by John Hrschonovich
I’ve followed conversations between conservative Christians and the LGBT+ community for some time. As a millennial, I’ve grown up knowing many friends in the LGBT+ world.
I listen to language and I still hear folks mishearing each other. From the conservative Christian, the LGBT+ world and many who do not share a Christian faith are wondering, will you account for the harm that you’ve done to the communities at hand. How will you justify your bigotry? Why do you think your morally superior to the rest of us.
I’ve felt that tug and sting. How do I describe and defend my views?
So here’s my take. If I was asked what do conservative Christian believe about sexuality and marriage, here’s what I’d say.
Christians believe you have profound inner dignity, but we also have a rather narrow view of sexual acts. Not personal dispositions or ones sense of ones self, but the literal sexual acts.
Christians have a rather defined view about these. We believe that sexual acts when they are not well bounded have a disproportionate impact on the inner life of the person. We believe that sexual appetite is linked to many other kinds of sin and passions, passions which degrade the inner life of a man and make him much less peaceful and whole.
Because of that Christians believe in a sort of sobriety and moderation when it comes to sexual acts. We also believe in calmly interacting with how we are physically made, but believe that becomes more possible in a safe and not overly sensual context. Sensuality is good and health, but in the right context.
Marriage is not a place for ones fantasies or pornographic life to be lived out in as much as the sensuality of marriage is grounds for a kind of intimacy, not the only kind, but a kind with certain healthy contexts.
Sexual acts do facilitate intimacy and union with the other. This in some ways is a profoundly spiritual and physical act and therefore has to be bound into the context of marriage between a man and a woman. This is the one place, Christians believe sexual acts can be well bounded, but kept within an appropriate sobriety and healthy moderation.
This has been a Christian ethic that has distinguished itself in a wide range of historic contexts. The pagan world was filled with religions focused on sex, and many Christian times of renewal ave been ingrained with a sort of sobriety in sexual acts. This is a hallmark of Christian understanding though very unevenly applied in the present age.
Why all this downcast view on sexual acts? Holiness.
God calls Christians to a level of inward holiness and wholeness. To be filled with the Holy Spirit and to have an outward life that matches the changes going on in the inner life.
This is the Christian ethic, and it is a very high calling.
Sexual acts are not the fulfillment of human existence, intimacy with Christ is. And that intimacy is available to all. Single and married. We are called to cultivate a sort of inner chastity with our sexual acts, but we are also given a sort of innate creativity on loving God and neighbor. We all have felt needs for close relationships, but it’s only in the context of holiness that the virtues of love, kindness, and the fruits of the spirit can flourish within a God enabled familial context.
Scripture is filled with this imagery. Jesus himself says “those who do my will are my brothers, sisters, and mother.” We are called into a new family, but sadly this isn’t the state of many Christian relationships of any sort, but it is the reality and promise of those who follow along the Christian way.
The important thing to know if your are LGBT+ is that God will account for harm and misery and any acts of injustice that have been committed against you, he cares about your story and wounds much better than any person could or can.
Any sense where you have been shunned by family and friends that will be accounted for. God is not afraid of you, your acts or where you are in life and that’s true of you and me. I have no superior position.
He invites you and all people into a life with Christ. A life of holiness and inner sobriety. That’s a journey, like all Christian journeys that are filled with difficulties, but also filled with profound hope and life.
In short. It’s time to regain a more fully Christian and historic view of the role of sexual acts and their proper place in the life of the believer married and not.
All are welcome to enter into the Christian life and walk along this path, a path filled with mercy and grace.