There are several verses in the Bible that mention homosexual behavior and they’re all negative/condemning. But I have come to believe that the Bible (and God) celebrate everybody in the LGBTQ+ community, including the way they respect and live their authentic selves. (I was trying to say, “celebrate their their lifestyle” but that word lifestyle is not defined the same for everybody.)
I’ve been asked why or how I can believe that queer Christians, for example, can be authentic or legitimate. I think many of you are thinking, “people who wonder that must live in a bubble.” And yes, many people do. I did. I had only ever heard that homosexuality was a sin, or at least acting on it was a sin. And if somebody believed differently, they were twisting the Word of God to suit themselves and debasing the truth. There is a pervasive attitude of sexuality and gender differences being a form of self harm or mental illness. There is a sharp, visceral rejection and damning of even the suggestion of welcoming differences in sexuality or gender.
And I think that’s wrong.
Obviously. That’s why I’m writing.
And you know what? It’s important. Because damning, rejecting, or just being disgusted by the simple, authentic nature of another human being… causes harm. It’s the opposite of love. And you know what? If it’s NOT self harm and it’s NOT mental illness, then this rejection is most definitely not what Jesus would do.
When I come upon a passage that I struggle with, I can dig into that verse in more depth and I can also compare it to the rest of Scripture. There are verses in the Bible that say that women should not speak in a religious gathering. Specifically, we should be silent. I think that’s BS, but why? Well, in the rest of Scripture, women are used as leaders and teachers. Just one example…. is that we could call first apostle Mary Magdalene, to whom Jesus appeared to first and who was called to preach the good news to the other disciples and apostles. Another example involves women and our hair, hair length, hair coverings, etc. Verses in both the old testament and new (I think) tell us directly that we should have long hair, we should not braid it or decorate it, and we should cover our heads. Some churches adhere to these rules, but the vast majority recognize the cultural and specific scenarios these were written for and, after putting it in context, recognize the value in humility, self care, and respecting self and others… while leaving out anything really to do with hair.
It’s the same with homosexuality.
I think I would say that, for me, deciding about gender/sexuality and the Bible’s teachings comes down to two things Jesus said (not direct quotes):
Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
The greatest commandment is this: To love your neighbor as yourself.
That’s the heart of the Bible.
It’s to show up. Be human. Care for others. Care for ourselves. Love each other. Be authentic. Show respect for yourself and others. Honor one another. In these ways, we also love and honor our Creator. In these ways, we bring God’s kingdom to earth.
Is being gay, for example, counter to this? No.
Is having promiscuous sex counter to this? It sure can be. But that’s not even remotely the same thing as being queer.
Is dating and marrying and having genuine relationships counter to God’s teaching? No. The opposite. What gender we are and what gender we date or marry is not at all counter to showing up, being authentic, loving ourselves and others, and respecting ourselves and others.
Is denying a person’s right to love who they love counter to God’s teaching? Yep. Don’t do that.
Is being born lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, non-binary, or any other different way counter to God’s teaching? No! It’s exactly how God made you! If you were born cis-gendered and heterosexual, then things were easy for you. You didn’t do that. That’s how God made you. And not everybody was made the same.
A person should never be denied respect and love when they interpret Scripture differently than you. Or if they’re stronger or weaker than you. Or if they dress or act differently than you. Or if they fall in love with who they fall in love with.
Love each other. Support each other. The Bible supports that. Don’t be afraid when people are more varied and different than you expected. It’s a big, beautiful world out there. Get out and celebrate it!