Exposing True Lies

I scoured the obituary of the well-known lawyer, a Christian who in the sixties and seventies had successfully defending laws protecting Christianity and prohibiting rights for gays. Had he lived today, he would have fought hard for Prop. 8.

What stunned me was a small note at the end of his story. Toward the end of his life, he had been arrested in a public park for soliciting an undercover male cop.

Have we seen this before? More than we would like to admit: a Republican senator who boasted about family values but could neither stay out of the airport men’s room nor admit he had a homosexual addiction problem once caught; the conservative family man—Ted Haggard—who led the National Association of Evangelicals while fostering a drug-addled relationship with a male prostitute for several years before being exposed.

Nothing new under the sun. On the one hand, truthful men, who on the other hand never faced and dealt with profound conflicts of desire in their own lives.

Such is the divide in many conservative Christian communities, both spiritual and political. Their high truth quotient is not matched by the reality that truthful people have problems that require the merciful care of the community.

That involves grace, and much space for everyone involved to admit how deep and painful and shameful homosexuality is. Not out there in the godless world but in here, the Bible-believing congregation where beloved men and women face that conflict of desire daily. And if they don’t face it daily before spouses, and friends, and pastors, guess what? They will act it out in hotel rooms, airport stalls, and public parks.

Maybe the very churches that most support Proposition 8 also perpetuate the myth that the problem isn’t ours, the Church’s. That is a lie. Homosexual tendencies are equal opportunities offenders. A tendency may not be sin, but in many of these conservative communities there still exists little room to say: ‘Hey, I am in conflict. Help me!’

Rich in truth, these communities remain oblivious to the veins of brokenness that lie beneath their ordered biblical world. That very split then fuels an ordinate disdain for homosexuality. It is the same conflict that undergirds the gay community: knowing something is wrong, not admitting it, and then coping with the conflict by asserting their ‘rightness.’

The difference with the conservative church? We do have truth on our side—the unchanging design of the Creator. What many of these communities lack is their need for a Redeemer, right where they hurt. And nothing hurts more than the admission of how painful and deep homosexual tendencies are amid the believing community.

Yet that is where redemption begins: an admission of broken ground, dirt capable of drinking in rain from heaven. Blind eyes, yet critical and squinting, finally opened to the truth of what is going on: Jesus descending into this family’s disordered life!

No other way to real order, real healing, the raising up, in fits and starts, of the true image of God in our midst. It transforms truth for conservatives from law on page or ballot to an earthy, full-bodied miracle of God’s mercy.

If the aforementioned figures in the conservative world would have held fast to their convictions while dealing openly with their weaknesses, we would not only be spared countless scandals, we would have an unshakable message of truth tempered by mercy.

First a message for the conservative church culture: a courageous model for our young people of how to actually face and walk with dignity out of homosexuality. Then for the gay community: ‘Jesus provides a kinder, gentler way. For all who seek that Way, let us walk it together.’

Perhaps our political convictions would be less shrill and self-satisfied, our declarations tempered by the truth of our own dependency on grace. That would strengthen our witness of God’s holiness and design. It would please the Lord.

Honor Marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with Me.” (Rev. 3: 17-22)

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