The gay dilemma is arguably the most pressing cultural issue facing the church. So, it didn’t surprise me that the issue took center stage at last week’s Q Conference in Boston, which gathers 1,300 top Christian leaders to discuss cultural issues.
What did surprise me, though, was the complete absence of even the suggestion that sexuality could be redeemed or transformed. Every speaker referenced sexual orientation as an immutable trait beyond the scope of redemption. And tragically, no speaker really offered a compelling view of orthodox Christian sexuality. Instead, author Debra Hirsch’s talk on “Redeeming Sex” offered more titillation than truth, comparing heaven to “a continuous orgasm” and relaying questions like: “I asked Jesus into my heart, but how do I get him into my (sex organ)?”
Hirsch’s talk was the first of three talks on Thursday that specifically addressed sexuality and/or homosexuality. Hirsch criticized the church for failing to address human sexuality properly and urged it to develop a robust theology of sexuality. Unfortunately, though, Hirsch didn’t offer any solid theology. Instead, she delivered a mix of pop psychology and opinion. She suggested there is “social sexuality” and “genital sexuality”; “multiple masculinities and femininities”; and then spoke of the need to bring sexuality and spirituality together – again, offering only vague definitions of both without any grounding of her assertions in Scripture.
I couldn’t help but long for someone like popular theologian Christopher West to follow Hirsch and fill the vacuum on sexuality she had created. Drawing on Scripture and established theological tradition, West explains how uniting male and female in marriage wondrously expresses the mystery of the life and love of the Trinity – and how marriage is the primary metaphor revealing the divine-human drama. (After all, Scripture begins with the marriage of Adam and Eve and ends with the wedding feast of the Lamb.)
Unfortunately, though, Q attenders weren’t exposed to any of this rich theology. Instead, what followed was a discussion on the “The Church’s Gay Dilemma” between Matthew Vines and Julie Rodgers. Vines is the author of God and the Gay Christian and founder of the Reformation Project, which seeks to train Christians to support and affirm LGTBQ people. Rodgers is a gay, celibate Christian whose hiring to work in the chaplain’s office at Wheaton College last year sparked controversy.
Vines reiterated the same arguments that he does in his book. One, that condemnation of same-sex relationships can’t be a “good tree,” so to speak, because it yields the “bad fruit” of brokenness and pain among same-sex attracted people. Vines also asserted that monogamous same-sex relationships weren’t “on the radar of the biblical writers.” As result, their seemingly wholesale condemnation of homosexuality needs to be re-interpreted as only condemning homosexual sex outside of committed monogamous relationships.
Rodgers, though she identifies as gay, disagreed with Vines and affirmed the sexual boundaries expressed in Scripture as good: “I just trust that the boundaries God put around sexuality are for our flourishing.” She also winsomely responded to Vines’ argument that the biblical writers were simply ignorant when it came to same-sex monogamous relationships. Her quip, “I don’t think God was like, ‘Whoa, where did they come from? Gays, who knew?'” elicited a big laugh from the audience.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post