The New Orthodoxy Test – Part One: Why???

220px-ICA_flag.svgIt’s Pride Week in Manitoba.  So let’s talk about sexuality and Christianity.  You know, because nobody else is doing that, right?

Over the past several years, I’ve noticed something about sexuality and faith that I find interesting.

It appears that one’s posture towards sexual minorities has turned into a modern day orthodoxy test in the church.   It’s our new litmus test, our new standard, our new way of deciding if somebody is “in” or “out”, a “true” believer or a “false” believer.  We seem to filter everything through whether or not one is LGBTQ-inclusive or not, and if somebody finds themselves in a different place than ourselves, we roll our eyes and write them off.

And, just so nobody thinks they can claim the moral high ground, it’s both “sides” doing this to each other.

Now, I’m fairly certain this is fairly common in most conflicts.  We circle the wagons, vilify the other side, and smugly know that we’re right and they’re wrong (and, most likely, believe that they’re really big poo-poo heads too).

But even if this is common in most conflicts, there’s something about LGBTQ inclusion and the church that gets everybody especially riled up.  And I wonder… why?

In my little corner of the Mennonite world, we have churches who are voting to leave our conference because it’s not disciplining other churches who are doing gay weddings. We have churches withholding donations to organizations until that organization writes a clear policy on LGBTQ inclusion or exclusion.  We have churches who are looking to hire pastors, and actually write down in their little 120 word ad that they must hold a traditional view of marriage.  And this is without talking about Caitlyn Jenner, gay wedding cakes, Trinity Western University, Gay-Straight Alliances, self-harm, Michael Sam, the Vatican, Rob Bell, or Supreme Court rulings.

Why the heck are we spending so much time and energy on this?

One’s stance towards sexual minorities is not in any of the historical creeds that have been used to define orthodoxy over the past 2000 years.   If the core values of Anabaptism are Jesus, community, and peace, I don’t see anything about who’s marrying who in there.   We don’t get our knickers in a knot of child vs. infant baptism, who gets communion, different atonement theories, or whether or not Jesus was a pacifist, but if we mention anything about same-sex marriage in the church, watch out, as you just may have kicked a hornet’s nest.

Of all the things that we can possibly disagree on, why has this become the new orthodoxy test?  And why exactly are we fighting about it?

So, this is what I’m going to write about.  I’m going to explore why one’s posture towards sexual minorities has become our new orthodoxy test.

I’ll do my best to NOT write about why one “side” is “right” and the other is “wrong”.   I’m sure some of you will tell me why you’re right, though.  You’ll quote your favourite author that I most likely haven’t read.  Or you’ll tell me 17 reasons why you think what you do.  But, in these posts, I’m not intending to write about where I find myself and why, or who’s right and who’s wrong, but rather try to figure out WHY this question seems to trump all other question (I will probably fail though, as my bias will probably come out.  My apologies in advance).

So as to try make my posts short and readable, I’ve broken my thoughts into four posts, and will be rolling one out each day.  Feel free to agree, disagree, or whatever. Just please keep it civil (so please don’t compare a faithful, committed, monogamous relationship between two consenting adults to bestiality or incest). And the fact that I had to even write that last sentence is probably a good segue into tomorrow`s post.


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