On Tuesday, August 12th, my bookstore is hosting a forum titled “The Church & Homosexuality: A Model Dialogue.” The goal of the forum is for attendees to learn how to discuss faith topics with the LGBT community (and vice versa). It is not a debate about the legitimacy or the morality of homosexuality. It is not a call for people to spout their opinions about gay neighbors, relatives, or television characters. It is a discussion about engaging in discussions.
Sorry, I kind of hopped up on a soapbox there for a minute. Anyway, Wesley Hill will be one of our speakers for the evening. As such, I thought it would be good to read his book and learn a bit about his background. What I discovered is that I know very little about is going on in the lives of my gay brothers and sisters in Christ.
Washed and Waiting is a spiritual memoir filled with stories and biblical inspiration. It is an intimate look into a man’s struggle with homosexual tendencies and living a life that is faithful to God’s condemnation of homosexual acts. But the thing that stood out to me was that the focus of the memoir was not on homosexuality. It was about loneliness.
By choosing to be celibate, choosing not to act on his romantic urges, Wesley Hill essentially condemns himself to a life alone. Ah, but this is where the church comes in. Hill argues that God’s calling for the church is to be the community that welcomes broken people and shows them the love and acceptance of Christ.
Don’t misread me. Hill doesn’t excuse sin or suggest that homosexuality isn’t sin. He simply states that the church should be more like a support group for recovering sinners (of all kinds) than some kind of club for singing hymns and bashing sinners. And I think he’s right. In a lot of ways, the church has missed the boat on being the community that gay and lesbian Christians need. Far from it, in fact.
I expected Washed and Waiting to be a memoir about homosexuality. I found it to be an encouragement for engagement with lonely and broken people.
I’m looking forward to hearing what Wesley has to say at Baker Book House’s forum.
If you are interested in hearing him yourself, the event will be livestreamed online and linked to from Baker’s Facebook page.