“Are you a Gay-Friendly Church?”

Last night I got asked a question that I had never been asked before. It’s a question that carries with it decades of history and doesn’t simply warrant a quick response. If answered the wrong way, you could be called a bigot, ignorant, and unloving. If answered the right way (or the way they want you to answer it), you could be called a liberal christian or unbiblical. It’s a question that so many people in our city are asking. And unfortunately, nobody has a great answer. Some churches have opened their doors to liberalism and said that it doesn’t matter how you live, as long as you believe in God. Others shut their doors and say, clean up before you come in. Neither response is sufficient for me and more importantly, sufficient to my understanding of scripture. The question I was asked was “Are you a gay-friendly church?” I hope that I didn’t respond with my face how I responded in my head. My first instinct was to simply say yes. We are very welcoming of all people. But somehow didn’t feel that that was sufficient. Then in my head, I thought, I should just say no. We do not believe that homosexuality was God’s intention for relationships. But I luckily didn’t feel comfortable with either.

This question is a huge question because it alienates an entire segment of the population. Nobody wants to hear why the church believes it is wrong. Nobody wants to hear the heart of God behind his plan for man/woman relationships. In the same vain, Christians, including myself, feel somehow attacked with the thought of homosexuality. Whether it’s an attack on their personal preference or that it simply under-defines their marriage, neither side is very comfortable. I guess what I’m getting at is how do we enter into a conversation that get’s to the heart of the issue. How do we welcome homosexuality into our church and treat it the same way we treat other sins. With love and grace. But at the same time, how do we have that conversation and still condone the sin, but love the sinner?

My response last night must have been God speaking through me. I simply said, we believe in the Bible and that everyone matters to God. I hope we can continue the conversation so that the woman who asked the question would understand the heart of God and not just shut off completely.

I guess it’s the city we live in…

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