Thursday, 10 October 2013

Homosexuality - Part Two

Yesterday I blogged about a recent gathering where we discussed the biblical and theological understandings regarding homosexuality.

Reflecting further I think that some of the ways this discussion can lose its way is the focus on how individuals use their genitals.

I once read how a Jewish Rabbi said that a God who is not interested in how we use our pots, pans and body isn't really worth worshipping.

If we belong to this mysterious thing called Church, then our sexual
activity has a direct impact upon one another. So often we hear arguments about how 'my' life is my own and what I choose to do in my private life is completely up to me. Israel had a different story to that. One persons sin or righteousness had a direct impact upon the whole nation because it was understood that they were all in this together. Their worship of the living God happened as part of community, of direct relationship with each other. Their individual lives were lives lived with others and the consequences of their individual lives had consequences for the whole community.

The early church knew this all too well. Ananias and Sapphira's actions had an impact on the whole Church. So Jesus' command to love one another and through that love show the world what it looks like to be His disciples was a further emphasis on how, if you belong to the Church, we are all in this together. Your individual life affects the whole community called church.

So your sex life isn't simply your sex life, it is the church's sex life because you are a part of the Body of Christ. Paul powerfully makes this point by telling those in Corinth who were having sex with prostitutes to stop it because by having sex with a prostitute you are making members of Christ become members of a prostitute and somehow we are all connected by the very fact that we are all 'in Christ'. This is not to compare prostitution to homosexuality but to simply state that any of us who are 'in Christ' have a responsibility to use our bodies for the worship of God because what any of us do with our bodies has a direct impact, positively or negatively on the whole Body of Christ.

We're all connected.

So whatever our sexual orientation, the way we use our body matters to those who are also 'in Christ' because we are connected. So this isn't simply about 'you' or 'me', this is about one another and how the Body might be built up for the common good.

If we held each other to account more, and if we were able to be open with each other more, and if we recognised that Jesus is Lord and we're not, then we might be willing to be transformed in our personal lives in such a way that we recognised that our actions have consequences on the whole Body of Christ. Too often we are obsessed with individualism and forget the reality of being 'in Christ'.

This might then have a powerful consequence on all our relationships within the church, on the way our teenagers feel able to share their struggles and how we approach all issues of sexuality, whatever side of the debate we may be on.

Stanley Hauerwas has said that if only Christians were as distinctive as the gay community. Why is it, he asks, that the gay community can get kicked out of the army and yet Christians can't? If only we were so distinctive in our worship of God that we managed to get kicked out of the army.

To be positively distinctive would be something truly worth being a part of. So rather than it being about 'you can't do this' or 'you can't do that' it was actually 'being in Christ means you now have this wonderful identity and because you have this identity this is what it looks like to love one another...'.

Of course I realise all this does not give any kind of answer to this whole debate on homosexuality, but if we can frame it beyond individualism then maybe we can work out how, in a positive not negative way, our sexuality can show others what it looks like to be a disciple of Jesus.

No comments: