Forgot to mention last week that I also recently read Wesley Hill’s Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality. I highly recommend it.
Hill is a homosexual Christian: someone who is attracted to those of the same sex but accepts the Bible’s and the church’s teaching that homosexual behavior is wrong. So he believes that unless God changes his orientation, he’s called to a life of celibacy. Hill doesn’t spend much time arguing for this traditional view; his focus is on what it means for him to live in this tension.
One of Hill’s goals is to encourage other Christians with same-sex desires to talk openly about their struggles. I hope this happens. For me, as a straight Christian and especially as a pastor, it was important to hear what life is like for some of our brothers and sisters. It hurt to begin to get a sense of the loneliness Hill feels– the desire for intimacy that we all share, without even the potential for legitimate experience of it.
The Gospel makes hard demands on all of us. But we need to acknowledge that some of us have especially tough challenges as we seek to live in obedience to God’s word. That’s the case for those with same-sex attraction. We need to stand with those who feel these strong desires, listen to their stories, be patient with their struggles, encourage them with the Word, and welcome them as part of our churches and communities.