Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Search for Truth

An article was featured in my university's newspaper this morning about a woman who converted to paganism in a quest for the truth.  You can read the original article here: "Woman Converts to Witchcraft in Search of Answers"

I have a couple of observations before I get into the meat of this blog post.  First, I dislike the title.  It is sensationalist and misrepresents the article in order to make it seem more scandalous.  Second, I think Xaos Giovanni is very brave to allow this article to be written about her.  No doubt there will be a few people who try to evangelize her because of this.  From what I read about her, she welcomes these conversations as an opportunity to have an authentic dialogue about faith.  I admire her boldness.

Giovanni's example reminded me of something I often hear as a Catholic convert.  Usually when my choice comes up in conversation, the other person will say something along the lines of, "Well, if Catholicism works for you, then good for you." 

This sentiment shows a very wrong understanding of what it means to search for truth, and I believe every human being is called to search for truth.  This search is not about finding what works for you or what is convenient.  It is about finding what is true.  I can't think of any other way to say that.

The Truth (with a capital T) is by it's very nature inconvenient.  Searching for Truth has caused me to join a new community (and I'm a shy person); it causes me to devote hours of my time to prayer and worship; it causes me to love people I'd rather avoid; it causes me to write this blog post when I'd rather be eating lunch.  My sacrifices are tiny.  The search for the Truth has led people to live and it has led people to die.

I think the search is worth the cost.  Maybe I think that because I haven't been called to any great sacrifices.  However, whether it is worth it or not is not even a relevant question.  We do not get to decide what is real and what isn't.

So, Catholicism is inconvenient, but it is the most true thing I have yet to find.  I don't know Giovanni's heart, but someday I hope to meet her in Heaven and I hope that we can both say to each other, "I did my best to seek God and love others, and only by His Grace we made it."

Friday, April 6, 2012

An outstretched hand to homosexual Christians

I expect to get a lot of dissenting comments on this post.  I especially expect to get a lot of comments saying that I don't understand.  I don't, at least not fully.  I am attracted to people of the opposite sex (which has come with problems of its own, believe me).  Please know that I am attempting to write this with the utmost charity and that there are many people who I love very much who have identified themselves as homosexual.  I'm sure there are many more who have not chosen to open up to me in this way.

I recently read an article posted by a friend: "I'm a Christian Unless You're Gay".  There was also a blog recently started by a young man at my university to combat the anti-gay culture here: The Voice of a Baylor Gay.

Both of these men bring up great points.  The most important one is that, as Christians we should love others as Christ loved us.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  Our call to love others does not stop when we encounter someone who is different, counter-cultural, or sinning.  If we really examined our hearts, then we too should walk away like the pharisees did when Jesus said that he who is without sin can throw the first stone at the woman.

That being said, I do believe that choosing to have sex with someone of the same sex is a sin.

Before you start to write your comment, please notice that my definition of this particular sin is very strict and narrow.  I'm not sure if my view is orthodox or not, so I would encourage readers to do further research.

The Biblical proof texts (I hate proof texts because they can be so easily taken out of context) against homosexuality are found in Leviticus 20:13 "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.  They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." (NIV) (this is part of a list of laws concerning sexuality, also listed here are laws about bestiality, incest, pedophilia, adultery, and rape) and also in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And that is what some of you were.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."  (NIV) I'm sure anyone who is interested enough in this blog post to read this far has had one or both of these verses quoted at them at some point.

The thing which jumps out the most to me in those verses is that it does not say that those who are sexually attracted to others of the same sex are in sin, it does not even say that those who are in love with someone of the same sex are in sin.  However it does very clearly point out that choosing to have sex with someone of the same sex is a sin.  "Homosexual offenders" have committed sin, homosexuals have not (at least not for being homosexual).

That being said, there is a particular sin which we are all susceptible to, which is lust, or the sexual objectification of another (of any sex).  Sexual fantasies, pornography, even rude comments, looking on another person as a possible object of sexual gratification.  All of our stones should drop to the ground.  This deserves a post of its own.

So, what to do.  I don't know.  Again, I'd like to, like Jesus, propose love.  But I'd also like to make one more point.  Adulterers, divorcees, fornicators, all pass though our chapels.  We all struggle with lust in some way.  Most people go unnoticed.  Homosexual offenders have committed sin, yes, but so have these others. None of them should be excluded.  We need to talk about this, we need to hold each other accountable.  I'm not saying the Church should relax her teachings because they make some people uncomfortable, but our ultimate calling is love.