Much to the dismay of many of my Evangelical brethren, I read the Huffington Post.  I read it not because I lean one way or the other politically, but instead, because I like to read the Huffington Post.  The format intrigues me, being part news reporting, part cultural commentary.

Lately, I’ve read a good deal written about the cultural clash of Christianity and human sexuality that is occurring in our time today.  The Anglican Communion has struggled with this issue for years now, and the denomination has seen itself split over the matter of whether or not homosexuals should or shouldn’t be ordained into ministry.  Rowan Williams, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, straddled the fence between both sides as long as he could, and lost a battle that couldn’t be won…The Church of England is a divided entity.

The Anglicans aren’t alone.  The Presbyterians and Lutherans in the U.S. have both divided, at least in part, over the matter of human sexuality.  The United Methodist Church has long taken the stance that they welcome homosexuals into their congregations, but that they do not consider the homosexual lifestyle to be in accordance with Holy Scripture.  Despite a great deal of protest and disruption of their recent General Conference, they held fast to that conviction.  Who knows what lies ahead for those who are dissatisfied with the UMC?  When the Episcopal Church ordained Eugene Robinson in 2003 as its first openly gay bishop, theologically conservative groups splintered off, many of whom would eventually to come back together as the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).  Will the more theologically liberal Methodists break off, or continue to press on toward having the UMC fully accept their ideas?  Could we be on the verge of seeing yet another serious schism in American Christianity?

I’m not really writing this to debate whether homosexuality is a sin. It is.  The Bible also contains a pretty lengthy list of laws that I personally am really good at breaking, so I am definitely not casting stones here.

I also believe that scripture is clear that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, without narrowly defining who our neighbors are….regardless of sexual orientation, race, political affiliation, or whether you’re a Georgia Bulldog or Florida Gator fan (I know, that’s a stretch.  Personally, I believe the doctrine of purgatory was developed with UF fans in mind…).

My purpose today isn’t to debate, but to post some thoughts that I hope would be compelling to both sides of the argument.  Here we go…

“The soul that would preserve its peace, when another’s sin is brought to mind, must fly from it as from the pains of hell, looking to God for help against it. To consider the sins of other people will produce a thick film over the eyes of our soul, and prevent us for the time being from seeing the ‘fair beauty of the Lord’– unless, that is, we look at them contrite along with the sinner, being sorry with and for him, and yearning over him for God. Without this it can only harm, disturb, and hinder the soul who considers them. I gathered all this from the revelation about compassion…This blessed friend is Jesus; it is his will and plan that we hang on to him, and hold tight always, in whatever circumstances; for whether we are filthy or clean is all the same to his love.” 

+Lady Julian of Norwich+