was that easy - we could just change authority figures & get a new set of rules to live by.

According to Ephesians 2:1, you were "dead in your trespasses & sins." The two Greek words are paraptoma (trespasses) and hamartia (sins). The definition of paraptoma means "to go off the path, to wander," while hamartia means to "miss the mark or target." The implication is that sin is failing to be the people we were designed to be - people of purity & honor & integrity.

I'll get into this in more detail in another post, but God created man & woman and the marriage relationship not only for our pleasure & for procreation, but also to act as a picture of His love for us... and same-sex marriage warps that picture just as surely as adultery does. We've missed the mark... we are, as the old hymn writer put it, "prone to wander."

This means that we have to approach the conversation in a different way - this is NOT about "homosexuality vs heterosexuality." It is about marriage between a man & a woman vs a plethora of lesser & more destructive options - one of those being same-sex marriage.

1 comment:

Coldfoot said...