When my son came out he told me he had come to the conclusion that the bible did not condemn loving, committed same sex relationships.
I fully expected to be able to prove him wrong.
I was accustomed to “studying” scripture as I taught women’s bible studies for years. I knew what it meant to dig into original language and consider the historical context of the verses I was studying.
I was shocked to find that my son was right … none of the “clobber” verses were speaking about a loving, monogamous, healthy same sex relationship.
In fact, after a lot of studying and searching I had to admit there was no sufficient evidence in scripture that “clearly” condemned or supported same sex relationships.
One would have to put their integrity at stake and make scripture say more than it does in order to claim that scripture clearly condemns or supports same sex relationships.
(I could go into greater detail here about what I found and didn’t find in scripture, but instead I would like to share a link to a message by Pastor Stan Mitchell of GracePoint Church in Franklin, TN. The message is “Dialogue On Full Sacramental LGBT Inclusion.” This message includes almost everything I discovered in my own journey. I personally think this should be required listening for all Christians living in 2015 but I will just say “if you are a Christian who loves anyone – ANYONE – who is LGBT, you should take the time to listen to this message right away.”)
In light of discovering there was insufficient evidence in scripture to condemn same sex relationships I then had to ask myself, “What should I do?” and “How should I respond to something if scripture doesn’t clearly condemn or support it?”
The only thing I could think is I needed to find out if there was any evidence to indicate same sex relationships hurt people.
I searched and I couldn’t find that kind of evidence either – in fact, the evidence I discovered showed healthy same sex relationships had the same healthy effect on individuals and society as opposite sex relationships have on individuals and society.
Two more things happened which ended up playing a significant role in my journey.
First, I ran across this quote:
“A traditional religious belief is that “grace builds on nature,” in other words religious life depends on a good foundation in human health. Therefore we can legitimately evaluate the validity of a religious belief system by its psychological consequences. Good theology will result in good psychology and vice versa. Accordingly, bad theology will have negative psychological consequences. This is nothing more than an application of the biblical norm: “You will be able to tell them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16) If Saint Irenaeus proclaimed, the glory of God is humans FULLY ALIVE [emphasis mine], then clearly a belief system that results in the destruction of human health cannot serve the glory of God.” ~Dr. John J. McNeill
And second, I kept bumping into Micah 6:8:
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
The quote by Dr. McNeill made so much sense to me and supported what I had always believed in my heart … which was the tenets and beliefs of Christianity should mostly lead to a person’s health and wholeness. In other words, our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health should all be “better” if we are embracing good theology. Like Dr. McNeill explained, good and right theology should mostly lead to good psychology (good fruit).
As I considered this idea I began to understand that when our theology about something is resulting in a lot of bad fruit or bad psychology – such as hopelessness, depression, self hate and self harm – we have an obligation to re-examine what we believe and ask ourselves why we believe it.
And Micah 6:8 became like a guiding light for my journey. The words reminded me that justice (doing what is right) is a very high priority to God and led me to ask, “What would it look like, in light of what I have discovered, to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God?”
Everything combined together led me to the conclusion that it would be unjust, and lack mercy and humility, to condemn a loving, monogamous same sex relationship.
There was nothing in scripture to clearly mandate the condemnation of same sex relationships, there was no evidence that same sex relationships caused harm to anyone (in fact, the opposite was true) and the theological position of condemning same sex relationships was not producing good psychology (good fruit).
Those things together have given me peace in my heart about being a Christian who affirms same sex relationships. Those things have led me to believe that condemning same sex relationships is a sin.
The transition didn’t happen overnight. Although I was able to see right away that what I had believed wasn’t right, it actually took somewhere between one and two years of study, prayer, learning, listening and thinking for me to officially change my position/belief.
I’ve been accused of letting my love for my son blind me to the truth, but nothing could be further from the truth. My love for my son made me study more than ever, it caused me to ask tougher questions and to carefully consider all the evidence before me. I love my son too much to mislead him in the wrong direction if I can help it.
I’ve been accused of disregarding scripture and the Christian faith, but nothing could be further from the truth. My high view of scripture, my determination to not make scripture say more than it says, my commitment to study in a thorough manner, my deep devotion to being a follower of Christ and to do my best to live into the kind of radical love that he demonstrated and calls me to imitate … those things have led and guided me to where I am today regarding same sex marriage. I do not affirm same sex relationships in spite of my faith. I affirm same sex relationships because of my faith.
And as I have talked to other Christian mothers of LGBT kids I have witnessed them going through the same sort of process … digging deep, not accepting easy answers, wanting to make sure as much as possible.
As mothers our love doesn’t let us off the hook … instead, it is the reason we must be even more resolute and thorough. Our love is that great.