How Can Christians Better Love the LGBT+ Community?
What does it look like for Christians and the church to love the LGBTQ community like Jesus does? Or to just do better caring for our family, friends, and neighbors who are part of the LGBTQ community—even while holding a traditional view of marriage and sexuality? On the Good Complex podcast, Chase Oaks Senior Pastor Jeff Jones sat down to talk with Bill Henson, founder of Posture Shift, an organization dedicated to wrestling through some of those issues. Read just a small portion of their fascinating conversation, below:
Jeff: We would all agree that the LGBT+ community are people be loved, not people to be judged. And that's our kind of our jam here at the Good Complex, whether Christianity is your thing or something else. But that said, you know in Christianity there are strains of Christianity that believe that, you know, anything goes when it comes to, “Hey, just figure out your own sexuality and do your thing.”
And then there's a strain of Christianity that says there is an ethic that Jesus affirms about sex being in the context of marriage between a man and a woman. And that's not about orientation—that's about sexual activity. But talk about that a little bit, because I think that's an elephant in the room.
In this conversation you're talking about loving LGBT+ people—and the transgender thing is a little bit different—but you're talking about LGBT+ people, and yet you have this ethic ... you have from what I understand a traditional ethic when it comes to sexuality and marriage. So, let's just talk about how can you claim to love gay people and then have that ethic.
Bill: So first of all, it's indisputable that LGBT+ people have been hurt very deeply by people of faith. And as just one example, after the Pulse [nightclub] shooting with 49 people murdered and 53 others injured, most churches in Orlando wrapped their lives around the surviving families of victims and around survivors. They paid for burials, flew family from Latin America, counseled family (because their family was often learning not just that their loved one died, but that that meant their loved one was gay—and they had never known). And the church just did some amazingly beautiful things.
But there was one voice on Christian radio and internet radio that effectively said, “We just wish that club would have been bigger so that, you know, God could have done away with more of those homosexuals.”
And you know, most Christians don't even know that. I don't know an LGBT+ person around the world that didn't hear that voice. So you know, there's even an expression of faith that's even more extreme than just holding to a traditional view. You know, there can be people that weaponize that belief.
So, from my perspective, the question is this. Level playing field: does someone with a traditional view have a better standing with God than someone who doesn't? I don't think so. No, I don’t think so. Jesus was very clear, there's no room for any kind of judgment. And if you if you establish a measure that this is the base upon which God will have nothing to do with you, oh, be careful. Watch out what you're doing in your own life; that measure may come back to be applied toward you.
And so, I just think that the rubber meets the road. The love and the genuineness of it will be proven one action, one attitude, one word, one commitment to care, to protect, to include at a time.
And so LGBT+ people might say, “How could I ever trust, you know, a family member or a pastor or a church or a ministry with a traditional view?” I'd say, “Yeah, you have every right to have that kind of suspicion. I would be suspect, too. And I hope you'll measure love based on love that is actually happening rather than the belief gap.”
In other words, a lot of people would like to just simplify it, to say there's a belief gap and there's side A and a side B. And if you're on the traditional side you are automatically hateful, and I could never feel safe around you.
Well, I mean, that's been proven untrue, over and over again, through tangible acts of love, care, inclusion, protection. I would say the onus is not on LGBT+ people to just say “Trust us.” The onus is on people of faith that hold that belief to prove that they're not out to condemn, to judge, to weaponize their belief against, to battle against the civil rights of, to look away when harm is being done to LGBT+ people.
If we have a high commitment to include, to accept in the church, to accept in our families, to protect when harm occurs, then we will earn a trust and we can have a mutual relationship with people where they know we genuinely love them.
Jeff: Yes, and I know your commitment is that we just love you, no matter what.
Visit here to catch the rest of the conversation with Jeff and Bill. To hear other great conversations about the good that is happening in our world, listen and subscribe to the Good Complex here or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.