Thursday, Rod Dreher wrote a blog piece “Queers vs. Conservative Christians.” It is a personal tale, ending in an open question. Dreher reflects on the extremely wide rhetorical gap between the groups and wonders how to bridge it. His reflections are entirely reminiscent of countless conversations I have had not just with LGBT friends and acquaintances, but with other Christians as we discussed how to best approach the situation.
It is tempting to dive right in and lay out points I have made in other contexts, but it occurs to me that to do so this morning would be mostly to enjoy the sound of my own voice. I have made the points often enough to know that people either agree with them or they don’t and saying them is more of a measuring stick than an argument.
Dreher concedes the differences are irreconcilable and seeks to know how to appreciate the humanity of the opponent in such circumstances. My initial response is that if you are on the Christian side and that does not come naturally then you need to reexamine your faith – carefully. My concern is a bit different, my concern is for the soul of the opponent. I’m not just talking about eternal damnation here – I listen to their arguments and I look at their lives and I hurt for them. A gay friend once told me he was just trying “to do his best with the hand he had been dealt.” He was, I think, trying to justify his life. It was a mournful statement to my ears – speaking of concession, not victory.
I do not think there is a rhetorical solution to the debate that is front of us at this moment. I don’t know what the future holds on this issue. I think the answer for the Christian is faithfulness. Faithfulness in both our understanding of the consequences of our sinful nature in our lives and in our reflection of the love of God – a love so massive and complete that God died and was resurrected in expression of it. That seems an impossibility, but as Isaiah tells us God says:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”