It was a beautiful, mild Friday evening in the city of Seattle during the month of May. The skies were clear and the city was alive with people coming and going in and out of dance clubs, posh restaurants, and late night coffee shops. A good childhood friend and I spent the evening touring the city via motor scooter. He had lived in Seattle for several years and wanted to show me parts of the city that could only be seen on a Friday evening under the stars. We went up and down steep city streets, in and out of alleys, and stopped to look at panoramic viewpoints.
Some things, however, were a little unique about this evening: 1) My good friend and I were not touring the city on two individual scooters, but on one; 2) This scooter didn’t have a normal black ‘pleather’ seat like most scooters do, it had a bright flowered one; and 3) My childhood friend, who I was closely straddling from behind on a small flowered scooter seat is not straight like me, he is gay.
I am a Follower of Jesus Christ; a Christian. And I know that because of what I am about to say, some of you may think that I am a bigot and may even hate me. But GAY, to say it bluntly, IS NOT OK. I can say that, not because my faith is based on my opinions, beliefs, experiences, or the cultural norms of my day, but because it is based on the Word of God – a love letter from God to His people which has not changed since it was penned thousands of years ago. And the Bible is explicitly clear that homosexuality is not God’s will for man, thus making it sin.
We live in a world that, for some reason, tries to justify homosexuality; tries to make it seem normal. We live in a world where homosexuals compare themselves to persecuted ethnic minorities in order to gain acceptance. We live in a world where scientists work tirelessly to trace homosexuality to a specific gene within our DNA to show that homosexuals are born homosexuals. And we live in a world where special interest groups fight viciously to insure that homosexual couples have the opportunity to get married just as heterosexual couples have been doing for millennia.
We also live in a world where this same way of thinking has crept into the church. We live in a world where churches affirm homosexuality in order to appeal to a broader base of people; thus growing their congregations, limiting their persecution from the world, and increasing their giving. We live in a world in which churches do away with Scriptures that condemn homosexuality by claiming that certain words have been mistranslated or that those same Scriptures were intended only for a specific time and/or culture. We live in a world where “gay affirming” churches rejoice when a Christian music superstar comes out of the closet and uses him as a tool to further their agenda. And sadly, we live in a world where certain churches are so desperate to justify their homosexual lifestyle that they make preposterous claims that King David, Ruth, The Apostle Paul, and even Jesus was gay.
Something else to consider though, is that we live in a world with prideful pastors and lying elders. We live in a world with lustful Sunday school teachers and gluttonous worship leaders. We live in a world with revenge-obsessed soccer moms and hypocritical grandpas. We live in a world of disobedient teenagers and worry-laden fathers. We live in a world with selfish church custodians and stealing Bible scholars. And we live in a world with unforgiving youth pastors and idolatrous church board members. The list goes on and on.
The point is that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” The point is that all sin – short of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit – is forgivable through the saving power of Jesus Christ. The point is that one’s sin of homosexuality is no worse than one’s sin of using God’s Name in vein. The point is that we are all held accountable for all of the sins we commit against God – even the ones we’re not aware of. The point is that Jesus Christ loves us so much, whether we struggle with homosexuality or hate for our enemies, that He lived a life that we were unable to live, died an agonizing death that we deserved to die, and rose from the grave to give us an abundant, eternal life we do not deserve.
It’s a matter of the heart. You cannot be a Christian (one who has put their faith in the saving power of Jesus Christ, loves Him with all of their heart, and follows His example through the power of the Holy Spirit), yet continue to love sin. You cannot be a Christian, yet pick and chose which Scriptures apply to your life. You cannot be a Christian, yet be unrepentant towards the sins that you struggle with. Being a Christian means that you and your sin have been confronted by a Holy God, and your response is to allow God to change you and conform you into His image.
There is no difference between Johnny and Jane (the fornicating, shacked-up “Christian” couple who sit on the front row of your church every Sunday), and Bill and Steve (the gay couple who feel too uncomfortable to even enter the doors of your church for fear of rejection). There is no difference between Doug (the “Christian” husband who sits with his wife on the back row of your church every Sunday while Tina, the young woman he is having an affair with, sits in the balcony in shame), and Lisa and Megan (the lesbian couple who won’t even walk down the same side of the street as your church because of how they have been treated).
For far too long the Church – myself included – has been pointing the long, narrow finger of judgment at those whose lives have not been transformed by the saving grace of Jesus Christ and has not been pointing the accountable a finger of judgment and correction back at its own.
When I look at the people who Jesus hung out with – prostitutes, lepers, Samaritans, the poor, uneducated, demon afflicted, dishonest tax collectors, the sick, disabled, widows, and children – I am ashamed, not of Jesus, but of myself and the Church. It makes me realize who I need to be spending time with today. I need to make myself available today so that I can invite people into the Kingdom that Jesus established – one that will never end.
So, let me go back to that night in Seattle. As the night grew later, my friend wanted to show me what he called the city’s “gaybourhoods”. It was at that point, while holding onto my gay friend, cruising through Seattle on the flowered seat of a little motor scooter that I thought, just for an instant, “What if the people here think that I am his new boyfriend?” The verse about avoiding the “appearance of evil” sprung into my mind. But those thoughts were quickly replaced when I realized that this is probably right where Jesus wants me – riding on the back of a motor scooter with my gay friend through the neon-lit streets of Seattle’s gaybourhoods.
And it was at that moment when that night became one of my fondest memories. For an instant everything was balanced and where it should be. Because after all love wins in the end.
Anthony Trask is the husband of one wife and the father of two children. He currently spends his time with over 50 international high school boys as a dean at an international boarding school in Southern Oregon. You can check out his blog and listen to some of his teachings at www.anthonytrask.com.