Thursday, April 1, 2010

Inclusion - Is Sexuality the Final Frontier? (Part 7)

The following material was originally published in 'The Furrow', a theological journal from Ireland, earlier this month. As the full article is reasonably long, I've taken the liberty of separating it into smaller segments. The author is Owen O'Sullivan and the original title was "On Including Gays".

‘In the end we will be judged on how we have loved.’

Many of the passengers on the 9/11 flights, when told they were going to die, phoned their families to say that they loved them. In former times, we might have thought that a better response would have been to beg God for forgiveness of their sins. I prefer the first, and I dare to think that God would, too.

If God is love, and if sex is loving, then sex between two people of different or the same gender can only be looked upon lovingly by God. The real sin would be to live without ever having had this contact with another human being.

Sacraments are places where God’s story and the human story meet. Not only do we need to tell the human story, but we need to tell it first; that was Jesus’ way of doing things and of teaching. The human story of some homosexuals is that awakening to their sexuality has meant taking responsibility for themselves and growing up. They say they have grown into better people for having taken the risk of giving and receiving love. A gay man said that, in experiencing being despised and rejected for being gay, he found that, ‘The ultimate sign of a person’s love is the figure of Jesus on the cross. The wound of homosexuality is not unrelated to Christ’s presence in the Passion. Through suffering, rejection and pain, people grow, change, and are transformed.’ Another said simply, ‘God wants us to be the people he created us to be.’ This echoes the saying of Saint Clement of Alexandria that, ‘We ought not to be ashamed of what God was not ashamed to create.’ Where is the Good News for homosexuals? Is it in the Wisdom of Solomon, ‘You [God] love all things that exist, and detest none of the things you have made, for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things, O Lord, you who love the living. For your immortal spirit is in all things.’ (Wisdom 11.24-12.1, NRSV)

3 comments:

John Hartley said...

Excellently written, and cogently rooted in Christ's overarching message of unconditional love.

I look forward to the day when The Salvation Army amends its official statement of judgment against the "sin" of homosexuality (and impliedly, homosexuals themselves).

Perhaps we could write an amended version together and mail it to the General? I suggest this tongue-in-cheek, but the sooner it happens, the sooner the Army will be closer to advancing the message of God's love in a way relevant to believers and non-believers, irrespective of sexual orientation, who are rightly alienated by anything less.

For further reference:

1. http://www.humanistsofutah.org/2002/WhyCantIOwnACanadian_10-02.html

2. http://www.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-bible-gay-christian

God bless.

John Hartley, BA, LLB (Melbourne)

JDK said...

Thanks for your comment John - wish I had written the article myself! No doubt it's an issue that we need to keep moving on. Maybe we'll wait to see who the next General is before writing that letter... :-)

John Hartley said...

I regret that I missed your recent sermon at my own Altona Corps. I'm steadily getting through your posts here but it would've been a pleasure to meet you and hear you in person. I've been a Salvationist all my life, and continue to worship in the Salvation Army despite having long spiritually and intellectually outgrown many aspects of its formal position statements.

As for the one on homosexuality, I plan to comprehensively address my views on it in a detailed blog post of my own in the near future, which I'll remember to share with you.

Keep writing! :)