Walking Gently, Finding Fault

I’m fascinated by the various approaches and criticisms of Lauren Daigle’s recent interview. My heart goes out to her since I too recently stood in the crosshairs of scrutiny from both “The Church”  and “Culture.” We are all on the search for a perfect response, “The Truth,” spoken authoritatively so that everyone turns to hear.

”Is homosexuality sin?... I can’t say.” 

The furor focusing on her response is sobering. Jesus! Where are you!? Or, perhaps more likely, Jesus, was that you? Is He inviting discussion?

Isn’t this the question of our season? Is homosexuality sin? Or really, which side are you on? What church do you swear allegiance to? Are you willing to accuse her?

Who will throw the first stone?

I don’t want to stand on the platform that would possibly further accuse Lauren Daigle, or facilitate unkind and callous conversations about homosexuality. Pressing pause on the Question for a moment, I’d like to reflect on the implications of the Question to all of us right now.

What is the spirit in which we address Lauren Daigle, who clearly is seeking to open doors for the gospel.

Can we celebrate, for a moment, her courage in appearing on Ellen? Her zeal to humbly reach people outside the fold. Her desire to silence the accuser by offering a neutral response to the journalist. Bravo for releasing her music outside of Christian forums. Bravo for preferring a vulnerable posture of teachability and uncertainty to platitudes.

It’s telling that Christian community now uses homosexuality as an indicator of Truth and falls so quickly into division and accusation.

Most of us do not have to stake our eternal lives on her answer.

When I was in seminary, openly gay (in the generation when we were simply either gay or straight, not LGBTQIA+), I used reason to address the Question. I took time to re-evaluate scripture, to cast translations in question, to question history and modern culture, all in an effort to make sense of my life and find a path to God. I fought against the simple answers in light of the ostracism and humiliation I had experienced. Until I experienced Jesus’ love directly.

Is the kingdom of God advancing? Where do we see heaven on earth?

Everywhere I go I meet people whose lives are being transformed. Many leave LGBTQ identity and culture behind to experience profound grace and healing. But, still too many cannot get beyond the condemnation they fear they’ll face in our congregations. For them, the Question is a significant barrier to meeting Jesus. This Question needs to be partnered with The Answer, if it is going to impact anyone. We need to offer sensitive invitations (not sound bites) into the gospel that model sacrificial love, seeing and valuing the LGBTQ identifying person in our midst with humility.

We mustn’t forget the gospel is the revelation of Jesus and the celebration of His Kingship. Our attention must be on Him to realize repentance is a profound gift. Though it may be true, “Homosexuality is sin” does not communicate the gospel, nor does it offer confident hope that salvation is available to everyone.

Jesus was the most compelling figure of His time. “Sinners” flocked to Him, some without a conscious understanding of why. Those who met Him personally were profoundly drawn to repentance and wholehearted surrender. This should be the impact of the gospel when it is heard, yet the LGBTQ community continues to flee and complain of feeling condemned. A genuine experience of God’s presence yields hope with repentance. We must be cautious that we preach the gospel in the same spirit Jesus extended.

In the fear of God we must be contending for an authentic representation of Christ for our generation. Lord have mercy and visit America.

Copyright © 2018 Elizabeth Woning. All rights reserved.