Andrew Marin has written a few posts on his blog that have been needed to be said for a long time. I applaud his efforts and welcome his conversational-posts to the table of this issue: turning fighting words into healing words.
Marin calls the Church and GLBT’s to embrace a new definition of each word, offering a chance to enter into a healing conversation instead of a screaming match. Let’s be honest, when both sides are fighting, no progress is made – just look at the health care debate storming around the country. The only place that things can start to change is on the grounds of understanding and (as Marin correctly states) love.
I know, in my own life, God has been changing my heart towards the gay community and those I disagree with. My heart is being formed into His heart, which is an exhausting and yet thrilling experience. My prayer is that the Church would also begin to have a change of heart – towards the GLBT community – one that is immersed in the truth and love of Jesus (and no one else). In the same light, I pray that the GLBT community can also see that not every Christian is against them, that God’s love does in fact reach out to them, and that His desire for them is that they come home to heart – a place we all need to come home too.
With that, here’s some new definations to fit into our vocab (my thoughts are in green):
- Tolerance – a freedom to unconditionally love while still holding on to your belief system. Church, love the gay community. Gay community, love the Church. God loves you both, and He doesn’t have favorites!
- Reconciliation – torn apart and ruined relationships through the Fall and through one another’s actions with each other, are all now redeemed in Christ; together, bonded in relationship with each other and God through Christ’s death on the cross. Ephesians 2 says that through the cross, God has torn down the walls of hostility man has with one another; in Christ we are all one – we all take on the identity of God, and not ourselves. Church, reconcile yourselves to the cross and your “enemies”. Gay community, reconcile yourselves to the cross and your “enemies”. Just as you have received forgiveness, so forgive one another.
- Affirming – validating one’s experiences that have led them to their current psychological, emotional, spiritual, and social states as legitimate to them. My experiences are my own. Some one else has theirs; and even if they are different than mine, that doesn’t mean they are any less real or relevant. We don’t have to agree with each other conclusions, but we all need to hear each others stories. Church, be slow to speak (judge) and quick to listen. Gay community, be slow to speak (judge) and quick to listen.
- Homophobic – a physically violent, bull-horn shouting, sign waving, slur propagating person against GLBT persons. As Marin says, a homophobic person is not a Christian who disagrees with a gay person. As stated above, we are all allowed to disagree with each others conclusions. In saying that, Church, please start standing up against the abuse and inhumane actions taken against those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-gender. No one deserves to live their life in constant fear. Put yourself in their shoes. God is not homophobic, so neither should His Church be. Gay community, please know that there are more Christians who are standing with you then who are standing against you. Not every Christian is a “Fred Phelps”.
No matter how you look at these new definitions, they fall in direct line with the message of Christ. Now, it’s up to you to do the same.