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June is Pride Month. Christianity asks us to practice understanding – Carlsbad Current Argus

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America is failing our citizens and the Church is failing God’s people. The reasons are understandable and often stem from very visceral and human fears. We are facing a sinful division of our own making that is violating God’s loving desire for humanity to be truly whole, at genuine peace, and in faithful unity with one another as God intends. The problem is that we have put one another in boxes based on absolutist assumptions about humanity that are inherently flawed and have rigidly forced people to be who they are not in order to mandate how people must live, believe, love, and simply be. The church is hurting people whom God loves.
It is human nature that we tend to bond with people with whom we share similar likes, dislikes, fears, beliefs, and passions. Just as the old adage proclaims, birds of a feather will flock together. Inherently, however, this creates an unintended false reality as like-minded people gather and reinforce their shared beliefs, feelings, and fears, it is easy to make the presumption that the shared worldview is absolutely how the world must be—not just for the group, but for everyone. Frequently, Christianity and extremist partisan politics—especially when party loyalty becomes the foundational framework behind one’s Christian beliefs, makes things much worse. As like-minded communities of faith read, interpret, and subsequently enforce their particular understanding of Scripture, it often creates a reality where others who fall outside their worldview of acceptance are systematically denied their full humanity out of the narcissistic distortion of presumed moral authority and power to define who is acceptable to God and Country; or who is not. The volatility of this sin becomes even more severe when well-intended people react with outright fear and hate to treacherous lies, misinformation, and partisan propaganda designed to create fear against others who are not the same.
As many recognize—and many do so with great anger for the reality—June is Pride Month. Originally intended as a time for women and men who do not fall under the strict male-female gender assumptions that are very narrowly defined, Pride Month serves as time for all of God’s children to be proud of who they are as diverse people created in God’s image and called good. Yet, this summer, with such a proliferation of hate-fueled and fear-driven anti LGBTQ actions across the land, as well as a barrage of falsified propaganda that serves only to spread hate and fear among neighbors, Christians need to take an empathetic and prayerful approach.
A person’s humanity is not defined by how they understand their own gender or whom they find attractive. A person’s fidelity to Jesus Christ is not determined by their conformance to someone else’s definition of sexuality. The reality is the LGBTQ community is not trying to turn everyone “gay” or convert children to be someone they are not. They are beautiful human beings that simply want to have the same opportunity to live in their full humanity just as anyone else.
Like many in the church, I grew up learning the traditional rhetoric and theology that discriminated against gays. As a heterosexual man, same sex attraction is something that is me and that I personally find rather repulsive. I get the angry pushback against the rapid normalization of realties outside of my heterosexual, traditional Christian upbringing. I also love and Serve Christ. In my three decades of ministry, I have met countless others with whom I do not share the same experience of human sexuality and found their humanity and love of God is far bigger than that of many hardline traditionalists. I’ve also seen people seriously hurt by the church. This Pride Month, it is time that people stop hating and fearing others and, instead, begin understanding each other out of God’s command to love one another as God loves all of us!

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Written by: Christianity Today

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