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Tuesday, December 11 2018

Writing Christian cultural commentary, there is no question that the topic of sexuality is always the most highly-trafficked of any issue I discuss.  I’m almost guaranteed that every time I bring up the Christian sexual ethic, complementarianism of the two sexes, issues of gender identity, or immoral sexual conduct, I’m going to get a bevy of hostile, supportive, and sincerely inquisitive email responses.  Though I’m mostly thankful for all the feedback, it’s that last group that I pay special attention to.

Sometimes it will be people living an LGBT lifestyle wanting to understand my perspective better, but mostly those asking questions are those who hold to a Christian worldview and who are feeling bombarded, silenced, threatened, or genuinely confused how to best articulate their beliefs in a way that isn’t perceived as hostile, harsh, judgmental, or un-Christlike.  To a certain extent it’s fair to say that’s largely a lost cause.  The world will never appreciate the Christian view of sexuality because it has its own view.  The morality of the world is disparate and hostile to the morality of God.  So there will always be those in the world that regard anything but utter acceptance, promotion, and celebration of their ideas as bigoted or mean – no matter who is espousing the view or the spirit in which they do so.

But the desire to articulate the superiority of the Christian sexual ethic, and more importantly to articulate the Gospel clearly and winsomely, is a noble and important one.  That’s why I gravitate towards anything written by former lesbian professor turned devout Christian, Rosaria Butterfield.  She is a fountain of wisdom on this issue, having lived it, and simultaneously exhibits an unmistakable Spirit-filled grace in the way she speaks to it.

Her most recent contribution to the conversation entitled, “How to Evangelize Friends Identifying as LGBTQ,” began tantalizingly:

What if your daughter, raised in a Christian home, returns from college radicalized by the LGBTQ community? What if she comes out as pansexual and tells you in no uncertain terms that it is her way or the highway? What if you discover that your most obedient and faithful daughter, the one you never had to worry about with boys or drugs or reckless bad-choice making, has been struggling with same-sex attraction since she was 12?

Personally I’ve received so many communications from people asking these very questions.  And in this piece Butterfield writes to those who feel ashamed to admit that they are torn between their faith and their child. 

She writes to those who don’t want to ask elders or pastors how to deal with their struggle because they don’t want to be isolated within their church. 

She writes to those who see the battle of those within their congregation who are same-sex attracted but trying to live celibate and in the culture of the church rather than the world. 

She writes to those who are tired hearing people make weak, strawman arguments against homosexuality instead of arguments for Jesus. 

She writes to those who themselves are same-sex attracted.

If you fit into any of these categories or know someone who does, this article is a must-read.  In a powerful, convicting way, Butterfield argues for this core Christian response to our LGBTQ friends:

If this is your burden, then the Bible has the answer for it: the practice of daily, ordinary, radical hospitality…

This is the best way that I know of to evangelize your LGBTQ neighbors—and everyone else. To live communally as Bible-believing Christians who care for each other in body and soul. To live openly, such that you know each other well enough to know each other’s sin patterns and temptations. To be a community where everyone is repenting of something all the time. To be a community where Christ could come, eat, wash his feet, and lay down his head. To be a community where hard conversations are had over warm soup and fresh bread.

You see, two hours on a Sunday morning and two hours at a small group on Tuesday night is not enough. God so loves you that he wants you to live 24/7 as a Christ follower, doing the will of God from the heart and the home.

She makes an amazing case – simplistic but profound.  If you want to evangelize LGBTQ neighbors, realize that Christ “puts the lonely in families” and we’ve been called to be that family.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 07:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email