Thinking Out Loud

September 8, 2011

Wrestling With The Gay Issue at Church: When Good is Not Good Enough

Filed under: issues — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:21 am

You may have noticed an item in the link list yesterday that looked like this:

The Salvation Army Captain in our area also happens to blog at Il Capitano Inquisitore. This week, he’s dealing with the contrast between the S.A.’s statement on gay and lesbian issues, and what it doesn’t say about when those same ‘welcomed’ people want to step into a leadership role. He tells me the comments pale in comparison to the off-the-blog mail…

As I read through some of the comments that have been posted for public reading last night, I kept thinking that as “good” as some committed lesbian and gay relationships may be, they fall short of God’s ideal. And Biblical Greek has a word for “missing the mark” and that word, unfortunately is sin.

Anyway, I tried to get at that last night with this comment; perhaps some of you can catch what I’m trying to say and find a way to say it more clearly; or perhaps you disagree…

I wish I could articulate this better, but here goes…

I wonder sometimes if instead of looking at human behavior as being either right or wrong in God’s eyes, we should look at our various responses to His intentions as falling into categories like

  • good
  • better
  • best

In other words, a person who has lived 24 years in a committed gay relationship obviously sees some value to that; especially when one considers the hurt and rejection they have had to face from others over the course of those years. But in God’s eyes there may have been a ‘better’ or even a ‘best’ that they missed out on. Taking that to the next logical step, we can see how anything that falls short of God’s ideal standard could by some measure be considered sin because that’s how the word sin was originally defined. But it would appear to some that it was still ‘good.’ So the question is can there be activities that appear ‘good’ (either to some or to all) but also appear to be ‘sin’ (to those who have studied God’s intention or ideal plan)?

The Bible says that there is both fleeting pleasure to sin (Heb 11:25) and an apparent ‘right-ness’ to sinful activity (Prov 16:25). Both of these express a rather short-term view to things. So in the same way teens use the term ‘whatever…’ we adults are equally willing to say, ‘It’s all good.’ Because we’re looking at the short-term. And in the short-term, it really does seem good. But God takes a longer-term view of things. He wants us to cast aside simple ‘good’ and aim for better and really aim for best, because that’s what He is all about (Isaiah 55:9).

So at the end of the journey, I could then look my gay friends in the eye and say, “It wasn’t so much wrong, as it is you missed out on God’s best; and to the degree that you knew you missing out on God’s ideal design, then that constitutes what God calls sin.”

…Like I said, I wish I could articulate that better, but I hope you get the general idea…

I guess the “grey-ness” of this issue should already suggest to us that a binary (right/wrong) approach is too simplistic and that something more like a scale is needed. However, in the context as seen by a holy God, if the scale went from one to ten, everything less than a ten would miss the mark.  And just maybe, if we know the ‘ten’ is out there, it does indeed miss the mark. 

So the direction I’m trying to approach this from make any sense?  Feel free to comment here, or join the discussion there.


  1. I get what you’re saying, but I wonder if there is room for nuance. After all, Paul seemed to think the whole idea of marriage was a second-best option. Christians should remain single, and only marry if they can’t restrain their passion. Perhaps we could see homosexuality in the same light—it would be better for gay people to remain single, but allow that it’s better for them to be in a monogamous relationship than burn with passion.

    Comment by Cameron — September 8, 2011 @ 11:43 pm

  2. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the post. It’s an interesting construction, and one that I could easily apply to any situation. Fat officers, lazy volunteers, seat-warming soldiers, penny-giving church attendees. There is a myriad of different situations where “anything less than a ten would miss the mark.”

    My question in response is not specifically related to homosexuality, but more about “assumed rights”. Do we assume that we are correct in saying one thing or another does not meet God “best” for a person? Have we elevated our own thinking equal to that of the almighty God? As flawed humans, are we able to sit and say “tut tut, you’re not doing what God wants.” or are we actually saying “tut tut, you’re not doing what I want, therefore I’ll support it with disparate scripture to make you feel inadequate.”

    And if we are to create a scale of “rightness and goodness” – who determines what it is? Who determines absolute good and absolute bad? What criteria is needed for absolute success and absolute failure? By these ideas, everyone would always be less than 10 and continually missing the mark.

    I’m interested in how this scale would work. I’m also curious if it would be yet another human-created thing that people would be unable to measure up to, and would entrench the idea that all of us are unworthy failures.

    Comment by Pete Zayonce — September 8, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

  3. […] is why I keep coming back to an entirely different setting for the debate that I believe would provide more understanding for people on both sides of the […]

    Pingback by Gay and Christian: The Issue of the Week, Month, Year, Decade « Thinking Out Loud — May 29, 2012 @ 6:55 am

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