Sexual Identity

(PS:  New theme for new year!  I don’t think I’ll be in the habit of changing a new theme every year, but anyone who knows me also knows that I like many types of art and art graphics is one of them.  If I ever get my hands on a personal domain, I will spend quite a while on the custom art!  I hope this theme is easy on the eyes for the readers, because my previous theme’s font was a bit small (It would be OK if I was writing short posts like this one, but that is rare given the biblical commentary nature of this blog))

In response to Glen’s posts on science and cosmology, it is no doubt apparent that Christ has claim over all aspects of life, along with the famous (perhaps overused but there’s a reason for that) quote by Abraham Kuyper:

There is not a square inch
in the whole domain of our human existence
over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all,
does not cry: ‘Mine!’

Over the past few months I’ve increasingly seen the use of Facebook for several purposes, one of which is the outbursts of truth statements made on people’s walls, ‘about page’ just the same way Christians use theirs (I’ll get onto that perhaps another day). Many friends who proudly proclaim the rainbow banner (both Christian and non-Christian) tend to look at sexual identity in the following lines:

“It’s all about love really”
“It doesn’t say specifically that homosexuality is a sin”
“Christians who think that (‘insert thing which bugs the writer off the most’) is a sin is judgmental”

Now, I think there are several confusions here but it is perhaps too quick to just send off a general message to these people. Here are a few thoughts. The people who say these things may have:

  1. Been on the receiving end of some hurt from church or from Christians who have little faith in Christ (thus, having little good works to show it).
  2. Caricatured views of an unbiblical God from Christians who have bad theology (this includes an overemphasis of God’s love or overemphasis of God’s judgment without any reference to Christ and the glory, rather than shame, of the cross).
  3. In connection to point 2, a misunderstanding of the Christian life.  There are specific passages (namely Romans 1:18-32, that famed Leviticus 20:13, amongst others) which have meanings read into it which are grammatically and contextually out of place, especially those who claim that it refers to a particular strand of sexual immorality or homosexuality (c.f. Newsweek article).
  4. Been preached to ceaselessly about the sin of homosexuality (as opposed to other sins which are also very serious, and the Christians themselves have been hypocritical and overly forgiving of).  I could care less whether a non-Christian decides to be heterosexual or homosexual because we are not in the business of behaviour modification, but in changing the depths of people’s hearts in their willingness to become living sacrifices for Christ Jesus (Romans 12:2).

In societies like Hong Kong and certain parts of the Bible-belt in the States, it is extremely difficult to hold to one’s sexual identity without being immediately persecuted, either as failing to be a ‘man’ (e.g. under traditional Chinese patriarchal mode) or the old Adam married Eve, not Steve argument. Political stigma and drama doesn’t make it easier either.

The video clip I posted is a good example of Christians engaging with the homosexual pornographic community (brought to my attention from Paul Blackham’s ‘blog’ here). However, I can imagine all types of malarchy from people reading all types of things into the video so I want to make some things clear:

  • However much the video is about love and not about judgment, the very fact of the matter is that the ministry is reaching out to a community that already understands what it means to be guilt-racked by an impersonal deity. Surah 2 (Al Baqarah) of the Qu’ran makes a fine case of a God who preaches judgment without explaining how “He” can love and be merciful without any solution of doing away of one’s sins, save at “His” whim. That type of thing is so strong in people’s minds that they have forgotten the tender compassion of a Christian loving them without also being one of them.
  • This is not a message for a particular strand of homosexuality (i.e. homosexual porn) – this is a general message of Christian truth materialised through Christians living, rather than simply preaching like Jesus.
  • There should be no doubt as to the Christian stance throughout the video – we are not condoning homosexuality nor pornography, but we want to preach God’s redeeming and new creation love through our presence, in the light of God’s impending judgment on all who stand outside of Christ (homosexual or not!).
  • This deserves a fuller post (perhaps even a short essay!), but any Christian who is also homosexual, who believes that God did not state clearly enough whether homosexuality or pornography is a sin has forgotten or is unclear on his object of worship – beginning with the Holy Communion of Three Persons, not an impersonal monotheistic deity.

The clip is short, only about 10 or so mins long. The XXXchurch ministry is focused entirely on curing people of their porn addiction, which is a cultural problem in the wave of low (if at all!) internet censorship.  This does not stop people in China who have ways around web censorship; and this all stems from a heart problem since the fall of Adam.  If you happen to be struggling with this problem, keep looking to Christ and let the Spirit fill your heart with the love and glory of the cross where we find our pain is destroyed and our healing begins.

Gal 5:13-17  For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  (14)  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (15)  But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.  (16)  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  (17)  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

As a side note, specifically look out for the email from the organiser of the show to the XXXchurch ministry near the end of the clip which is particularly touching.

Sexual Identity