Once again, Rob Bell is in the Christian news. He said in an interview on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday that the Church isn’t far from accepting gay marriage. According to Bell, it’s right on the horizon for us.
Listen, I think Rob Bell’s a really intelligent guy. I agree with a lot of his stuff. I’m not one for the shift he’s made toward the self-help-ish world, but I’m not against self-help or Oprah or anything like that. Self-help’s just not really my cup of tea. I believe people like Rob Bell and Oprah they do more good than harm, and probably little harm at all.
Sounds like I’m setting up for a bit but, but I’m not. Rob Bell’s words on gay marriage, I agree with. I don’t know how close the Church is to being completely LGBT affirming. “Moments away” might be an exaggeration, but I’d say it’s inevitable. And guess what: that’s good! Rob Bell has made the point before that in a time in which marriage is on the decline, why shouldn’t we affirm a group of people who want to have the right to commit to one another in holy matrimony? We complain that kids these days don’t wanna get married and then turn our backs on some of those who do want marriage.
Rob Bell and people like him are labeled heretics for their views on same-sex marriage (a topic that, last I checked, isn’t mentioned in the creeds if that’s your source for orthodoxy). Pastors are accused of committing apostasy and they lose their jobs over this sort of thing.
But why don’t we put ourselves in the shoes of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters? What if someone was called a heretic for loving and accepting you? What if someone was called an apostate for affirming your human rights? What if someone was condemned to hell by a general population for being compassionate toward you? What if an entire institution’s ability to stay unified rested on its choice whether to affirm or not affirm your choice in who to love? What an awkward position that puts you in.
I wonder how many gay Christians would become straight if it could just bring the Church back together again, if it could just heal their relationships with their families, if it could just solve the dissonance they feel with the Bible. The problem is that most of them can’t just become straight, and according to many Christians, they’re stuck living in their rebellion against God for the rest of their lives.
I believe it’s inevitable that the Church will come to affirm the LGBT community, and when that happens, we may have to come to a new understanding of the six passages of the Bible that supposedly have to do with homosexuality. But when it’s come to things like slavery, segregation, and women equality, people haven’t had a problem reinterpreting scripture in the past. I’ve said it before, our God is a God of progress. I truly believe that because I see progress in the words and deeds of Jesus. How can we say we are standing up for the gospel, the good news, when our message is bad news for many people? How can we stand up for the gospel when we’re distracting ourselves from it?