Homospirituality

MP900227797The issue of homosexuality is a hot topic these days and stirs a wide spectrum of passion. There is no shortage of indignant outrage on the topic from within organized, conservative, evangelical, Christian, religion. I wrote this blog over two years ago, but thought in the light of current events, a revised reissue would be timely.

The essence of homosexuality is the desire for love, relationship, and sexual intimacy with someone sexually identical to one’s self, without the hard work of learning to love someone very different than one’s self, in very profound ways, 🙂 and without the pain, discomfort, and  inconvenience of the logical fruit of heterosexual intimacy: children.

Jesus made it clear that before we attempt to extract a splinter from someone else’s eye, we need to extract the log in our own. Western Evangelicalism has a very large log: homospirituality.

On any given Sunday, “Christians” will gather to “relate” with people identical to themselves. We tend to gravitate to those just like our selves: of the same doctrinal perspectives, ethnicity, cultural background,  socioeconomic status, and values, even though the scriptures say this should not be so. Some have said that “church hour” on a given Sunday is the most segregated hour of the week in our country.

We also tend to relate with just those who “think like we do.” The basis for denominational association is the demand for identical thought and theology. In some of the more dysfunctional groups, leaders prohibit individual members from associating with others, for fear of contamination through contact with someone who thinks differently. It is dressed up as “pastorally protecting the flock.” In reality it is: “We have the truth and no one else does, or at least we have it ‘better’ than everyone else, so you better stay with us, or you will be in grave spiritual jeopardy!”

We talk much of “intimacy with God.” The bulk of our worship services (especially in charismatic and apostolic/prophetic circles) is specifically designed to facilitate an intimate and personal God-encounter for those gathered. We pay tens of thousands of dollars for sound systems and salaries to enable the “worship team” to “create an atmosphere of intimacy.” (By the way, this a thoroughly pagan concept.).

In the natural, the logical fruit of relational intimacy with someone different than yourself is children. Children are inevitable, if  the relating adults are organically healthy and if no actions are taken to prevent conception. Such is the inherent power of life–inevitably.

What is the fruit of years of “intimacy” experienced in many of our “services”?

In many churches, a new convert has not been seen in years, or decades. I was in a meeting once (where the median age was 55+) where an elder told me that they did not want new converts in their “worship” gatherings, because they were the “Zadok priesthood” “ministering unto the Lord” in the Holy of Holies in their praise and worship, and the presence of a sinner would “ruin the anointing/presence,” (exact phrase). “After all, the person said, there can be no sin in the Most Holy Place. God was coming to inhabit our praises and establish His Holy of Holies among us [sic].” I wish I was joking or exaggerating. I am not. In effect, the presence of an unbeliever or new convert or “sinner”  . . .   “kills the mood”  . . . ruins my weekly Jesus buzz.

Good grief! Is that what we have come to? Is this the fruit of 40-50 years of “deeper-walk” and “restoration of Davidic worship” teaching? Disdain for the very ones who need the Lord? I wish I could tell you this sentiment is rare. It is not. So pathetic, and too common: homospiritual narcissism on steroids.

Not only are new converts frequently as rare as bacon at a bar mitzvah, but the social demographers tell us that overall, we are not even effective with our own natural children.  By the time they are 21 and “out of the house,” most will never serve the Lord a day again in their lives.  Fifty-nine percent of children disconnect either permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age 15. [2] Six out of eight (75%) Southern Baptist children raised in our churches have not been won to Christ by age 19 and are “lost to the Kingdom”. [Dr. Ed Young at SBC Pastors’ Conference, June 2006].

“Intimacy with God” has become for many, a theological fig leaf for week after week after week after week  of psychic stimulus in a group of people just like me. There is no reproduction—no fruit—no new life. We want the relational ecstasy of intimacy with God, but we are not so thrilled about what is supposed to result from intimacy: new births.

So let’s see . . . . . . . . . . . .

We have relationship with those just like us, we want intimacy with those same folks (and God), but we don’t want to work too hard at getting along with people who are very different, and we certainly don’t want to be inconvenienced with the responsibilities of guardianship and care for a new life.

And we are going to chastise the natural homosexuals? You’ve got to be kidding me! Fifty percent of evangelical pastor’s marriages end in divorce. Close to forty percent have had affairs. The divorce rate for Pentecostal Christians is forty-four percent. Atheists’ divorce rate is thirty-seven percent [1] . . . . and we are going to act all “morally outraged” at homosexuals? You’ve got to be kidding me.

The issue is not: “Homosexuality: right or wrong?”  The question is not whether  the “church” should speak out on the topic from a biblical perspective or not. Those questions can and should be debated.

The issue is entertaining the  same spirit, and even WORSE spirits,  among ourselves which renders our voice spiritually impotent. There’s no spiritual credibility or power behind our  indignant finger-pointing at the secular culture.

The issue is about having some self-reflective humility of ourselves individually and the church corporately, instead of moral indignation at our culture. Paul said he was not even concerned with judging those who were “without” the believing community, but that we should focus on judging ourselves!  (1 Cor. 5:12). My, how conservative evangelicalism has drifted! I agree with Paul! And Jesus! (See below).

The outrage and fervor on this issue is way out of proportion, and reeks of the rankest spiritual hypocrisy this side of hell. Jesus was very severe with conservative, pretentious, religious hypocrites.

I am not arguing for moral relativism or laxity. I am arguing for removing our beam before another’s splinter, and some self-reflection rather than finger pointing and outrage. I’m for identifying with “sinners” and laying our lives down for them in love, service, and truth, not just slinging “the Bible says” at them and expecting them to change because we have more political power and clout than they do, and we get our way when we win. Jesus’s kingdom is not based on power and coercive authority.

I once read a comment in a book by a well-known author who said: “When we [referring to evangelicals] “take over,” [referring to winning in politics, taking over all domains of culture, buying up real estate, etc.] then “they” [referring to those who do not adhere to biblical values] will have to do what we say!”

So, in the name of “biblical morality,” we are reduced to political power,  coercion by force, and MONEY, and this is Jesus’s way?!!? Is this way of agape and laying lives down for one’s enemies?  I think not. Sounds more like the Taliban to me. Sounds to me like an unholy alliance of the state and impotent church, trying to accomplish through the power of the state and mammon what only love and transformation of a human heart can do. Sounds like trying to do Christianity on the cheap to me.

Judgment must begin in the house of God if that judgment is to be endorsed by heaven’s authority. At the moment, even if our words and “doctrine” to the world are “right,” there is no authority from heaven backing them up, which makes them the ineffective clanging gongs and tinkling cymbals of crusading, right-wing, moralistic, religious zealots.

____________________

[1] Statistics compiled from:  Mike McManus,  Harriett McManus and Chuck Colson. Living Together: Risks, Myths, and Answers. Howard Books, 2008; Beyond all Limits by Bill Bright and James Davies. New Life Publications, Orlando, FL.

[2] Barna Group, September, 2011.

Copyright 2013 Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.  For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact stephcros9@aol.com.

13 comments on “Homospirituality

  1. Alright here goes….Easily the best blog I have ever read. And I don’t just mean Christian blog, I mean b-l-o-g period end of story. In terms of a blog about homosexuality in general (as you know Andrew absolutely ripped it up on that topic on The Bridge site recently…I mean I literally wept)…this….was simply the most direct, TRUE, and in my opinion most representative of how Jesus calls us to relate. Regardless of where a Christian would fall on this issue in terms of homosexuality, they’d be wisely served to read this before they stand up in front of others and address the question, or especially teach or preach on it. Of course it may be easier for them to just find a scripture and do the whole “routine” whilst butchering conext and ignoring the heart of the God they “serve.” Was just talking with Drew today about the fact that we even want to disciple in a sterile environment….people don’t want to spend time sharing the Gospel with people that are in their opinion rude, or difficult, or messy, or smell like beer, or smell like weed, or swear or are gay/lesbian or whatever…and I’m like “Thank God I have guys like Andrew and you to encourage me, because if I would have showed up in any of these other churches I’ve visited I would have been WAY TOO MESSY FOR THEM!!! I ask too many questions and I’m too rebellious LOL. Sometimes I think the reason homosexuality IS such a hot topic among Christians is the repentance issue. Someone who is a former adulterer for example, which is still sexual immorality, is someone who is typically either compelled to or forced to, admit their sin to the church…whereas people who may be openly homosexual, and are okay with that, aren’t giving the church any “victory” by being able to say they led someone to repent…Anyway, quite frankly Steve, at a minimum I am going to heartily recommend to every disciple I know that they read this, seek Christ in prayer about it, and then go teach their kids some real Gospel truth. Which is what I plan on doing right now…..errr in the morning when the kids wake up….thank you brother!

  2. Thank you Stephen. This one of the best I’ve read, people do forget that sin is sin. We are all guilty of sin and my sin is not less that the next person. Glad to have this perspective. Looking forward to your next visit to Spokane,Terry.

    • Hi Glenda, on second look I get what you are asking. This post is about contrasting spiritual versus natural. Natural: someone who is operating in the realm of time and space, the “natural” order, versus spiritual. That’s all it means. I don’t mean “according to nature.”

  3. Great post Steve. Thanks for reminding us about the sin of the “us and them” mentality – very timely for me as I’m studying about the God who showed up in Jesus riding on a donkey, not riding on a cloud of fury. The same God who ate and drank with sinners and then went to the cross shedding his blood for those who put him there. I for one am grateful that he did.

  4. good word, Steve. Thank you. I have FB friends who are strong homosexual bashers and even though the WORDS are true, the spirit behind it is so wrong and hateful and it always bothers me. It’s arrogance and hypocrisy, and as you’ve stated, looks like those Pharisees, whom Jesus was pretty tough with! I have a close family member who is living life as an open lesbian and it hurts to see her walk away from Truth. But at the same time, I see WHY….I know about the pain in her life. She is deceived, just as I’ve been in many areas in my life, as I’ve attempted to walk with Christ in a fallen world, with my own baggage and “blinders” on. I’ll confess, it’s hard to love her, because of our once close relationship and her open disregard for what used to be shared moral values, but I could not publicly mock her. I PRAY for her. And after reading this, I will remember again to ask God to show me where I need to come clean and repent!! Search MY heart, Lord!

  5. Hi. Thanks for a great and thought provoking article.
    Homosexuality – such an interesting topic. But you know what? It’s a sin, just like any other sin and we’re all sinners. I read a Readers Digest article a few years ago that said that 70% of Church going men – yep, 70% are frequenting porn sites on the internet. Why? Because we can. If we yell about homosexuals, then we should be yelling about addicted porn lovers or adulterers or …… any one of the other sins – but our church services would become very small indeed if we did.
    You are right, we should preach the Gospel of our Lord through loving actions. This world is crying out for action and love – it doesn’t care what you say, it’s what you do that counts. Invite ALL people to the service, not those that fit, ALL people. Let God work the miracles.

    Oh, last word, I play the Bass guitar in a contemporary band in a worship service. We have many people attending and our intimate setting is as far from Pagan as you can get. But that’s another topic for another day 🙂
    Thanks for the blog!
    Darren

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