Choosing Holiness

As I write this, eight hundred and fifty Methodist delegates from around the world are meeting in St. Louis “to decide whether to change the church’s historical position that sexual relationships should be solely between married men and women.” Three plans are being discussed, and “the commission and the church’s leadership broadly support the One Church Plan which would allow the ordination of LGBTQ pastors and recognition of same-sex marriage.” An openly lesbian bishop who is in a same-sex marriage said Methodists need to learn “how to live in beloved community where every child of God is beloved, wanted, celebrated, needed in order for the body of Christ to be made whole.”

Obviously every child of God is to be loved and wanted. Every behavior, however, is not to be celebrated. And the distinction between who I am, and what I do, must not be ignored.

In our Sunday night study we recently learned that “the idea of putting sexual attraction at the core of our identity is a recent invention,” and that “from ancient times, the adjective homosexual was used to describe acts that anyone might perform, not an unchanging condition or an essential identity. It referred to an action, not a category of person.” And that while “we do not choose our feelings, we do choose our behavior and identity”

Christopher Yuan, who had regularly visited gay bath-houses before becoming a Christian writes, “I had always thought that the opposite of homosexuality was heterosexuality. But actually the opposite of homosexuality is holiness. All Christians are called to holiness, no matter their sexual feelings.”

Our author then noted, “No one chooses to have same-sex temptations, just as no one chooses to feel angry or jealous, or be tempted by drugs or pornography. Where we do have a choice is in deciding how to respond to our temptations. We can choose whether to purchase drugs, or search for pornography on the computer, or engage in same-sex behavior. Everyone is called to choose holiness, whether attracted to the same sex or the opposite sex, whether married or single.”

Contrary to the thoughts of some, the body of Christ will never be made whole by embracing sinful behavior.

God Bless, Rick

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