So tonight I went to a discussion at a baptist church I go to (although I’m not a baptist member) on inclusivity most particularly on what stance should the church have on welcoming and including homosexual people. It is an important issue for churches and the broader society to look at as it is becoming evermore prevalent and I found the discussion really interesting. I will say now that I am not decided on the matter as to whether homosexual acts are sinful acts but with this blog post, I want to raise some things for you all to think about and are the ‘lines of enquiry’ I am intending on looking at on my journey of faith.
So one point raised tonight was that the issue comes from modern society being ‘drip fed’ pro homosexuality information through the media, however I think that the church is just as if not more responsible. The youth of today are very aware of the debate within the church which helps to show that the church leads to the debate that is existent in broader society.
The church in general sets itself out as in inclusive place, the particular baptist church’s motto is ‘a place to belong’ and for me for these statements to be meaningful, it has to be a place for everyone to belong and it has to be inclusive for all, including homosexuals. But where does this inclusiveness start and end? We can let them into our churches, that is being inclusive and is great, but the majority of churches will not permit a homosexual to get married and many will not allow an active homosexual to be baptised/confirmed yet obviously would if the couple/individual was heterosexual, which does not seem very inclusive. so is there a point where we can be inclusive whilst still excluding them from some aspects of the church, to me at the moment, this seems to be a bit of a contradiction and that to be inclusive, we have to be fully inclusive but then this leads to the acceptance of same sex marriage, which few churches at the moment would go to.
For this bit I will assume that homosexual acts are sinful, yet I am undecided on this issue. Most Christians believe we are all sinners. There has only been one perfect human and that was Jesus when he spent his time on earth. Some suggest that we can not allow homosexuals into the church because by being actively homosexual they are committing sin and if they want to join the church they must stop that sin. However this means that we have made a judgement that there sin is a bad one and as we are all sinners, there sin is worse than the sins we in the church are committing, but who are we to make this judgement only the perfect being that is God can make this. If we deny homosexuals access to the church because of their sin, then surely we should deny all sinners access to the church which would mean there would be no one in the church?
So we can accept homosexuals into the church, but still hate their sin hate the sin, but love the sinner. This was one suggestion from this evening, and quite a few people went with it, but this is a hard concept to get your head around. How can we be fully accepting of someone but disagree with their life style. Firstly looking at it from the perspective of people in the church, how can we in practical terms hate the sin but love the sinner – what should/would our response be to a homosexual couple walking into the church holding hands? And secondly looking at the perspective of the ‘sinner’ themselves, how would you feel if someone said they welcomed you and loved you but hated what you do? it is a very odd concept and I wonder if it is something that can actually have any practical meaning?
I know in this post I have not provided many if any answers but that is because for one I don’t have them at the moment, but I also wanted to raise these as issues that you can freely think about and then hopefully share your responses with me! This post has got me thinking a lot and there will be blog posts that both directly and indirectly follow on from this.
I hope you found this interesting and maybe challenging, please like share and comment, I would love to hear what you have to say and discuss anything.