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Progressive Christianity Is NOT About Homosexuality

I just finished skimming an article written by a right-wing writer who was combatting progressive Christianity by pointing out its ‘moral and spiritual bankruptcy.’ A couple people shared this same article with me, likely because of my recent video ranting some of my frustrations about the incoming progressive wave of Christianity.

While I do think there is a lot to be concerned about with the influx of progressive Christianity, and much I disagree with, I think many people are having this conversation, quite frankly, wrong. The writer of the above article spent the entire span of his content combatting one thing: homosexuality. It seemed like there were dozens of little fires popping up about this one topic and he had to quickly extinguish them with his memorized scripture as if homosexuality is the sole issue of progressivism. In reality, it’s merely a small room in a giant house of ideas.

I would argue that his article has much more to do with ‘why homosexuality is bad’ than actual progressive Christianity. For some reason, that’s become the first thing to come to mind whenever the topic is breached. It’s as if the sole reason Christians are progressing is to accommodate the LGBTQ+ community. In reality, what I’ve seen happen is the LGBTQ+ community has not only become the whipping boy for the conservative right, but also the golden child of the liberal left.

In other words, this group of people has been objectified by both sides for the sake of making arguments. Both sides’ arguments may be summed up rather simply, and redundantly repeating them won’t change anyone’s mind.

Left: “They are people with deep desires and we need to respect that. Imagine if you were as attracted to men as you are to women and someone told you it was sinful to be that way. We need to embrace and affirm them after years of hatred and exclusion. God doesn’t think they are gross and twisted, but beautiful.”

Right: “God has made the natural world to operate in a certain way: Male with female. To fight the natural order of things is to fight God, and therefore, sinful. (Yes, there is homosexuality in animals but there is also cannibalism of their young, so that’s not the best comparison…) To love someone is to not let them go on in their sin, but to do this lovingly and relationally.”

Years ago, C.S. Lewis said that if the devil can push a believer to either extreme — the Left or the Right — then he has succeeded, because from there he can push us to sin in that direction. 

Both sides (ideally) approach the subject with love and hope for the best in the world and in their community (including the LGBTQ+ community). For the rest of this article, I’m going to assume both sides have the best intentions in mind, even though in reality, either one can come off as pretty repugnant.

After all, if the only alternative to ‘progressive Christianity’ was that article above, I’m not so sure I’d want to stick with that side either.

The problem with hinging the entire conversation on what someone thinks about gay people is that it’s missing the forest for the trees. More accurately, it’s like missing the entire country of Brazil for a single tree.

Whenever a conversation turns an entire group of people into a point in an argument, we need to pause and look at the ideas being presented beneath the surface. In this case, the variance in opinions has much less to do with one’s attitude toward homosexual people and much more with their views of God, the Bible, theology, anthropology, and philosophy. That’s exactly the reason I have never openly written about “Ethan’s views of homosexuality” because for one, why does that matter; and two, that’s not really the main issue, is it?

Our beliefs about certain categorical pockets are not necessarily indicative of what we think about that specific thing, but about something much larger going on behind it. As Rob Bell says, this is really about that. 

People ask me what I think about homosexuality either because they want affirmation in their ways, a conversational sparring partner, or an ally against gay people. They don’t ask me my views about Jesus or scripture, or theology, which is really where the conversation begins.

Ethan Renoe
Ethan Renoehttp://ethanrenoe.com/
Ethan is a speaker, writer, and photographer currently living in Los Angeles. He has lived on 6 continents, gone to 6 schools, had 28 jobs, and done 4 one-armed pull-ups. He recently graduated from Moody Bible Institute. Follow him at ethanrenoe.com or check him out on Facebook

Separated at Birth, Twins Who Reunited on Good Morning America Graduate as Valedictorians

Twin sisters Audrey and Gracie, separated at birth in China and adopted by different American families, reunited for the first time on "Good Morning America" in 2017. Now they're graduating high school.

Gone Without a Trace: Understanding Ghosting and Its Emotional Impact

Ghosting is the act of abruptly ending all communication with someone without any explanation, leaving the person on the receiving end feeling confused, hurt, and often questioning what went wrong.