This series is already pretty long – but just in case you haven’t read it (and you happen to be fighting insomnia) you can start with first post here.
The third exhortation for sexual minority folks in this evangelical sermon on homosexuality was, “Jesus is enough for you.”
Of course. God’s grace is sufficient for us. And when we are weak we are strong.
Living a sustainable faith means that one has inevitably gone through the refining fire of finding our life and our identity as the Beloved of God. It is stronger than our greatest strength, or the strength any of our family or friends can offer. Many followers of Christ will have some story to tell of going through the wilderness and feeling that Jesus was all you had to cling on to.
It doesn’t mean, however, that all of followers of Jesus only find our needs met in Christ. Now before anyone freaks out – let me explain what I mean. In my last post I talked about all good gifts ultimately coming from God. In that sense, it is God who meets our needs. God does that through relationship, marriage, family, meaningful work, access to food and housing, mobility, education etc. Christians very rarely go find a cave to live in relying only on the presence of Jesus to sustain us. (Although let’s face it – it seemed to do pretty amazing things for Brennan Manning!)
God puts the lonely in families. God blesses us with community. God gives us companions on the journey. God connects soul-mates for life-long fidelity.
It is absolutely true that anyone can live without sex. It is also true that being single and/or being celibate can be a life-giving, grace-marked, community-focused journey. And it is true that today’s church in North America needs to do a MUCH better job honouring single people and investing in the cultivation of intimate friendships as a normal part of being community together.
As is commonly pointed out, there are many sexual majority persons who would love to be married but who never found a spouse. They have had to accept their reality and trust God’s faithfulness and sufficiency for them. A crucial difference, however, is that this singleness is not externally imposed. Such an individual can live with possibility of their deep heart desires finding outlet in marriage. I know a friend who was very content being a single career woman. Much to her surprise, she met her husband in her sixties and has now been happily married for a few years with the joy of being a grandmother. Most people I know were very happy for this woman. No one seemed to think that she should not get married despite being beyond child-bearing years or having sensed a call to singleness for the forty some-odd years prior to meeting her husband.
This doesn’t, however, answer the question of whether or not a loving and relational God would demand single celibacy of an entire group of people – group of people that we now understand experience an intrinsic difference in how they feel drawn to intimate relationship. Given the development of the preacher’s argument, it is clear that he believes this must be entirely consistent with God’s character – because his exegesis and hermeneutics put him in the position of upholding the understanding that marriage is between one man and one woman.
My question is, “Would there be room for the sexual minority Christian who wrestles with God and comes to a different interpretive conclusion than you do?”
I have to wonder if that person will feel shamed by the implied accusation that they aren’t living out the “Jesus is enough” expectation?
I’m delighted that some previous posts have brought out insights that didn’t come to me in the writing. Feel more than free to add your comments to the blog.
If you identify as LGBTQ+ ….. how would hearing, “Jesus is enough for you” in a sermon impact you?