I read this week about a forum held at the Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. The forum featured two clergy, one who was there to claim homosexuality is a sin and one who was there to claim homosexuality is not a sin. Now, one of these men is wrong, and I cannot see how it could be otherwise. They were debating in an either/or format. But the one you or I personally think is wrong depends on our respective belief systems, our readings of scripture, the things we have been taught, our life experiences, our relationships with God.
Here is the thing: I hope that we do not take the next step and say that the one we think is wrong is somehow unfaithful. Each of the two pastors, with their oppositional beliefs about homosexuality, is struggling to live faithfully to God's call in his life. Each of the two pastors, who cannot both be "right" (for whatever that is worth) on this issue, is a beloved child of God and worthy of our love and respect. Being wrong does not mean being unfaithful.
Now, I will stand toe to toe with anyone in the world with my firm belief that homosexuality is not a "lifestyle," not a choice, and not a sin. I am equipped with a knowledge of the scripture, spiritual formation in a loving family and church, what I hope is a close relationship with God, and wonderful relationships with friends who are real live, "self-avowed, practicing," honest-to-goodness homosexuals. If ever given the chance, I will look Rev. Jerry Johnston right in the eye and work my hardest to convice him how wrong he is.
BUT - I also expect him to work equally as hard to convince me of my error. I believe what I believe - but I desire to be shown where my belief is inaccurate or weak. Let's not beat each other up with the Bible any more, okay? Let's admit that we might be wrong, okay? Let's start by affirming that what we know about God and people and the world and stuff is just limited, finite knowledge, and that none of us - NONE OF US - has exclusive privy to God's favor, okay? I might be wrong; you might be wrong; but neither one of us should be excluded from the availability of God's grace, okay?
Grace and Peace,