Sunday, 13 June 2010

God's Blessing Same-Sex Relationships

"God does not bless same-sex relationships"?

The traditional view is that the Bible consistently condemns homosexuality; it regards homosexual lust as a sin; no where in the Bible is there a positive reference to same-sex relationships; this has always been the case and will be for ever more. Most Christians who hold these views state that they will never be persuaded otherwise.

I have previous blogged on why I do not believe this to be the case: Does the Bible really clearly state that homosexuality (a sexual orientation) is a sin?

Indeed God does regard lust (heterosexual or homosexual) as a sin.  However, it is disingenuous to suggest that all same-sex attraction is lust. Why do conservative Christians feel that only heterosexuals are capable of truly loving each other?

At the risk of making some Christian readers jump up and down, I would like to suggest that God does bless some same-sex attraction: for example, 2 Samuel 1:26
I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
more wonderful than that of women.
OK, I admit that this does not in and of itself state that Jonathan and David had sex ... but if I used this language with another guy, he would wonder what my intentions were!  I wish to emphasise that I do not want to imply that they did have sex. My point is that that not all same-sex attraction is wrong. In the Bible, there are many words for the English word "love". We are commanded to love our neighbour, of both genders. Where the divide on same-sex attraction is on "koitis" - sexual intercourse.

Protecting Long-Term Relationships

Many Christians reject gay rights because they feel that it is all about sex and this opposes the orthodox view that marriage is between one man and one women for the procreation of children; that sex can only happen in marriage.

There is a pre-occupation in Christian circles about what gay people do in their beds. I can happy confirm that they sleep in their beds.

For many gay people I know who are in long-term partnerships, the legal protection that civil partnerships afford their relationships is extremely important in a just and non-discriminatory society.  Their relationships are not about sex: most seem to experience the same loss of sexual intimacy over time that heterosexuals do.

As a young adult I was once told that when you are in the first year of a relationship, you should put a bean in a jar every time you have sex. At the end of the first year, you must then starting taking out a bean every time you have sex. The narrator then bemused, “You may very well find that the jar is never empty!”

Indeed, homosexuals need legal protection: not because of who they want to have sex with, but because their relationships also move from the care-free “in love” phase, to the responsibilities of the “loving each other” phase. It is about the every day things: keeping a job; knowing that you have a roof over your head; that when you ask for a public health service, you will get the help you need; that you are safe from being attacked. The trials and tribulations of their long term relationships are so akin to heterosexual relationships, that they deserve the same legal respect and protection

Aside: This is not dissimilar to opposite-sex long-term celibate relationships, e.g., someone who cares for their disabled friend their entire life. Therefore, I believe it is important to extend civil partnerships to opposite-sex relationships.

Adam and Eve; Adam and Steve

For many conservative Christians, the story of Adam & Eve is the archetype relationship and therefore God could never bless same sex relationships. In a recent blog, the Pink Paster makes the point that Genesis :
... does however teach us profound truths about the human condition, but speaks in the language of theology, not history. Pink Pastor 
For me one of these profound truths about the human condition is that we are designed to be in relationship, with God, with each other and in particular there is the human need for life long partnerships: that significant other who we can grow old with.

Had Adam been gay, God would have given him Steve. However, since Adam was straight, God gave him Eve as his life long partner.

The Gift of Celibacy

Some argue that it is OK for a person to be homosexual but they must never practise it; they must remain celibate. God will only bless them if they remain celibate.  This ignores the fact that we are created to be in long term relationships. Even the apostle Paul argues that celibacy is a gift from God:
I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. 1 Corinthians 7: 7-8
Celibacy is not something to be forced on anyone. It causes many problems as one just needs to look at the Catholic Church to witness.  Nor should one be forced into a heterosexual relationship:
It’s not uncommon for men who have suppressed, denied and hated their same sex orientation to develop a sexual addiction or obsession. ... What many of us have found out, finally leaving the heterosexual marriage to live as openly gay men and lesbians, that being true to yourself, instead of moving us into a life of promiscuity and sexual abandonment, actually releases us from the addictions and obsessions and new sense of morality and control emergesAnthony Venn-Brown
The Blessed Roman Centurion And His "Pias"

Let us not forget the Roman centurion that I've mentioned in one of my previous blogs.  Both Matthew and Luke (Matthew 8:5-13 & Luke 7:1-10) don't hesitate to use the word "pias" to refer to the Roman centurion's servant. The safer & neutral Greek word would have been "doulos" as "pias" had a colloquial meaning of the younger person in a gay relationship. Given both writers also refer to the deep affection of the centurion for his servant, it is very likely the word was meant to imply a same-sex relationship.

The importance here is that their relationship did not stop Christ from commenting on the centurions faith!

Christ Blesses The Homosexual

If you are reading this as a non-Christian who is gay, take heart that you (and your partner) are not excluded  from the love of God. Your sexuality does not preclude you from having Christ's richest blessings in your lives if only you would come to Him.

If you are a Christian who feels that God has withdrawn His blessing because you are in a relationship, remember that He created you to be in a long term relationship. God meant you to have that someone to grow old with; that someone to love and nurture; to share the troubles and tribulations of this life until you both meet again in the next.

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