“Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?”
This statement created quite an uproar in the media. While homosexual rights advocates touted this as wonderful progressive movement for the church, many conservative bishops found the statement problematic, and did not mesh with Catholic doctrine.
Yet, I find the statement compelling. Now, again, please don’t think me some kind of heretic because I do believe that homosexuality is a sin, and I consider homosexual marriage to be something that, which outside the sphere of the Scriptures, also is problematic for society as a whole. That being said, I think the statement above reveals something that we’ve failed to grasp before: that we’re all sinners, and if we are allowed in the church, why not homosexuals?
Now, part of the problem that we have is that we tend to lump three distinct issues together under one term: homosexual. We need to though, differentiate between homosexual orientation or proclivity, homosexual acts, and homosexual lust. Clearly Scripture presents for us that homosexual acts are outside of the scope of Christianity. We also know that lust in all its forms is also outside of the scope of Christianity. Yet, people with a proclivity to homosexuality, or that have a homosexual orientation, are simply like everyone else: sinners.
So, we all have proclivities to sin. And your proclivity to sin may not be the same proclivity that I have. Whether we call it an orientation or a sin nature is moot. The reality is, all of us have a sin nature that condemns all of us, and some of us are drawn into different areas of sin than others. And it is at that point, people who struggle with homosexual orientation or proclivity should certainly be welcome in the body of Christ. Why? Because people with a proclivity to lust are welcome in the body of Christ. People with a proclivity to theft are welcome in the body of Christ. Some people may always struggle with one particular area of sin. We know that Jesus tells us to go and sin no longer, yet we are aware the old man still lives within us.
So, someone who struggles with homosexual tendencies, orientation, proclivity, or whatever we want to call it, that has come to Jesus Christ may never fully have that proclivity removed from them this side of glory. As long as they restrain from engaging in sin then why would they be not welcome in the church of Jesus Christ? Christ has welcomed us with all of our sinful proclivities and orientations? Why wouldn’t he welcome the person that struggles with homosexuality.
So, homosexuals do have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community. Just like adulterers, thieves, liars, and gossips do. We should be capable of welcoming these people and guaranteeing to them our fraternal space in our community. Why wouldn’t we welcome them with open arms as we do all people, “sinner, come home!”
Friends, all of us have a sinful “orientation”. But God doesn’t seem fit to remove it from us at salvation. Neither the homosexual. Our doors should be open wide and we should be warm and welcoming to all people, just like us: sinners saved by grace.
For the best book on how to minister to homosexuals, please consider, Compassion without Compromise by Adam Barr and Ron Citlau.