Musings on Gay Marriage and Jesus

Pope Benedict recently stated that gay marriage is a threat to the future of humanity itself, echoing the sentiments of numerous evangelical pastors and leaders. The Pope’s announcement effectively outed being gay as the chief sin of our age, as if there was any doubt left in the closet.

Supposing that to be the case (which isn’t a conclusion I’m willing to own), imagine with me the ramifications of Jesus being born in our century rather than the 1st. To be specific, if Jesus were living today, I wonder if his critics would mistake him for a gay man.

Preposterous, you say? Jesus apparently spent such a significant amount of time with the chief sinners of his day (drunkards, gluttons, tax collectors, all-out sinners) that he wasn’t merely accused of enjoying a drink, but rather seemed to have been routinely characterized as being one of those with whom he spent a great deal of time. Or at the very least a friend.

I posed a question on fb yesterday that had to do with a TV show that features gay parents. One friend’s response was to express thanks for the ‘off’ button on her TV.* Her words had an almost visceral effect on me–without intending to, she seemed to capture the essence of evangelical Christianity’s response to the gay community. In more ways than one, we keep looking for an ‘off’ switch when it comes to the entire issue.

Jesus seemed oblivious to the ‘off’ switch option. He talked alone with an isolated, outcast woman who believed in the wrong religion. He invited himself to the house of a known thief and oppressor of the poor. He made no objection to a bad woman washing his feet with her tears, hair, and perfume. These are a few of many examples. In other words, Jesus spent his life touching the unclean.

Outside of Ted Haggard, I can’t think of too many conservative evangelicals who run the risk of being mistaken for a gay guy.

Furthermore, if I were asked to describe the actions of Jesus in one word, my short list of options would have to include the word ‘present’ or ‘presence’. If I were to do the same for evangelical Christianity in general one of the words that would at least merit consideration would be ‘boycott.’

Jesus didn’t call us to boycott people, no matter how fiercely we disagree with their decisions.

May we never abdicate presence in favor of truth.

*I’m confident my friend was referring to the TV show alone, not the broader implications I’ve raised here. I’ve used the comment as a metaphor–this blog is about the metaphor, not my friend’s intent behind the original comment.

About Tim Owens

I'm a husband, father, and Christ follower. I also live in Albany, NY, where I work as a pastor.
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9 Responses to Musings on Gay Marriage and Jesus

  1. Denise says:

    I agree with everything you said except the first paragraph. “Chief sin”…I don’t know.

    Think for a moment about the woman at the well. She was living a “lifestyle” that she was not trying to correct. It wasn’t like she was sinning and trying to change her ways. She is comparable to the gay lifestyle today. What did Jesus do. He didn’t shun her, he talked to her like she mattered just as much as anyone else (because she did) and he told her the truth about her life and himself. The issue I face as a Christian is that my gay friends, if I talked to them in a similar manor would be insulted and never talk to me again, they would not feel convicted to make a 180 and tell the world (and I am not making assumptions here, it has happened). It is harder than ever today to tell the truth about the issue because a gay lifestyle is now normal and accepted and those who say it is sin are thought horrid. I believe this is the reason for some of the “boycotters.”
    The issue is no matter what sin you have in your life, you need to be told about Jesus. You don’t go up to a drunk and not try to help them with their drink at the same time you are telling them about Jesus, but you don’t throw it in their face either. LOVE and everlasting life are what Jesus came to share.
    Personally, I am a protestant and I have a few gay friends. They know I am a Christian and we talk about it now and again. I try to make the truth of Jesus’ life be my guide of how to treat all people, we are all sinners.

    • Tim Owens says:

      I agree wholeheartedly–i think our problem is that we’ve created a distinction between beliefs and action in our culture. and so we often feel forced to choose between gospeling by proclaiming truth, or gospeling by demonstrating love. huh? i think there’s a chance we’ve overcomplicated things. love people, tell the truth, and always remember we can’t control their response.

  2. Piyali says:

    So true.

  3. milo says:

    The Apostle Paul was shown a glimpse of heaven, but wasn’t permitted to speak of it. I can’t imagine the strength of faith he gained by actually seeing paradise. It had to have helped him get through all of the reject and hatred he faced from society. Obviously, Jesus had seen heaven. No group of sinners was going to confuse or alter the course of their ministries. That’s not always true for you and me.

    Hanging out in bars, or surrounding yourself with gay people, or drug users is risky … very risky, and we should be careful. God commands us to love everyone, and those people need our love as well as God’s love, but in this case I don’t thinks it’s as easy as saying, “Let’s do what Jesus did”. (not what you were saying, I know)

    I have gay friends and gay relatives, and I try as hard as I’m able to show them love and respect. Ultimately, I agree with your thoughts … just wanted to add that iron sharpens iron, and bad company corrupts. We need to be careful, and prayerful.

    • Tim Owens says:

      my point wasn’t so much to flock to the bars (although that would be interesting!). Rather, I’m assuming that most of us have opportunities within their ordinary rhythms and practices of life. thanks for adding the point of clarity!

      • milo says:

        yes, I’m with you. I was reflecting on your 3rd paragraph (perhaps a bit too literaly) while writing my reply. As always, I love the thought provoking questions … keep ‘em coming :)

  4. Denise says:

    Just keep in mind that homosexuality and gay marriage are two different issues.

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