What Does Jesus' Silence on Homosexuality Really Mean?
I've heard it suggested that Jesus' silence on homosexuality is a kind of defacto consent. Or, perhaps, that since homosexuality wasn't a topic He found worthy of commentary, Christians ought not take a strong stand against something which even Jesus did not publicly stand against. I have trouble with these explanations. For one thing, I find them anachronistic--inserting our postmodern sensibilities into an ancient context does not necessarily yield an accurate reading of how Jesus perceived this issue.
What was so controversial about Jesus was that He often refuted the religious establishment of His day. In that regard, it seems to me that if Jesus had something to say on homosexuality that would have directly refuted the devout Jewish view, He would have said it.
But He didn't.
If we're going to suggest that Jesus' silence is a kind of consent then don't we also have to accept the possibility that Jesus' silence suggests He accepted the Judaic view? To me, that seems only honest.
Even so, I'm not sure either side can claim sole ownership of Jesus' View On Homosexuality. But I do think both sides must consider the overarching context of what Christ called the Greatest Commandment: to love God with all your being and to love your neighbor as yourself.
My perception is that Christians have been so narrowly focused on defining exactly which particular sexual acts are sinful that we've felt justified in heaping shame upon sin and sinner alike.
It is understandable, then, why Christians like myself have stepped back from such specific condemnations and tried to take the Big Picture approach--asking ourselves what it means to love our neighbor? This has led me to believe I cannot deny basic rights to another human being--rights I would not stand to be deprived of myself.
However, I am still unwilling to go so far as to say Christianity is wrong to prescribe any boundaries on sexual activity. Scripture and Christian Tradition are both consistently clear that there are sexual boundaries--regardless of orientation.
As a Christian, I submit to the sexual boundaries placed upon me by my religious beliefs and recognize that these boundaries supersede my particular sexual orientation. In other words, there are sexual obligations and boundaries I am constrained to honor simply because I am human.
As I see it, the Christian perspective on sexuality is informed by several foundational beliefs: 1. that our bodies are temples, that it does matter to God what we do with our physical bodies and as such, it is possible to sin against our bodies. Additionally, Christians believe that while we are living, our bodies are knit together with our souls and spirits. To sin against the body--whether sexually or otherwise--harms us physically, emotionally and spiritually.
The second foundational belief is that God gave us the gift of sexuality not simply as a means to an individual orgasm but for procreation and mutual pleasure. From a Christian perspective, then, sexuality is never solely isolated to "it's all about me and MY body and I can do whatever I want with it."
Rather, sexuality is a human being's most powerful creative source because by it, a man and woman cooperate with God in the creation of eternal souls.
And as a Christian mother, it's also difficult for me to assert that all familial arrangements are equally beneficial and ideal for children. I still believe children need both a mother and a father. Yes, we live in a broken world where children can be raised (and raised well) despite not having both. However, can we truly assert that any other familial arrangement is more ideal for the well-being of children than being raised in the home of a happily married mother and father? I don't think so.
Which is why I don't believe the Christian church ought to retrofit our boundaries for sexual activity; ie. by ordaining openly gay clergy. But I do believe we should work on extending the same legal and civil benefits we enjoy to those who may not hold our own religious beliefs. And mostly, we should welcome any and ALL people to the merciful love of God knowing that only through Him we live and move and have our being.
Still, I remain open and if I'm missing something or not seeing this issue clearly, I welcome your thoughts and comments. I realize that I may have a yet unrecognized bias regarding same-sex issues I'm willing to see this issue differently.
Will you kindly share with me your thoughts? As always, let's keep the discussion respectful--and especially no personal attacks other commenters you may disagree with, OK? :)