Tuesday, December 5, 2023

LGBTQ Christians. . .

Curiously,  after all the hubbub of Rome's Talking Together about Walking Together Synod, there is, apparently, no even mention of LGBTQ Roman Catholics in the final report.  Some lament that.  Indeed, there are Lutherans who lament that we are not talking more about LGBTQ Lutherans.  In the minds of many, we owe it to those who identify as such to talk more about their identity in conjunction with their faith.  Maybe it even seems reasonable to you.  I am not so sure.

In the lens of Scripture and the apostolic tradition, I think just the opposite.  We should be talking less about those who have such an identity in conjunction with their faith.  Their faith is not shaped by the lens of the sexual desire or felt gender.  Their faith transcends this and forms their identity instead by who they are as the baptized people of God, whose sins have been forgiven, on whom the Holy Spirit has been given, and who have been raised to live new lives in Christ.  We never talk about heterosexual Christians or Lutherans or Roman Catholics and we should not do so.  The straight do not get the privilege of an identity shaped by desire either.  None of us do.  We have all been raised from the captivity of our desires and our feelings to belong to Christ.

Marriage was always tainted by the romance of it all -- a look across a crowded room that brings two soulmates together and brings them happiness beyond measure within the delight of the sexual intimacy.  But are we to be ruled by our passions -- even straight, heterosexual, plain old ordinary bread and butter desire?  No.  The straight do not get to have their desires define them and neither do any others.  We are defined by and given the new identity of the children of God.  Our desires reflect this identity -- in fact, it is our lifelong work to let this identity define and rule over all the desires of our hearts and to shape the feelings and thoughts that flow out of those hearts.

Scripture speaks of all as under this new identity and shaped by this new reality as the baptized children of God.  Sex is not give to the straight as a reward for their sanctioned gender identity.  Sex is given for the fulfillment of the Biblical command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.  Sexual pleasure flows out of this.  It is not either the primary or a side benefit but the fruit of a heart that loves what God loves and seeks what God desires.  Our problem is that we have made sex our creation to be used for our own purposes -- and we have rejected sex as a gift of God for His purpose.  It is no wonder why those with same sex attractions or gender dysphoria feel gypped in the deal.  They feel as if they have been singled out by God and robbed of their sexual rights and pleasures while the straight folks get it all.  If they have gotten that impression from Christians, the Christians have given the wrong impression and have contributed to the strange situation in which we live today in which sexual desire and gender identity have become the most profound things in who we are as people.

There are no straight Christians or LBGTQ Christians.  There are only Christians.  Because of that, there cannot be straight or LGBTQ Roman Catholics or Lutherans or whatever.  We belong to the Lord and either that means also our desires, passions, thoughts, and feelings, or we only partially belong to the Lord and the rest is ours to do with as we please.  Is that what Scripture says?  Bought with a price and belonging to the Lord by baptism and faith either means everything or it hardly means anything.  We are not simply pandering to the LGBTQ folks by speaking of them as LGBTQ Christians; we are betraying what it means to belong to the Lord.  In the end, we are making ourselves schizophrenic -- partially belonging to God and partially belonging to our desires, passions, thoughts, and feelings.  God is jealous enough to seek all of us and it is His mercy that this claim on all of us -- even our sins -- is what redemption means.  So let us do no disservice to other desires or identities by presuming that we apprehend God through them or that they have an existence untouchable by God's grace and mercy and let us all admit that we belong to the Lord.  It is, after all, the only thing that matters eternally!

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