A few years ago, I did a series on homosexuality. I’m going to link a few of the posts below. This week, I hope to summarize a couple of these posts and reframe them in the context of transgender issues. I have no answers, but hope to shed some light on the topic from past research.
My first exposure to someone who openly announced their homosexuality was in college. The editor of the college newspaper wrote an editorial about being gay. He was gay and compared being gay to being left-handed. Being gay was not what the majority of people were (just like being left-handed) and there was nothing he could do about it (just like being left-handed.) The editorial created a firestorm on campus because he was proposing acceptance for an openly gay club.
In the past year, Jonathan Merritt, a Baptist from Georgia, wrote an article describing an interview with the president of Southern Seminary, Dr. Al Mohler. Jonathan quoted Dr. Mohler as saying to him, “We’ve (Southern Baptists) lied about the nature of homosexuality and have practiced what can only be described as homophobia… We’ve used the choice language when it is clear that sexual orientation is a deep inner struggle and not merely a matter of choice.”
At the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix, AZ in 2011, Dr. Mohler was asked about that statement in front of the convention messengers. He was asked if he actually used those words. Dr. Mohler responded that he did make those statements. He went on to say, “When I was asked that question, I believe then and now, that we are to speak the truth about homosexuality, but we are also called to minister to even militant groups of homosexuals. The reality is that we as Christian churches have not done well on this issue. If we do not admit that it is to our shame.”
Al Mohler got it right both in the interview and in his response to the question. And I applaud him for it!
Homosexuality, as I said in my last post, appears to have no singular cause. For this reason, we can’t necessarily say that a person was born gay nor can we say with certainty they they simply chose to be gay. One is considered physiological, while the other is preferential. Christians tend to believe it is a person’s choice – his or her preference.
Some people do just chose to practice homosexual behavior. However, there is no simple answer for the entire population at large.
Getting to the specifics of what causes homosexuality, though difficult, need to be understood by the larger Christian community. It is not as simple as we may want to make it sound.
I want to share some aspects of the research into the causes of homosexuality that show it’s difficulty. Continue Reading …
Readers Without Borders: What killed the big-box retailer? Hint: It wasn’t the Internet.
Borders Books is closing all its stores after not being able to find a partner to help it out of bankruptcy. What killed it?
The company itself gave three reasons for its demise in its corporate communication-cum-suicide note. “We were all working hard towards a different outcome,” President Mike Edwards said. “[B]ut the headwinds we have been facing for quite some time, including the rapidly changing book industry, e-reader revolution and turbulent economy, have brought us to where we are now.”
That is not a very satisfying answer. Other companies have adapted to the e-reader revolution, and even benefited from it. Other companies have changed to fit the new bookselling paradigm. And other companies are dealing with the drawn-out aftereffects of the recession. The better reason for its demise is that Borders had long lost its competitive edge on many fronts, from corporate strategy to coffee. It died by a thousand–OK, maybe just four or five–self-inflicted paper cuts.
GOAL-SETTING: THE 90-DAY CHALLENGE
The former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers describes his 90 day goal challenge:
I have been setting goals in one form or another for years. Every now and then, I stumble across an old list of goals. I am always fascinated by how many of the things I write down come to pass. And, I must confess, it often happens despite the fact that I do nothing more than write it down. The magic of this is all explained in a very compelling book by Henriette Klauser called Write It Down, Make It Happen.
Even if you don’t create an action plan for each goal and work your plan, there is tremendous power in simply identifying what you want and focusing some thought on the outcome.
As Christians, we have historically treated homosexuality as a choice, something a sinful person decides to engage in. This mindset does not take into account the complexities of sin. All sin is a reflection of our brokenness that comes from the Fall in Genesis 3. But sin is not just a choice; sin also is an expression of hurt, pain, habit and/or need that arises from living in a broken world.
For instance, alcoholism is symptom of hurt, pain, or a need. So is food addiction. So is anger.
Sin has psychological, sociological, and physiological causes that result from living in a broken world.
So what causes someone to be gay?
Originally thought by the American Psychological Association (APA) to be a mental disorder, research into its causes, origins, and development have consequently led to its removal by the APA from its list of diagnoses and disorders. The current debate is whether or not homosexuality is a result of nature: a person’s environment and surroundings, or of his biology and genetics. The debate endures because both sides have the ability to create a scientific environment to support their cause.
Unfortunately, no one theory or experiment leads to a definitive answer.
The best of science struggles to even figure out what causes sexuality. Therefore, it is best to consider that sexual orientation, whether homosexual or heterosexual; gay, straight, lesbian, or bisexual, all are a cause of a complex interaction between environmental, cognitive, and anatomical factors, shaping the individual at an early age.
In my next post, I will look at some of the physiological and biological issues that lead to sexual orientation.
I had intended to begin this series earlier in the week but got delayed by some more research and reading and thought it best to wait. So today I start looking at the issue of homosexuality.
This will be one of the most important topics for discussion the church will engage in over the next decade I believe. How will we minister to homosexuals? The question is not if we will minister to the homosexual community, the question is when and how. And that is much of what I want to address.
To understand how we can minister to them, however, we need to understand this community. To do that, I want to explore in the next post various views about how one becomes a homosexual. But first, I want to explore for a moment gender and sex in the Bible, specifically related to creation. We will begin in Genesis 1-2. The following is an adaptation from Scot McKnight‘s book The Blue Parakeet.
There are two major cultural issues being debated in the US at this time: homosexual marriage and immigration. Starting next week, I want to begin exploring the issue of homosexuality and homosexual marriage.
My intention is to discuss at least the following topics:
- Categories of sexual orientation
- The causes of homosexuality
- Homosexuality and Darwinism
- Cultural history of homosexuality
- Homosexuality and the Bible
- Homosexuality as sin
- Marriage versus Civil Unions
I had hoped to have a blogging discussion with a friend who teaches at a college and promotes homosexuality and bi-sexuality. However, I could not get a response from my friend and so I have decided to simply begin the discussion anyway.
This will not be a detailed, scientific discussion, but one more general in nature. I intend, however, to be thorough when necessary.
I will go on record now and say that I do believe homosexuality is wrong. However, in my posts (and I expect this as well in the comment areas), I will be respectful and take the mentality of an explorer, asking questions and seeking answers.
I hope this spurs honest discussion and that we can engage people respectfully and lovingly.