a homosexuality post-script & conclusion

Most of last week on this blog was spent discussing some recent “conversations” about the Evangelical church’s relationship with the homosexual community. I first addressed conservatives, and then progressives (as well as some thoughts on the “willful persistence in sin” comment I hear from conservatives a lot). This week, we move on. But not yet. In response to some of the ways people have responded to these posts, I felt I needed to write this.

In conclusion to it all…

These posts I’ve written got a lot of circulation around the web (and to those who commented/posted links, I thank you), and so for anyone that runs across them, I want to make something clear:

It might seem odd that I’ve typed far more words and dripped more sarcasm in attacking the more conservative side of this issue, all while ultimately agreeing more with them at the end of the day. In the end, even with all of my many theological and social disagreements, I cast my lot with them, even though I know most of them would not have me.

These posts, hopefully, have been written in the same spirit as Mark Noll’s blistering attack on Evangelical anti-intellectualism, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, which he calls “an epistle from a wounded lover”.
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Some critical words for the Left on Gay Reparative Therapy (ii)

Update II: I posted some important final words on these posts.

Yesterday I began giving some of my thoughts on Exodus International‘s recent repudiation of gay “Conversion Therapy” that was supposed to have “cured” gays of their homosexuality. I began by talking about my experience reading the primary text on this type of therapy in college, and then I criticized some of the common thinking of those on the more conservative side of the spectrum when it comes to this topic, especially how Evangelicals have reacted to Exodus International’s President, Alan Chambers. I also wrote some further thoughts responding to some questions about “homosexuals ‘persisting’ in their ‘sin'” (Update: I clarified some thoughts on that post).

But today, I’ve got some words for the Left…
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some brief thoughts on “willful persistence in sin” & homosexuality

Update III: I posted some final thoughts on these posts.

Update II: In some commenting I did on facebook, I feel I communicated myself more clearly on a couple of issues than I did on this post. So, below, you’ll find those clearer comments, edited for your consideration.

Update: The second and final part of these posts is up.

In response to my post earlier today on Exodus International’s decision to move away from “conversion therapy” of homosexuals, in which I criticized many more conservative reactions (don’t worry, you progressives will get your due tomorrow, haha). A couple of comments, messages, and such have asked me about that classic Evangelical formulation that homosexuals that “persist in their sin” or “walk in deliberate willful disobedience” cannot be “saved”.  (This idea is based on some parts of 1 John, but that application of those verses has too many interpretive issues to go into here, as I type on my phone. Suffice it to say, though, that it’s a bad application and doesn’t naturally flow from the text).

Anyway, back to the question.

Life is much more complicated than those simplistic categories of “willful”, “deliberate”, and “persistent” (and “sin”, frankly). Being in counseling myself, and being a counselor, this whole “willful disobedience” thing is much grayer than that articulation implies.

What do you do with pastors that are irresponsible in their preaching and “pastoring”, and even in light of SO many other believers telling them they are wrong, disobedient, harmful, and sinfully relating to their people, they “wilfully persist” in that? What about all of us Christians that “willfully persist” in driving even 5 mph above the speed limit? What about the person in the church that never stops gossiping, even in spite of sitting in sermon after sermon on the topic? Or all the southern and midwestern christians that “wilfully persist” in their gluttony?
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Exodus International is Right on Gay Reparative Therapy (i)

Update III: I wrote some final thoughts on these posts.

Update II: The second part of this post is up.

Update: I wrote some brief thoughts on a frequent reply I’ve received to this post: “what about gays that are wilfully and persistently disobedient in their sin?” Check it out.

Why on earth am I writing such lose-lose posts as these? I have no idea. Well, here we go.

Last week, Exodus International, one of the biggest and most-well-known Evangelical ministries to homosexuals, came out against what’s called “Reparative Therapy” or “Conversion Therapy”. The New York Times had a big write-up on it (as well as NPR) and an interview with Alan Chambers, the President of Exodus International. And now the whole news cycle is all a-flutter over this. Right when I think the story is dead, I see another headline about “rifts” forming in the Evangelical community and such.

Reading these articles has made me so frustrated with both the Right and the Left in their treatment of this discussion. There’s so much to say, I apologize for the lack of flow or organization that follows.

There are some really important things that seem to be getting lost in this discussion–on both sides.

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