Before I jump into my next series on Front-End Surrender, I want to comment on our tendency to miss the complexity involved in addressing an issue like homosexuality. Caught in the quagmire of a decades-old culture war, this issue is particularly prone to being dealt with one-dimensionally. Sadly, this approach often turns people who stand against positions into people who stand against people. As I have said before, you can have your position and still radically love others. However, we often struggle to do this well.
The traditional playing out of this one-dimensionalism pits one polar opposite against the other; evangelicals against the LGBT+ community. This model was never designed for engagement; it was designed to win a culture war. In this atmosphere, there are only two options: win; or lose. Just imagine the volume of redemptive opportunity that is lost when corporate creativity is trapped within a mandate to defeat others. This kind of singularity dismisses necessary and difficult enhancements that have the power to achieve more holistic results – such as fostering spiritual growth in LGBT+ people.
The latest playing out of this one-dimensionalism calls us to place our entire focus upon “love.” Just love LGBT+ people. Who can argue against that? I would never venture to do such a thing. After all, God at his very creative core is love incarnate. We are to reflect that. There is no debate or disagreement about this.
That said, the general vision to love LGBT+ people is one-dimensional in this sense: it casts a broad vision that fails to address the complex challenges church leaders face when they carry it out in their churches. To love LGBT+ people? No problem. To love LGBT+ people in the evangelical church? That is another thing. Every church leader I encounter asks me: how do we do that?
In the vacuum of culture war, creativity suffers. In post-culture war evangelicalism, we must generate redemptive creativity to enhance how we care for and foster spiritual growth among LGBT+ people in our churches. Is this a “loving” thing to do? You bet. But let us not fall into singularity: such a mission is complex and it is best to humbly admit that before ever offering a single idea to church leaders.
I have already started to assess some of this complexity over the past several weeks in my Posture Shift series. Starting tomorrow, my next series will dive further into complexity as we seek to offer an authentic love that also respects doctrinal orthodoxy on morality (aka: truth). I hope you will join me. God bless you.