I know I am a little late but I was intrigued by the recent “coming out” of news correspondent Anderson Cooper who is a prolific journalist/reporter for CNN. Cooper is just another individual in a long string of people who have announced to the world that they are gay. I thought about blogging then but waited until I can read some more and then a magnificent post came out by Craig Gross who is Pastor of the XXXChurch.com. He wrote a fabulous article for CNN called, “My Take: Will there be gays in heaven? Will there be fat people?” He said this:
In 1 Corinthians, the Bible says don’t indulge your body with food or sex: “‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,’ and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”
I have always heard people go this direction when discussing the issue of homosexuality. Quite frankly I can almost anticipate someone who speaks about the sin of homosexuality and then their wardrobe of selected verses. Gross made this comment that got me thinking:
If you indulge your body with sex via pornography, affairs, strippers or hookers, and your secrets are exposed, you will not be preaching on Sunday. Sexual sin is not tolerated in our churches. If clergy are caught in these things, they’re disqualified.
What if you indulge your body with food? Well, then you can pastor some of the largest churches on the planet and have the most successful broadcasts on the religious channels and sell a lot of books.
Same biblical passage, same sin. Why is one accepted and one rejected? Why is it that religious folks want to camp out on a few things rather then all things?
Why do they believe that the gay guy goes to hell but the fat preacher who builds some of the largest churches in the world makes it to heaven?
He concludes by pointing out that the road to sanctification for the homosexual is much like that of a person losing 100 lbs. It does not happen overnight but it takes a while. He points to the need for churches to be more open in practicing community with gay people instead of ostracizing them to the corners of the disenfranchised. Whether you agree with his post is irrelevant because I think the underlying issue he unearths is what we in the evangelical world struggle with: Do we really care for gay people like we do heterosexual people?
Look at any evangelical church infrastructure and you will notice committees delegated with the task of reaching a specific need. A mission’s committee, a youth committee, a benevolence committee, a women’s ministry committee, a prison ministry and on and on the ministries go yet I wonder how many committees exist to find ways to reach those who are gay. I don’t think developing a committee approach is the answer but it should prick our hearts that Jesus spent a majority of his time with sinners and the marginalized and most church-goers only surround themselves with people they fundamentally agree with.
I wonder if our churches are even safe places to harbor those who are gay.
A church should be the safest place for a person to say, “I am gay,” yet that is the last place a gay person wants to share this news.
Or even someone who is alcoholic.
Or even someone who is addicted to porn.
Or even someone who is addicted to drugs.
Or even someone who is having an affair.
Why? Church has become a place for those who have already got it together instead of a place for those to get things together. We have become saints who are once and for all sanctified instead of sinners who are continually seeking sanctification. I wonder what our churches need to do to help gay people in their journey of sanctification. I wonder what if we spent more time and energy focused on helping gay people, drunk people, addicted people and people who need us instead of paying the different ministers, and building projects and on and on.
What would a church look like if it really welcomed sinners like that…like you…like me?