“This year…”

As we start this new year, I am–to some extent–reminded of a Jewish tradition…that at the end of each Passover, this phrase of longing is said: “Next year in Jerusalem…”

Each new year for the last several years, I have found myself at least internally saying, “This year in my faith home…” and yet I still find myself waiting.

Far too often I hear friends…brothers and sisters in my faith tradition…good people in other traditions…say something like this: “Of course I love you…” or “Yes, I want you to be part of my faith tradition…” or “You have a wonderful ministry to offer…”. Yet there is always something left hanging–a large “but” that usually goes something like “…but you need to change in some way”–and far too often, the change that is required is one that requires an individual to negate part of themselves.

No, I am not a member of the LGBT community–but I am happily married to a wonderful bisexual man who struggled for years, holding that secret even from me, believing that if he shared who he really was, he would not be accepted.

I have a homosexual brother who struggled for years with that secret, trying desperately to change in order to be who he thought he needed to be in order to be accepted…and who finally could no longer live that way. He is now happily married to a wonderful husband.

“The Bible says…” What does it really say?

Yes, there’s a whole section of laws that at one time were required to be followed in order to be a member in good standing. But most of them are not considered applicable today–only a few that are used to require individuals to negate who they find themselves loving. Many of us like a good BLT sandwich…or play football…or wear clothing made of mixed fibers…or like shellfish. Doing that doesn’t put us on the outside. But woe to us if we fall in love with someone of the same sex! All of that is part of the same section of laws–why pick and choose?

Yes, there’s a lot in the Bible dealing with sex in one form or another, but it is based on an understanding of human sexuality that is so different from what we now understand! Our understanding has even changed within the last 200 years, much less the last 2000.

I hear so many references to “Biblical marriage”–but which type of marriage is being referred to? There are at least eight different types of “Biblical marriage”:

biblical-marriage

For many of us who say we are Christians, what did Christ say about issues of sexuality? Not much! If loving someone of the same sex was so wrong, why didn’t he say anything about it? He certainly wasn’t shy about speaking about other issues he felt strongly about.

And so I return to my hope for this year…will this be the year that each of us will be willing to focus on our own relationship with God? to listen to each other? to learn from each other? to say to each other, “Of course you are welcome! Of course you have ministry to offer! Of course I love you!”…and let that be the complete sentence?

I hope so.

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