Whichever it is, I’m starting to get extraordinarily tired of all of these “open letters to the church” that are floating around. I’m even more tired of ironic twenty-somethings claiming to speak for their generation, which seems more than a little presumptuous on their part.
And to be perfectly honest, I’m exhausted. I fought the marriage equality battle and the gay ordination battle for almost a decade in the ELCA. I realize that the culture is barreling towards legalizing so-called gay marriage, despite the fact that there are millions who are raising their voices against it.
I also know that the Millennials (the generation behind my own) are far more swayed by emotion than by calm reason. Moreover, I also know that God has declared that His wrath
is being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Right now we are watching those three verses from Romans 1 play out in real-time. And it breaks my heart and leaves me with eyes full of tears.
The author of the open letter I linked to above has this to say:
I’m saying this: we cannot keep pitting the church against humanity, or progress. DON’T hear me saying that we can’t fight culture on anything. Lots of things in culture are absolutely contradictory to love and equality, and we should be battling those things. The way culture treats women, or pornography? Get AT that, church. I’ll be right there with you. But my generation, the generation that can smell bullshit, especially holy bullshit, from a mile away, will not stick around to see the church fight gay marriage against our better judgment. It’s my generation who is overwhelmingly supporting marriage equality, and Church, as a young person and as a theologian, it is not in your best interest to give them that ultimatum.
You see, the Millennials want to talk about love and equality and progress––but they don’t want to define those terms. The unregenerate cannot see that the Church isn’t pitting itself against humanity. The Church is pitting itself against the profanation of a God-ordained institution.
My whole life, I’ve been told again and again that Christianity is not conducive with homosexuality. It just doesn’t work out. I was forced to choose between the love I had for my gay friends and so-called biblical authority. I chose gay people, and I’m willing to wager I’m not the only one. I said, “If the Bible really says this about gay people, I’m not too keen on trusting what it says about God.” And I left my church. It has only been lately that I have seen evidence that the Bible could be saying something completely different about love and equality.
From it’s inception, Christianity has spoken with one voice on this subject––homosexuality is sin. Just like adultery, fornication, gluttony, drunkenness, theft, and a myriad of other things. But something of the heart of this generation (and all generations for that matter) is revealed when the author of this open letter says, “‘If the Bible really says this about gay people, I’m not too keen on trusting what it says about God.'” When John Calvin said that they human heart was an idol factory, that is what he was talking about. Rather than submitting to the God who has revealed Himself in His Word, all of humanity would rather make a god in their own image––a god that demands less of them.
You CAN have a conservative view on gay marriage, or gay ordination. You can. But I want you to have some serious conversations with God, your friends that disagree with you, and maybe even some gay people, Christians or not, before you decide that this one view is worth marginalizing my generation. Weigh those politics against what you’re giving up: us. We want to stay in your churches, we want to hear about your Jesus, but it’s hard to hear about love from a God who doesn’t love our gay friends (and we all have gay friends).
Do you hear the arrogance and presumption in this statement. I have had serious conversations with gay people, my friends, and God. I have them for years. I’ve had tears streaming down my face as I’ve expressed my love, and God’s love, for lost sinners of every sort. I’ve wept with those gay friends as they’ve told me horrible stories about evil men that have wronged them. And I’ve begged them to repent of their sin and flee to Christ and to receive him and rest upon him alone for their salvation.
The church might lose some of you. But as one who has been a minister in Christ’s church, I’m reminded that at the final judgement God isn’t going to ask me whether or not we were progressive, and the He will ask me if I was faithful. Especially when the cost of that faithfulness was incredibly high.