“The person in front of me” says Jesus “Not the Law”
A post by Neil Hart on homosexuality, LGBT, lesbian and gay stuff and the Lutheran Church of Australia.
I cant remember if ive shared this on the blog. My apologies if i’m repeating myself. I remember 4 years ago. I was quite suicidal. I went and stared at the train tracks for long periods of time…just imagining…but…could never do that to my family or the driver of the train. I also had a couple of thousand dollars cash stashed away in my sock drawer. My grand fallback plan was to grab a plane flight to Mexico where they sell Nebutal which is a Vets drug for putting down large animals. Yeh…I know…the sheer genius of it all :) Mental health can be a bitch sometimes.
The point is, i needed help. I went to see a christian friend and a christian counsellor. I was kinda desperate and ready to lay all cards on the table. I was ready to disclose all the seedy aspects of my past if that was going to help, embarrasing stuff, pornography and all other sexual matters included. In both cases, i was greated with the same response. I’m not a secular counsellor, Neil. If you are looking for excuses for your past then you have come to the wrong place. We can look at those things in the light of God’s word but I wont cover up sin.
I’m not saying that the Bible would have had nothing to say in the situation and I dont deny that the Bible is a wonderful resource for people in times of great distress. What i am saying is that I didnt need reminding about how much of a sh#t i was. I didnt need some preconceived idea of right and wrong laid on me before i was even listened to. I just needed someone there for me. I needed someone who was UNCONDITIONALLY there for me.
(Another Christain counsellor recently assured me that my experience does not represent the approach of many Christian counsellors and that i must have just struck a bad one. I hope thats the case. But…does the term “christian” counsellor imply an agenda other than the needs of the person being counselled? I guess not necessarily… more thought required…)
It occurs to me that that approach, the “Bible First” approach, is exactly the way we tend to operate as a church. We forget everything else and attempt to let the Bible determine our path in all matters. We even, sometimes, put on our scriptural blinkers in matters that the Bible was never meant to address. Remember how blinkered the church was in matters of astronomy when it condemned Galileo and Copernicus. Or the the church’s blinkered approach to the matter of poverty or the Jewish people or slavery or womens rights. We have, historically, put on our scriptural blinkers and ended up embarrased.
This is exactly what happens on the question of the church’s response to the LGBT community. Based on very little scriptural evidence, the church has decided that homosexual sex is sin, an abomination, abhorent to God and harmful to the individuals concerned and society itself.
So, That becomes the starting point. Everything must flow from that unquestioned and unquestionable base. Are LGBT people born that way? NO! Impossible. Coz its sin and God doesnt make sin. God cannot be involved in this moral evil. It must be environmental. Better to judge an overbearing mother and an emotionally absent father than to actually listen to my gay friend when he says he has always been this way and that his parents were wonderful.
Can LGBT people change? Yes. They must be able to. God always gives us a means of escape in matters of sin and temptation. And so the church spawns the horrors of the Ex Gay movement and Exodus International and NARTH and…and… and…Never mind that every reputable psychologist in the world will tell us that it is emotional suicide for my gay friend to attempt to deny who he is and to try to change. The Bible must be defended at all costs. The Bible MUST be shown to be right. Maybe thats why Christian “researchers” on sexuality seem to come up with different findings to the rest of the world. Not because of open minds and discussion, investigation or legitimate research but because of their prejudiced starting point.
I not saying chuck out the Bible. I’m saying it was never meant to be the starting point or answer to everything. Thats what always gets us into trouble….We attempt to squeeze everything into a literal biblical framework. And as we do we are blinded to all those things that are plainly obvious to everyone else.
Just let the Bible be what it is….God’s revelation to us in the life death and resurrection of Jesus. It needs no protection or blinkered and panicked defence. It will stand as true as it has done through the centuries even as the societal views on the nature of the universe, the evil of slavery, the subjugation of the rights of women and homosexuals changes and evolves and grows and improves. Lets just make sure that we tie our ship to the central tenets that stand forever and not the peripheries that change as time goes on and so find ourselves sinking together with outdated ideas. Then maybe we will stop embarrasing ourselves the Bible and God.
I saw a debate that included noted homosexual Stephen Fry. His challenge at the end of this clip sent shivers down my spine.
His challenge…. well if you arent about standing out from the crowd and leading the world somewhere good.. If all you can do is tie yourself to the status quo and defend things that have proven to be harmful… If you are not beacons of love and a radical, world changing other….WHAT ARE YOU FOR??? WHAT ARE YOU FOR.?
Thats what Jesus was,,, revolutionary beacon of love and light…world changer… not confined by a superficial law-based understanding of the will of God but speaking and acting and bringing in a brand new day. A day where people in chains are set free. A day where the blind see. A day where the FAVOUR of God reigns supreme.
Jesus let the needs of the one in front of him cut through everything else, including the Law. He dared to say “the sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath” It was an astonishing statement then as it is now. The Sabbath was probably the fundamental law for the people of God in that time. Jesus’ disciples break that law by gathering food on the sabbath. The godly people accuse them of their sin. And Jesus says….”meh…just a law guys…after all, the laws are not what ultimately matter, its the people they serve that matter”. coz… with Jesus, the person in front of him always come first…
Then there was that blind man. The disciples asked, “Whose sin made him blind? His or his parents?” And Jesus response? “Man! You guys have a sin fixation! Its not about sin!. Its about the fact that he is right in front of me,here and now. And he has a need, and all i want is to meet that need and give him eyes to see.”
With Jesus, its always about the person in front of him.
Mr Fry…THATS what we are for.