Most gay Christians do not feel safe in church. What is the answer? Stop Idolizing Sex and Come Back to Jesus | Opinion
We live in a time that insists on forgetting the past. This includes wisdom from the pages of scripture regarding the nature of love. We have often sold love to the cheap, atomized world of ‘sex’ and ‘sexuality’.
We scroll through dating apps. We covet images of perfection on Instagram. We find our deepest value in our experience of gender and sexual attraction. And yet, Jesus tells us from ancient pages about a greater source of meaning that has very little to do with any of these categories: “The greatest love has no other than ci: to give one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13).
What this research reveals is that we have lost our grip on the greatest love
Jesus started the movement of spiritual friendship. This movement of the greatest love rode the waves of the life, theology and history of the early Church. The Church of Jesus attempted to echo the great friendships of ancient Israel, especially David and Jonathan, whose love went beyond that of sex or sexuality. Such spirit-to-spirit, non-sexual connection very intimately reflected God’s love for us in Jesus laying down his life for us on the cross. This love implied a safe and free friendship with women, relativizing sex and procreation in the background. It showed us that sex was not necessary for human flourishing or for achieving the purposes of the kingdom of God.
A pure start
In the ancient traditions of Christianity, where good often failed, saints emerged who fought for this greater love of friendship. Aelred de Rievaulx started a monastic movement that valued “spiritual” and ecstatic friendship. He writes, “No medicine is more precious, none more efficacious, none better fitted for the cure of all our temporal ills, than a friend to whom we can turn for comfort in time of distress. , and with whom we can share our happiness in times of joy.
However, this beautiful image of a world charmed and enchanted by the greatest love has been torn apart by war and marriage based on power. Slowly the modern world has moved to remove friendship as a sinister cover for disordered or hidden sexuality. Soon the terms “heterosexual” and “homosexual” were coined in modernist psychology to classify human beings forensically. Love was equated with sexual desire. Romance was reserved for heterosexuals.
How to stop serving the false savior of sexuality and return to Jesus Christ?
Soon postmodernism and late existentialism shattered this elevation of sex and marriage with a critique of conservative society. This postmodern push embraced desire as love. And yet, Sartre broke De Beauvoir’s heart. The experiment failed and we were left with constructs of sexuality and gender flocking to sex to save us.
losing our grip
In this world, it’s no wonder a new report has revealed that the majority of LGBT+ Christians don’t feel comfortable in churches.
Research by the Ozanne Foundation found that more than two-thirds of LGBT+ Christians do not feel “safe to be themselves” when visiting places of worship. There were 1,121 responses from UK residents, with 754 saying they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender or non-binary Christian. Of this group, 69% said they attended church almost weekly – most were in Church of England congregations.
What this research reveals is that we have lost our grip on the greatest love. Factions have attempted to tear down a Church that has tried to embody that love of the ancient pages of Scripture and its Lord. This Church has taught us to return to the greater love of sacrificial friendship and to stop persecuting the voices that are now marginalized for trying to live it.
Back to love
We drank the Kool-Aid of sex and sexuality that will continue to tear the Church apart with the idols of yesteryear. Baby boomer activists will constantly come onto the scene trying to enforce their sexual politics and idolatries on both sides to “solve” the “LGBTQI+ issue”. The liberal solution will continue to be to revere sexuality as vital to human flourishing by enshrining same-sex union that ignores God’s created order. The conservative solution will elevate heterosexual marriage as the good without which you will be relegated to celibacy, despair or ostracism. The gospel of greatest love, which celebrates our universal humanity will suffer.
On this Valentine’s Day, it may be worth asking the question: how can we stop serving the false savior of sexuality and return to Jesus Christ, who had little personal interest in sexuality, but who pointed out the love that will truly and eternally fulfill all of us?
He spent his life practicing safe, ecstatic, and extremely satisfying forms of friendship that reflected the universal love of the new creation that will not involve marriage or sexuality. As a single, gay or queer Christian – but first and foremost a human being and a child of God – it is the love and the future that I live for and without which we will all be lost.
My prayer on this Valentine’s Day is that all of us, regardless of labels, will live our lives in devotion and gratitude to Jesus, who delivered us from idolatry and the bondage of overvaluing the least loves of sex and marriage. He died to free us from universal love, regardless of our sexual status, and to find the remedy for the problem of sin – which is the greatest love. We all know that such love does not insist on its own desires, nor is it love that erases the importance of sex, or even worships it commercially on Valentine’s Day. Rather, Jesus invites us to the joy of laying down our lives and meeting the needs, large or small, of a diversity of significant others, be it our spouse, enemy, neighbor, stranger, child, friend, partner. , member of the family – but God is the head among them.