My Christian denomination is one that is conflicted about the appropriate Christian response to homosexual behavior. This is nothing new, it has been going on my entire ministry. This is nothing unique either. My brother and sister Methodists, Disciples, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and other denominations have faced and wrestle with the same issue. And denominations and ecumenical relationships are under threat over an increasing rift between those who see the issue one way or the other.
But what is fascinating in all of this is that homosexuals only make up seven percent, or less, of the population. In many congregations I would think it is far less than seven percent and probably drops down to near zero. Why would homosexuals want to worship in a place where their sexual behavior is forever in the spotlight (to affirm or reject)? And what this leaves is ninety three percent or more of the church talking about the correct Christian response to seven percent or less’s sexual behavior.
Are not there major sexual issues, heterosexual issues, that we need to discuss? Recent polls show that teen sexual activity is about statistically the same as that of non-Christians. This statistic alone should warn us that for young Christians, the Church has almost no influence over their decisions about sex. I would hope that that is fairly alarming to all of us, left, right, or center.
Statistics also show us that the people who affirm the most satisfaction with their sex life are those in committed monogamous relationships (the vast majority of whom are married). The percentage of children born outside of marriage has greatly increased and most children living in poverty today grow up with one parent. We live in a world where biologically humans start desiring sex in their young to mid teens but also in a society where it is difficult to start a successful marriage before one’s mid-twenties. The Bible has a wealth of stories and instructions on marriage, love, and God’s intent for men and women. How does a young Christian navigate the difficult currents of desire, cultural norms, and God’s call to them today? What does God expect from young men and women today sexually? Where is the line between right and wrong? If they can’t ask those questions in a church, where can they?
And beyond teens and young adults, does following God in the 21st century place any call or standards for heterosexual Christian adults? Today, most adults live with one another before they get married. Is this good? Is this bad? Whatever the answer, why? Is pornography bad? If so, why? Does “what happens in Vegas really stay in Vegas” to borrow an advertising catch phrase?
In a nutshell, are we comfortable that, without ever really talking about the subject in most churches, that Christian adults are called to make some of the most important, long-term, decisions without ever discussing it in church?
I can tell you what won’t help ninety three percent of them. Arguing over what is right for seven percent of them. At least that hasn’t helped much for the last two decades.
What do you think?
Until next time,