When Christians start talking about “the law,” pay close attention. This might be code for anti-LGBTQ theology. I was enjoying a perfectly lovely day with Christian leaders exploring how to create an experience of church that would be meaningful for people currently in their 20s and 30s. Themes such as LOVE, JUSTICE, and BEAUTY were lifted up as foundational values of this generation.
Then after lunch things got weird. Someone in the front row asked the presenter the question “but what about the law?” And the room got quiet.
All of the sudden the room full of Christians wanting to make their churches more meaningful for young adults turned their attention to this question of how to make space for LGBTQ young adults in church when “they” are in violation of “church law.”
And in reply the speaker said, “I’m theologically opposed to marriage equality, but I accept them as members (of the church).” He then went on to ask why this sin of homosexuality gets more scrutiny than the sin of pornography or infidelity in marriage. My heart sank.
Here we were, imagining a church where LOVE, JUSTICE and BEAUTY are at the center. A church where young adults would want to be. And yet “the law” comes crashing down and shuts down the conversation.
Which I think is exactly right. Not only do tired arguments about “the law” (which actually go against Jesus’ teachings) shut down conversations, it’s killing the movement of the Spirit, and it’s shutting down the church.
Why in the world would anyone today in their 20s or 30s follow a law that said LGBTQ people, by nature of their sexual orientation, are sinners?
Why in the world would a church still teach this abusive and homophobic “Christian law” in 2018? As disciples of Jesus Christ, Christians have one law to follow: the law of love (Matthew 22: 37-40).
How can a church be authentically grounded in LOVE, JUSTICE and BEAUTY while at the same time deny its members the right to love and marry?
The truth is, the church cannot proclaim a gospel of LOVE, JUSTICE and BEAUTY as a way to unlock the doors of the church for young adults and only to then, once at the altar, lock the door to the sacrament of marriage. Nope. It doesn’t work that way.
God’s LOVE, JUSTICE and BEAUTY are not a bait and switch gimmick for church growth. Sorry church, there is no law above God’s law of love. It’s time to admit you were wrong. It’s okay. God forgives you and loves you. And churches that remain silent in the face of such spiritual abuse are just as wrong.
The take away for me is that churches that are truly open and affirming of people who are LGBTQ need to really step it up.
Be bold. Be loud. Be proud. Be the church. Be LOVE. Be JUSTICE. Be BEAUTY. Be YOU.