loving homosexuals as Jesus would.
urbana conference 06.
chad thompson, in his seminar “loving homosexuals as Jesus would,” shared his story of being a Christian yet struggling with homosexual desires. thompson made the distinction between homosexual attraction and homosexuality as an identity. his attraction began as an emotional desire for intimacy from a man, which was manifested in sexual desires for men in general. thompson claimed that homosexuality is not a sexual issue at all, but an emotional one that is simply played out sexually. thompson’s perspective is an interesting one, one who speaks from knowledge of the subject personally, yet from a Christian viewpoint as well. his unique perspective was one that was new to me, since i have never heard a Christian with homosexual desires publicly admit this struggle.
thompson proposed that we are naturally attracted to those different than ourselves, yet if meaningful same-sex relationships are not formed early in childhood development, then we will remain curious about the same sex. this, in some people, leads to homosexual desires as a means to fill the emotional void created. thompson gave evidence for these statements based on one source but it was simply asserted as fact. this may very well be the case but no empirical evidence was given to support his assumptions. my homosexual friends would fall into this assumption, each lacking meaningful same-sex relationships early on. therefore, i might also ascribe to this notion, but it would have been beneficial for these assumptions to be validated by concrete evidence.
thompson addressed the issue of how we, as Christians, can overcome homophobia. he suggested we demonstrate our love for homosexuals by serving them, such as at gay pride events. this suggestion really challenged my thinking since my church has always boycotted such events. i was challenged to think if my service at such events would prove support of the homosexual lifestyle or love of the individual. i came away thinking that it would prove to individuals, and to the entire community, Christ’s love as evidenced by my actions. in my relationships with homosexuals, the challenge here for me is to be involved in their lives…not just as individuals, but also in their community. i need to seek means to serve my friends in ways that would embrace them as individuals, showing my love and acceptance of them as they are, thus painting this same picture of a loving God.
thompson made the point that in order for foreign missionaries to engage the culture, they must be willing to learn the language and the culture of those to whom they are ministering. it is the same between Christians and homosexuals: we must learn gay language and culture. this challenge follows loving homosexuals as individuals. in my love for my homosexual friends, i should want to learn about them. i need to learn about the gay culture, which is foreign to me, and how i can best communicate with homosexuals. this is a challenge i am ready and willing to engage in; one that i will begin next week when i return to work alongside my co-workers who are homosexuals. i am willing to admit i am ignorant of the homosexual lifestyle, but i am ready and desire to learn. i want to be taught, not so that i can better evangelize my friends, but so that i can better love my friends, displaying Christ’s love to them.
a perspective such as thompson’s is a new one for me as i am surrounded by homosexuals in the workforce, who are not believers and who view their homosexuality as an identity. since this is the reason why i attended the seminar, it would have been beneficial to me if the dialogue were slanted toward those who are not believers. i am seeking to know how to truly embrace my homosexual friends as they are and how to share Christ’s love effectively. even though thompson did not devote his teaching to this, i did walk away with a new perspective and some practical ways to tangibly demonstrate Christ’s love to those struggling with homosexual desires and those embracing this identity.