Friday, March 27, 2009
Marriage And Homosexuality: A Christian Response Part 4
CHAPTER 4: THE CHRISTIAN RESPONSE
This section has one or two good points to make. "The church must repent of its pharisaic attitude toward confession of sins" and "of hostility toward homosexual people." Of course, those points would sound better if the first paragraph didn't contain this gem: "Strong marriages would go a long way to preventing more children being exposed to the confusion and dangerous health risks involved in homosexuality."
Still, they are trying. The writers want Christians "to show compassion to the homosexual community" so that gay people might eventually be "won into the Kingdom of God." To do this, Christians "should be aware of three different groups within the homosexual community: the militants, the moderates, and the repentant." They give descriptions and advice on how to approach each group, and to their credit they advocate love in each case. They even take a stab at humour when describing 'militant' gays, who have "rigid viewpoints" and are "intolerant toward opposing viewpoints" - "sounds like a description a homosexual might give of a Christian!" Ha, ha. Nicely placed joke, in that it distracts readers from the authors' own rigid and intolerant viewpoints, such as stating repeatedly that their view is 'the truth'.
"Repentant homosexuals need a tremendous amount of support and encouragement" when leaving their 'sinful' lifestyle, because they may be "frightened, vulnerable and lonely" when they leave their "network of support and identity." The authors urge readers to "encourage, love and support" repenting gays, and "not allow our distaste for an unnatural behaviour to get in the way." Gee, thanks.
"Moderate" gays "share the same dreams and worries as everyone else." Wow, it's like they're human beings or something! "We need to approach them just as we would anyone else: offering Jesus' saving grace." After all, "unless the Holy Spirit is at the centre of a person's life, change in sexual orientation is irrelevant."
CHAPTER 5: WHAT YOU CAN DO
This section encourages readers to write to the government, to newspapers and other media outlets to express "your views on marriage" and "promote culture-saving values in society." Included are several (now outdated) MP addresses and emails, and advice on how to write and prepare letters (such as removing "unnecessarily aggressive words and phrases"). Readers are also asked to "reach out to homosexuals," and the authors provide names and websites for "ministries that are equipped to help homosexuals change their orientation."
Other suggestions range from making presentations at churches and supporting changes in government policies. Also, readers should try and strengthen their marriages and encourage young people who are considering marriage. Wouldn't want any gayness to sneak in, would we?
CHAPTER 6: RESOURCES
CHAPTER 7: RECOMMENDED LINKS
CHAPTER 8: BIBLIOGRAPHY
These last few sections end the book, for which I (and, I imagine, you) am profoundly grateful. This has been a long , grueling review, and I'm glad to be almost done.
The Resources section advertises books and booklets on related subject-matter. Titles include "Bringing Up Boys," "Someone I Love Is Gay," "A Strong Delusion: Confronting the 'Gay Christian' Movement," and "A Parents' Guide To Preventing Homosexuality." I had no idea such books existed, but I can't say I'm surprised. All books are available from Focus On The Family (again, no surprise).
Following the book advertisement, the book provides a list of Recommended Links, contact information for Focus On The Family, and a bibliography with end-notes. The lack of surprise again comes to the fore, as three of their listed references are books advertised in the preceding section. Interestingly, "A Parent's Guide To Preventing Homosexuality" was published by InterVarsity, the same guys who published "Homosexual Struggle", the last booklet I reviewed.
The booklet doesn't actually have a concluding section, but it doesn't really need one. It presents itself as a helpful guide for Christians who are concerned about the definition of marriage, and it advocates love and compassion while condemning bigotry and hatred. No doubt the authors feel they are on the side of good. After all, they do have THE TRUTH, don't they?
Well, no, they don't. They have their truth, and the arrogance to insist it applies to everybody. The conclusion I draw from this book is that change is happening, and many Christians (the authors among them) feel scared and threatened. This book wasn't published to protect families, but to protect an old and outdated way of seeing the world that is under bombardment from present-day reality. Plus, the sneaky playing around with terminology (like Basic Human Rights) and raising of irrelevant subject-matter (the freedom of speech issue) add to this book an air of desperation that is just pitiful. I can't quite call this hate literature, but it comes awfully close.
The booklet opens with this question: "How are we as Christians to respond?" My answer: leave gay people alone. Please. We've all had enough of this. Just leave them alone.
Likely to Convert - N/A
Likely to Convert Gays - N/A
Artwork - 2
Ability to Hold Interest - 6
Unintentional Hilarity - 3
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 9